Looking for inspiration and things to do in Puerto Vallarta?
As a popular Mexican holiday destination, you’ll be more than happy to know that a trip here is one you won’t waste.
With so many cool things to do in Puerto Vallarta, you might want to take a look at this simple, easy to enjoy list of activities.
As you’ll probably be aware Mexico offers many amazing places; so what makes this beach resort such a special trip?
Things to do in Puerto Vallarta
Right before we get into what to do here it’s important to understand exactly where Puerto Vallarta is and how to get there.
Where is Puerto Vallarta?
Compared with Cancun, Puerto Vallarta is located on the west coast of Mexico, in the lively state of Jalisco.
It’s roughly 200km from Guadalajara and is close to the neighboring state of Nayarit, both of which are situated on the Pacific Coast.
See this guide on Puerto Vallarta versus Cancun for a more detailed comparison and the pros and cons of each location.
Getting to Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta is very accessible, thanks to developments in tourism and infrastructure. There is an airport that has direct flights to many other hotspots in Mexico.
The local bus system is of superb quality and has lots of connections.
From Mazatlan, in the north, will take you around 7 hours. From Guadalajara, you can expect a travel time of around 5 hours.
Things to do in Puerto Vallarta
Let’s start with things to do in Puerto Vallarta that will really make your time special. I think you’re really going to love these ideas.
Downtown Puerto Vallarta
Downtown is the beating heart and soul of Puerto Vallarta. You simply must visit during various times of the day to get an authentic feel of it!
With lots of bars, restaurants, and nightlife options to choose from, you’ll always find entertainment and goings-on in every corner.
Be sure to check out the several Seahorse and Mermaid statues that line the gorgeous malecón boardwalk!
The downtown area is the best to stay, as everything is within a short walking distance and only a short bus ride from the main station.
If traveling on a budget you’ll find many of Puerto Vallarta’s best-rated hostels in this area many of which are within a short walking distance.
Mirador de la Cruz
Mirador de la Cruz is easily one of the finest things to do in Puerto Vallarta and is on the list of most important points of interest.
It’s a stunning location, providing a tough but enjoyable hike that should take you around 15 minutes to half an hour from old town Puerto Vallarta.
Very much worth your time, with the sight at the top truly hard to take in. It’s one of the activities in Puerto Vallarta you can do by free.
This makes hiking in Puerto Vallarta true reality so be sure to bring a camera. Don’t leave without verified snaps of this tremendous sight from the top!
Which are the best places to go in Puerto Vallarta?
As usual, the markets are the best places to connect with locals here.
If you want to enjoy stopping off for local produce and some awesome sight, start here. You’ll find some great restaurants upstairs.
The market is a fine and exciting place to spend your time, offering plenty of local options for you to check out and see for yourself what they taste like.
For food lovers, the Mercado Municipal should be in the list of places to visit in Puerto Vallarta.
You’ll find all manner of amazing Mexican food waiting for you to try out should you be willing to go outside your comfort zone that day!
I can’t tell you what to do in Puerto Vallarta without mentioning the Marietas.
Here you have a truly special and enjoyable location: the kind that makes it so easy for you to enjoy and satisfy yourself.
There’re no excuses for missing this place, which offers you the top things to do in Puerto Vallarta.
Amazing sights to see, some great beach spots to relax upon, and easy hiring of a boat if you wish to enjoy the waves.
Be sure to come with a knowledgable guide if you wish to see the animals all up-close and personal and get Instagram worth photos.
This is by far, one of the fun things to do in Puerto Vallarta you can’t miss, many people come here because it has some special animals.
If you’re thinking of traveling alone don’t be shy – that’s ok too.
Go to Sayulita
Another great thing to do in Puerto Vallarta is to take a trip north to the haven of Sayulita.
It’s widely considered one of the best surf spots in Mexico and attracts pros from all over the world. See this guide on things to do in Sayulita to learn what’s on offer here.
Even if you’re not into surfing it’s still worthwhile. It still retains an off the beaten path vibe and is full of palm-fringed coastline and cozy beach-side bars. It will take you roughly an hour to arrive.
Las Caletas Beach Hideaway
The beaches in Mexico always offer you an array of unique things to see and do.
But few places can be more enjoyable to visit than a trip to the Las Caletas Beach Hideaway. Do you like Dolphins? Prepare to be amazed.
Though rich in arts and culture, when travelling to Puerto Vallarta you must find a way to get to Las Caletas the private beach.
It’s a truly enjoyable location that makes it nice and easy for you to rest and relax.
