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The Perfect Wine And Spirits Getaway | Puerto Vallarta Insider Travel Guide
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Puerto Vallarta is a feast for the eyes, the palate and the soul.

Located on the Pacific coast of Mexico, Puerto Vallarta offers scores of beachfront accommodation, traditional architecture, fresh local seafood, and world-class hospitality. It’s also the second largest culinary destination in the country making it the perfect food, wine and spirit destination.

WHAT TO SEE & DO 

Explore the 5 zones, each with it’s own charms.

Marina Vallarta Zone plays host to chic beach resorts, fabulous golf and, of course, the Marina, rimmed with shops and restaurants. It’s also the starting point for sea-faring adventures. Jump aboard the ‘Canuwa’ is a 62-foot luxury catamaran and cruise along the shoreline of the city to Los Arcos Marine National Park. Swim or snorkel, look for Humpback whales and Bluenose Dolphins, or just kick back.

Visit the Turtle Nursery at the CasaMagna Marriott where, from June through November, you can release young turtles back to the sea.

Hotel Zone:

This is where you’ll find the majority of the larger resort hotels, time-shares and condos. Luxury shopping, the cruise ship terminal and trendy restaurants abound.

Downtown/Historic Center: The true heart of Puerto Vallarta.

Saunter ‘The Malecon’ promenade. Enjoy the ocean breeze, take a photo of the famous ‘Seahorse’ statue (the symbol of Puerto Vallarta) and people watch to your heart’s content.

Gaze at the iconic Church of our Lady of Guadalupe with its distinctive ‘crown’ and stop to rest in one of the many colorful squares.

Discover the small island ‘Isla del Rio Cuale’ with its flea markets, river walk and restaurants.

Romantic Zone:

Get lost in the web of steep, winding, cobblestone streets, lined with bougainvillea-covered homes.

Walk out over the bay on Los Muertos Pier –deemed one of the 9 most beautiful piers in the world by CNN. Check it out after dark when it lights up!

Playa Los Muertos Pier in Puerto VillartaThis zone is home to the largest array LGBT clubs in Mexico. Puerto Vallarta is a welcoming destination!

“Eat, explore and experience” with Vallarta Food Tours who combine insider knowledge with fascinating tales of the people who create the local cuisine. You’ll never look at a taco the same way again!

South Zone – THE place to be, especially for those looking for a quiet getaway.. Small, remote beaches such as Mismaloya, Los Caletas and Boca de Tomatlan abound, each with their individual character and charms.

Worth the Effort:

Thirty minutes from town you’ll find the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens, a conservation area featuring all indigenous plants. Walk the trails, hear the birds, go for a cool swim in the Horcones River and then enjoy superb, regional cuisine at the Hacienda de Oro restaurant. Tip: don’t forget the insect repellent; the gardens are also host to ‘jejenes’ or ‘no-see-ums’!
www.vbgardens.org

SIP

Mexico is famous for distilled beverages with tequila the best known. But there’s tequila, and then, there is tequila. ‘ Tequiller’ Audrey Formisano will teach you the difference with a ‘Tequila Tasting’ at CasaMagna Marriott. Delicious education.

Tequila Tour Puerto Vallarta
Come and see the only and original distillery in the bay Area.
Experience the process of authentic crafting of 100% Blue Agave Tequila.

Raicilla is tequilla’s ‘quiet cousin’; a local, traditional and generational drink crafted from the Cenizo Agave (tequilla is made with Agave Azul). Most is distilled in the higher altitude Sierra region resulting in a more delicate and sophisticated drink. The Coastal region, where the agave is grown on salty, volcanic soils, has a smokier, more rustic appeal. The best way to learn, enjoy and purchase Raicilla is to go to the source. Visit Rancho el Varano in the hills south of Puerto Vallarta for an unforgettable experience and return home a Raicilla expert.

Trust an American to open the first craft brewery in Puerto Vallarta. Los Muertas Brewing is the brainchild of Connor Watts who left Park City UT to chase a delicious dream. With names like ‘Agave Maria’ and ‘Revenge’ and labels that echo ‘Dia de los Muertos’, tasty brews are now on the map in PV.

EAT

The Puerto Vallarta food scene is thriving with over 300 restaurants to fulfill you foodie fantasies.

Festivals yield the ultimate experience; ‘The Gourmet Festival’, held each year in November, takes place over 10 days, celebrating this diverse and unique culinary center. Guest chefs from all around the world pair up with participating restaurants to create unique dishes – from gourmet breakfasts to Blues inspired pairings.

Somewhat more humble, but no less fulfilling, is the annual ‘Ceviche and Aguachile Festival’ held every January. Local restaurants show-off their tasty takes on traditional fare. Aguachile is a style of ceviche local to Sinaloa and Nayant, with a basic recipe of raw shrimp or scallops, ‘cooked’ in lime-juice, salt, and chile, garnished with cucumber and red onion.
Other local specialties include, Mahi-Mahi, Marlin and Yellow-fin Tuna. Try ‘Tuba’- a coconut based beverage enhanced with fruits, nuts and herbs, a myriad of ‘Aquas Frescas’ and chilled Hibiscus Tea.

Insider Dinning Secrets:

Café des Artistes –Chef Thierry Blouet’s iconic and eclectic salute to French cuisine fused with a PV vibe has been enchanting diners for over 25 years.

Tintoque –the city’s new star features Chef Joel Ornelas‘ ever-changing menus, filled with flavor contrasts and unique textures. Worldly, classy and superb.

Mikado at the CasaMagna Marriot – Japanese Sushi inMexico? With the abundance of quality seafood on the doorstep, it makes perfect sense. A local favorite.

Tuna Azul – Pacific/Asian/Mexican fusion – try the tuna and vegetarian coconut ceviches!

Mauricio’s – located near the airport, this is classic Puerto Vallarta at it’s best. Highlight – the Aguachile Roja.

Mike’s Beach Club – you’ll need a boat or water taxi to reach this laid back shack on the beach at Las Animas. A perfect PV experience.

STAY:

Hotels range from boutique to luxury hotels on private beaches.

Casa Magna Marriott –open-air style that puts full focus on the beautiful beach and panoramic views. Every amenity you could want, fantastic buffet breakfast and beautiful beach. Warm and welcoming.

Westin Resort & Spa– located up the beach from the Marriott with rooms that overlook the Bay, beachside dining and a fabulous pool area.

Hyatt Ziva – on its own beach in the South Zone-private and serene.

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About The Author
Hilarie Larson
After settling in Southern California, Wine Educator and Sommelier Hilarie Larson and her husband, Winemaker Craig Larson, decided to create their own venture, Northwinds Wine Consulting, in order to share their devotion for all things wine.The Larsons bring a deep appreciation for the love and labor that goes into every bottle and are thrilled to express that passion through wine education and winery consulting.

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