I would walk on the overpass that goes over the highway next to the airport and get on a bus north about an hour and a half to Sayulita. If you're looking for bars, noisy tourists and lots of souvenirs, Puerto Vallarta is fine, but Sayulita is much more rustic and you'll get a more authentic taste of Mexico. There are several restaurants in town, a great taco stand (Tacos el Ivan), another great place called Sayulita Fish Taco right on the main square, a cute breakfast place called Chocolate Banana, and some great barbecued chicken grilled on the street by a couple of local women. Just north of Sayulita is the tiny town of San Francisco, or Don Pancho, as it's known locally. It's a cute little place with a gorgeous virtually isolated beach, a bird sanctuary at one end of the beach, and two little palapas (thatched roof restaurants) on the beach. Like Sayulita, San Francisco is a great place to go to get away from everything. You won't find any luxury hotels in either town, but not everyone is looking for that. Another great place a little further north is Chacala, a little fishing village about two hours north of P.V. We stayed at Mar de Jade (Ocean of Jade), a unique place that is owned by a physician who trained in the U.S. and provides medical care for the locals. Mar de Jade is right on the ocean and the beach is a beautiful half mile crescent of clean sand. It's a rustic and very reasonable place to stay. All meals are included and meals are announced by the gong of the chime that is hanging in the dining area that overlooks the ocean.
Please bear in mind that my suggestions would interest you only if you're interested in seeing a more rural, authentic side of Mexico. If you're looking for more of a luxury vacation to P.V., I don't think that I can be of much help.
Watersports is one of Puerto Vallarta's adventure lures. They also have a number of golf courses so if you're into it, you'll surely find pleasure to go to PV. They also have a wine fest so it's something to look forward to.
Great advice. Puerta Vallerta proper is not my style, but I was just in San Pancho for a week, and loved it. There isn't really a good hotel/resort there, but it would be an excellent town in which to rent a villa for a week and just relax. There are a surprising number of excellent and even upscale restaurants in the tiny town, probably because there are so many Americans who own villas along the beach there. It is a great place to get away from the crowds, and everything is walkable.
Oops! Of course it's San Pancho, not Don Pancho, as I wrote. I was thinking about the restaurant on the beach in Sayulita that's called Don Pancho's. We were in Sayulita last March and spent a lot of time at the bar in Don Pancho's drinking margaritas and watching March Madness. Both of my teams (UCLA and Oregon) went deep in the tournament, so it was a lot of fun watching them while in Mexico. You probably ate at La Ola Rica, which is considered to be the best restaurant in the area. We enjoyed a great meal there after spending the day on the beach. I really enjoyed walking around the bird sanctuary on the beach in San Pancho and watching the thousands of birds on the beach, in the water and in the trees. I got very close to some turkey vultures and got some great photos.
there are actually a lot of things you can do in Puerto Vallarta, you can go swimming with the dolphins, scuba diving, they have golf courses, you can windsurf, or surfing, snorkeling, parasailing, kayaking, bird watching, jet skiing, fishing, horseback riding, tennis, and bicycle tours. And you can see Sierra Madre, check out the historic San Blas, they have canopy tours ( the newest attraction in Puerto Vallarte), and watch the whale by Banderas Bay.
We were in PV for a week in January, and one of the most interesting things we did was the "House and Garden" tour offered by the PV chapter of the International Friendship Club. They are done on Tuesday AM (North Shore homes) Wed AM (South Shore homes) and Thurs (South Shore homes and the Jardin Botanico). We did the one on Thurs, and it was fantastic.It leaves at 10:30 AM from the Hacienda Restaurant (the taxi drivers know where), and costs US $35. All the proceeds pay for cleft palate surgeries for people in the state of Jalisco. There is a "Flier" and ad for it on www.banderasnew.com .