As you head into the autumn & winter months, you might be dreading the cold climate, but luxury travel could be the light at the end of the tunnel. The ideal destination is likely somewhere warm, with breathtaking beaches, delectable cuisine, a laid-back vibe yet non-stop nightlife & a historical appeal with a modern sophistication. Does such a place exist? Miraculously, it does – at Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. Better yet, the upcoming dry season from November to May is the best time of year to visit, with temperatures hovering around 80 degrees in the the daytime & dropping to crisp 60s at night. Whether you're a diehard shopper, adventure-seeker, history buff or sun-worshipper, here's a peek at what your adult vacation to this dynamic city would look like:
Exploration & adventure Puerto Vallarta is the best of both worlds when it comes to terrain & atmosphere. Wandering down the cobblestone streets of downtown Puerto Vallarta, you'll be drawn in by the historical architecture & statues. Meanwhile, the pristine beaches, lush jungles & magnificent mountains give you a chance to get closer to nature.
Athletic-minded travelers will definitely get an adrenaline rush while participating in one of the countless adventures here, from surfing to water skiing. According to VisitMexico, the warm Pacific water in Banderas Bay lends itself to a diverse array of aquatic life that includes sea horses, manta rays & octopus, making for an exciting scuba diving or snorkeling experience. If you're not into water sports, a horseback ride on the thrilling rocky terrain, zip lining in the rainforest canopies or mountain biking through exciting jungle paths are all unforgettable ways to break a sweat while taking in some of Mexico's most stunning views.
A foodie's paradise If you tend to let your taste buds be the guide while you're traveling, Puerto Vallarta has a wealth of options for eating. Whether you prefer to nosh on authentic street food from a taco stand or dine al fresco at a five-star restaurant, you can satisfy any craving.
On a Saturday afternoon, wander the farmer's markets at the Paradise Community Center, where VisitMexico explained that locals shop for mole, salsa, granola, fresh bread & pastries.
Those who want a culinary education should definitely to book a trip around the International Gourmet Festival Nov. 14-23. World-renowned chefs come to Puerto Vallarta for this eating extravaganza, where they join local experts for elaborate wine dinners, cooking demonstrations, beer, cheese & chocolate tastings & even a "gastronomic debate."
Did you know that The John Huston film "The Night of the Iguana" was filmed in Puerto Vallarta? You can even sample fare from Huston's personal chef, who VisitMexico noted opened his own restaurant, Archie's Wok, right near Los Muertos Beach in 1986. While Archie has since passed away, his family keeps the spirit of his Asian-inspired dishes alive.
Bustling nightlife If you're a night owl, the energy after hours here is bound to draw you in for a few exotic drinks followed by some dancing.
Start by watching the sunset at the rooftop terrace El Nido, located at the Chez Elena. If you're lucky, you might catch the unusual green flash that occurs the final moment the sun sinks beneath the water. While watching, enjoy the bar's signature drink with a corresponding name.
True party animals should check out The Zoo, which VisitMexico explained is a bar where you're beckoned inside by a man in a gorilla costume. Inside, you'll find creatures' heads mounted on the wall. However, if you're looking for a more tame evening, VisitMexico compared the waterfront promenade called the malecón to the Champs-Elysées in Paris.
Culture buffs will feed off the creative energy at the Art Walk, which starts up again on Wednesday evenings at the end of October. Meander through 20 galleries & studios, which stay open until 10 p.m. with drinks, snacks & even the artists themselves on hand to discuss the work.