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The 17 Best Things to Do in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in 2024

Things to Do in Puerto Vallarta

What You Will Learn (Click to Expand)

Introduction

Welcome to Puerto Vallarta!

Puerto Vallarta, one of Jalisco’s finest treasures, is a dream destination filled with delightful surprises. A resort town par excellence, it hosts a wide range of attractions – from stunning beaches and scenic streets to a range of adventure pursuits that will set your pulse racing.

Whether you relax on the golden sands or zoom across a zip line in a dense jungle, every vacation day in Puerto Vallarta promises a new thrill!

In this guide, we will explore The 17 Best Things to Do in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

A quick rundown of Puerto Vallarta Zones

Things to Do in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is divided into numerous distinct zones, each holding its unique allure:

  • Marina: This upscale zone houses the Marriott Hotel, Westin, and more. It’s more luxurious and offers a different taste of charm than the hotel zone.
  • Hotel Zone: A short drive away from the airport, this area is the hub for many hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers like Walmart & Sam’s Club.
  • Centro (Old PV): Clustered with smaller homes, this residential area is where you will discover the Malecon or the oceanfront promenade, accompanied by multiple restaurants and bars. It’s an affordable accommodation hub located on the north side of the River Cuale.
  • Centro (Romantic Zone): Situated on River Cuale’s south side, this zone is a hot spot for bars, cafes, and restaurants. One can also enjoy the crowd-favorite Playa de Los Muertos Beach.
  • Conchas Chinas: Also known as “Chinese Shells”, owing to the seashells found here, it’s an affluent area of Puerto Vallarta. With gated communities and high-end condos, this is where posh living meets cultural history.

Each zone has its unique flavor, so your choice will truly depend on what kind of experience you are looking for!

Remember, while Puerto Vallarta is a big city, it’s very much walkable within and between neighborhoods, adding another fun element to your exploration.

Top Attractions in Puerto Vallarta

1. Malecón Boardwalk - A stroller's paradise

The Malecón Boardwalk is a veritable feast for strollers. Renovated a few years ago, this pedestrian-only boardwalk has become much wider. Stretching over 12 blocks and a mile long, it offers you vibrant scenes of designer shops, restaurants, bars, boozy ice-cream shops, and distinctive souvenir markets.

Not only is the Malecón an excellent venue for a leisurely walk, but it also doubles up as an open-air art gallery. It’s dotted with outstanding sculptures that provide perfect photo opportunities. The spectacle of local artists hard at work on new mural paintings will leave you enchanted.

One of the unique things to do on the Malecón is to watch the Dance of the Flyers or Danza de los Voladores. This ritual reenactment sees four men tied to ropes launching themselves from the top of a pole to spin back to the ground while a fifth man plays a flute atop the spinning pole.

The Choco Museum is another gem in the Malecón. Here, you can learn about the rich history of cacao and how chocolate is made. For those who want to dive a bit deeper, they offer classes where you can learn how to make a variety of chocolates and mole sauce.

Finally, don’t forget to capture the mesmerizing sunset views and spontaneous live music performances that make the Malecón Borderwalk an incredible setting. This beachfront walkway, running from downtown to Zona Romantica along the Bay of Banderas, is the pulsating heart of Puerto Vallarta.

2. Walk around Marina Vallarta

Marina Vallarta is a world in itself and provides an entirely different atmosphere compared to the bustling Romantic Zone and downtown Puerto Vallarta. Known for its luxurious and relaxed ambiance, it’s characterized by high-end resorts, refined restaurants, and stunning water views.

Stroll the Marina’s resident boardwalk and be engulfed by the sight of magnificent yachts, some even rivaling the size of small mansions. On the other side, you’re welcomed by a string of high-end boutiques and designer brand outlets. This elegant marina offers more than just shopping and sightseeing; it’s a destination that transports you to a life of luxury and dreamlike serenity.

One of Marina Vallarta’s highlights is the Art & Market Marina Vallarta, a popular night market that takes place every Thursday between October and May. Here, you can peruse art, jewelry, and authentic textiles. The ravishing mix of vibrant stalls, live music, and tantalizing street food stands creates an unforgettable cultural experience.

Finally, after your stroll, unwind at Tau Beach Club, a favorite among Marina Vallarta visitors. Offering a relaxing atmosphere, craft cocktails, mouthwatering treats, and unforgettable seaside views, it’s the perfect spot to finish off a day of exploration.

So whether you’re looking for a laid-back shopping experience, extravagant dining, or simply a seaside ambiance where you can lose yourself, exploring Marina Vallarta is definitely among the top things to do in Puerto Vallarta.

Check out all the Best Beaches in Mexico.

3. Find Serenity at the Church Of Our Lady Of Guadalupe

The Church Of Our Lady Of Guadalupe, otherwise known as “Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe,” is not just a church; it’s a sanctuary of peace and the beating spiritual heart of Puerto Vallarta. This Neo-Baroque style edifice stands proudly in downtown, providing Puerta Vallarta with an iconic silhouette set against the Sierra Madre Mountains.

