Puerto Vallarta is a resort town on the Pacific coast of Mexico. It is known for its beaches, water sports, and nightlife scene. Its cobblestone streets are home to boutique shops and a range of restaurants and bars! Below are 21 things to do in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Where did we stay? We stayed at an all-inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta to celebrate Tracie, my best friend’s mother, 50th birthday! It was a wonderful time as we relaxed on the beautiful beaches and enjoyed unlimited margaritas, pina Coladas, strawberry or banana daiquiris, and mudslides. I must say, all-inclusive resorts should stick to what they know, as their Mexican food was better than any of the different types of cuisines that they offered. The best part about staying at this place was the pools they had overlooking the ocean and the outstanding customer service. I also loved that we had a free yoga session accessible near the beach every morning.
Excursions? We did a few excursions that I will list below that were super fun, where we went on a boat ride to Yelapa and witnessed a beautiful waterfall. The tour also took us snorkeling and kayaking. The best day trip from our all-inclusive resort was to explore Zona Romantica. I will incorporate reasons to visit and things to do in Puerto Vallarta based on my own experiences and research that I have done!
Fun Facts About Puerto Vallarta:
1. Puerto Vallarta is the second-most visited tourist destination in Mexico. The most visited place happens to be Cancun, Mexico.
2. Puerto Vallarta is surrounded by tropical-forested mountains and mineral-rich volcanic slopes
3. In Guadalajara, a large plaza is devoted to Mariachi bands showing off their hats, costumes and, musical talents
Yelapa is a beautiful golden sand beach where you can go swimming or kayaking. It is breathtaking. The locals were super kind and easygoing. Be careful when swimming here because I did get stung by a creature in the ocean and got an allergic reaction. This excursion will not only bring you to swim at the Yelapa beach but will also take you snorkeling, kayaking, and to a waterfall. Did I forget to mention? The excursion also provides food and drinks.
Los Muertos Beach–
Los Muertos beach is located in the Romantic Zone area and is very close to downtown. Not only will you find an iconic pier with an outstanding view of the ocean, but also a roster of restaurants, bars, shops, and art galleries.
Conchas Chinas Beach–
This beautiful beach is located 10 minutes by car from downtown and is absolutely worth the drive. It offers natural pools made of rock formations and is super romantic, as it is a top wedding location in Puerto Vallarta.
Las Caletas is a private beach that is super relaxing and magical. The only way to get to this beach is by an hour boat ride. Vallarta Adventure Tours host a day trip to Las Caletas. You can go scuba diving, snorkeling, paddleboarding, or kayaking. The beach resorts have hammocks by the sea and a spa at the top of the cliff.
Las Animas Beach–
This remote beach is only accessible by boat or an hour-long hike from Boca de Tomatlan’s exotic jungle treks. You can rent a banana boat at the beach or go zip lining in the jungle. There are a variety of restaurants and bars that have authentic seafood along Las Animas Beach.
Colomitos is a hidden beach surrounded by exotic mountains. Although it is the smallest beach in Mexico, it is still absolutely stunning and worth the trip. There are no restaurants at this beach, so if you plan to spend the day, do not forget to bring a snack!
El Caballo is home to exotic nature, rocks, sand, and turquoise waters. There are no restaurants or facilities. It is super beautiful and quiet.
Waterfalls: The best waterfall to visit is in Yelapa. The only way to get to Yelapa is by a 45-minute boat ride or water taxi. This island has a ton of golden sand beaches. There is a hike to the waterfall, where you will reach a natural pool to swim in. The 30-minute route to the waterfall is through the mountain, passing through shops embedded in nature. This tour will take you to Yelapa waterfall and snorkeling for only $89.00.
3- Zona Romantica
Explore Zona Romantica– The nightlife in Puerta Vallarta is happening in the Romantic Zone, as there are trendy bars and nightclubs. You will find live music performances and special events from dusk till dawn. This neighborhood is known as the LGBT area.
4- Art Galleries
Puerto Vallarta is rich in history, traditions, art, and culture. Huichol art, crafts, and galleries feature colorful art pieces from an ancestral community. What is Huichol? It is multicolor beads that come together seamlessly that look like animals, pottery, or even jewelry. The art also features sacred objects such as prayer bowls.
Galleries to Visit:
Tierra Huichol- This art gallery features Huichol crafts.
Address: 1, Olas Atlas 246, Emiliano Zapata.
5- Los Arcos Marine National Park
Los Acros is also known as The Arches and is home to a group of beautiful granite islands that look like large rock formations. These arches, rocks, or islands did not exist several thousand years ago. They were hills that were a part of the mountainous coastal range. The sea wore down these hills and mountains. Multicolored fish and other species abound below the surface.
