El Centro (see my Vallarta Area Info. page for details on all the local areas)
You can’t get closer to town than El Centro. El Centro is town. From the Rio Cuale at the south, north to the end of the Malecon (Puerto Vallarta’s boardwalk), El Centro encompasses the heart of the city. And it is a vibrant area, indeed, rivalled only by Olas Altas for its nightlife. Everything you could need is within easy walking distance: shops, cafés, restaurants, nightclubs, markets, theaters, and more.
This is the real Puerto Vallarta. The streets are cobblestone, the buildings, authentic. The population is a mix, but probably more Mexican than gringo. For the young urbanite, El Centro is pretty close to heaven. Get anything, walk anywhere, party anytime. For those with a more rural bent, El Centro will be unbearably noisy, crowded, hot, and smelly. And it can be quite expensive to boot. Old Vallarta style villas start in the $500,000 range, and the few condominiums available start at $300,000.