With its unique crown atop a brick tower, the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe has become an emblematic symbol of the town. Tradition holds the crown to be a replica of a tiara worn by Empress Carlota of Mexico in the 1860s!

As you venture inside this ever-welcoming sanctuary, marvel at the exquisite altar mural, the stunning stained glass windows, and the beautifully restored organ. Every religious artifact and architectural detail will leave you breathless and evoke an atmosphere of deep reverence.

The aura of tranquility intensifies during Christmas, especially during the first two weeks of December when the church hosts the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This occasion is marked by vibrant processions, mariachi music, colorful dance performances, and festive food.

Whether you are religious or not, visiting the Church of Our Lady Of Guadalupe is more than just a spiritual journey. It’s an experience that offers you an introspective moment amidst your Mexican adventure and immerses you in the local culture. It’s definitely one of the must-see treasures when you visit Puerto Vallarta.

Exciting Outdoor Activities

4. Snorkeling Adventure at Los Arcos National Park

The turquoise blue waters of Puerto Vallarta hold magical experiences within their depths, not the least of which is a snorkeling trip to the breathtaking Los Arcos National Park. You wouldn’t want to miss the chance to swim among a colorful array of marine life in and around the iconic rock formations that define this national park.

Occupying a unique place in Banderas Bay, Los Arcos is a set of large rock islands that have become a hub of aquatic life. These underwater wonders make for an exhilarating snorkeling adventure. Choose a tour – approximately priced around 2,860 MXN ($162 USD) – and embark on a half-day journey guided by marine biologists.

These experts enlighten you about the intricate details of the reef system and introduce you to immeasurable hidden mysteries of the ocean.

The waters around Los Arcos are home to manta rays, sea turtles, and a multitude of colorful fishes. And if you’re daring, you can swim under the large arc created by one of the rocks!

Beyond snorkeling, you can also try stand-up paddleboarding in the calm and serene waters of Banderas Bay. You can relax and reward your adventure with a light lunch and drinks provided by the tour. And don’t forget to unwind at the accessible-only-by-boat, gorgeous Playa Las Ánimas.

Don’t forget to carry your waterproof camera, as you wouldn’t want to miss capturing memories of the vibrant aquatic world you’ll discover at Los Arcos National Park. A visit here is not just about embracing the adventurous snorkeling journey but also about immersing yourself in the breathtaking beauty this marine park offers.

If you enjoy natural beauty, also check out the Top Things to Do in Los Cabos.

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5. Whale Watching - A Bucket List Experience

Watching whales majestically glide through ocean waters is an experience enough to take anyone’s breath away. Puerto Vallarta, thanks to its position along the migratory path of these exquisite creatures, has earned a reputation as one of the world’s best spots for whale watching.

Puerto Vallarta’s whale-watching season begins in December and ends in April. During this time, humpback whales embark on their annual voyage from the colder Arctic regions, using the warm, serene waters of Puerto Vallarta to breed and nurture their calves.

A Whale Watching Tour is the highest recommendation for getting up close to these magnificent marine beasts. The tours are guided by marine biologists who provide expert commentary and insights into the lives of humpback whales. Plus, the tours are furnished with hydrophones, enabling you to hear the enchanting songs whales sing to communicate, protect their young, and find mates.

Regardless of the tour you choose, nothing compares to the awe-inspiring sight of enormous humpback whales leaping out of the sea, their splashes echoing the sheer power and grace of nature. So prepare to click countless pictures, make unforgettable memories, and get humbled by the size and vitality of these giants of the sea!

6. Hiking- The Sierra Madre Mountains and Mirador de la Cruz

For those of you with an adventurous spirit and a love for the great outdoors, hiking in the Sierra Madre Mountains should definitely be on your Puerto Vallarta itinerary. A stark contrast from the sandy beaches and sparkling waterfront, these mountains offer a unique opportunity to experience raw natural beauty.

The Sierra Madre Mountain Range is a paradise for avid hikers. With varying degrees of difficulty across the trails, these mountains suit beginners and seasoned hikers alike. Trails can range from hour-long walks to rigorous multi-day hikes.

One of the popular hiking destinations is Mirador de La Cruz, a local landmark translating to the Cross on the Hill. A prime vantage point, it affords comprehensive views of both Puerto Vallarta city and the bay.

The trek up to the lookout can raise your heart rate, but the panoramic vista at the top is well worth the effort. Trails start at Abasolo Street or Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez Street, both featuring relatively direct routes.

Alternatively, you could venture into the biodiverse Sierra Madre mountains with an organized tour. Depending on the package you choose, it could include activities like rafting, ATV riding, zip-lining, and visits to cultural villages. Local tour agencies and the Municipal Tourism Office provide these options.

Remember, if you wish to avoid heat stroke, plan your hiking trips in the cooler winter months from December to February.

Whether you choose a tranquil walk, a strenuous hike, or an adventurous outdoor activity, these areas are an ideal way to explore Puerto Vallarta’s natural attractions while getting your blood pumping.

7. Go skydiving for an adrenaline rush

Skydiving is definitely not for the faint-hearted, but if you’re an adrenaline junkie or simply love to challenge yourself, then skydiving in Puerto Vallarta should be on your bucket list!

Your journey begins with a pre-jump training session where you learn about the equipment, safety measures, and the protocols to follow in the air. This session is followed by a 15-minute scenic plane ride over the gorgeous Banderas Bay, giving you an eagle-eye view of Puerto Vallarta’s landscape.

Then comes the moment of thrill: jumping out of the aircraft, diving into the Mexican sky, and falling freely from 10,000 feet above the ground. Feel the adrenaline rushing through your veins as you experience the thrill of a 120-mile-per-hour freefall before the parachute opens and you glide calmly over the mesmerizing beachside escapes.

Highly rated companies provide a safe and exhilarating skydiving experience starting at around $150. They provide both tandem jumps and solo jumps (for those with previous experience), ensuring a memorable experience in the Mexican skies for both first-timers and experienced skydivers.

Customers often describe their skydiving experience as “the thrill of a lifetime,” which sums up the whole adventure in Puerto Vallarta. From the excitement of the initial freefall to the serene parachuting experience afterward, and finally, the pride of having completed a skydive, it truly is as brave as it is exhilarating.

8. Zip lines and Rappelling for an adventurous twist

For those who have a fondness for heights and adventure, ziplining and rappelling in Puerto Vallarta are a perfect way to explore the amazing heights and depths of this place, combining adrenaline-pumping action with breathtaking natural beauty.

Zip-lining in Puerto Vallarta is incredibly popular, and it’s easy to see why. Flying through the lush canopy, high above the treetops, you’ll feel a surge of thrill and a bird’s-eye view of the tropical rainforest below. Some of the longest ziplines in all of Mexico are located not far from Puerto Vallarta, making it the epitome destination for thrill-seekers.

For rappelling enthusiasts, Puerto Vallarta’s varied terrain provides ample opportunities. Descend down towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls and dense tropical jungle faces in the Sierra Madre Mountains, not far from the city. Many companies offer rappelling as a part of an adventure package, combining it with other outdoor activities like ATV rides, zip lines, and water slides.

So, if you’re yearning to unleash your inner adventurer, then strap into a harness and feel the wind in your face as you zip across Puerto Vallarta’s verdant canopy, or secure a rope and make your way down towering jungle cliffs.

I guarantee these adventures will leave you with a heart pumping with excitement and a memory card filled with spectacular snaps!

Unique Tours and Food Culture

9. Join a Food Tour and eat all the Tacos!

One of the highlights of visiting Puerto Vallarta is surely to be your culinary journey through the city. Partaking in a food tour is a fantastic way to sample the local cuisine and explore the food scene that this region boasts of.

There are numerous companies offering food tours in Puerto Vallarta, each providing a unique gastronomic experience, and this Street Food Tour comes highly recommended.

Starting at $90 per head, it’s a four-hour culinary and drinks voyage where you get to sample a variety of local fares, including (but not limited to) Tacos de birria, Tacos dorados, Churros, and seafood.

The beauty of these food tours is not only to sate your appetite with delicious and diverse edibles but also to get insights into the fascinating history of Mexican cuisine and its cultural significance. Plus, discovering local restaurants and eateries gives you plenty of places to return to during your stay in Puerto Vallarta.

So make sure to come hungry, as a mouth-watering array of culinary delights await you on Puerto Vallarta’s food tours. It’s gastronomy galore!

10. Find your Flavor with a Tequila-Tasting Experience

No trip to Mexico would be complete without sampling tequila, the country’s iconic spirit. And what better place than Puerto Vallarta for a tequila-tasting experience where you get to taste some of Mexico’s finest tequilas?

Tequila tasting in Puerto Vallarta is a fun and educational experience garnished with flavors of history, culture, and, of course, the spirit itself! Whether it’s a multi-aged tequila during a distillery tour or a curated private tasting led by a knowledgeable sommelier, the city offers a number of ways to explore the fascinating world of tequila.

Book yourself an experience with the Marriott Puerto Vallarta. Boasting its own brand of tequila, it offers guests the chance to learn the history of tequila, guided by its resident tequila sommelier.

Or, try a tequila tour to the necessities –like the Tequila and Coffee Factory Tour, where you’ll learn the process from start to finish.

When you wander in the Romantic Zone, don’t miss the authentic tequila tasting rooms like La Cava de Tequila, Don Julio Cocina y Tequila, Rancho Tequila, and Tequila Herradura VIP Tasting Room. Here, you’ll be introduced to a variety of tequilas and how to taste them properly.

Choosing the right tequila-tasting tour adds a flavorful dose of cultural insight to your Puerto Vallarta adventure. It will change how you experience Mexico’s most famous export, enhancing your understanding and appreciation of this powerful yet refined spirit.

So, here’s a toast to your passion for travel and your taste for tequila in the splendid city of Puerto Vallarta!

11. Hop on a Chocolate Making Class

If you have a sweet tooth or a chocolate lover, signing up for a chocolate-making class at the Chocomuseo is a sure way to enrich your stay in Puerto Vallarta!

Guided by a local chocolate master, gain hands-on experience in transforming raw cocoa beans into your own creation of pure, scrumptious chocolate. You’ll get an in-depth understanding of the history and cultural significance of cocoa in Mexico and learn about the chocolate-making process, from bean to bar.

Choose from a variety of workshops, each focusing on different aspects of chocolate-making. Join the Chocolate Truffle Class, where you can learn to make and taste sumptuous truffles or check out the workshop for creating delicious chocolate drinks or crafting your own chocolate bars.

Backed by rave reviews from past participants, these workshops, conducted primarily in English, promise a fun and interactive experience regardless of age.

Joining these delightful workshops is not simply about satisfying your chocolate cravings; it’s about molding a deeper appreciation for this rich, decadent delight and taking away a unique culinary skill from your Mexican journey.

For sure, getting your hands dirty while you eat and learn about delicious chocolate is an unmissable activity in Puerto Vallarta!

Exploring Arts and Culture

12. Walk along the Art Galleries of Centro Histórico

Art lovers will find the Historic Center, or Centro Histórico, of Puerto Vallarta to be a paradise. Brimming with captivating art galleries, this area is renowned for its vibrant arts scene and forms an integral part of the city’s cultural heritage.

Stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets of the Historic Center while taking in numerous art installations, murals, and sculptures scattered throughout the district. Each piece tells a unique story and reflects the city’s artistic heritage and local culture.

Further enhance your experience by partaking in the Art Walk, held from late October to late June each year. During these evenings, around 16 galleries stay open until as late as 10 pm, allowing residents and tourists alike to explore. You can admire works of art, meet artists, and even buy unique pieces as souvenirs or collector’s items.

The highlight, Galeria Pacifico, showcases works by some of the most acclaimed artists in Mexico and from around the globe. Another favorite, Corsica Galeria De Arte, presents numerous contemporary exhibitions by artists from all over Mexico.

Given the sheer number of galleries available, you could easily spend your entire day meandering through this art-filled neighborhood. Each gallery has something different to offer.

Whether you lean toward traditional or contemporary art, fine art photography, or handmade sculptures and ceramics, you’ll find something to pique your interest.

In addition to art galleries, the district also teems with boutiques, cafes, gourmet restaurants, and bars. So, go on and explore the art galleries of Puerto Vallarta – a delightful visual experience awaits you!

13. Sculpture admiration during a Malecon Art Walk

Wandering along the Malecon Boardwalk not only offers relaxation by the stunning seashore but also a remarkable opportunity to admire diverse sculptures and art installations by talented artists. It is Puerto Vallarta’s open-air art gallery at its finest and offers something for every art enthusiast.

Follow this art-rich pathway, which starts in the 5 de Diciembre neighborhood and saunters up to the Zona Romantica, each step revealing unique and thought-provoking works of public art. The visually captivating sculptures, created by respected Mexican artists like Sergio Bustamante and others, add to the charm of the seaside walkway.

One of the most appreciated sculptures on the Malecon is “Bailarines de Vallarta” (The Vallarta Dancers). This enchanting sculpture represents the traditional Jarabe tapatío dance, symbolizing Mexican romance and charm.

Even better, every Tuesday from November through April, Galeria Pacifico hosts a free guided tour. No reservations are required; simply meet at the Millennia Sculpture in front of Hotel Rosita at 9:30 am. This tour gives an in-depth explanation of the sculptures and their cultural significance.

Remember to carry your camera as these magnificent creations, against the backdrop of the aqua-blue ocean and the sky lit by the setting sun, make for memorable pictures and superb stories back home.

Immersing yourself in this exceptional outdoor exhibition, admiring the creativity in each statue and the stories they depict, is undoubtedly one of the must-do activities in Puerto Vallarta. Your exploratory walk along this oceanside sculpture garden is sure to leave you enlightened and enriched!

Memorable Nightlife

14. Rocking nightlife at El Centro

When it comes to nightlife, El Centro, the heart of Puerto Vallarta, rarely disappoints. As the night falls and the city’s lights flicker to life, El Centro emerges as the hub of hip and happening parties, buzzing with energy and vibrancy.

Be it the beachfront bars lining the Malecon Boardwalk or the swanky clubs nestled in the side alleys, El Centro is brimming with party venues that cater to all styles and moods. Dance to the rhythm of techno, hip-hop, or salsa, sway to the tune of live mariachi bands or just unwind in a laid-back beach shack while enjoying stunning views of the ocean.

Some standout options include Malecon’s Mandala, known for its booming club nights and laser-infused atmosphere, and Terrazzo House Music Bar, famed for its lively hip-hop, disco, and 80s remixes. Then there’s Zoo, known for its wild nightly parties and spirited go-go dancers.

