Like most cities in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta is home to a diverse tapestry of cultures and lifestyles, which are expressed most visibly through the variety of the city’s neighborhoods. One of the most popular neighborhoods among incoming long-term visitors as well as lucky locals is the Cinco de Diciembre neighborhood, located just north of the heart of the city.
The colonia known as Cinco de Diciembre is bordered on the north by Puerto Vallarta’s Hotel Zone and to the south by Centro, giving it an excellent placement for visitors who want to be at the heart of the action. It claims Playa Camarones as its main beach, although the neighborhood itself extends far into the highlands that frame the nearby Sierra Madre mountain range.
This privileged placement gives homes in the neighborhood some of the most stunning views in the area. As one of the first neighborhoods in the city to experience the boom that transformed the area throughout the 60s and 70s, Cinco de Diciembre is represents a living history of Puerto Vallarta as it developed from a small fishing town to an international travelers’ destination.
Its hilly terrain and partial network of cobblestone streets are hallmarks of old school Mexico, and as a result the neighborhood has retained much of its original charm over the years. The streets of Cinco de Diciembre are lined with dozens upon dozens of taco stands, eateries, bars and other locally-run establishments, giving the area a uniquely authentic flavor. Cinco de Diciembre is also in close proximity to major local points of interest including the Malecon boardwalk.
One of the reasons that this neighborhood is so attractive as a landing point for visitors is its extremely centralized location. The main road servicing the city, Boulevard Francisco Medina Ascencio, runs directly along the Pacific Coast to lead all travelers arriving from points north directly through Cinco de Diciembre as they approach downtown Puerto Vallarta.
Taxi fares from the Puerto Vallarta airport to this part of town range from 80 to 200 pesos depending on whether visitors make use of a city cab or the special airport taxis stationed directly outside the terminal. Virtually all bus routes marked “Centro” also make a full transit of the colonia in both directions, making it one of the most navigation friendly neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta.
Visitors to Puerto Vallarta who call this neighborhood home during their stay will have all that Puerto Vallarta has to offer practically at their fingertips.
The area is home to a range of supermarkets, pharmacies, and department stores, including the area institution Tienda Ley. This make the neighborhood it especially friendly to long term guests in the city. One of the crown jewels of the street food scene in the area is El Carboncito, a standout storefront serving snacks seaside just off Playa Camarones.
Cinco de Diciembre is also inland from one of the city’s most popular beaches, where visitors can enjoy a day watching the surf as well as admiring one of the area’s famous sunsets from one of the best vantage points on the Banderas Bay. Its location near the epicenter of this coastal town means that this neighborhood is also exceptionally walkable for visitors in good physical condition, although some hills in the neighborhood may prove a challenge for relatively sedentary tourists.
What makes Cinco de Diciembre such an attractive neighborhood to come home to is that it provides something for almost everyone. Lovers of culture are sure to appreciate the range of opportunities to experience the character of the authentic Mexican lifestyle, while couples can take advantage of the array of dining and entertainment options in the area, including the area favorite Layla’s restaurant.
Cinco de Diciembre is an outstanding choice for incoming visitors looking for an area of the city to call home. Its vibrant and eclectic nature makes it a natural destination for curious travelers, and even those who prefer a more structured escape will find everything they need within a few blocks’ walking distance.