Puerto Vallarta is a vacation spot that has been welcoming travellers for a few years, and it’s one in all our favorite locations to go to in Mexico. There are quite a few enjoyable issues to do in Puerto Vallarta — it has one thing for everybody.
Whether you’re a backpacker on a price range, a digital nomad in Mexico trying to spend a month, a pair wanting a week-long trip, or an expat trying to cool down, you’ll discover actions in Puerto Vallarta to maintain you busy.
The metropolis is cut up up into neighbourhoods (zones), with the countless issues to do in Puerto Vallarta unfold out alongside Banderas Bay and past. In actuality, it doesn’t actually matter which a part of the town you keep in, as getting round is straightforward.
You will, nonetheless, need to select your zone fastidiously based mostly on the vibe you’re after and the price range you’ve.
Puerto Vallarta Neighbourhoods & Zones
Here’s a fast rundown of the zones in Puerto Vallarta beginning on the airport and going south:
- Marina – extra upscale than the lodge zone, with the Marriott Hotel, Westin & extra.
- Hotel Zone – just some minutes drive from the airport, this space has many accommodations, eating places, malls, a Walmart & Sams Club.
- Centro (Old PV) – smaller houses, residential space, the Malecon (oceanfront promenade) runs alongside right here, many eating places and bars. This space is on the north facet of the River Cuale and gives inexpensive lodging.
- Centro (Romantic Zone) – positioned on the south facet of the River Cuale, you’ll discover quite a few bars, cafes, eating places and Playa Los Muertos Beach. This is a well-liked space with a big LGBTQ group. The lodging ranges from price range to high finish.
- Conchas Chinas – that means “Chinese Shells” based mostly on the seashells discovered right here, this can be a extra prosperous/posh space of Puerto Vallarta with gated communities and high-end condos.
Learn extra about the place to remain in Puerto Vallarta with our lodging and neighbourhood information. And, for an entire rundown on travelling to the town of PV, take a look at our detailed information right here.
21 Best Things To Do in Puerto Vallarta
After travelling round Puerto Vallarta extensively and researching the town by means of the eyes of native individuals who helped me provide you with this record, I’ve narrowed down the 21 greatest issues to do on this lovely Mexican seashore city.
I’ve to place strolling as #1 on the record of issues to do in Puerto Vallarta. Exploring on foot is one of the simplest ways to get a really feel for the town, and most areas of PV are reachable by strolling.
Mexico is already one of many least expensive nations to journey to, however when you are able to do issues at no cost, like strolling and sightseeing, it can save you much more cash.
This is an effective way to see what the distributors are promoting, to individuals watch, and get a lay of the land. You by no means know what you’ll stumble throughout when discovering the town on foot — simply be certain to put on good footwear because the sidewalks and roads are very uneven.
Note: the perfect time to journey to Mexico if you wish to stroll round cities can be within the winter months, or within the shoulder season. Otherwise, it may be unbearably sizzling and also you’ll most certainly need to be on the seashore all day.
2. Join a Food Tour
Did you realize that Mexico’s delicacies has made the record of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO? This award hasn’t been granted to some other nationwide meals group.
Mexican meals is a lot greater than tacos and quesadillas and one of the simplest ways to study extra in regards to the tasty delicacies is to hitch a tour. This is a should do in Puerto Vallarta for foodies.
We’ve executed meals excursions all all over the world, and our favorite ones are in Mexico.
In Puerto Vallarta, take a look at Vallarta Food Tours. This firm gives a mixture of tradition, strolling, and meals excursions, making it an effective way to study in regards to the metropolis of PV whereas concurrently feasting and dealing off the energy.
There are a number of foodie excursions on supply with Vallarta Food Tours, however we went on the “Original Downtown Tour“, which took us by means of the middle of PV on each side of the river. We ate quite a few dishes and tried some drinks as properly. You may be a part of their evening taco tour.
We extremely advocate this tour. Click here to study extra and test out the video we made:
3. See Rhythms Of The Night (probably the greatest issues to do in Puerto Vallarta)
If you’re on the lookout for a mini Cirque de Soleil-type cultural present and dinner expertise, then Rhythms of The Night might be one thing you received’t need to miss.
We noticed this efficiency and though we’re not massive followers of huge group excursions, this present was spectacular and price each penny. This is among the high excursions in Puerto Vallarta.
The night begins with a sundown cruise (together with an open bar) throughout Banderas Bay to Las Caletas, which is a good looking non-public cove. When you arrive, you’ll be greeted by a fantastically lit space with tiki torches and candles.
