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Things to do in Puerto Vallarta

Things to do in  Puerto Vallarta

Welcome to Puerto Vallarta

Travelers seeking sun-drenched coastal beauty and outdoor adventure, look no further—Puerto Vallarta has it all. After spending a day on dazzling white-sand beaches or wandering the town’s quaint central streets, it’s easy to see why it ranks as one of Mexico’s most popular coastal destinations. Traditional markets and fragrant street-food stands make for delicious food tours, while nearby rainforests and the Sierra Madre mountains create opportunities for horseback riding, ziplining, and ATV driving. For water lovers, the reefs surrounding the Marietas Islands and Banderas Bay teem with tropical fish and bottlenose dolphins, ideal for scuba diving and snorkelling. El Malecon, Puerto Vallarta’s hip-and-happening oceanfront boardwalk, and Zona Romantica (Old Town) are ideal spots for sunset strolls. Once the sun has set, revelers flock to the neon glow of Marina Vallarta, a modern strip pulsing with restaurants, bars, and clubs. Dedicated party animals take a VIP nightclub tour of Puerto Vallarta to enjoy an open bar and skip-the-line entry to the city’s trendiest venues. With summer comes the chance to observe humpback whales on a whale-watching cruise while in the tropical paradise of Las Caletas, jungles and caves harbor wildlife year-round. Guided day trips to traditional Mexican villages and tequila distilleries offer an opportunity to get to know the local culture.

Top 10 attractions in Puerto Vallarta

#1
El Malecon

El Malecon

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Like most boardwalks, Puerto Vallarta’s promenade, known as El Malecon, is dotted with sightseeing opportunities, cafes, shops, galleries, and performers. Overlooking the Bay of Banderas, the mile-long stretch offers scenic views during the day. And in the evening, the waterfront nightclubs and discos open their doors to party-seeking locals and visitors.More
#2
Marietas Islands (Islas Marietas)

Marietas Islands (Islas Marietas)

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The small, uninhabited Marietas Islands (Islas Marietas) are located in the Bay of Banderas off Mexico’s Pacific coast. Making up a UNESCO-listed biosphere reserve, the islands are famous for their abundant wildlife and provide a chance to escape the crowds of many Mexican beach resorts, hop on a boat, and explore the islands’ natural delights.More
#3
Los Arcos National Marine Park

Los Arcos National Marine Park

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At Los Arcos National Marine Park in Puerto Vallarta there are islands to visit, reefs to dive, tunnels to swim through, and caves to explore, providing plenty of the arches that give Los Arcos (the Arches) its name. This protected area is famous for its abundant wildlife, both above and below the ocean’s surface, and is a popular snorkeling spot.More
#4
Banderas Bay (Bahia de Banderas)

Banderas Bay (Bahia de Banderas)

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Located near Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific coast, Banderas Bay (Bahía de Banderas) is famous for its 42-mile (68-kilometer) stretch of picturesque coast. Jungle, sandy beaches, and rich aquatic life define this area, which is ideal for watersports and land adventures alike.More
#5
Nuevo Vallarta

Nuevo Vallarta

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The 13,045-foot (3,976-meter) Acatenango volcano towers over the colonial city of Antigua. While many travelers opt for the more-gentle ascent of the Pacaya Volcano, this twin-peaked volcano offers incredible views of its nearest volcanic neighbor, Fuego, which regularly spits out plumes of gas, ash, and hot lava.More
#6
Zona Romantica

Zona Romantica

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Puerto Vallarta's Romantic Zone (Zona Romantica)—also called the Old Town, South Side, or Old Vallarta—sits away from the hotel zone and just steps from Los Muertos Beach. With artisan shops, streetside taco stands, and lively cantinas, this area of winding cobblestone streets maintains a more traditional, laid-back feel than the rest of the city.More
#7
Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe)

Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe)

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Puerto Vallarta’s Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe was built over the course of several decades in the first half of the 20th century. Built in rustic pink stone, to a neo-baroque design, one of the prettiest details is the crown that tops the church bell tower.The liveliest time to visit the church is December 1 to 12, when crowds celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe with street processions, festive food and mariachi music. The festival coincides with the anniversary of the founding of Puerto Vallarta, so locals have even more reason to celebrate.More
#8
Marina Vallarta

