Puerto-Vallarta

Find out why stars including Gwyneth Paltrow love to holiday in Puerto Vallarta

Harriet Charnock-Bates

Framed by the Sierra Madre Mountains, this characterful resort town on Mexico's Pacific coast is a kaleidoscope of colour. Mix in friendly locals and a quieter, boho side for a truly irresistible getaway

STAY

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Nestling high above Banderas Bay lies pin-drop peaceful hideaway Hacienda San Angel. Beguiling and beautiful, its suites are dressed with magnificent carved oak beds, gilded mirrors and scores of oil paintings, while the oh-so-pretty courtyards burst with vibrant bougainvillea. Add in stunning views – you can gaze out across Puerto Vallarta's russet rooftops to catch glimpses of whales playing in the Pacific – and the whole experience is mesmerising. The gentle trickle of water from the fountains provides the soundtrack for your stay and even without a spa on site, you'll have no trouble unwinding here.

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TASTE

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Make like the locals and go to El Campanario for a lunch of crispy tacos washed down with agua de piña. Much-lauded Café des Artistes serves inventive, indulgent combinations in a peaceful courtyard setting, while Joe Jack's Fish Shack is a must for seafood fans. Rooftop restaurant Hacienda San Angel Gourmet gazes out over the ocean and dishes out impossibly good international cuisine.

INDULGE

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Head to the Old Town area, also known as Zona Romantica, for quirky little boutiques selling local artworks, homeware and handmade clothing in rainbow hues. Lucy's CuCu Cabaña offers a great selection of Mexican folk art and handcrafted jewellery, while Mundo de Cristal is a must for beautiful hand-blown glassware.

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EXPLORE

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If you tire of kicking back on the silky white sands, then saunter along the colourful streets and soak up the local art scene on a guided tour. The neo-baroque church La Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe dominates the downtown skyline and is well worth seeing up close.

TRIP DETAILS

Rooms at Hacienda San Angel begin at £232 per night on a bed and breakfast basis; visit mrandmrssmith.com to book online or call Smith24 on 0330 100 3180. Aeromexico flies from London to Puerto Vallarta from £337 one way via Mexico City.