"Jewelry is fun to buy here. But you want to be careful. If it's supposed to be silver, look for a small stamp that says '.925.' Otherwise, you might be getting silver-covered copper. I got some beautiful jewelry from a place called Jades Maya, downtown. Galeria Pacifico has local Mexican artists and up-and-coming artists. At the Mercado Municipal, there are stands and booths and stalls where you can watch people make the art in front of you. Maria De Guadalajara is a clothing store. The owner is a designer, and her clothes are mix-and-match, one-size-fits-all casual wear. She uses beautiful colors and easy-to-care-for fabrics. At Yolanda Tradicional, you can get hand-embroidered clothing, as well as cute bikinis and gifts. For handmade huarache sandals, there's Huaracheria Lety. If you don't find the color or style you want, they'll make it for you."

"For kids, there's a dolphin encounter near Puerto Vallarta where you can swim with the dolphins and learn about these animals. There's also a water park called Splash that has a dolphin and a sea lion show. During the winter, there are whale-watching tours to see the humpbacks. All of the different hotels have information about that. There's also a sea turtle preservation program with pens for the incubating eggs to make sure that they are able to grow and hatch without being disturbed. You'll see the sea turtles on your dives, which is wonderful. Whether you're in Puerto Vallarta or out in Punta Mita, there are beautiful hiking trails all over, with tropical birds and a variety of plants."

"La Palapa is on the Playa los Muertos beach. You listen to live guitar music at night. Los Arbolitos has homemade tortillas, Mexican food, and seafood, and they serve these giant margaritas. It's a casual, family-run cafe overlooking the river and the bridge. The Adobe Cafe serves gourmet Mexican food, pasta, and fresh fish. It's elegant and casual at the same time."