Sail into the calm Bay of Banderas for a warm Mexican welcome at Puerto Vallarta, a former fishing community turned vacation destination. This beach resort on Mexico’s Pacific Coast offers a cobblestoned colonial old town, coves and gullies perfect for snorkeling, and warm waters that attract humpback whales.
Puerto Vallarta’s number one attraction is its beaches. After soaking up the rays, stroll the waterfront promenade to shop for souvenirs, or explore the colonial architecture on a guided tour. Alternately, take a boat to see dolphins or sea lions, or set sail for snorkeling and swimming at Marietas Islands. Other escapes take you zipping across the rainforest canopy or through the coastal mountains on an ATV. End the day on a sunset cruise across Banderas Bay.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Don’t forget your bathing suit and towel if you plan to hit the beach.
- The sun is unforgiving in Puerto Vallarta (especially in summer), and tours tend towards activity, so wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
- Puerto Vallarta is in the state of Jalisco, so it’s a great place to pick up some tequila.
How to Get to Puerto Vallarta from the Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port
If your ship is moored at Puerto Vallarta, you’ll dock at the Marina Vallarta Maritime Terminal, three miles (five kilometers) north of the city center. Alternatively, your ship might anchor just offshore, in which case a tender floats you ashore. Taxis line up to take you downtown; negotiate the fare before you head off.
Puerto Vallarta is a popular cruise port frequented by most major cruise lines. While Spanish is the local language, English is widely spoken. The local currency is Mexican pesos, and it’s usually cheaper to use pesos rather than US dollars. There are ATMs throughout Puerto Vallarta.