NUEVO VALLARTA, 12km north of the airport, is a mega-resort, an ever-expanding cluster of astronomically expensive hotels. Although the beaches here are great, they are backed by ugly buildings and because the hotels tend to be all-inclusive, there's nothing much for the day-tripper to do, save pay a visit to the dolphins at Dolphin Adventure (Tel:322/297-1212 ext 25, Web: www.dolphin-adventure.com ), an educational centre located at Paseo de la Palmas 39. As well as swimming with dolphins (1hr 30min; M$1500), you can also spend a day with a dolphin trainer (M$2800).
You're better off pushing on to another great beach at laid-back BUCERÍAS, the last of the bay resorts on Hwy-200, which has wonderful views across the water to Puerto Vallarta from its seafront restaurants. AAdriano's (Tel:329/298-0088), with bright-orange walls and an extensive range of fresh fish, is superb, if pricey. For a tea-time treat, visit the locally renowned Pie in the Skybakery (Tel:322/222-8411), opposite the De Camarón hotel at Héroe de Nacozari 202, for heavenly chocolate brownies, Italian ice cream, bagels and exotic cheesecakes. If you want to stay, there are several apartment-type places in the centre of town, including Motel Marlyn (Tel:329/298-0450; Price: M$250-350) and the Bucerías Trailer Park (Tel:329/298-0265; Price: M$250-350).