Tourists choosing Puerto Vallarta as the safe destination in Mexico

Puerto Vallarta has become fashionable and hasn’t experienced the security problems facing other major destinations in the country, said Agustin Alvarez, director of the Tourism Board of Puerto Vallarta.

“The decline of other tourist destinations such as Acapulco, has made people turn to Puerto Vallarta, for security, connectivity and value,” said the director of the agency in an interview with El Universal

He said that security is not a problem for Puerto Vallarta and stressed that its main market is the US and Canadian tourism, and with the exchange rate depreciation it has become a safe place to vacation and a great value.

He stressed that Puerto Vallarta is the second major beach destination in Mexico, behind Cancun and topping Los Cabos.

He said that besides the beach tourism, local businesses have great potential in Puerto Vallarta, as the segment grew about 200% in the last two years.

Love Yoga?

While at the market, join us for yoga classes (9:30-10:30 am) taught by instructors from Yoga Collective. We meet in the kiosk every Saturday morning through April 30th. Participation is by donation.

Some fun activities in Puerto Vallarta

Shop until you drop by CNN

World Class Shopping in Puerto Vallarta
Shopping in Puerto Vallarta goes far beyond buying souvenir T-shirt and vacation keepsakes. In fact, shopping could be Vallarta's biggest attraction - and with most shopkeepers speaking English, prices in pesos and attractive exchange rates, it's easy and rewarding to explore your options...

If shopping is your bag, Puerto Vallarta is a paradise where you'll always find something to surprise, amaze and delight you. There's no one specific shopping district in the Banderas Bay area . . . you might find what you're looking for in a tiny shop, boutique or art gallery on a back street - or in a large department store at one of the area's modern shopping centers.
On Calles Libertad, Juarez and Morelos, small shops selling traditional Mexican apparel, folk art, and beachwear juxtapose with art galleries and boutiques offering original art, pottery and designer clothing at prices that are sure to make you "shop 'til you drop." And as far as shopping malls are concerned, Plaza Marina, Plaza Neptuno, Plaza Caracol and Paradise Village are packed with specialty stores selling clothing, jewelry, original art and home decor.

But for many savvy shoppers the real fun begins when haggling with beach vendors, at street-side stands and in flea markets. Haggling is a common practice in Mexico, and in most cases, if you offer to pay about 40% less than the asking price, you'll end up paying somewhere between the initial amount and your counter offer. The only rule of the game is to maintain mutual respect while wavering between impulse and indifference.

The stalls and kiosks along Cuale Island, in the Municipal Market and at the Pueblo Viejo Artisans' Market are also popular with visitors on the lookout for vacation souvenirs at bargain prices. The owners of these shops are always ready to bargain, so take an unhurried look around, fall into the temptation and buy, buy, buy!

Canopy Eco Tour

One of the most exciting ways to see the jungle of Puerto Vallarta is to take a canopy eco tour. As you zip through the jungle canopy, you'll take in the wonderful sights and sounds of the magnificent tropical environment on a total of 14 cables designed to gradually take you higher and faster - until the final cable shoots you right over the rapids to our traditional Mexican palapa bar! Those who are "a little less adventurous" can enjoy water slides and swimming on the breathtakingly beautiful Orquidias River, shopping at the tiendita, devouring delicious Mexican food and International cuisine at Pancho's Last Resort Restaurant, sampling some of the 80 different kinds of Tequila at our palapa bar, or interacting with exotic animals - including a squirrel monkey, deer, Burmese Python, tarantulas, tucans, and everybody's favorite, Cancun the Cat - in a fun and safe environment.

Top Reasons to Visit Puerto Vallata

Puerto Vallarta may not be the most well-known vacation in destination, but it is one of the most beautiful. The whole resort is perfectly laid out for tourists, which vast expanses of pristine white beaches being licked by crystal blue waves, whilst the beaches are fringed with some of the best restaurants and cocktail bars. Despite this commercial endeavour, what makes Puerto Vallarta so attractive and such a fine destination is that it hasn’t compromised its original and authentic charm, meaning it provides a very unique perspective for its visitors: In the morning you can wind surf and lounge on the beach, whilst in the afternoon you can visit the town’s famous and ornate church. Here are some of the top reasons why you should consider Puerto Vallarta for your next vacation: Visit the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, first built around 120 years ago, and admittedly much of the original structure is in need of repair. However despite this, it is an incredible example of classical Mexican architecture, and its beauty attracts visitors from all over the world. One of the main attractions of the church is the ornate décor in its interior, which makes heavy use of gold leaf and has several large and beautiful frescos. The church is a very active one with large attendance figures: mass is bilingual here, making it ideal for visitors to the town who wish to attend a local church service. Whether or not you are Catholic though, the church is certainly worth a visit during visiting hours: its serene atmosphere and beautiful décor make it one of the most attractive and interesting buildings in Puerto Vallata.