You’ll then be proven to your seat within the outside auditorium, which is surrounded by palm timber. The seats are all staggered, so although there are individuals sitting in entrance of you, you’ll don’t have any points seeing the present.
The present depicts numerous tales of the traditional Hispanic civilization and Mexican folklore. During the efficiency, there’s stay music, dancing, contortionists, fireplace twirlers, and extra.
Following the present, you’ll take pleasure in a big buffet dinner earlier than returning to Puerto Vallarta by boat.
If you’re questioning what to do in Puerto Vallarta at evening, that is it. Don’t miss this present. Click here to learn more about the tour and to book tickets.
⇒ See Also: Things To Do in Mazatlan – 21 Experiences You Don’t Want to Miss
4. Watch Sunset
There’s simply one thing in regards to the sunsets on the Pacific Coast, and specifically, Puerto Vallarta. Some of the perfect sunsets we’ve ever seen have been from right here. Grab a drink and benefit from the present.
Great viewing locations embody wherever alongside the Malecon, up the hill behind the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, or from El Barracuda which is our favorite seashore bar.
Once the solar goes down, the social gathering begins in PV — there are such a lot of bars and golf equipment, the nightlife in Puerto Vallarta is famous. Enjoy the sundown, it’s probably the greatest free issues to do in Puerto Vallarta.
*Note: Puerto Escondido is one other epic Pacific Coast vacation spot for sunsets in Mexico. If you’ve an opportunity, attempt to go to there as properly.
5. Relax on Playa las Gemelas
Surprisingly, nearly 20 minutes drive south of Puerto Vallarta, you’ll discover seashores that appear to be they need to be Cancun or Playa del Carmen fairly than the Pacific. I feel this is among the greatest seashores in Mexico.
Playa las Gemelas has turquoise water and whitish sand. When we visited, there have been fairly a number of waves, however no riptides or undertow, and the waves have been enjoyable to swim in.
Other guests have skilled utterly calm water right here, so it actually simply relies on the climate and the time of yr.
There are simply 2 condominium complexes on the seashore and nothing else…not even any bogs. Bring a cooler crammed with beer, water, and snacks, and spend the day.
The stroll to the seashore is pretty steep and down some uneven steps, but it surely’s value it if you see the view.
To attain right here, you’ll need to park at Condominios Girasol Sur (in entrance alongside the highway). There is not any precise parking for the seashore, so that you’ll want to search out some on the road, or within the few roadside spots in entrance of Girasol Sur Condos.
Alternatively, you possibly can take an area bus and get dropped off right here. This is by far my favorite seashore in Puerto Vallarta. Don’t miss it. Click here for directions.
6. Join a Booze Tour (with a facet of meals)
For these of you who prefer to drink tequila – it’s Mexico, who doesn’t?! – this tour is for you.
During our latest journey to Puerto Vallarta, we joined the extremely rated Mex-ology tour and loved a late afternoon of Mezcal, Tequila, Raicilla, craft beer, Kahlua espresso, and different handcrafted cocktails.
To associate with the booze, you’ll get some tasty meals to assist absorb the alcohol.
The dishes we had have been full parts of fish tacos, meat tacos, seafood “enchiladas”, onion rings, crickets (sure, crickets!), and delectable dessert.
Not solely will you be having enjoyable, and feeling a bit tipsy by the top of it, however you’ll study lots in regards to the traditions and creation of those alcoholic drinks.
We had an important day with our information. So a lot enjoyable in truth, that she took us out for some late-night shenanigans the place the expats and locals prefer to hangout.
Click here to study extra in regards to the Mex-ology Tequila, Tacos & Cocktails Tour, it’s probably the greatest issues to do in Puerto Vallarta.
7. Eat Fresh Seafood
While Mexico is among the greatest nations on the planet for meals and there’s undoubtedly a Puerto Vallarta restaurant for everybody, typically it’s good to eat road (seashore) meals.
If you’re an oyster lover, you’ll be completely happy to know you could get recent oysters on the seashore. Just beneath the bridge that crosses the River Cuale, you’ll see many distributors promoting these tasty morsels.
Plastic tables and chairs are arrange so you possibly can sit and luxuriate in your plate of meals by the water, or you possibly can take them to go. Squeeze some lime juice, sprinkle with some salt and add some sizzling sauce should you like.
Another choice is to hitch this tasty seafood experience which incorporates the oysters listed above, and far more.
You’ll additionally eat ceviche and aguachile, fish fillets, tacos, quesadillas, soups…as many seafood dishes as you need! It’s all included. Plus, you possibly can wash all of it down with limitless beer. This unbelievable tour sells out quick. Learn more here.