If live music is your preference, Roxy Rock House and Strana Nightclub have impressive line-ups of local bands, drawing a vibrant crowd ready to dance till dawn.

No matter the scene you crave – a decadent club experience, a bustling bar setting, or a soothing beachfront hideaway – El Centro delivers when it comes to Puerto Vallarta’s nightlife.

Immerse yourself in the rhythm of the night, savor creative cocktails, meet friendly fellow travelers, and make memories that will last a lifetime!

15. Party till dawn in Plaza de Armas

Another lively spot to enjoy Puerto Vallarta’s nightlife is Plaza de Armas, an active and vibrant square teeming with life day and night.

During the day, this picturesque square draws locals and tourists alike with its lush greenery and scattering of benches. However, as dusk sets in, Plaza de Armas transforms into an exhilarating hub of activity. Locals meet and socialize, vendors peddle their wares, and impromptu musicians set up to entertain the throngs.

The biggest gathering of the week takes place on Sundays when the city embraces celebration mode. Everyone gathers around the central gazebo, dancing to the music pumping out of the mega speakers. This festive gathering is a delightful way to meet the locals, experience the vibrant culture, and truly immerse yourself in the Puerto Vallartan lifestyle.

Close to Plaza de Armas, there are several clubs and bars open until the early hours of the morning. The entire area comes alive, living up to Mexico’s “let loose” spirit. Dance, drink, and create memories supplied by Puerto Vallarta’s buzzing night scene, all while surrounded by the stunning Hawaiian-style landscape.

Whether you enjoy busting a move to the music or just people-watching from a quiet spot, partying until dawn in Plaza de Armas is a joyful, uniquely local experience that should not be missed!

Puerto Vallarta Neighborhood Specials

16. Unleash the shopper in you at Cuale Island Flea Market

If you’re looking to take a piece of Puerto Vallarta back home with you, there’s no better place to shop than the Cuale Island Flea Market. This bustling market, burrowed in the heart of the city, is a treasure trove of traditional Mexican crafts, jewelry, and unique local souvenirs.

From funny graphic T-shirts, beautiful colorful dresses, and local amber jewelry to vibrant paintings and tasteful home decor, there’s something to pick up for just about every shopping enthusiast. With handicrafts showcasing the best of local talent, moving beyond mass-produced wares, you have the chance to carry home authentic artistry.

Among the many items, do not miss out on Huichol craftsmanship, recognized worldwide for its brilliant bead art and yarn paintings. Vibrant textiles and locally made pottery are other items that shoppers can’t seem to resist.

Remember to put your bargaining skills to the test, as most vendors are open to a little negotiation. Although the flea market is quite organized, there’s no denying that negotiating prices adds to its authentic appeal.

The Cuale Island Flea Market is conveniently located on Isla Rio Cuale, an island nestled in the river running through Puerto Vallarta. It’s enclosed by a charming suspension bridge, giving the whole area a distinctive appeal.

Whether you’re an avid shopper or a casual browser, visiting Cuale Island Flea Market is an exciting way to immerse yourself in local culture and perhaps even find your perfect Puerto Vallarta souvenir!

17. Experience art in 4D at the Art Museum, Zona Romantica

The 4D Art Museum, situated in Zona Romantica, is an art lover’s paradise, showcasing the unconventional works of artist Abdallahy Antonio Velázquez. This museum’s uniqueness lies within its distinct fixation on multi-dimensional art, making it a one-of-a-kind experience.

Entering the museum, you’ll be handed 4D glasses, completely transforming how you view and perceive the art pieces assembled here. These intricate pieces dance with vibrant colors, vitality, and complex layering, creating a visually mesmerizing journey through the thought-provoking artistry of Velázquez.

Many of the works embody a strong advocacy for human rights, particularly focused on the Western Sahara, where the artist worked in the mid-2000s. The artist employs the medium of art to push boundaries, challenge thoughts, and stir dialogue on societal and global themes.

The immersive experience doesn’t end with just inner gallery tours. You can also join painting classes led by Velázquez himself, providing an inspiring opportunity to engage in lively discussions and paint your masterpiece under his expert guidance.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast or someone who just likes unique experiences, the 4D Art Museum is a must-visit. Its idiosyncratic admixture of art and spatial viewing make your tour an unforgettable exploration through the imaginative mind of an artist.

Tickets to this bright and bold museum can be purchased at the venue or in advance through Viator, giving you flexibility in planning your itinerary!

Extra Time? Plan a Trip to Nearby Towns!

Day trip to Boca de Tomatlan Beaches

If you’re seeking a change of pace from the bustling city, consider taking a day trip to the beaches of Boca de Tomatlan, a quiet fishing village about 11 miles south of Puerto Vallarta. Easily accessible via bus, Uber, or water taxi, this quaint town offers priceless glimpses into authentic Mexico.

Boca de Tomatlan, known for its beachside dining and tranquility, makes for an ideal destination to relax and enjoy the day swimming on the beach, sipping margaritas, or painting en plein air, indulging in a hearty seafood lunch while the waves lap gently against the shore.

Adding a twist of adventure, this humble town is the starting point for various south-bay beach destinations only accessible by boat. Take a water taxi to picturesque and crowd-free beaches such as Yelapa and Quimixto. Yelapa Beach captures your heart with golden sand and coconut palms, while Quimixto offers the excitement of a jungle hike leading to a waterfall.

Boca de Tomatlan is split across both banks of the Horcones River and surrounded by lush greenery, offering opportunities for hiking and wildlife spotting. Back at the beach, feast your senses on the stunning sunset views, painting the sky with shades of orange, pink, and purple.

No matter how you spend your day in Boca de Tomatlan, you’re bound to return to Puerto Vallarta feeling relaxed, refreshed, and recharged. So, don’t miss the chance to add a day trip to this beautiful destination to your Puerto Vallarta itinerary!

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Visit the hidden culture of San Sebastian del Oeste

When in Puerto Vallarta, seize the chance to venture back in time by visiting the enchanting mountain village of San Sebastian del Oeste. Situated just a 45-minute drive away, this once thriving silver mining town is now a UNESCO-protected jewel, boasting centuries-old buildings and a rich history.

What was once home to around 30 different mines during the colonial period is now a tranquil tourist paradise, boasting narrow cobblestone streets, scenic mountain vistas, and an air of cherished antiquity. With colonial architecture beautifully preserved and a sense of slowed time, San Sebastian offers a captivating break from Puerto Vallarta’s lively beach scene.

While here, don’t miss out on the local coffee-tasting experience. Renowned for its quality, the local coffee presents an authentic flavor of the region. For history enthusiasts, touring the old mines gives a deeper understanding of the town’s rich past.

To make the journey to San Sebastian del Oeste, you could either rent a car or join a guided tour. Either way, don’t forget to check out San Sebastian’s imposing church and the old fort, both symbolic of the town’s colonial heritage.

Whether you want to explore Mexican history, wish to experience tranquility amidst mountains, or desire to revel in a day of cultural immersion, San Sebastian del Oeste serves as the perfect day trip from Puerto Vallarta.

Distinctive in its charm and alluring in its cultural richness, San Sebastian del Oeste makes for a compelling visit!

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FAQs about Visiting Puerto Vallarta

What's the best time to visit Puerto Vallarta?

The best time to visit Puerto Vallarta greatly depends on what kind of vacation you’re looking for.

If it’s a blend of pleasant weather and an abundance of activities you’re after, your prime months would be from December to April. This time is the dry season, and while it attracts a crowd, it ensures you can make the most out of Puerto Vallarta’s beaches and outdoor activities, alongside enjoying seasonal attractions like whale watching.

If you’re hoping for a smaller crowd and don’t mind a little rain, consider visiting between May and June or November, as this is typically the shoulder season. Although occasional rainfall might dampen outdoor plans, the mix of sun and showers keeps the temperature pleasant and crowds manageable.

However, if you’re willing to take a risk with rain for the promise of rock-bottom prices, July through October is the off-peak season and often sees hotel rates halved.

Ultimately, every season has its charm in Puerto Vallarta, so align your choice with what interests you most!

How safe is it to travel to Puerto Vallarta?

Puerto Vallarta is safe for travelers.

Although Jalisco state, where Puerto Vallarta is located, has a higher rate of violent crime compared to other Mexican states, the tourist sections remain largely unaffected. Puerto Vallarta is, in fact, recognized as one of the safest places to visit in Mexico.

A key thing to note is to be mindful of your surroundings and take basic precautions like you would in any travel destination. Always watch your belongings in crowded areas and avoid secluded places late at night.

While safety conditions can vary and are dependent on many factors, it’s a good idea to stay updated on current advisories. The U.S. Department of State provides regularly updated travel advisories for Mexico.

So, while vigilance and common sense go a long way in ensuring a safe and enjoyable trip, the general consensus among tourists and experts alike is that Puerto Vallarta is a safe destination for travelers!

What are the best day trips from Puerto Vallarta?

Organizing a day trip from Puerto Vallarta allows you to take a break from the beach and gain a deeper insight into Mexico’s cultural and environmental diversity.

Here are some of the highly recommended day trips:

  1. Sayulita and San Pancho: Famous for bohemian vibes, these seaside towns offer a more laidback experience compared to Puerto Vallarta. Enjoy surfing, visiting the turtle sanctuary, or just relaxing in the beachfront bars and restaurants.
  2. Mismaloya and Boca de Tomatlan: Easily accessible by bus from Puerto Vallarta, these quiet beach towns offer a scenic, relaxed day out.
  3. San Sebastian del Oeste: Tucked in the Sierra Madre Mountains, this old mining village offers a tranquil escape from the bustling coast and a peek into the colonial history of Mexico.
  4. Tequila tour: Visit the nearby town of Tequila to tour traditional distilleries, learn about the process of making the spirit, and, of course, taste some of the best tequilas Mexico has to offer.
  5. Las Marietas Islands: An absolute must-visit for nature lovers and snorkelers, this eco-reserve houses a rich variety of marine life and is a popular spot for whale watching.

These day trips will introduce you to new destinations and experiences, offering a diverse perspective of Mexico beyond Puerto Vallarta’s beachfront. Choose based on your interest and make the best out of your Mexican journey!

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What are some awesome things to do in Puerto Vallarta Downtown?

Downtown Puerto Vallarta, also known as El Centro, is a bustling hub of vibrancy and excitement, offering a multitude of awesome things to do:

  1. Explore Malecon: This vibrant boardwalk is lined with an array of sculptures, street vendors, performers, and restaurants, making for a perfect evening stroll.
  2. Visit the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe: This iconic church is a symbol of Puerto Vallarta and is surely a historic site to visit.
  3. Check out Plaza Principal (Main Square): The square is a popular gathering spot, home to a charming gazebo, City Hall, and the Navidad Brewery. Don’t miss out on the local dancers and performances on Sunday nights.
  4. Shop at Isla Rio Cuale Market: Nestled on a lush river islet, this open-air market sells everything from local handicrafts to delicious food items.
  5. Visit Galeria Pacifico: One of the top art galleries downtown, showcasing works by internationally renowned and local artists alike.
  6. City Tours & Free Walking Tours: These services take you around the main sites and hidden gems of downtown, offering interesting insights into the city’s history and culture.
  7. Dining and Nightlife: Downtown Puerto Vallarta boasts a wide variety of restaurants, bars, and clubs, promising an energetic nightlife scene.

From historical sites, artistic venues, and vibrant markets to lively nightlife, downtown Puerto Vallarta is the quintessential spot to feel the city’s pulse. No matter what your interests are, downtown Puerto Vallarta has something for everyone!

What is Puerto Vallarta best known for?

Puerto Vallarta is best known for its spectacular beaches, buzzing nightlife, and an array of water sports. This Pacific coastal resort town in Mexico is famous for its beautiful scenic beauty interspersed with historical and cultural sites.

A few highlights that Puerto Vallarta is renowned for are:

  1. Stunning beaches: The pristine sand and calm turquoise waters of the beaches attract beach lovers from all over the world.
  2. Water Sports: Known for an assortment of water activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, paddleboarding, and fishing.
  3. Vibrant Nightlife: Puerto Vallarta is heralded for its dynamic and energetic nightlife with an array of clubs, bars, and beachfront parties.
  4. Art and Culture: With numerous art galleries, cultural festivals, and an impressive art scene, the city is a magnet for art connoisseurs.
  5. Gastronomy: Food lovers are captivated by the city’s exceptional culinary scene, from street food to fine dining, food tours, and tequila tasting sessions.
  6. Historical Sites: Landmark sites like the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Malecon boardwalk define the city’s historic charm.
  7. Unique Natural Attractions: The Marietas Islands, Los Arcos National Park, and Sierra Madre Mountains are among the natural marvels that visitors can explore.
  8. Regular host to significant events: The city annually hosts a host of events like the Puerto Vallarta Film Festival and the vibrant Vallarta Pride.

Each of these aspects contributes to the charming allure of Puerto Vallarta, making it a much-loved holiday destination among global travelers. It truly is a place where you’ll find a harmonious blend of nature’s beauty, rich culture, delicious food, and a happening lifestyle!

What to do on a day trip to Puerto Vallarta?

Whether you’re coming to Puerto Vallarta by a cruise ship or are based nearby and planning a quick visit, there’s plenty to pack into a single-day trip.

Here are some of the top highlights:

  1. Stroll along the Malecon: Start off your day with a morning walk along this oceanfront boardwalk, enjoying the array of sculptures, shops, and stunning sea views.
  2. Visit the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe: Wander over to this iconic historic landmark, the centerpiece of Puerto Vallarta, admired for its beautiful architecture.
  3. Explore Isla Rio Cuale: Right in the heart of Puerto Vallarta, this tree-covered isle features a flea market, restaurants, and a fascinating cultural museum. It’s a great place to shop for souvenirs and grab lunch.
  4. Spend the afternoon on Los Muertos Beach: Enjoy the finest of Puerto Vallarta’s beaches, dip in the ocean, snack on delicious street food, or simply relax under a parasol.
  5. Take a gallery walk in Zona Romantica: This artsy neighborhood is perfect for an afternoon stroll. Explore the colorful streets, quirky shops, and art galleries that the area is renowned for.
  6. Enjoy Seafood Dining: End your day by enjoying a sumptuous seafood dinner while watching the sunset at one of the beachfront restaurants.

Remember, this is a bit of a whirlwind tour of Puerto Vallarta, and there’s so much more to do if you’ve got a couple of days. But for a day trip, this should give you a well-rounded taste of Puerto Vallarta’s charms!

How much money a day do I need in Puerto Vallarta?

The daily budget you’d need in Puerto Vallarta depends largely on your traveling style and what you plan to do.

As a guideline:

Budget Travel: For budget travelers, you would be looking at approximately $40-$60 per day. This includes staying in cheaper accommodations such as hostels, eating at street stalls or local markets, using public transport, and doing mainly free activities like exploring local areas and beaches.

Mid-range Travel: For a more comfortable holiday, estimate around $100-$150 per day. This bracket allows for meals at decent restaurants, hiring taxis for transport, partaking in paid activities like boat tours or museum visits, and staying at a mid-range hotel.

Luxury Travel: If money isn’t a concern, budgeting $200 or more per day will allow for stays in luxury hotels, dining at high-end restaurants, private tours, spa treatments, and more.

Remember, these are rough estimates, and costs can vary. For instance, there may be entry fees for specific attractions and guided tour costs.

Also, don’t forget to budget a little extra for shopping and unexpected expenses. It’s always better to overestimate your budget to allow for some flexibility during your trip.

Where do tourists hang out in Puerto Vallarta?

Tourists in Puerto Vallarta have a variety of places where they gather and hang out, offering a range of leisure and adventure.

  1. The Malecon Boardwalk: This seaside promenade is one of the most vibrant tourist spots in Puerto Vallarta. From beautiful statues to numerous restaurants and shops, the Malecon promises a lively ambiance.
  2. Zona Romantica: Known for its charming streets and relaxed vibe, this neighborhood boasts numerous cafes, art galleries, and some of the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta like Los Muertos.
  3. Marina Vallarta: The upscale neighborhood and marina are favored for sleek yachts, shops, restaurants, and the 18-hole Marina Vallarta Golf Club.
  4. Centro (Downtown): The heart of Puerto Vallarta is popular for its beautiful architecture, historic sights like the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and bustling nightlife.
  5. Playa Los Muertos Pier: An iconic hotspot for tourists to enjoy beach activities and for people-watching as the sun sets.
  6. Cafe des Artiste: A high-end, artistic spot savored by tourists for its delicious food and stunning interior.
  7. Cuale Island Flea Market: For those who love a bit of bargain hunting, this market is a must-visit to find local crafts and souvenirs.
  8. Las Caletas Beach: This secluded beach, accessible only by boat, is popular amongst tourists for its beauty and various beach activities.

Each of these places has its unique charm, and tourists share spaces with locals, adding to the vibrant and diverse ambiance of Puerto Vallarta.

What are the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids?

Puerto Vallarta is a family-friendly vacation location with many attractions and activities suitable for kids of all ages:

  1. Aquaventuras Park: One of the largest water parks in Puerto Vallarta, with waterslides, swimming pools, and interactive dolphin experiences.
  2. Marigalante Pirate Ship Tour: This makes for a memorable day with kids onboard a real Spanish galleon, complete with pirate-themed shows, games, and even a treasure hunt onboard.
  3. The Sea Life Park at Vallarta Adventures: Aquatic life admirers would love interactive experiences with sea lions, dolphins, and tropical birds.
  4. El Eden Zip Line Tour: Adventure-seeking older kids would enjoy ziplining through dense jungle canopies.
  5. Beach Days: The city’s beaches are a great spot for kids to play in the sand, swim, or take surfing lessons.
  6. A Visit to the Interactive Museum (Museo del Cuale): An ideal spot for older kids to learn about the region’s prehispanic history in an interactive way.
  7. Whale Watching Tours: During winter (December to March), families can go whale watching, providing an opportunity to see these majestic creatures up close.

With so many delightful options, kids will have just as much fun exploring Puerto Vallarta as their parents! However, do make sure to check the safety measures and age restrictions before planning any activity.

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Conclusion: Things to Do in Puerto Vallarta

With its stunning beaches, jungle-covered mountains, vibrant art scene, and rich culture, Puerto Vallarta truly encapsulates the charm of Mexico.

Add to this the city’s exciting activities—ranging from leisurely strolls along the Malecon and art gallery explorations to adrenaline-filled ziplining, every angle of holidaying is covered in this delightful coastal city.

Embark on a fantastic culinary journey with food tours, immerse yourself in a new dimension of art at the 4D Art Museum, or relax on the magnificent beaches; the things to do in Puerto Vallarta are endless.

And while there’s much to do in the heart of the city, don’t forget the lure of day trips to quaint towns, tropical islands, secluded beaches, and mountain villages for a complete Jalisco experience.

Whether you’re a beach lover, an adventure enthusiast, a history buff, or a foodie, Puerto Vallarta caters to all tastes and travelers. This Pacific paradise is waiting to offer you stunning vistas, fascinating experiences, and unforgettable memories!

Now you’re armed with all the information you need, go forth and plan your amazing Puerto Vallarta adventure. Enjoy exploring this slice of Mexico’s Pacific heaven!

And if I missed anything, let me know in the comments below!

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