Sophisticated Puerto Vallarta, on Mexico’s Pacific coast, is an international center for the arts, including the culinary variety. This is a true foodie magnet where you can snack your way hand-in-hand down the Malecon waterfront promenade, sampling coconut pastries, vanilla caramels and amaranth-leaf cookies. Tastebuds go into overdrive during the Puerto Vallarta Gourmet Festival every November. Yearround, demanding diners throng restaurants like Café des Artistes. Here, chef Thierry Blouet brings a French touch to Pacific Mexico on a romantic patio overlooking Vallarta and Banderas Bay. Don’t miss the panorama from Le Kliff, which includes frolicking gray whales on their annual migration.
You’ll satisfy a taste for Puerto Vallarta — and — for luxury at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, a handsome, award-winning all-inclusive resort on the coast. Its dining variety is such that you don’t have to repeat at the same restaurant — unless you want to, which you might. Grand Velas’ local chefs flaunt their heritage at Frida, a gourmet spot serving classic Mexican recipes that Frida Kahlo prepared for her artist husband, Diego Rivera. Choose barbecued duck with grilled jicama and smoky chipotle chilies; Pacific marlin ceviche; shrimp with epazote, an Aztec herb; or sea bass with a crust of huitlacoche (corn truffle). Dessert is tres leches — “three milks” — layer cake. Margaritas are guaranteed heavenly, because Vallarta is in the state of Jalisco, the home of tequila (room rates start at $300 per person, per night; all inclusive; vallarta.grandvelas.com).
The perfect perch for a post-dinner siesta at the Vallarta Grand Velas