Los Arcos and El Malecón

#1 in Best Things To Do in Puerto Vallarta
Los Arcos and El Malecón picture
Los Arcos and El Malecón
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Key Info

Paseo Díaz Ordaz S/N, Centro

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Sightseeing, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.2scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Stretching for more than a mile along Bahía de Banderas (Banderas Bay), El Malecón is a great place to stroll any time of day, but especially in the evenings. Along the way, visitors will see everything from sand sculptures and bronze sculptures to the iconic Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. El Malecón is also home to the Los Arcos Amphitheater, another iconic symbol of Puerto Vallarta that plays hosts to free performances, featuring live musicians and traditional Mexican dance troupes, just about every night. 

Recent travelers recommend grabbing a bite along the way at one of the street vendors and enjoying the ambiance of the night. If you can time it right, they also suggested visiting at sunset to snap some spectacular photos. Though many reviewers called it a "must-see," some were annoyed with the pushy vendors that line the boardwalk, saying it detracted from the romantic atmosphere. 

El Malecón is free to access 24/7 and within walking distance of central PV. Several bus routes offer service along El Malecón.

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Zona Romantica
Puerto Vallarta Whale Watching Tours
Type
Time to Spend
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#2 Zona Romantica

This charming south side neighborhood is like a detached, unpretentious beach village that serves PV's more laid-back and less resort-conscious tourists. It's also the center of the city's strong gay population and has a bevy of gay beaches, bars and restaurants lining Olas Atlas. Travelers should keep in mind that this area is also known as Old Vallarta or Old Town.

Most agree that Zona Romantica is a must-see. The area contains a number of the city's best restaurants, excellent cultural opportunities and the most popular beach in the city: Playa Los Muertos. It's also home to a pier built in 2013 that offers seating for pedestrians and illuminates each evening with a kaleidoscope of colors. From the pier, travelers can board water taxis to some of the area's more secluded beaches. Recent travelers said you'll find a bunch of smaller grocery stores, restaurants and cafes away from the beach, as well as fewer peddlers selling souvenirs. 

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