Puerto Vallarta continues to refresh its tourism product. // (c) 2012 Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board
The sun is shining in Puerto Vallarta in more ways than one. Puerto Vallarta received a record number of visitors in 2012 and reported an increase in hotel occupancy approaching 17 percent, with some of those rooms filled by celebrities such as Eva Longoria and four Olympic medalists from the United States' Swim Team: Rebeca Soni, Matthew Grevers, Dana Vollmer and Ricky Berens. The resort destination, like many in Mexico, has weathered bad press by proactively improving its tourism offerings while getting the message out that PV is a safe place to vacation.
Last month saw the inauguration of free weekly tours of Puerto Vallarta's downtown, led by professional guides. According to Carlos Gerard, municipal tourism director of Puerto Vallarta, they chose Tuesdays for these tours because there are no cruise ships calling on the city on that day. This provides tour guides with maximum flexibility and access to attractions in the area, including galleries, traditional craft markets, shops, restaurants and other points of interest. The Puerto Vallarta Downtown Tours depart each Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. from City Hall and are three hours in duration.
Puerto Vallarta's historical Los Muertos Port has reopened as part of the city's downtown renovation program. After receiving a $2.4 million makeover, Puerto Vallarta's revitalized Playa Los Muertos Port will be able to dock six excursion boats. These will be primarily used to bring passengers to a variety of private beaches located around Banderas Bay. The port will also be illuminated for evening strolls. Los Muertos Port will operate in addition to the larger ports located in the marina, where international cruise ships call.
Los Muertos Brewing Company, Puerto Vallarta's first artisanal craft brewery, recently opened in the heart of Old Vallarta's Romantic Zone. The open-air, cantina-style, pub offers up a diverse line of beers, including a hoppy IPA, malty ambers, a stout and a fruit-infused ale. When sitting at the bar, guests have a full view of the on-site brewery. The brewery also serves New York style pizza and pub style fare.
Last season saw the creation of Provecho Vallarta, a promotional tool to support local businesses. Provecho Vallarta resembles a deck of playing cards, with each card containing a description of a local restaurant or business while doubling as a 100 peso gift certificate to the business it describes. Retailing at approximately $24, this $408 value is an innovative way to introduce customers to new spots and encourage them to revisit old favorites.
"Provecho Vallarta is a modern twist on the tired coupon," says Ana Uribe, one of the partners in Provecho Vallarta. "It's a way to save money with style. We realized that we are all creatures of habit and sometimes we need to shake it up a bit. Puerto Vallarta is a fun town. Why not create a cool and fun way to explore the city's best dining and entertainment at a great value?"
Provecho's deck includes 38 restaurants and bars and 15 varied businesses, including yoga studios, salons and spas, tours and shops. In continuing its support for the community, Provecho Vallarta has pledged to donate a percentage of each sale to the Peace and Children of the Dump charities. The 2013 deck is valid now through Dec. 31, 2013 and can be purchased at various locations around town including Joe Jack's Fish Shack, The Deli at Daiquiri Dick's, Mailbox Etc. (Molino de Agua), Bang On T-shirts, El Arrayan and Curvas Peligrosas.