Downtown Puerto Vallarta Culture and History

Downtown Puerto Vallarta

Sometimes when I visit a tropical location, the trip tends to be all about the beach, seafood and relaxation. There are plenty of opportunities for all of that in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. But there is also opportunities for adventures of the city variety. In fact, my afternoon of exploring Downtown Puerto Vallarta culture and history was a highlight of my time in Mexico.

Downtown Puerto Vallarta is almost like a different world from the community that is centered on water and rainforest fun. The city seems fairly compact, with many of the beachfront hotels along the Malecon and in the Romantic Zone being within walking distance of Downtown Puerto Vallarta.

After days of walking the beach, snorkeling, playing in a waterfall and zip lining in the rainforests high above the city, I found spending time in Downtown Puerto Vallarta to be a different experience.

Downtown Puerto Vallarta

My first taste of Downtown Puerto Vallarta came during an evening taco tour that saw us walk the city streets.

Downtown Puerto Vallarta

What stood out to me, other than the sight of taco stands spread around the city, was the beautiful buildings, cobbled streets and peacefulness of it all.

When I returned the next afternoon, things were completely different. It was a Saturday, and we decided to check out the city market.

Downtown Puerto Vallarta

The market was pretty typical as far as having an abundance of stalls selling everything from dresses, toys and soccer balls to tacky souvenirs, spices and food.

Downtown Puerto Vallarta

With it being just the week before the start of the World Cup, I was pleased to come across a Mexico jersey for my son.

One of the fun things about shopping in markets outside the United States is the art of haggling for the best price. I bargained the price down a bit, only I think my bargain was lost in translation. They didn’t accept credit cards and I was a few pesos short of the agreed-to price. But I did have American dollars and in asking what the price would be, I think I was quickly quoted a price a couple dollars more than what we had agreed to. But considering I still managed to get a football jersey for $19, I was pleased.

A quick note on money in Mexico. American dollars are accepted everywhere. Yes, the peso is the official currency. But it almost seems like the dollar is currency 1B. It’s accepted everywhere.

Back to the market. If you are with friends or have children in tow, keep an eye on them. This market isn’t huge but it does have endless little hallways that could be easy to lose track of your shopping partners.

Downtown Puerto Vallarta

The second level of the market has more stands selling clothing and souvenirs, as well as an abundance of food stalls.

Downtown Puerto Vallarta

After walking around the market a bit we headed across the wackiest swinging bridge I’ve been on, at least in a city, to get to the little island in the middle of the Rio Caule, Isla del Rio Cuale, where more Saturday afternoon shopping awaits.

Downtown Puerto Vallarta

A quick stroll along the island and we found our way toward El Malecon, the wide boardwalk that stretches along the beach.

Downtown Puerto Vallarta

But before we got there, I saw these two little guys in the window above the street.

Downtown Puerto Vallarta

I’m usually not one to photograph random animals or people on the street, but these dogs were too cool to pass up.

Downtown Puerto Vallarta

This is where a lot of the action seems to be, as people are walking the large pedestrian walkway and relaxing on the beach below.

Downtown Puerto Vallarta

The new Los Muertos Pier is a beautiful piece of art, and seems to be a centerpiece of the Malecon.

Downtown Puerto Vallarta

All around the pier, locals were crowded around on the beach and in the water cooling off on a scorching afternoon.

Downtown Puerto Vallarta

The Malecon is a mile-long boulevard filled with public art, shops, restaurants and bars. I didn’t get the chance to experience it at night, but I hear it’s a fun spot to be at sunset and later.

Downtown Puerto Vallarta

There are several large pieces of art, but I was only able to capture a couple of them.

Downtown Puerto Vallarta

Downtown Puerto Vallarta

18 thoughts on “Downtown Puerto Vallarta Culture and History

  1. Puerto Vallarta looks absolutely gorgeous. I think Mexico gets a pretty bad rap. While there are obviously some places you don’t want to go, there are those same sorts of places even in the U.S. I love walking the streets in Mexico. I think people are really missing out on some amazing and beautiful places simply because they buy into all of the fear hype.
    Greg | Travel Blue Book recently posted…Exploring Paradise: FijiMy Profile

  2. This looks like an interesting place and well worth the time. I love the idea of an evening taco tour, did you feel as though you’d over eaten at the end?

    Ah the US$, often quoted as a good reserve currency for any trip. I’m not surprised you felt the price increased with the US currency v Mexican, it tends to work that way. $19 is still a good price for a football shirt yet I suspect it was maybe a fake?

    I’m glad you took the picture of those dogs on the ledge, they are very cute :-)
    The Guy recently posted…Interview With Travel Blogger Nora Dunn AKA The Professional HoboMy Profile

  3. As far as I could tell there is absolutely no reason to fear traveling to Puerto Vallarta. I get it, there are some dangerous places in Mexico. But there are some in the U.S. as well. The important thing is to do your research about a destination and use common sense when out and about.

  4. Fake as in not an official jersey? Yeah, I’m not too concerned about that. My son has enough jerseys to wear one per day for a month and I’d say it’s a fair share of official from the team and cheaper ones just bought at a store. I guess as far as unlicensed apparel, this one might have been that. But I’ve also bought officially licensed children’s jerseys for less than $30. Kids jerseys are much cheaper than adult. As far as the taco tour, yes, I was pretty full at the end but not exactly stuffed.

  5. Terry, I don’t do many food tours. I had such a good time on this one and can’t recommend it enough. The only downside was the rain that came late in the tour. But that’s the risk when doing a walking tour.

  6. Puerto Vallarta has always seemed to me less ‘authentic’ than other cities in Mexico, e.g. Oaxaca or Puebla. But I do like what I see in your photos, i.e. some of the older architecture and less manicured streets. I have other cities in MX that I’d like to visit first, but not saying no to PV. Taco stands have a lot to do with that. 😉
    Pola (Jetting Around) recently posted…Coffee and desserts in LjubljanaMy Profile

  7. Pola, the taco stands were wonderful. I have nothing to compare Puerto Vallarta to since this was my first visit to Mexico. I would like to someday visit Mexico City. I hear the food scene there is wonderful.

  8. Erin, it’s a good choice. I’m not sure how big the crowds might be during spring break, but it was light during early June. My only issue is it’s an expensive destination for me to get to from Memphis.

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