Around the Bay, beautiful beaches, lush jungles, and sparkling waterfalls offer many opportunities for the adventurous, while five star resorts, world-class shopping, and gourmet restaurants satisfy even the most sophisticated traveler. Stretching from the south end of Old Town to central downtown, a newly extended and refurbished boardwalk along the ocean, called the Malecon, passes by any number of shops, restaurants, and hotels, and often plays host to mimes, breakdancers, clowns and artists.
The residents of Puerto Vallarta are very friendly and generally willing to help with directions and other requests. Old Town Vallarta (or the Zona Romantica district) south of the River Cuale is more like a Mexican town and less like a tourist trap.
English is widely spoken, and as a tourist, destination prices are higher than many other places in Mexico. Puerto Vallarta is very crowded at holiday times, if planning a visit to Mexico that coincides with a major holiday consider opting to visit Mexico City or Guadalajara instead. The cities empty out as Mexicans and tourists alike flood to the beaches.
Your exploring does not have to be limited just to the Bay, there are nearby archeological sites to visit as well. Close at hand, in the region of Ixtapa, studies have uncovered sites dating back to 400 B.C.
Mismaloya is a short drive outside town. It is famous for being the location for the movie "The Night of the Iguana" directed by John Houston. You can tour the location.
Chico's Paradise, a river valley with rock formations and picnic/restaurant areas is a short drive or bus ride outside town.
For a trip back in time to the 1600s and 1700s; a day-trip up (4600') to the old silver mining town of San Sebastian del Oeste is worth the time. http://www.sansebastianmexico.com/
Puerto Vallarta is less than a 45 minute flight away from the inland city of Guadalajara and about an hour flight from Mexico City. A 30 minute drive up the coast lands you in Bucerias, a small coastal village.