Puerto Vallarta in Four Days

Rise and shine! Take a morning dip in the sparkling Bahía de Banderas and a stroll on one of Vallarta’s many beaches; we like Playa Palmares, which is on the lip of the bay, scanning the horizon for whales as you walk. Go for a stroll or linger beneath the shady rubber trees on Isla Cuale, then join the happy throng on the waterfront malecón (beach promenade) and enjoy the varied public sculptures. Kick off the evening with dinner at one of Vallarta’s splendid restaurants and then hit one of the sizzling dance clubs or chill over cocktails at open-air jazz venue El Patio de Mi Casa. If you enjoy salsa dancing, head for La Bodeguita del Medio.

On day two, get up early (yeah, right) and continue indulging in the pleasures of the city with some shopping, or pick one of the many outdoor adventures, such as diving, fishing, horseback riding or one of PV's canopy tours.

On your third day, visit the beautiful Vallarta Botanical Gardens, or hop aboard a boat to the far-flung beaches of Las Ánimas, Quimixto or Yelapa.

For the fourth day, catch a bus to the laid-back town of Sayulita for a surfing lesson.