One of Mexico's most stylish destinations, the city of Puerto Vallarta mixes cosmopolitan cool and Mexican warmth. We love strolling along the bustling waterfront malecón, an esplanade lined with street artists, sculptures and fountains. Stop at the Los Archos amphitheatre for live music, dip in and out of the eclectic shops on Vallarta's cobbled side streets, then unwind with dinner and cocktails overlooking the yacht-filled marina.
Puerto Vallarta has a thriving arts scene, second only to Mexico's capital. The city is home to everything from traditional indigenous art and crafts to contemporary Mexican works by national and local artists. Join the Puerto Vallarta Art Walk (October to April) for a tour of the best galleries.
Every good night out starts with dinner, and Puerto Vallarta's restaurant scene is among the best in Mexico. You will find succulent seafood, creative Mexican cuisine and flavourful international dishes on the menu, in restaurants ranging from glamorous to low-key. After dark, head to the malecón for fashionable clubs, salsa joints and chilled-out bars. Vallarta is refreshingly gay-friendly too, so there's something for everyone.
This remote enclave deep in the Sierre Madre Mountains is a popular day trip from Puerto Vallarta. Once a gold and silver mining town, today San Sebastian feels like an untouched glimpse into colonial Mexico. Go for the breathtaking views, locally-grown coffee, charming cobblestoned plaza and 18th century haciendas.
If you're brave enough to zip line through the jungle 100 metres above the ground, there are several canopy tours around Puerto Vallarta. Perhaps the most popular is Los Veranos, an exhilarating two-mile course above the Orquideas River. Not for the faint-hearted, the 14 zip lines include a double line where you can race each other at speeds of over 30 miles per hour.
Every year from December to March, humpback whales come to Banderas Bay to mate and give birth. Take a trip (by boat or even light aircraft) to encounter these gentle giants in their natural habitat. The sight of these magnificent creatures tail-slapping or breaching the water's surface will stay with you forever.