Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Travel Guide

Puerto Vallarta sits pretty along the vast shoreline of the Bahia de Bandera, one of the world’s largest bays. Set against verdant coastal mountains, you couldn’t ask for better scenery for strolls along downtown’s emblematic boardwalk or the Koala River. Most of the action centers on the cobblestone historic center, where the Koala River dramatically splits this former fishing town into two distinct neighborhoods.

The Zona Romantica south of the Koala River is lined with boutiques, intimate restaurants, and laid-back bars. It is also home to one of Mexico’s most vibrant gay zones. Here on Vallarta’s southernmost end many hotels and nightclubs fly the rainbow banner.

There are only two beaches at the city center, including the bustling Playa de los Muertos aka the Beach of the Dead. It was named after a fierce fight that took place here in the 19th century. North of the quail, you can shop till you drop at art galleries and crafts stores or marvel at the Voladores or flyers performing their dizzying pre-Hispanic ritual. The Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Cathedral wearing a jaunty crown atop its steeple stands guard over Puerto Vallarta. Built in the early 20th century, it is named after the country’s patron saint.

Vallarta’s famous boardwalk is lined with public sculptures by renowned artists such as Carlos Espino and Alejandro Colunga. The quirkiest of them are Colunga’s sculptures of six mutant alien sea creatures. Come nightfall, get things started in the Zona Centro with some beers at la Cantina, a traditional Mexican watering hole. Then move on to Mandala, a roaring nightclub where you can shake your stuff to electronic.

Marina Vallarta is one of Mexico’s largest harbors. Its waterfront restaurants serve up international cuisine and the Faro lighthouse bar has long been a magnet for Mexican celebrities. Exploring beyond Vallarta’s city limits pays big rewards, Bucerias, north along the coast is a no worries beach community with cozy hotels and a smattering of drinking halls.

Majahuitas, a remote beach cove is only accessible by boat. A quick walk through the lush jungle leads to the Majahuita Waterfall. Then there’s the ocean itself, the Bahia de Bandera offers some of the best dive sites in Mexico. The iconic rock formations at Los Arcos are a strong draw for divers as well as weekend booze cruises. You can also hop on a fishing charter, head out into the deep Pacific, and try to reel in a prize catch. Boredom is simply not an option here.

4 Forgotten Towns that Sunk Under Water

There are places on Earth that were once thriving and prosperous towns but because of forces of nature now are ghost towns. Atlantis is maybe the most well-known lost city that was said to be drowned in the deepest trenches of the ocean and never to be found. There is also Pompeii, an ancient Roman city that was unluckily buried in volcanic ash and pumice because of Mount Vesuvius’ eruption. And there are also some places that are not as popular but has its own bittersweet story to tell of its drowning, so read through and find out more about our top 4 sunken towns.


Some 35 years ago, this spa town of Argentina was popular with local tourists. Lake Epecuen was once famous because of its salinity, second only to Dead Sea. The mineral-rich water of the lake is what drove people with different kinds of ailments because it is said that the healing property can cure any illness. What thought to be just temporary flooding became a permanent one with over 10-meter deep salty water covering the whole town. But after 25 years the flooding slowly receded exposing an old dead town of pure salt.


A lonesome belfry can be seen in the middle of the vast waters of Lake Resia, a lone reminder of the old Italian village of Graun. Legend tells of a bell ringing in the dead of the night during winter a nostalgic memory for this drowned town. The flooding was a result of an electric company wanting to harness more energy by combining 2 big lakes, thus creating the dam by drowning the village under it. During winter the water on the lake freezes and you can walk your way going to the bell tower for an up close inspection.


The wrath of the sea is something to be aware of and taken seriously because it can take anything that it deems interesting. This seems true with the town of Dunwich which was once a bustling port city in the borders of the North Sea. Coastal erosion took more than it should have including a market square, guildhalls, churches and graveyard. Today only a very small part of the town remains, but also has the fear of slowly disappearing underneath the raging sea waters.


Jah Mahal means “Water Palace” and its name is well fitting since it lies majestically in the man-made Lake Man Sagar. Its red sandstone outdoor walls is a beautiful contrast against the blue waters of the lake. This 5-storey hunting lodge, with the 4 lower floors submerged, seems to be a floating palace especially at night where the lights are turned on for a more dramatic effect. The submersion is a result of a dam created when the region experienced severe drought.

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Tips for a Great Trip to Rome

There are not enough superlatives in the world to describe the wonders of this great city. Here are some tips for a great trip to Rome.

Eat Cacio e Pepe
My first tip when visiting Rome is to eat Cacio e Pepe. Do it immediately and do it every day. It is a dish of pasta, pecorino, pepper, and some olive oil. You might wonder why a dish so simple can be so delicious. I have no clue too but it’s one of the best plates of food you can get anywhere in the world.

Don’t be a ‘Tourist’
Don’t just do the touristy things, there is so much more to Rome than the Vatican and the Colosseum. Explore the little neighborhoods, sit down at the Trattoria and stuff your face, and get lost for a while. Now, I am not saying don’t see the sights but if you have to see the Sistine Chapel of the Colosseum do it early in the morning before the tour buses get there or during the week if you can. Avoid the first Sunday of the month when it’s free. Yes, it may be free but the crowd might not allow you to get the best experience. You can go on a Monday morning and if you really hate to queue pay an extra 13 Euros to join a guided tour. Also, don’t panic if you don’t get inside the Sistine Chapel there is plenty of amazing views everywhere you look you will be fine.

Walk Everywhere
Rome may feel a bit big and daunting at first but it’s a surprisingly easy city to navigate. Walking allows you to stumble upon all the little magical corners that make this city so great.

Eat all the Things
Rome is a gastronomic playground, play in it. You will get an amazing Roman fair for surprisingly reasonable prices. Eat the amazing Roman style thin crust pizza, eat gelato, eat amatriciana and pasta dish with tomato pecorino and pig jowls. Now, if you are looking for the best places there’s no shortage of information online but my advice is to ask the locals because they know best. They are also some of the friendliest, most helpful people you will meet anywhere in the world.

Leave your Selfie Stick at Home
If you want to get a picture taken ask someone to take it for you, who knows you might even make a friend.

Relax…go to it
Rome is huge, don’t try to do it all. Spend a day strolling the charming streets of the trattoria, get drunk on some wine or some Negroni, go to an amazing outdoor nightclub and get weird with the locals. Kick back and watch the world go by. Your train will be late and you will not be seated at the time of your reservation just go with it. You may not see it all but I promise you will have a much better time along the way. Remember, just because it’s written in the guidebook doesn’t mean you have to see it. Let Rome see you, let it creep up on you allow yourself to not have a plan. This is a magical ancient city it deserves to be savored.

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