6 Best Sights in El Centro, Puerto Vallarta


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ChocoMuseo is a museum where visitors not only learn all about the history and nature of chocolate but also find out how to work with it and create different cocoa-based products and dishes. You can book workshops on how to prepare the Mexican national dish of mole, make chocolate truffles, or let your children experiment with a mini chocolate workshop. 

Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe is dedicated to the patron saint of Mexico and of Puerto Vallarta. The holy mother's image, by Ignacio Ramírez, is the centerpiece of the cathedral's slender marble altarpiece. The brick bell tower is topped by a lacy-looking crown that replicates the one worn by Carlota, short-lived empress of Mexico. The wrought-iron crown toppled during an earthquake that shook this area of the Pacific Coast in 1995 but was soon replaced with a fiberglass version, supported, as was the original, by a squadron of stone angels. This was replaced with a newer and larger rendition in 2009.

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El Malecón

El Malecón of Puerto Vallarta is its flagship attraction. The construction started in 1936 and it went through a complete renovation in 2011. Now, it’s closed to traffic and pedestrians can stroll for almost 1 km (½ mile) through a gorgeous palm-filled promenade. The walk starts at the Rosita Hotel and continues to the amphitheater across the main square. On your way, enjoy the 10 sculptures and the Voladores de Papantla (ancient Mesoamerican tradition involving bungee-jump-like "flying people").

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Museo Naval de Puerto Vallarta

This small museum managed by the Mexican Navy has a permanent exhibition about Mexico's relationship with the sea, from the Spanish conquest through modern times. You'll see interesting pieces of antique artillery and silver jewelry, and learn about the history of the Nao de China, a Spanish sailboat that used to navigate the Pacific all the way to China and the Philippines in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Playa Camarones

El Centro

A long, flat, brown-sand beach whose name translates to Shrimp Beach, Playa Camarones was the first urban beach in the country to receive the Playa Limpia (Clean Beach) certification by the federal government. The certification means that the beach will always have a lifeguard present, trash bins, clean bathrooms, and handicap accessibility. Its location—parallel to the malecón between the Hotel Rosita and the Buenaventura Hotel—attracts many locals. The shore is always changing: it could be rock-strewn in the morning and clear later when the tide goes out. Watch for whales in winter from trendy beachfront El Solar Bar or from the El Barracuda Restaurant next door. Although the waves are gentle, there are strange currents here, which should discourage all but strong swimmers. Amenities: food and drink; parking (no fee); toilets; water sports. Best for: sunset; surfing; walking.

Plaza de Armas

The Plaza de Armas, or Main Square, is a perfect spot to relax. Enjoy an ice cream by the gazebo or a Mexican snack sold by stall vendors in one of the many benches around. The city hall is on one side, the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the other, and, in the background, the malecón. On Thursday and Sunday at 6 pm, everybody dances to the sound of danzón while listening to the Municipal Bands.