–Snorkeling– A Luxury Yacht Snorkel Tour is one you will not regret adding to your trip. Not only do you get to set sail on a catamaran, but you will also be able to go snorkeling and kayaking. The friendly crew knows the best places to go sightseeing in Puerto Vallarta, and you will be able to enjoy delicious food and drinks along the way. Be on the lookout for marine life such as dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and tropical fish! You can see humpback whales from December through March.
–Surfing– The best beaches to go surfing at in Puerto Vallarta are Sayulita, San Pancho, La Bahia, and Punta Burros. Sayulita is one of the most iconic spots because of its friendlier surf breaks. The waves are not too big, fast, or heavy. Surfboard rentals are available near the beach at various surf shops.
8- Scuba Diving
-Scuba Diving– The best place to go Scuba Diving in Puerto Vallarta is at Las Caletas or Marietas Islands. The Scuba Diving Tours at Vallarta Adventures range from $80.00 to $1,000, which depends on which place you select to go Scuba Diving and whether it is a group or private tour. You can not only find beautiful wildlife on these tours but also shipwrecks. The certified divers are super friendly!
9-Swimming with Dolphins
-Swim with Dolphins- Have you been dreaming of taking a swim with a dolphin? Swimming with dolphins is the ultimate underwater adventure. This Dolphin Tour is a 40-minute adventure where you swim with dolphins and learn about the behavior and communication of these marine mammals firsthand. The guides will also teach you about their eating habits and how they socialize with one another and human beings.
10- Kayaking/ Paddle Boarding
-Kayaking or Paddleboarding- The best tour to go kayaking, snorkeling, and chasing a waterfall in Yelapa is the one I have listed previously! Book your excursion here!
11- Jet Skiing
-Jet Skiing– Jet skiing in Puerta Vallarta is a super thrilling activity that will give you that adrenaline rush. Riding the waves and making quick turns along Los Arcos de Mismaloya is an adventure that will exceed your expectations. There is no experience required. This jet skiing tour is one that you will never forget and is super scenic!
–Flyboarding– This flyboarding tour takes place right off Los Muertos Beach and is perfect for thrill-seekers searching for a unique, adrenaline-pumping adventure. Flyboarding looks difficult; however, the certified professionals show you how easy it is.
13- Zip Lining
The best way to experience the beautiful mountains, rivers, and waterfalls in Puerta Vallarta is to go zip lining through it. Many certified companies offer zipline tours. Canopy Zipline is the safest, best zip lining tour for you if you are on a budget!
14- Horseback Riding
This horseback riding tour will take you to a hidden area where the jungle and the Sierra Madre meet. Rancho Capomo’s eco-tours on horseback is the perfect way to discover the wonders of nature.
There are hiking trails with breathtaking views in Puerto Vallarta, as this destination is super mountainous. The best hiking trails are Monkey Mountain, Sendero a las Cascadas, Boca de Tomatlan to Las Animas, and Mismaloya Waterfalls.
Rappelling down waterfalls is an adventure meant only for adrenaline seekers. The best way to experience Sierra Madre forests and refreshing river drips are alongside a professional tour guide who will be there to provide the proper gear, lead the way, and make you feel both safe and comfortable.
17- Sky Diving
Sky diving is also an adrenaline rush adventure, as you will board a plane that will take you 9,800 feet above the ground.
18- ATV Tour
The best way to experience Sierra Madre is via driving an ATV through it with a professional tour guide. This half-day adventure will take you through jungle rivers and villages. Both morning and afternoon departures are available.
19- Pirate Ship Dinner Cruise-
Enjoy dinner while on a ship in the sea with Live Music, fireworks, and entertainment. Characters on the boat wear specialized make-up and dress up as pirates. There will be delicious dinner options, excellent service, an open bar, and a pirate tavern with special effects! Book the pirate ship dinner cruise here!
20- Vallarta Botanical Gardens-
The best way to experience the Sierra Madre Mountain tropical forest is to visit the Vallarta Botanical Gardens. A few sections of this garden include the Cactus Garden and the Tropical Fruit Orchard. The jungle is where you will cross the hanging bridge and admire the magnificent trees that inhabit the area.
The best markets to visit are Isla Rio Cuale, a place for souvenirs, and the Old Town Farmers market, which opens every Saturday at Lazaro Cardenas Park. You can purchase local produce, handicrafts, and delicious snacks at the farmer’s market.
- Tour to Yelapa Waterfall
- Pirate Ship Dinner Cruise
- Zip Lining Tour
- Snorkeling and Kayaking Tour
- Scuba Diving Tour
- Swim with Dolphins Excursion
- Flyboarding Lesson
- Horseback Riding
- ATV Tour
We listed 21 things to do in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico! Have you ever been to Mexico? Please comment down below about your experience.
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Photos from my experience: