From LAX, nonstop service to Puerto Vallarta is available on Alaska and Aeromexico, and connecting service (change of planes) is offered on Mexicana, Aeromexico, Delta and America West. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $218.
Most major car rental companies, including National and Dollar, are represented at the Puerto Vallarta airport. If you concentrate on downtown, you don't need a car. You can get to outlying beaches by water taxi from the pier at Los Muertos beach or by local buses, most of which stop at Plaza Lázaro Cárdenas. A taxi from the airport to downtown costs about $17.
FOR THE RECORD
Puerto Vallarta carrier — An information box in the Sunday Travel section that accompanied a story on Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, omitted Aero California as a nonstop carrier from Los Angeles International Airport.
To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 52 (country code for Mexico), 322 (area code for Puerto Vallarta) and the local number.
Where to stay
Hotel Molino de Agua, 130 Ignacio L. Vallarta; 222-1957, fax 222-6056, http://www.molinodeagua.com. A small, low-rise resort just south of the Río Cuale in downtown Puerto Vallarta. It has 52 rooms, a restaurant, two small pools and access to Los Muertos beach; rates for cottages begin at $72 double.
Hotel los Cuatro Vientos, 520 Matamoros; 222-0161, fax 222-2831, http://www.cuatrovientos.com. In the Gringo Gulch section; 14 rooms from $55-$69, a restaurant, tiny pool and rooftop bar overlooking downtown.
Hotel Posada de Roger, 237 Basilio Badillo; 222-0836, fax 223-0482, http://www.puerto-vallarta.com/posada. A pretty budget place, with a small rooftop pool, restaurant and 48 rooms wrapping around a garden. Rates begin at $48.
Verana, Waldhaus Inc., 42848 150th St. E., Lancaster, CA 93535; (800) 677-5156 or (in U.S.) (661) 946-7477, http://www.verana.com. On a secluded hillside above the village of Yelapa, about 20 miles south of town. Doubles $320, including breakfast and dinner.
Four Seasons Resort, Punta Mita, Punta Mita, Bahía de Banderas, Nayarit, Mexico 63734; (800) 332-3442, http://www.fourseasons.com. One of the luxury chain's newest resorts, at the northern tip of Banderas Bay, about an hour's drive from downtown Puerto Vallarta. Doubles $390-$720 April 21-May 31, Oct. 1-Dec. 20; $290-$680 June 1-Sept. 30.
Where to eat
Bianco, 109 Insurgentes; 222-2748. Sophisticated contemporary cuisine in a minimalist setting; entrees $20-$35.
Café des Artistes, 740 Guadalupe Sánchez; 222-3228. Chic décor -- especially the garden -- and cuisine, including such specialties as shrimp and pumpkin soup; entrees $20-$35.
Xi Tomates, 570 Morelos; 222-1694. Mexican fare with a nouvelle twist; entrees $20-$30.
Pipi's, 804 Guadalupe Sánchez; 223-2767. A Puerto Vallarta Tex-Mex institution, famous for guacamole and fajitas; entrees $10-$20.
Steak House Brasil, 210 Venustiano Carranza; 222-2909. All-you-can-eat Brazilian barbecue, about $20 per person.
To learn more
Puerto Vallarta Convention & Visitors Bureau, Zona Comercial Continental Plaza, L. 18 P.B., Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, C.P. 48310; (888) 384-6822 from U.S., 224-1175 in Mexico, fax 224-0915, http://www.visitpuertovallarta.com.