☞ SEE ALSO: Playa del Carmen Mexico: The Ultimate Travel Guide
8. Visit San Pancho
About an hour’s drive from Puerto Vallarta is the seashore city of San Pancho (San Francisco), which is among the greatest day journeys from Puerto Vallarta.
This small city isn’t as quiet because it as soon as was, but it surely’s nonetheless a pleasant place to go to. What’s stunning is that although it’s not a really massive place, there are many issues to do in San Pancho.
The greatest option to study all about San Pancho is to fulfill up with Samuel and luxuriate in a leisurely bike journey across the city. Samuel will present you a lot of hidden gems and inform tales in regards to the space. This enjoyable expertise is extremely rated and inexpensive and consists of the biking gear, and a few meals and drinks. Learn extra here.
San Pancho is a cool place to spend the afternoon because it’s simply an hour away from Puerto Vallarta. To get from Puerto Vallarta to San Pancho, you possibly can hire a automotive, take the bus for round 50 pesos, or join a day tour of San Pancho and close by Sayulita.
Note: the ocean right here is sort of tough and isn’t an important place for swimming. You may take a look at Bucerias for swimming.
9. Walk The Malecon
One of the various nice issues about Puerto Vallarta is the lengthy Malecon (oceanfront promenade) which runs for about 1.5 kilometers (1 mile). This is the proper spot to take pleasure in a stroll, with out having to take care of the busy site visitors that whizzes alongside the slender streets.
Along the Malecon, you’ve the gorgeous ocean on one facet, and lots of retailers, eating places, and bars on the opposite (promoting $1 margaritas and Coronas). There are additionally quite a few artwork installations and road performances right here.
The Malecon is the hot-spot, particularly within the late afternoon and evenings when it’s a cooler temperature. And really, wandering alongside the Malecon is among the hottest issues to do in La Paz as properly.
A good way to discover a extra off-the-beaten-path space of the Malecon is to hitch this enjoyable biking expertise. Biking tools and a few drinks are included. Learn extra here.
Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta
There are quite a few resorts, accommodations, boutiques, hostels, Airbnbs, and flats for hire in Puerto Vallarta. There actually is one thing for everybody, with Airbnb and Booking.com being the most well-liked methods to guide.
10. Join a Chocolate Making Class
The Choco Museum is among the many free issues to do in Puerto Vallarta. If you’re excited about studying the historical past behind cocoa, plus discovering out how chocolate is made (from harvest to manufacturing), then the museum is for you.
If you need to get your palms soiled and EAT some scrumptious chocolate, then be certain to hitch one of many lessons on the Choco Museo.
Learn how one can make conventional mole sauce, sizzling chocolate truffles, or particular person goodies. Click here to study extra about workshops and lessons.
☞ SEE ALSO: Things To Do in Cabo San Lucas – A List of The Top 21
11. Mountain Biking Trip
Although lounging by the seashore and devouring tacos is all the time a good suggestion when travelling to Mexico, it is perhaps a good suggestion to get some train each on occasion! This is among the Puerto Vallarta actions you don’t need to miss.
Eco Ride is an eco-conscious firm in Puerto Vallarta that provides mountain biking and mountain climbing journeys within the surrounding jungle trails of the Occidental Sierra Madre.
If you’re into journey and being energetic, this is among the issues to do in Puerto Vallarta that needs to be on the high of your record.
They have biking excursions for newcomers and superior riders, plus they provide completely different size journeys as properly — from 15 to 48 kilometers (9.3 – 30 miles).
The routes go by means of villages, waterfalls, rivers, pine timber, and extra. Click here to study extra about Eco Ride and the biking and mountain climbing journeys they provide.
*Note: should you’d fairly mix train with consuming, Vallarta Food Tours has a brand new tour known as Bikes & Bites…test it out.
12. Chill Out on Los Muertos Beach
This is the seashore south of the Los Muertos Pier. And, as with the stretch of sand north of the pier, there are a whole lot of actions occurring — from swimming and browsing to parasailing and boating. Plus, you’ll discover quite a few seashore eating places and bars right here.
There are distributors wandering up and down the seashore as properly, however they aren’t too pushy. Near the south facet of the pier, you’ll discover a lot of native households spending the day (particularly on weekends), whereas additional south from there’s thought of the LGBTQ space, which is all the time busy and a whole lot of enjoyable.
We’ve visited this seashore a number of occasions now. During December, the waves have been extremely massive and the surf and undertow have been unbelievably robust. The tough water began from the pier and went north to the La Langosta Loca restaurant.
