The most popular sightseeing in Puerto Vallarta is the boardwalk, or the Malecon, which is probably the most touristy area. My favorite area is mostly for the tourists that live here for 3 to 6 months, which is Old Town or the Romantic Zone. We go there on a tour. It’s a working neighborhood with some of the best restaurants in town. Some of the best beaches are there, too. The Romantic Zone is now going through an upswing of building. There is about 15 new condo buildings going up this year alone. I compare Old Town or Romantic Zone to Miami Beach being that I’m from Miami. It’s the region with the most art galleries. It has the finer restaurants and it’s very walkable, too. It’s a nice place to go people watching while having coffee. To me, the city tries to make the malecon the main area because it is on the water since it’s a boardwalk and it’s pretty but it’s also very touristy. If I were coming in to visit, the Romantic Zone is where I want to be.
Puerto Vallarta opened their arms for the gay community a while ago so I think it is the number one gay destination now. I would say about 20% or the visitors there are members of the gay community but I don’t think they are majority. I know a couple of restaurant owners that have some gay clients but the Romantic Zone overall is for everybody.
My father used to say that you always look where the gay community is and where there are artists and that is the new “happening area.” This is true in the Romantic Zone in that it’s becoming the hottest real estate. Right now people are buying old buildings, knocking them down, and building ten or twelve-story buildings or condos, which are selling one bedroom units for US $200,000. The controversy is whether all this modern building will cause the Romantic Zone to lose charm. Personally, the Old Town is where I am looking to buy a piece of land to build a house maybe in the next year or two, because it's my favorite area.
(Art walk, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, pictured.)