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Welcome to the 5 de Diciembre Puerto Vallarta neighborhood. Known affectionately to many simply as 5D, this is where I’ve spent the most time in my five years in the city. Get excited to visit one of the best Puerto Vallarta neighborhoods as we do a deep dive into 5 de Diciembre.

An Intro to 5 de Diciembre Puerto Vallarta

This neighborhood may not be huge, but it sure packs a punch. There’s a nice beach here, a bustling market, and a beautiful church with a large square. You’ll also find some of the best taco trucks, restaurants, and bars in town.

It’s a super local area here. Think tamale vendors blasting their theme song out of a truck as kids play in the street and a guy strolls by on horseback. These are simply everyday scenes here in 5D.

For those looking for “peace and quiet” (if there is such a thing in Mexico), then 5 de Diciembre is probably not the neighborhood for you.

Roosters crow, dogs bark, fireworks blast, and the music blares from the seemingly neverending fiestas. Bring earplugs if you decide to stay here…

5 de diciembre Puerto Vallarta
An aerial view of the ‘hood. Photo by Sasha Savinov

If you can adapt to the local vibe and handle a bit of noise, though, this neighborhood is hard to beat. Sure, you may have to climb the hill to get home. But the views you get to enjoy make it well worth it.

5D is a great place to stay if you want to experience a more authentic Puerto Vallarta than the Romantic Zone and is a popular home base for digital nomads. Plus, it’s just a short 10 peso bus ride there if you want to go out on the town.

The 5 de Diciembre neighborhood starts right after the stadium and stretches to the start of the Malecon. Its other borders are Banderas Bay on one side and the hills on the other.

Depending on where you stay, you might get views of both. Check out a tour of our place where we lived for a few seasons to get a taste of what life is like in 5D:

Things to do in 5 de diciembre

Similar to Versalles, this is primarily a residential neighborhood where there aren’t necessarily many things to do.

That being said, you won’t be bored in 5D if you like going to the beach and eating tacos. And if you don’t like those things, chances are PV isn’t the place for you…

The main thing to do here is head down to Playa Camarones. Yes, that translates to “Beach of Shrimps.” And yes, there are plenty of shrimp to eat here. On a stick, in a tortilla, or even on a plate if you’re a classy person.

Playa Camarones
The Beach of Shrimps Photo by Sasha Savinov

It’s not the best beach for swimming, but it’s the perfect spot to sit with a good book. Or you can go the local route and bring your friends, speakers, and a cooler from OXXO full of Tecate and let the good times roll.

There are people renting chairs and umbrellas if you don’t have your own. You can also choose from one of the beachside establishments and just order something to use the facilities. My personal favorites are El Solar and Mangos.

The center of 5D is definitely the Plaza Hidalgo. This public square is in front of the Parroquia Nuestra Señora del Refugio, just a block away from the Malecon. There are often cultural events here, especially on weekends in the high season.

5D Puerto Vallarta
The church and square of 5D. Photo by Sasha Savinov

This neighborhood is also home to a large market. It’s called Mercado del Mar, and it’s an excellent place to do your shopping if you live here. You’ll find some of the freshest and cheapest seafood around here in addition to local produce.

If you’re looking to improve your Spanish, this is a great place to do it. The great Spanish School Vallarta moved here a few years ago from Versalles and I can personally recommend them.

Best 5 de Diciembre Restaurants

Besides that, 5D is primarily a place to eat, drink, and be merry. And there are plenty of options for that!

Puerto Vallarta marlin tacos
Marlin – the bacon of the sea! Photo by Sasha Savinov

You’d better come hungry and thirsty to this neighborhood because the options for wining and dining are plentiful. These are just a few of my favorites.

  • Mariscos La Tia: The marlin tacos here are basically the reason we moved to 5D. This place is our first and last stop every time we’re in town.
  • Calmate Cafe: An excellent spot for coffee, breakfast or lunch. It’s also a great cafe for coworking.
  • The Green Place: Excellent vegan spot with an extensive menu.
The Green Place puerto vallarta
The Green Place
  • Lolita: Super local joint that’s great any time of day. Try the enmoladas de pollo.
  • Pepe’s: If you’re more into meat than seafood, this place is for you. They make great tacos al pastor and stay open real, real late.
  • Ah Caramba!: Hillside restaurant with epic views.
  • Mama Caguamas: Amazing fish tacos as well as gringo tacos and ice cold beers.
  • El Barracuda: Great seafood restaurant connected to El Solar on the beach.
  • La Traviata: Rooftop Italian restaurant that’s great for special occasions.
  • El Carboncito: Late-night spot for tacos and maybe one more beer.
  • Vivero: Lovely wine bar with impeccable views.
  • The Gusto Lounge: Best dive bar in town owned by our dear friend Sergio. The only dive bar in the world where you can have a lobster dinner. Tell him we sent you for a free tequila.
View of puerto vallarta city with sunset from Ah Caramba restaurant on a hill
View from Ah Caramba restaurant

Where to Stay in 5 de diciembre

While this is primarily a residential area, there are plenty of places to stay in 5D. Whether you’re looking for a cheap dorm bed, a beachfront hotel room, or a quaint B&B, you can find it here.

Hotel El Pescador is an old-school Vallarta establishment. Considering there’s a pool looking out at the ocean, this place is a steal for those on a budget.

The Paramar is a lovely beachfront boutique hotel with breakfast included. You can get an ocean view without breaking the bank here.

Hotel Paloma del Mar makes a great home base for foodies, as you’ve got the Green Place on the ground floor and La Traviata on the top.

Villa Premiere is probably the swankiest address you can have in 5D. Stay here if you’re looking to treat yourself to a luxury hotel in Puerto Vallarta.

Puerto Vallarta street art
I <3 5D. Photo by Sasha Savinov

Maybe it’s the mouth-watering tacos de marlin from one of my favorite local restaurants. Or perhaps it’s the cool ocean breeze and the incredible view you get from atop the hill. Then again, it might be the strong jalapeño mezcalitas and the cheap Pacificos that flow like water..

Whatever it is, 5D holds a special place in my heart (and stomach, and liver). One thing is for sure – every time we come back to 5 de Diciembre, whether it be for a week or a couple of months, it feels like home.

There’s just something special about this neighborhood. I recommend you go there with an empty stomach and an open mind and enjoy this special slice of Puerto Vallarta.

Check out the other neighborhoods of Puerto Vallarta:

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Sasha is a teacher, writer, and video producer from Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from Michigan State (Go Green!) and has since lived in China, Indonesia, Mexico, and Colombia. Sasha and his wife Rachel run Grateful Gnomads, where they write about teaching ESL, digital nomad life, long-term travel, live music, and more.

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