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Returning to Puerto Vallarta for my Fifth Time

Returning to Puerto Vallarta for my Fifth Time

I first visited Puerto Vallarta in 2008 and fell in love with the place. The weather was perfect – hot and sunny every day – and given that the area often has over 310 days of sunshine a year it’s not really a surprise. I also found my money went a lot further than many other destinations I had visited so I could pay less for a nice place to stay, great restaurants, and fun experiences. I found that most people spoke English to some degree so it wasn’t difficult to communicate with the locals, who were friendly and seemed to genuinely appreciate tourists for the income they provide to residents. As an LGBTQ traveler I felt safe and comfortable there, seeing many venues that are geared to that community, and as a Canadian traveller I very much appreciated the ability to get there in just a few hours on a direct flight.


Since that first visit I’ve gone four more times, with the most recent visit being this year. Previously I had stayed at a private residence in the area or an all-inclusive in Nuevo Vallarta, but this time I stayed right in Puerto Vallarta at a luxury hotel that’s highly elevated above the city. The Grand Miramar Resort is located up a steep hill that provides stunning views from the balconies, the roof top bar, and the infinity pool that’s attached to one of the two on-site restaurants. The rooms are very spacious, as are the balconies, and with five pools to choose from there is plenty to keep you on the property.


There is a lot to see and do in and around Puerto Vallarta though so I did venture out each day during my stay. The Vallarta Botanical Garden for example recently won the 2022 Garden Excellence Award, which is the first time anywhere outside the US ever has in the history of the American Public Gardens Association. It’s a vast area covering 79 acres that includes all kinds of flora and fauna from Mexico and around the world. The garden includes some paths that make it feel like you’re going on a hike through the wilderness with rickety bridges and river streams. There are also a number of buildings on the property that house everything from exotic flowers to a restaurant that provides a scenic view for lunch.

I also did a day trip to San Sebastien del Ouest with Vallarta Adventures. The historic town is about an hour and a half from Puerto Vallarta and was once one of the main mining centers in New Spain. The tour included a tequila tasting, checking out a silversmith workshop and an organic coffee farm, having a traditional lunch, and spending some time walking around the sleepy town. It can be a good idea to venture outside of Puerto Vallarta during your visit to experience some more of Mexico and doing a guided tour is a great way to do that. You don’t have to drive, you get to hear about the area through an educated local, and you can meet some other visitors as well (usually also from the US and Canada).

My third day was focused on relaxing and enjoying the sunshine, especially since it was cold and snowing back home in Canada. I hung out at the hotel pool and then went to Mantamar Gay Beach Club to alternate between some quiet time on a reserved chair in their beach section and spending time in their large pool chatting with other visitors from around the world. I was assigned a server so I didn’t have to leave my chair if I wanted to order anything and I could also get a drink from the swim-up bar while I was in the pool if I didn’t want to get out.

Other attractions I managed to fit in during my visit were the “I Want It All” show at the Palm Cabaret featuring an impressive Freddie Mercury impersonator, taking some fun photos in the 3D art at the TiLT Museum, getting a relaxing massage at The View Spa in my hotel, and walking around the Zona Romántica area for everything from a sunset view along the Malecon boardwalk to shopping and dancing at the many LGBTQ stores and bars in the area.


Of course I can’t leave out the culinary experience of being in Peurto Vallarta after having some fantastic meals at fine dining restaurants that really elevated my visit. My first evening was spent at Tintoque which was named one of the 120 best restaurants in Mexico for 3 years in a row. They use regional recipes and ingredients to come up with some delicious and creative options which I experienced through a 9 course tasting menu.  My second evening was spent at Barrio Bistro, which was about half an hour away from my hotel, but well worth the drive. Chef Memo Wulff creates a new menu every 2 weeks and he served a variety of imaginative dishes to my table, each paired with a different Raicilla-based drink. Then for my third and final evening I had dinner at the Eugenia Restaurant at my hotel where the food rivaled the view along with tasty cocktails and live musicians for great ambience.

Puerto Vallarta has turned out to be one of the most visited places in my travels and it’s for good reason. With great options for beautiful resorts and delicious restaurants, along with a variety of experiences to be had in the region, it’s not hard to understand why I like going there. Not to mention a welcoming and friendly atmosphere, reliably warm and sunny weather, direct flights from major US and Canadian cities, and an exchange rate that makes a luxury trip even more attainable. This may have been my fifth visit, but it won’t be my last!

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About The Author

Josh Rimer

Josh Rimer is a travel writer and content creator who is best known for his video segments on YouTube and Canada's national LGBTQ TV station OUTtv. See more of his travels by following him on his social media accounts!

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