Old Town Puerto Vallarta, also known as The Zona Romantica is probably the most charming part of the town. As soon as you get there and stop at any of the fancy bars and cafés, you will feel different charm and different atmosphere from the one that reigns on the Malecon. It is definitely the hippest zone of Puerto Vallarta nowadays, and the place to hang out with your friends. By doing so, you will prove that you are not a first comer to PV, but almost a local citizen that knows its secrets.
Old Town Vallarta is also a favorite spot of the gay community, and you can find plenty of gay establishments in the area. People that live in Puerto Vallarta refer to this area of town as Zona Romantica, and it definitely lives up to its name. In every single corner you may feel laid back atmosphere, and all the restaurants and bars look cozy and artistically creative. This is not a place for dull establishments nor dull tourists. Walk it through during the day and then come back at sunset and stay for the night. You will discover that Old Town never falls asleep.
There is plenty to do and see in Zona Romantica, and Basilio Badillo, recently renovated and widened, is one of the most popular streets. For the third consecutive year, every other Friday from 6 to 10pm everybody does Southside Shuffle. The idea is simple: you hang out with your friends and shuffle between the galleries, shops and boutiques and while you admire Mexican folk art, potter, jewelry and other beautiful stuff you get some free appetizers, wine, cocktails, new people to talk to and great music for spontaneous dances provided by strolling musicians. A definite must of the area.
Another event that takes place also on Basilio Badillo street is The Farmers Market, the weekend attraction of the Romantic Zone. Actually, the event got so big lately that it had to split into two markets with separate locations. One is at the streets Basilio Badillo and Pino Suarez and the other one at 127 Pulpito street, just in front of the Coco’s Restaurant. You can visit both places every Saturday from 10 am to 2pm and purchase freshly baked breads, organic vegetables, authentic pies, gourmet food products, homemade soups, handmade crafts, art jewelry, clothing, and much more. It will operate till the last Saturday in May.
Last November, the City of Puerto Vallarta announced another event in Old Town Vallarta, or rather a series of events, called Viva Vallarta. The party goes on every other Wednesday, from 7 to 11pm, in the Lazaro Cardenas Park in Olas Altas and includes traditional Mexican games (have you heard of “Lotería”?), cultural exhibitions of local artists, traditional Mexican music, dance groups, and theater shows among others. And you can also buy food and drinks at a very good price catered by the best restaurants in town. In 2013 don’t miss the following Wednesdays: January, 2, 16 and 30, February 13 and 27, and March 13 and 27.
The Romantic Zone also has the best town beach, Los Muertos. Sounds incredible, but it’s not so easy to find a beach in Puerto Vallarta where you can do something more than just lie on your towel, and Los Muertos has it all. Great sand, high waves for the surfers, water sports equipment, bars and the best beach restaurants: La Palapa and El Dorado with tropical cocktails, bonfires and night shows after the sunset. At El Dorado, there is also Cinema on the Beach, every Thursday, starting at 8pm. A new spectacular pier was also inaugurated this year at the beach and you have to see it!