Above: Bath in the Elizabeth Taylor Suite, Casa Kimberly, Puerto Vallarta - HOWARD WISE

To the southeast of the Riviera Nayarit and its glamorous resorts, the city of Puerto Vallarta has emerged as a destination of increasing interest. The pedestrian-friendly old center and its adjacent neighborhoods now boast numerous fine restaurants and contemporary art galleries, while the city’s legendary nightlife is undiminished. During a two- to four-night stay, travelers can meander the colorful streets of the Centro and Zona Romántica, lunch at seafood restaurants along the beach and go for early evening strolls along the Malecón, a mile-long boardwalk. It’s also great fun to take a water taxi to the beaches and waterfalls on the south side of the Bay of Banderas, many of which are inaccessible by car. And sunset and whale-watching cruises depart from the dramatic Playa Los Muertos pier, completed in 2013 and now often regarded as a symbol of the city.

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