Puerto Vallarta's Romantic Zone (Zona Romantica)—also called the Old Town, South Side, or Old Vallarta—sits away from the hotel zone and just steps from Los Muertos Beach. With artisan shops, streetside taco stands, and lively cantinas, this area of winding cobblestone streets maintains a more traditional, laid-back feel than the rest of the city.
The Zona Romantica boasts more restaurants, bars, and cafes per square foot than anywhere else in Puerto Vallarta, making it a great place to sample the local cuisine and soak up a bit of Mexican culture. Visitors can shop for Mexican art, lounge on golden-sand beaches, or walk along the newly reconstructed pier. On weekends, the Old Town Farmers Market offers a variety of fresh local produce and food, as well as handicrafts.
Visit the Old Town independently or as part of a Puerto Vallarta sightseeing tour that includes hotel or port pickup and drop-off. There’s also a beach-hopping tour and a popular food tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- See Old Vallarta as part of a small-group or private sightseeing tour.
- English is widely spoken in almost all of the tourist areas.
- Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces.
How to Get There
There are several ways to reach the Zona Romantica, located in the south of Puerto Vallarta, across the bridge over the Cuale River from the north side. Take the bus marked “Centro” (downtown) or a taxi. Or, if you’re driving, follow highway 200.
When to Get There
Puerto Vallarta can be visited year-round. Winter sees large numbers of tourists, whereas other times of year are less crowded. Spring and fall strike a nice balance between pleasant weather and manageable crowds. Wet weather is likely from July through September.
Los Muertos Beach
Located just south of Olas Atlas Beach in the Old Town, Los Muertos Beach is Puerto Vallarta’s best known and most-visited beach. It’s popular with families and often crowded, though locals would argue it’s the perfect spot for people watching. There’s lots to see and do here, including vendors, activities, sun, surf, and sand. In the evenings, the beachfront restaurants serve gourmet cuisine against the backdrop of romantic Vallarta sunsets.