PV's original happenin' beach has nice bay views, and as action central, it's definitely PV's most engaging beach. Facing Vallarta's South Side (south of the Río Cuale), this flat beach hugs the Zona Romántica and runs about 1½ km (1 mile) south to a rocky point called El Púlpito. The steps (more than 100) at Calle Púlpito lead to a lookout with a great view of the beach and the bay.
Joggers cruise the cement boardwalk early morning and after sunset; vendors
stalk the beach nonstop, hawking kites, jewelry, and serapes as well as hair-braiding and alfresco massage. Their parade can range from entertaining (good bargainers can get excellent deals) to downright maddening. Bar-restaurants run the length of the beach; the bright blue umbrellas at the south end belong to Blue Chairs resort, the hub of PV's effervescent gay scene.
The surf ranges from mild to choppy with an undertow; the small waves crunching the shore usually discourage mindless paddling. Strapping young men occupy the lifeguard tower, but the service isn't consistent. The Los Muertos Pier underwent a recent facelift and it's now one of PV's main landmarks and a prime spot for romantic night walks. Jet Skis zip around but stay out beyond the small breakers so they aren't too distracting to swimmers and sunbathers. Guys on the beach offer banana-boat and parasailing rides. Facilities: Lifeguards, banana-boat rides, Jet Skis, parasailing; food concessions. Best for: partiers; surfing; sunset.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico