In a post-crisis context, Mexico is one of the fastest-growing destinations in the world, drawing in 38.1 million tourists last year alone.
Famous for its great weather, luxurious services, and unparalleled Latin American hospitality, it is particularly popular among Americans.
From the country’s Caribbean coast to its Pacific front, they have been flocking to beaches for that much-needed sunny break, and amid the Mexican Tourism Renaissance, some obvious favorites have been declared:
Cancun, also known as the gateway to the Mayan Riviera, Los Cabos, a highly sought-after for its wellness retreats, and of course, this trendy coastal hub, which combines both Old World and modern beachfront resort aesthetics, and it’s been named one of the best small cities.
Here are 5 reasons why Puerto Vallarta is having such a great year for tourism:
It Has A Beautiful Historic Zone
There is an increased interest in deeper cultural immersions among Americans now that they are no longer barred from visiting all of their favorite destinations, and as it is within easy reach of the States, Puerto Vallarta has become a go-to spot for experiencing Mexico in all its glory.
It has a beautiful Zona Romantica, which literally stands for Romantic Zone, and while it is not as old as the historic centers of cities like Guanajuato or Merida, it has a plethora of charming, brightly painted buildings and ornate facades that are simply made to be marveled at.
Alternatively called Old Vallarta, it is home to the city’s famous Olas Altas Street, bounded by quirky cafes and boutiques, the landmark Los Muertos Pier, adjacent to a well-frequent beach, and countless colonial-style houses that looked almost as if they were ripped out of the pages of a History book.
Sandy Atlantic Beaches
Vallarta is just as extremely popular for its beaches.
Though the city itself does not command breathtaking coastal views, and the waters are naturally darker near the shoreline, it is within driving distance of some of the most beautiful sandy strips in the Mexican Pacific.
Playa Las Gemelas is one such example of a thin white-sand beach bounded by turquoise-bordering-on-translucent waters. A short half-hour drive from Old Vallarta, it is a popular day trip for sun-seekers looking to escape the bustling hotel zone.
On the Nayarit Riviera, 55 minutes driving from Puerto Vallarta, Punta Mita is yet another beautiful beach location, ranking first in the region for both sunbathing and whale-watching. A bit further up the coast, other scenic areas include Sayulita and San Pancho.
It Is Open To Diversity
It’s no secret at this point that Puerto Vallarta is the gay capital of Mexico, hosting a high concentration of LGBTQ+ venues and entertainment houses, as well as a yearly pride event and other celebratory parades that attract millions of visitors yearly.
Its openness to diversity and carefree atmosphere is yet another reason why Vallarta has asserted its status not only as one of the top three beach resorts in Mexico, behind only Cancun and Los Cabos, but as a major global destination.
Don’t be fooled by this categorization, either: gay bars may form a majority in certain districts, especially in the Zona Romantica, but they welcome everybody. After all, they usually serve amazing drinks, the music is great, and they are the best places for socializing and meeting locals in general.
Puerto Vallarta Is Safe
With multiple wars erupting around the globe and security concerns rising, Americans are generally worried about their personal safety when going abroad, especially to Latin American countries that have long been plagued by misinformation campaigns and fearmongering.
As you will soon learn landing in Puerto Vallarta – or in fact, any major tourist destination in Mexico – they are as safe as can be, meaning they are no bucolic, perfectly peaceful hinterland town with inexistent crime rates, but when compared to large cities in their league, they fare fairly well.
Authorities have ramped up security in Vallarta in recent months, and all around the tourist zone, you will find police ready to come to your aid should you ever encounter pickpockets or petty criminals – which, by the way, are your only major concern vacationing in the area.
With that being said, you must bear in mind the state of Jalisco – this includes Puerto Vallarta – is a Level 3 destination, as defined by U.S. authorities. This means greater caution is urged, and some neighborhoods and gang-dominated towns in the vicinity may be off-limits.
Overall, PV – as it is commonly called – is an incredible destination with high safety levels, great beaches, and a unique atmosphere, and this winter, it will be busier than ever.
Learn more about Vallarta and start planning your trip here.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com