Travel Tuesday: Mexico (Puerto Vallarta)

Travel Tuesday: Mexico (Puerto Vallarta)The exclusive resort of Puerto Vallarta, often known simply as ‘Vallarta’, is nestled between the Sierra Madre mountains and Mexico’s Pacific coast. Stretching along Bahía de Banderas, the world’s 7th largest bay, this upmarket metropolis seamlessly juxtaposes high-end city living against a lush natural backdrop. The former quiet fishing village owes much of its current prosperity to Hollywood; when Richard Burton’s 1964 film Night of the Iguana was filmed in the nearby village of Mismaloya, Puerto Vallarta was propelled into the public consciousness. Since then it has flourished into a cosmopolitan city, known for its bustling social atmosphere and international art scene, one of Mexico’s most prolific.

With 300 days of sunshine a year, Puerto Vallarta’s climate is incredibly hospitable. Autumn is one of the most pleasant times to take a trip to there, as this is when the more intense heat of the summer months begins to give way to warm, settled weather. High season begins towards the end of October and in early November, during which time the temperatures are high but not oppressive and the rains have passed. This is also when the Puerto Vallarta International Gourmet Festival takes place, where acclaimed chefs from around the world showcase their diverse cuisines.

Puerto Vallarta has a long-standing artistic heritage, having first hosted exhibitions in the 1950s. Today renowned painters and sculptors, from Mexico itself and the international community, show their works there. Sculptures reflecting on philosophical questions and paying homage to the sea are set along El Malecón, each of which is designed by a notable Mexican artist, such as Ramiz Barquet or Alejandro Colunga. The city’s galleries, mostly located around El Centro, attract connoisseurs as well as amateur enthusiasts, particularly when its annual Old Town Art Walk is on. From the last week of October, over twenty galleries in this downtown area remain open to the public on Wednesday evenings, offering visitors the opportunity to meet the artists whilst indulging in complimentary wine and refreshments. They are free to wander at leisure through the district’s lively streets, discovering contemporary paintings, jewellery and ceramics.

The city’s coastal location, bordering on 35km of white sands, makes it a haven for water sports fans and beachgoers. Snorkelling is an especially popular pursuit here, as brightly coloured tropical fish and equally vibrant corals mean there is plenty to see beneath the waves. The bay is also known for the dolphins and whales that swim in its waters; December to April is the best time for sightings. Some areas of Bahía de Banderas tend to be busier than others; the famous Playa de los Muertos at the edge of Old Town is the most popular, with an array of beachfront bars and restaurants serving freshly caught seafood.

Puerto Vallarta’s luxurious lifestyle and tropical conditions make it an ideal location to invest in, whether you are purchasing a holiday home or looking to permanently relocate to warmer climes. With over 500 shops worldwide, including one soon to be opened in the city itself, Engel & Völkers has all the necessary expertise to guide you in your search.