One of the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta or close-by at least. A great location for families with many activities on offer – you’ll not be disappointed.
Activities like watching the sunset and enjoy a candlelit dinner are on the list of best things to do in Puerto Vallarta you can do in Las Caletas Beach.
It’s got ample protection from the baking heat, while the amazing sights found on the beach will make it nice and easy for you to just relax.
Vallarta Tequila Tasting
Of course, it would be rude to come to this special part of the world and leave without trying their special tequilas.
Tequila tasting in Puerto Vallarta is definitely a must for aficionados of spirits and travelers alike.
However, adding this to your list of things to do in Puerto Vallarta won’t be possible without a mandatory plan.
Be sure to reserve one of the numerous tequila tasting sessions and you should be able to enjoy around 1.5 hours for around $40!
Perfect for those who wish to go wild, just be warned that these tequilas are totally different from those back home.
For those who like a party, though, the tequila tasting sessions are among the most enjoyable things to do in Puerto Vallarta.
El Malecon Boardwalk
So, on your journey to Latin America, you continue looking for things to see in Puerto Vallarta. Well, don’t leave without checking this out.
El Malecon Boardwalk! It’s one of the free things to do in Puerto Vallarta, which gives you a memorable experience on its own.
Not to mention it will leave you with some truly enjoyable views of the local area.
If coming here during the night you can read some of the safety tips for Puerto Vallarta that I have written.
The sculptures are a special attraction, there’s around 40 all made by Mexican artists. So it’s one of the things you must see in Puerto Vallarta.
Be sure to come here and check it out, as you should be able to snap a few postcard-worthy shots just by taking a quick look around.
This is the perfect location for a travel drone if you want to grab a few panoramic shots of that amazing coastline whilst at one of the popular Puerto Vallarta beaches.
This is one of those unique things to do in Puerto Vallarta that will keep you entertained.
It’s not unusual for me to allocate a percentage of my travel budget to do some kind of learning experience. It could be a cooking class or some kind of language class.
I imagine that if you’re traveling on a backpacker’s budget, you’ll be looking for free things to do in Puerto Vallarta when you get there.
One of my favorite things to recommend for Puerto Vallarta is the Chocolate museum.
You can walk inside and learn about the chocolate-making process for free, but, if you’d like to try your hand at making your own chocolate this is the best place to do it.
This a great cultural experience that you can have and don’t worry if you don’t speak even the most basic Spanish because the guides at Choco Museo are bilingual and speak English too.
Travel Tips For Puerto Vallarta
Outside of those things to do in Puerto Vallarta, I want to list a couple of other tips that I feel will help you get the most out of your trip.
In every travel guide, I write I try to add some useful tips that you can easily implement into your itinerary.
So you’ll find plenty of interesting plans you must do in Puerto Vallarta. I.e. from El Centro you’ll be thrilled to know that most locations including the Mirador de la Cruz are reachable on foot.
Walking is the perfect way to get some exercise whilst you explore.
When looking around this amazing city, various opportunities await. Which opportunities, then, deserve your attention first and foremost?
Puerto Vallara travel tips:
- Stay in the Los Muertos area for the best possible experience.
- Consider spending around 5 days here to explore the area and beyond.
- Check out Tacos Revolucion for some budget, authentic Mexican dishes.
- Head to La Vaquita Nightclub, the best club along the malecón.
- Take a day trip up to the haven that is Sayulita for some chill vibes.
- Head to the gorgeous Marieta Islands for some picturesque beaches.
- Walk down to Playa Amapas for a more secluded beach experience.
You could most of these things within the space of a couple of days if you plan your trip in advance.
Travel Insurance for Mexico
Staying safe whilst traveling in any foreign country is a must. Making sure you have a decent travel insurance cover is imperative.
I always recommend backpackers and travelers (no matter who you are) use World Nomads Insurance for fully comprehensive cover.
If you are due to travel soon, you can get a Get A Free Quote by clicking the link or the image above and filling out your details – that way you’ll get instant cover from the exact date that you choose.
On many occasions World Nomads has provided me with reliable insurance cover for travel in Latin America and the rest of the world.
Puerto Vallarta: Things to do
Look around, and you will soon grow to appreciate and enjoy all that awaits you here. It’s a location that puts relaxation and natural beauty at the heart of the journey.
For this reason, the numerous things to do in Puerto Vallarta will ensure you find something fun, exciting, and refreshing to take on!
For the adventurers reading this, I also found there are many similar things to do in Mazatlan, a Mexican resort town with a slighter slower pace – great if you are looking for more ideas, check it out.
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