However, on the south facet of the pier, the water was calm and kids have been swimming. When we hungout at Los Muertos seashore in the summertime, the water was calm all over the place — and we even noticed a lot of small Manta Rays!
Always be conscious of the ocean and when doubtful, all the time ask an area if it’s secure to swim.
☞ SEE ALSO: 51 Awesome Things To Do in Mexico
13. Wander The Old Town
Puerto Vallarta has a good looking outdated city with cobbled streets and vibrant houses climbing up the hill. From close to the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, you’ll see rock/cement steps heading up the hill.
Take the steps and proceed strolling alongside the again roads in direction of the Romantic Zone. As most individuals take the Malecon or the primary streets, you’ll have the quiet “upper” roads mainly to your self.
You’ll come throughout houses draped in vines, cats sleeping on steps and fairly wrought-iron balconies. After you’ve completed exploring and having fun with the peace and quiet, you possibly can come out close to the Rio River.
For an incredible view, you possibly can hike as much as the Mirador Cerro de La Cruz. It takes about half-hour and is a bit strenuous, however the view is spectacular. Bring a lot of water and put on good footwear.
14. Go Scuba Diving
Getting out on the water is all the time a good suggestion when travelling, however so is getting beneath it. The diving in Mexico is subsequent stage.
Whether you’re scuba licensed or not, take a look at Banderas Scuba Republic. This firm is PADI acknowledged and the group is PADI licensed.
At this scuba store, you possibly can take lessons and classes to get your certification, or if you have already got your Open Water, you possibly can go for some dives. While scuba diving in Puerto Vallarta isn’t the perfect in Mexico, it’s all the time good to get out for a dive.
Expect to see turtles, rays, eels, and extra. Banderas Scuba Republic is positioned within the Romantic Zone, cease by and test them out.
Note: We didn’t personally dive with Banderas Scuba Republic, they have been simply extremely reviewed on TripAdvisor. Always do your individual impartial analysis when selecting a scuba diving firm.
15. Join a Free Walking Tour
Walking by yourself is nice, however if you wish to study a bit extra in regards to the metropolis of Puerto Vallarta, together with its tradition, historical past, and structure, then it’s greatest to hitch a strolling tour with a educated information.
This is the perfect factor to do in Puerto Vallarta in your first day within the metropolis so you will get your bearings.
Every Tuesday (9:00am and midday), Wednesday (9:00am and midday) and Saturday (9:00am), there are free excursions placed on by the Municipal Tourism Office.
The assembly level is on the Municipal Tourism Office, which is within the Old City Hall Building. The tour is about 2 hours lengthy and no reservation is required. Click here for particulars.
16. Join the Free Art Walk
Puerto Vallarta has essentially the most artwork galleries of any Mexican coastal metropolis. On Wednesday evenings, lots of the artwork retailers open their doorways and permit guests inside to view the items.
All mediums of artwork are on show, together with work, sculptures, pottery and people artwork. A go to right here is unquestionably one of many extra distinctive issues to do in Puerto Vallarta.
Entrance is free, there isn’t any information, however there’s often wine and tequila given to guests…at no cost. The “art walk” runs from the top of October to the top of May, from 6:00pm to 10:00pm, each Wednesday. This is a yearly occasion. Click here to study extra in regards to the Art Walk.
17. Visit the Church Of Our Lady Of Guadalupe
You can’t miss the Church Of Our Lady Of Guadalupe if you go to. Towering over the middle of Puerto Vallarta is that this lovely piece of structure. If you’re questioning what to do in Puerto Vallarta when it’s raining, a visit to this church is a good suggestion.
Whether you’re spiritual or not, I like to recommend taking a peek inside, and naturally, taking a great deal of pictures of the ornate exterior. This church is among the greatest locations to go to in Puerto Vallarta.
If you end up within the metropolis from December 1 – 12, you’ll be capable of benefit from the celebrations for the Our Lady of Guadalupe Festival, which incorporates candlelight processions, vibrant parades, and naturally, meals.
18. Visit Mismaloya
Located on the southern a part of Banderas Bay, you’ll discover the fishing village of Mismaloya. This is the place tourism within the Puerto Vallarta space all began, again in 1963 with the filming of Night Of The Iguana.
These days, Puerto Vallarta has extra tourism, whereas the bay at Mismaloya continues to be comparatively quiet. This is one other nice day journey from Puerto Vallarta.
The fairly bay is backed by thick jungle, there are eating places lining the seashore and also you’ll have views of the Los Arcos Marine Park. There is, nonetheless, the Barcelo Resort which takes up a lot of the bay, but it surely’s nonetheless a pleasant place to go to.
☞ SEE ALSO: Things To Do in La Paz, Mexico – A List of the Top 21
19. Check Out The Markets
Visiting the markets in Mexico is all the time a deal with. In Puerto Vallarta, you’ll discover meals, fish, clothes, and memento markets.
Don’t miss the Municipal Market of Colonia Emiliano Zapata, which is a superb place to buy recent produce. This market runs from 6:00am to three:00pm, twelve months a yr. Click here for instructions.
Also, if you’d like recent produce and fish, take a look at the Municipal Market in December 5. Go early to get the perfect collection of seafood.
In the strip of distributors, you’ll discover meats, greens, tortillas, and different gadgets. This is a superb place to take meals away, or to create a scrumptious lunch! Visiting an area market is among the greatest issues to do in Puerto Vallarta. Click here for instructions.
20. Do Some Hiking
You received’t actually discover mountain climbing within the metropolis itself. But, should you take a bus, or drive your automotive out to Boca de Tomatlan, you are able to do a very nice day hike to Las Animas. The path winds alongside the ocean, with the jungle on one facet and the gorgeous water on the opposite.
Have a take a look at this highly-rated, affordable day trip — which incorporates transportation from Puerto Vallarta, snacks, snorkelling gear, and a drink on the restaurant on the finish. Find out extra here.
You’ll hike alongside stone stairs and slender paths, whereas arriving at beautiful secluded bays alongside the way in which. If you’re fortunate, you’ll see some whales or dolphins taking part in within the water.
The complete hike takes about 2 hours to finish, and when you arrive at Las Animas, all that’s left to do is benefit from the seashore, and one of many many eating places on supply.
To get again to Boca, you possibly can take a ship from Las Animas, or hike again the way in which you got here. This is among the greatest issues to do in Puerto Vallarta for outside lovers. For extra info on how to do that hike, click here.
Since the journey generally is a bit complicated to do by yourself, an important choice is to hitch this inexpensive expertise with an area information, which incorporates meals, drink, and transport. Learn extra about this enjoyable day journey here.
21. Spend A Night On The Town
The Puerto Vallarta nightlife is superior. No matter what kind of a celebration you’re on the lookout for, you’ll discover it in PV.
From seashore bars and nightclubs to cantinas and breweries, an evening out in Puerto Vallarta is certain to be memorable. While a lot of the happenin’ nightlife is across the Romantic Zone, you’ll discover bars throughout the town.
Dance the evening away at Co-De or one of many many well-liked Malecon nightclubs (Zoo, Mandala or La Vaquita) or watch your favorite sports activities group on the massive display at locations like El Torito Sports Bar & BBQ House, Players and El Soñador.
For stay music, you possibly can’t go unsuitable with Incanto, Roxy Rock House, and La Casa de Hugo. If it’s craft beer you search, you’ve a few choices in Puerto Vallarta. Don’t miss Monzon and Los Muertos. For cocktail lovers, take a look at El Colibri, Bar La Playa, and Twisted Palms.
To study extra about the perfect locations to sip and dance, take a look at our submit: Puerto Vallarta Nightlife – The Best Places to Drink and Dance.
22. Volunteer With Dogs
If you’re an animal lover, why not spend a number of hours of your trip in PV volunteering with animals?
Friends of Puerto Vallarta Animals want volunteers to spend time with the canines (and cats!) on the shelter. You might help out by strolling canines, feeding them and naturally, giving them a lot of love and a spotlight.
The Acopio shelter is positioned just a bit bit exterior of the middle of the town, however be sure you contact Friends of PV Animals first earlier than arriving on the shelter. Learn extra about how one can make a distinction in a shelter canine’s life, here.
23. Visit Marietas Island
While this isn’t technically a factor to do in Puerto Vallarta, a visit to Marietas Island is a superb day journey. Only 116 individuals per day are allowed to go to this beautiful web site — be sure you book online ahead of time.
Located a few 1-hour boat journey from the Puerto Vallarta marina, you’ll discover the Marietas hidden seashore. Not solely is the snorkelling and the seashore itself beautiful, however on the boat journey on the market you’ll most certainly spot dolphins, manta rays, and whales. Find out extra here.
Now You Know What To Do in Puerto Vallarta
I hope this record of issues to do in Puerto Vallarta helps you propose your journey. While the town is sort of touristy, it’s well-liked for good cause and we actually take pleasure in our visits right here.
Make certain to pattern the tasty road meals at any time when you possibly can, discover the native markets, and luxuriate in strolling across the metropolis. Let us know what you’ll add to this record within the feedback under. Happy travels
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