Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: Puerto Vallarta is an ideal year-round hotspot destination that appeals to vacationers on many levels. Located in balmy Banderas Bay, Puerto Vallarta (PV) has the mesmerizing blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and the pastoral Sierra Madre Mountains as natural borders. With its tropical climate and average daily high temperature of 86 degrees, the city is a favorite of nature lovers, golfers and water-sports enthusiasts.
It also is a savory site for gastronomical affairs with four local restaurants, Café des artistes, Kaiser Maximillian, La Palapa, and Los Xitomartes, having received the coveted Five Star Diamond Award from the prestigious American Academy of Hospitality Sciences. Additionally, Chef Luis Fitch of Los Xitomates was named one of the best chefs in Mexico. The town is second only to Mexico City in culinary circles countrywide, as numerous acclaimed chefs live and work here.
The Festival Gourmet International is hosted yearly in Puerto Vallarta. The event is a 10-day food fete that brings in 20 of the world's best chefs along with local chefs and participating restaurants for cooking classes, special-tasting menus, and wine-tasting sessions. The 14th Festival Gourmet International occurs November 13-23, 2008.
PV is an oasis for the art community as well, with more than 30 art galleries in the area presenting works by local, national, and international artists. The works range from contemporary paintings and sculptures to indigenous renderings of Mexican silverware, glassware, pottery, and folk art. Weekly art walks are held from October to March, which is the high season.
For those seeking an active vacation, the beautiful beaches surrounding the city are ideal for snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming with dolphins, kayaking and sports-fishing expeditions. Other recreational activities include ATV tours, mountain biking, horseback riding, and eco tours.
PV is a haven for golfers, too, with seven world-class championship golf courses in town, including Vista Vallarta's two courses designed by legendary golf pros Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf. With so many world travelers demanding first-class spa treatments from top-flight hotels and resorts, some spas centered in Puerto Vallarta offer treatments based on elements of the indigenous Huichol Indians.
The city is often referred to as the festival capital of Mexico with its year-round schedule of dynamic events and activities. Along with the Festival Gourmet International, there are various yearly events, such as the Puerto Vallarta Film Festival, the Festival de las Artes, the International Sailfishing Tournament, regattas at the Marina Vallarta, and the Puerto Vallarta Golf Cup.