Marina Vallarta

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One of the major attractions in Puerto Vallarta, Marina Vallarta is a self-contained stretch of boardwalk, white sand and retail outlets that has become so well-known for its beauty and success that it was a model for its sister cities of Cabo, Mazatlan, Ixtapa and Cancun. Easily identifiable by its large, 450-slip marina and lush 18-hole golf course, Marina Vallarta’s main attraction is its beautiful promenade, whereupon you’ll find numerous boutique beachfront shops and restaurants, including a lighthouse that makes for great viewing of the bay.More
#9
Los Muertos Beach (Playa Los Muertos)

Los Muertos Beach (Playa Los Muertos)

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For an authentic and lively Puerto Vallarta beach experience, Los Muertos Beach (Playa Los Muertos) can’t be beat. Located just south of Olas Altas Beach in the Romantic Zone, this gay-friendly stretch of sand fronts a pier and is lined with bars and restaurants. Locals and families also love this beach and its diverse crowd.More
#10
Vallarta Botanical Gardens (Jardín Botánico de Vallarta)

Vallarta Botanical Gardens (Jardín Botánico de Vallarta)

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Lush tropical foliage, hummingbird-watching hot spots, and orchid sanctuaries are just three of the attractions you’ll find at the Vallarta Botanical Gardens (Jardín Botánico de Vallarta). A rich and diverse array of flora and fauna—mostly native—dominates the 20-acre (8-hectare) expanse of jungle. Follow jungle paths, wander curated gardens, and marvel at the koi pond as part of a scenic Puerto Vallarta day trip.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 2 Days in Puerto Vallarta

How to Spend 2 Days in Puerto Vallarta

Tequila Tastings in Puerto Vallarta

Tequila Tastings in Puerto Vallarta

Romantic Sailing Tours in Puerto Vallarta

Romantic Sailing Tours in Puerto Vallarta

Top activities in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta Cruise and Candlelight Dinner Show
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Marietas Islands: Snorkel Cruise from Puerto Vallarta
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Full-Day Puerto Vallarta City Highlights Tour

Special Offer

Full-Day Puerto Vallarta City Highlights Tour

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From
US$24.65
US$29.00  US$4.35 savings
8 Passenger Vallarta Private City Tour

8 Passenger Vallarta Private City Tour

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US$280.00
per group
Luxury Yacht & Snorkel in Puerto Vallarta
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Sierra Madre ATV Adventure from Puerto Vallarta
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Day Sailing on Banderas Bay
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Day Sailing on Banderas Bay

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ATV-Zip Line Combo Adventure Tour from Puerto Vallarta
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Recent reviews from experiences in Puerto Vallarta

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Awesome sunset photo shoot
Erika_T, Jan 2021
Romantic Photo Session in Puerto Vallarta with a Professional Photographer
Can’t wait to see our pics next week!
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Winderful
Kimberly_A, Dec 2020
Las Caletas Puerto Vallarta
So serene and so may different things to do.
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A private tour of a wonderful town
liefeldc, Jan 2021
Downtown Puerto Vallarta Food Tour
When out tour came to an end, we were sad to see Miel go.
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Wonderful
Kimberly_A, Dec 2020
Las Caletas Puerto Vallarta
It is such a relaxing day, with several activities one can participate in.
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Getting dusty and dirty has never been so fun
Jeff_H, Nov 2020
ATV Adventure Tour in Puerto Vallarta Including Tequila Tasting
The waterfall was very pretty and many in the groups that joined us there jumped right in.
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Best part of our trip
Monica, Nov 2020
ATV Adventure Tour in Puerto Vallarta Including Tequila Tasting
The views were amazing and the waterfall was beautiful.
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Our best ATV adventure!
AllieG, Oct 2020
Sierra Madre ATV Adventure from Puerto Vallarta
It was really cool to pass through villages on the drive and get to see the locals.
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Magnificent Tour
raana, Feb 2020
Whale Research Adventure at 9am (Guaranteed sighting)
We were so fortunate to see these beautiful Humpback whales, during birthing and mating season in the warm waters of Bandaras Bay Puerto Vallarta !!!
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Highlight of Puerto Vallarta
brittc, Feb 2020
Downtown Puerto Vallarta Food Tour
A great way to see Puerto Vallarta and sample some of its finest food.
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Great way to see the city!
Cosmopolitan716115, Nov 2019
Full-Day Puerto Vallarta City Highlights Tour
It was our first time to Puerto Vallarta and we really wanted to see the city with a tour so we could get some history and local knowledge as well.
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pirate sailing cruise
Journey48628246114, Dec 2018
Puerto Vallarta Pirate Sailing Cruise
the crew was very friendly and attentative and made sure everyone from the kids to the older folks were included in the activities.
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This is an AWESOME way to see Puerto...
Phylicia J, Aug 2017
Private Tour: Puerto Vallarta ATV Adventure
This is an AWESOME way to see Puerto Vallarta; I'm so glad we did this.
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Highlight of our trip! We only had...
Devin F, May 2017
Private Tour in El Malecon Boardwalk Bike Ride
We only had one day in Puerto Vallarta as part of our cruise and this was the perfect way to see the city without walking all day.
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The city tour was a lot of fun! The...
Olivia B, Jun 2017
Full-Day Puerto Vallarta City Highlights Tour
Thankfully our tour guide spoke English and Spanish even though my bf and I were the only non-Spanish speaking people in our group.
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We took this tour over Christmas and...
Clarene M, Apr 2018
South Shore Private Sightseeing Cruise in Puerto Vallarta
Great way to see a different perspective of Puerto Vallarta.
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AMAZING tour guides, we went at our...
suzzstravels, Apr 2016
Private Tour: Puerto Vallarta ATV Adventure
They also took us to amazing parts of puerto vallarta that allowed us to see the town from a local's perspective which made us love Puerto Vallarta even more
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This was by far THE BEST tour we...
Meghan M, Oct 2015
Puerto Vallarta Outdoor Adventure Zip Line and Speedboat Ride
If going during their summer/rainy season, WEAR BUG SPRAY!!
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A Very Fun Half Day ATV Trip!
janqin, Jan 2020
Private Tour: El Eden ATV Adventure from Puerto Vallarta
There was a beautiful waterfall to hang out at.
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Great Island Tour
amyws2020, Jan 2020
Marietas Islands and Snorkeling Cruise in Puerto Vallarta All Inclusive
The crew spoke both English and Spanish and were very customer service oriented.
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Overall, a good tour
CruiseTraveler122020, Jan 2020
Puerto Vallarta City Tour
Our guide was experienced, engaging, very fluent in English and knowledgeable about sights to see in Puerto Vallarta.

All about Puerto Vallarta

When to visit

During the summer months of December through February, migratory humpback whales flock to the warm Pacific waters of Puerto Vallarta, bringing hundreds of nature lovers and sun worshippers with them. For fewer crowds, cooler temperatures, and lower room rates, visit in April just before the rainy season begins.

A local’s pocket guide to Puerto Vallarta

Lauren Cocking

Born in Yorkshire and based in Mexico City, Lauren has lived in Mexico for close to a decade. Puerto Vallarta is one of the few coastal destinations she returns to regularly, despite sand being her greatest nemesis.

The first thing you should do in Puerto Vallarta is...

visit the Malecón, the lively boardwalk that runs the length of the Old Town. Watch out for the Voladores de Papantla performances and try tuba, a fermented coconut-y drink.

A perfect Saturday in Puerto Vallarta...

starts with brunch at a café in the Versalles neighborhood (or the Los Coapinoles buffet in the mountains), involves a stroll around the Marina, a seafood lunch, and drinks in El Faro bar at sunset.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

Vallarta Botanical Gardens. Just a 45-minute coastal bus ride from the center, the gardens include a quiet river, nature trails, curated greenhouses, and even an orchid house. They’re gorgeous.

To discover the "real" Puerto Vallarta...

go beyond the central Los Muertos Beach. Head south down the coast to Conchas Chinas or Playa Palmares for quiet, sandy shores without the crowds.

For the best view of the city...

climb to the Cerro de la Cruz viewpoint. The slopes and steps are steep and unforgiving but the cool breeze and panoramic views make it more than worthwhile.

One thing people get wrong...

is that Puerto Vallarta is a spring break destination. For some people it is, but it’s also a beautiful and historic coastal city with more to offer than cheap booze, boat rides, and bars.

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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What are the top things to do in Puerto Vallarta?
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What are the top activities in Puerto Vallarta?
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What are the top things to do near Puerto Vallarta?
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What do I need to know before visiting Puerto Vallarta?