Go On a Sculpture Hunt

Puerto Vallarta is as famous for its active art scene as it is for its sandy white beaches. You’ll find galleries displaying the work of local artists, and attracting artists and culture lovers from all over the world. Because of the large numbers of artists living and working in Puerto Vallarta, you’ll also find that the town hosts and celebrates regular cultural and arts festivals throughout the year. However regardless of whether or not there is a festival happening during your stay, you’ll find year round artistic fun in the town by going on a sculpture hunt. More than 15 large and unique sculptures by some of the most famous Mexican artists are spaced out along the Malecon in the city. As well as being artistically important, these beautiful sculptural works also make a fantastic backdrop for photographs, as well as being a wonderful photo opportunity in their own right.

Choose The Right Place to Stay

You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding your dream accommodation in Puerto Vallarta: the town is a paradise for lovers of luxury vacations. Puerto Vallarta is an incredibly popular destination to own a vacation home, particularly for visitors travelling from overseas. However choosing to hire a fully furnished luxury villa is an option that really should be examined first, as it enables visitors to avoid the hassle and expense that accompanies luxury home ownership: there is no need to worry about paying bills, organising home insurance or ensuring that your property is secured and protected when you aren’t there. When you choose to hire a villa, we take care of all of that for you, meaning you have your own home away from home without the hassle – it’s the best of both worlds.

Indulge in The Shops

Because it is a luxury destination, Puerto Vallarta is a paradise for lovers of luxury items. From designer fashions to quirky handcrafted homewares, and of course a wonderful selection of unique art works created by local artists, all of your shopping needs can be met in this wonderfully metropolitan town. For fans of a more traditionally Mexican shopping experience, you’ll also find a weekly market held in the town central square offering a wide array of fresh produce and locally produced goods.

Melissa Dawson


Once upon a time, Sayulita was a remote surfie hangout on a hidden beach with just a handful of fishermen’s huts. Today, Sayulita is home to a throng of ex-pats and left-of-field Mexican hipsters from Guadalajara or Mexico City who have protected the village from high-rise resorts and developed its town square into a foodie haven.

Sayulita is home to beautiful beaches.

There are no Starbucks or McDonalds here, but just old-fashioned butcher shops, hole-in-the-wall cafes and courtyard restaurants.

The street stalls are safe, and mouth-watering too. Here smaller is better, slower is better–but that doesn’t make this village tranquil. Quite the opposite, Sayulita also has a pumping nightlife. But if you aren't up for all that tequila and singing with mariachis on rooftop terraces, the jungle offers a great barrier with several eco resorts, each offering their own personal version of Mexico.

Sayulita is often called the jewel of Riviera Nayarit , Mexico’s smallest state that begins on the outskirts of Puerto Vallarta. From the Puerto Vallarta airport it’s about a 45 minute taxi ride, or the villa chauffeur will pick you up in their suburban. Ask us for more of what to eat and where to stay.

Eat Street Food

The famous Original Fish Tacos Restaurant.

Central Sayulita is formed by a compact loop around its town square and a couple of main streets, but the stroll might have you salivating at the wafting smell of fresh, handmade tacos, hot chilies, sweet tropical fruits, and seafood. Organic fanatics and young chefs from across Mexico and around the world seem to have set up niches in Sayulita.

One of the first and most famous eateries to visit is the original Fish Tacos, a fairly smart but still rustic restaurant in the main square. The second best fish tacos in Sayulita probably come from one of the local ladies flipping from a street stall.

In the mornings you'll want an organic smoothie from one of the hole-in-the-wall juice bars like Orangy, run by a Mexican/British couple who are always concocting new blends of unusual fruits. Espresso coffee machines are all over Sayulita, too. For a good Australian flat white and huge breakfast that will remind you of Bondi, try Chocobanana in the town square.


Attractions in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico: What to do and where to go

A walk through San Miguel de Allende is an attraction in itself, from the beautiful colonial mansions and the impressive temples to the fascinating Historic Center where you'll find a number of details that will capture your attention, such as the old-fashioned carved wooden portals, wrought iron balconies, intricately carved stone, painted ornamental ceramic and many patios with fountains, abundantly adorned with flowers.

Apart from its intense architecture, visit the museums, theaters, cultural centers, art galleries and the bullring. San Miguel de Allende is also home to many natural attractions such as thermal springs, a botanic garden and beautiful fresh water springs.

There are more than 680 miles of roads that you can cover by foot, mountain bike, horseback or ATV. In San Miguel de Allende, there is something for everyone, including a golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus and a number of spas for the ultimate relaxing experience.

Parrish of San Miguel de Archangel

The original construction of the Parrish of San Miguel de Archangel dates back to the 17th century but the facade itself was completely rebuilt in 1880 by Zeferino Gutierrez, who was inspired by the cathedrals of Europe. This created an impressive neo-gothic style, making this Parish one of the most photographed cathedrals in all of Mexico.

Main Plaza

In the heart of San Miguel de Allende, discover beautiful gardens with wrought iron benches and a traditional kiosk. It is ideal for a nice chat in the shade of the laurel trees or even for a little chat via internet (wireless service available here) on your laptop.

Casa del Mayorazgo de la Canal

In this neoclassic style mansion lived a well-to-do family called the De La Canal. The main attraction of this house is the front door, which was beautifully carved and symbolized the status of those who lived there. It now houses a bank branch.

Templo de la Concepcion

The locals call it "Las Monjas" (the Nuns) due to the fact that it belonged to the Order of the Immaculate Conception. The church was built between 1755 and 1842. In 1891, Zeferino Gutierrez built a cupola that was inspired by the Church of Saint-Louis des Invalides in Paris.

Templo de Nuestra Senora de la Salud

This temple dates back to the 18th century and was formerly a chapel for the School of San Francisco de Sales. From the porch, contemplate the carved conch shell, with a single eye inside a triangle, a symbol of the omnipresence of God and not, as popularly believed, to be due to the church's supposed powers of curing eye ailments.

Templo de San Francisco

The construction of this church took 20 years to complete, reflected in the different architectural styles that adorn the facade, which is of Spanish Baroque influence. The Neoclassic bell tower, however, was built in 1799.

Museum Casa de Allende

Ignacio Allende was born here and it has now become a museum, completely dedicated to this important figure in the history of Mexican Independence. The Baroque-style building dates back to the 18th century and was detailed with carved stone and wrought iron like the houses of the rich Spanish nobility.

Cultural Center "El Nigromante"

In San Miguel, it is only known as "Bellas Artes" (the Fine Arts) even the full name is the National Institute of Fine Arts. This center offers sketching, painting, sculpture, music and dance and is also known for the incomplete murals of Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiros. It houses a museum, auditorium, two art galleries and a cafe.

Public Library

This is considered the second largest library in Mexico with publications and texts in English. This lovely building has a quaint interior patio, a reading room, an auditorium and a computer room with internet access.

Santuario de Atotonilco

This church is located in the town of Atotonilco, which means "place of hot water" because of the hot springs located nearby. The town itself is located just 8 kilometers from San Miguel de Allende. The church was founded by the Father Luis Felipe Neri de Alfaro and has been a place of worship and pilgrimage since its construction, in 1740. It consists of 6 adjoining chapels, 206 pieces of religious art, and incredible murals and frescoes on the walls and ceiling. This church also featured in the Mexican War of Independence, because the priest Miguel Hidalgo took the standard of the Virgin of Guadalupe from the altar and carried it into battle.

Cante Botanic Garden

In this research center, there are over a thousand species of cactus, with microclimates and even an orchid greenhouse. In the surrounding areas, there are various spa hotels and thermal water springs.

Thermal Springs

The area features delicious thermal and alkaline water springs such as Cieneguita, Montecillo, Atotonilco, Taboada and the Cortijo. There are sulfurous waters of temperatures up to 102 degrees.

Bullfight Plaza

San Miguel de Allende features the Plaza de Toros Oriente, where you can admire great matadors in their traditional bullfighting regalia in a showdown between man and beast. The plaza was built in 1956 and can hold up to 3,000 spectators.

Paseo del Chorro

This cool spring was very important for the inhabitants of San Miguel de Allende for it brought drinking water to the town for centuries. Now it is a tourist site with a chapel and a temple, which are quaint and brightly colored and evoke a certain charm that only a small town could provide.

El Charco del Ingenio

There are also the remains of a colonial aqueduct and a reservoir where native and migratory birds can be seen. Beautiful paths, ideal for both biking and walking, wind through the gardens leading you to areas designated for rock climbing on the canyon walls and wonderful lookout points for birding.


One of the traditional "fiestas" of San Miguel de Allende is the Sanmiguelada, (a term which comes from the famous Spanish party "Pamplona"). Every September since 1973, on the third Saturday an event is organized where more than 20,000 brave people from all over the country gather in the downtown to confront a dozen bulls.
If you are not so brave, you can be close to the bulls and watch the entire spectacle behind a metal fence or on T.V, comfortably seated in a sports bar. Not everything is about bulls and danger, there are also organized parades and colorful parties. Wear a white t-shirt and a red bandana to blend in with the festivities.

Angela Peralta Theater

This stunning theater was inaugurated in 1873 with a performance by the world famous Mexican opera singer, Angela Peralta. The theater, although originally designed as an opera house, is actually an elegant meeting point for national and international artists who come to participate in renowned events, such as the International Guitar Festival, the Jazz Festival and the Festival of Chamber Music.

Oratorio de San Felipe Neri

Constructed in 1712, this stunning church is built on the site of an old chapel, originally belonging to the mulatto population of San Miguel de Allende. It is a very interesting building because of its incredibly ornate decor that includes both golden walls and altars.

Benito Juarez Park

This beautiful park was founded at the beginning of the 20th and has a very French feel to it, featuring ponds, fountains, bridges, wrought iron benches and wide pathways. There is also a playground and picnic area. It's a very leafy, green park, home to a multitude of trees from the region, including mulberry, custard apple and walnut.

Instituto Allende

The De la Canal family built this home in the 17th century as their retreat from the city. This old mansion features beautiful patios, a modern art gallery, a restaurant, and a private chapel that exhibits colonial frescoes. In 1951 the whole building was converted into an art institute and now offers courses in silverwork, ceramics and Spanish.

The city with a regular International commercial airport nearest to San Miguel de Allende is Leon. Commercial flights arrive at Leon International Airport airport daily. Rental car agencies are in the airport. Driving time from Leon to San Miguel is approximately 1 1/2 hours. A direct first class bus from the airport to SMA takes between 2 and 2 1/2 hours.

To fly (international airports), you will need a valid passport. It must be presented at the airline check-in. Once on the plane you will be given a form to fill out - for customs. There are restrictions as to what you can bring to Mexico......Some of these restrictions are limits for "duty free" and some are absolute, such as firearms without a permit (not to mention drugs).

Most commonly encountered restrictions are:

The Immigration counter is your first stop after you disembark the plane. Here you will have to present your passport (or birth certificate). Your passport will be stamped to make your arrival official. (You will need to keep your passport with you at all times while in Mexico) Next you'll proceed to the baggage claim area for your luggage.

Customs is the last step, here you will need to have your Customs Declaration Form handy (the form you were given on the plane). Recently Mexico adopted a "Red Light - Green Light" system for customs. If you have put "Nothing to declare" on this form, you will be asked to push a button....... If the light is green you can exit without inspection; if the light is red you will be subject to inspection. This is a random system, and therefore there is no way to know whether you will get a green or red light. Consequently you need to be honest on your Customs Declaration and declare anything over and above what is allowed, paying all applicable duties. If you do not, and are caught by a red light, the fines may be very steep.

By Land

Some visitors choose to drive form the U.S. or other areas of the country, or even the airport. Mexico City is 3 to 4 hours away, Leon 1 1/2 hours away. You can take Hwy. 57 and Hwy. 49 (which turns in Hwy. 45 at Zacatecas) from the U.S. border. Please make sure you use caution, abide by all laws, and have Mexican insurance.

Buses are also available from the Leon Airport, the Mexico City airport, and just about anywhere else in Mexico to San Miguel de Allende. From Mexico City airport you can take the Aeroplus to Queretaro (3 hours non stop), then take another bus to San Miguel (1 hour). The last bus leaves the airport at 8:30 pm. You can also go to the Central del Norte bus station in Mexico City and catch a bus straight to San Miguel. The city's main station or Central de Autobuses is located at Calzada de la Estacion about six blocks west of Jardin Allende. The number at the terminal is (4) 152-2206.

CONCIERGE SERVICES; We make arrangements for airport transfers, baby sitting, massages, mariachi bands, chauffered cars and flower delivery for that special occasion, etc.

Address: Fantastic Villas

1482 East Valley Road #325

Santa Barbara, CA 93108

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E-mail: suzy@fantasticvillas.com

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