This is more than just a coastal resort getaway. Somehow Puerto Vallarta — also known as “Vallarta” or just “PV” — maintains a small-town atmosphere, while still boasting one of the most unique and sophisticated ocean fronts in Mexico.
Sunbathing and sipping margaritas is just one of many ways to spend a vacation in Puerto Vallarta. Mexico’s prettiest resort town is also one of its most diverse. Old Vallarta, El Centro and the Zona Romántica, is a haven of quirky boutiques and winding cobblestone streets. In Marina Vallarta, shopping centers and deluxe hotels spread around the city’s yacht marina. In Puerto Vallarta you will find miles of sandy beaches and tons of highly-rated restaurants and lively nightclubs. All surrounded by historic mountain towns, keep visitors returning again and again. To learn more about all the beautiful beaches of the Mexican Riviera, visit here. Now view our Puerto Vallarta Travel Guide to help plan your next Mexican Riviera vacation!
Puerto Vallarta Weather – When to Visit
The best time to visit Puerto Vallarta is between April and June when the weather is pleasant and the room rates are affordable. During these months, rain is scarce and there are fewer tourists compared to the winter high season. If you’re interested in whale watching, however, visit from December to March. Just prepare yourself for the area’s most astronomical travel fares.
Puerto Vallarta Attractions
A great place to experience the joys of a resort town. If you have the time to spare, take a bus to this beach hideaway up the coastline for an afternoon of fishing, swimming, art gallery-gazing or beachside dining. If you’re looking for a place off the tourist track, Bucerias is your secluded oasis. Sometimes here, you can find yourself as the only ones on the beach.
Bahía de Banderas (Banderas Bay)
Whether you’re relaxing on the beach, testing the city’s nightlife, or checking out the stingrays in the bright blue waters, the pristine beauty of Bahía de Banderas will be the hallmark of your stay. A good recommendation is to rent a villa or hotel along the bay, though some of the accommodations can be pricier than those inland. If you’re interested in snorkeling, try the bay’s southern end.
Los Arcos and El Malecón
Los Arcos refers to the row of arches in the oceanfront square of Plaza Morelos on the city’s southern end. The dramatic seaside arches also serve as an amphitheater. Los Arcos is a great place to stroll during the evenings, especially along the Malecón, the oceanfront walkway that runs along a portion of the Bahía de Banderas. Here you’ll find an assortment of sand sculptures, statues, art pieces, street performers and merchants. Free cultural performances on the Malecón and at Los Arcos are standard during the weekends.
Isla Río Cuale
Isla Río Cuale is almost in the heart of the city and is actually an island set upon an inlet of the Banderas Bay. To see the island, simply walk south from the old town until you run into the chain bridges that bring you to the island. The island’s small crafts and fruit markets are reminiscent of the city’s pre-resort past. The island also contains a small museum for those interested in PV’s archaeological and cultural history known to have great sculptures.
This charming south side neighborhood is more for the laid-back and less resort-conscious tourists. Zona Romantica is a must-see. The area contains a number of the city’s best restaurants, excellent cultural opportunities and the most popular beach in the city: Playa Los Muertos. You’ll find a bunch of smaller grocery stores, restaurants and Internet cafes away from the beach, as well as fewer peddlers selling souvenirs.
Puerto Vallarta Tours & Activities
Private Tour: Xochimilco, Coyoacan and Frida Kahlo Museum
Ride a traditional barge through Xochimilco canals, then visit Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera landmarks on an immersive private tour of Aztec history and Mexico City art. This tour includes round-trip hotel transfer and admission to Xochimilco, the Museo Diego Rivera Anahuacalli, and Casa Azul, and features the mosaic murals at UNAM. Read more about Xochimilco, Coyoacan, Frida Kahlo Museum Private Tour
Puerto Vallarta Sunset Cruise and Candlelight Dinner Show
Immerse yourself in the magical mysticism of Las Caletas by night with an enchanting evening excursion from Puerta Vallarta. Watch the sun sink into the shimmering sea as you sail to a secluded beach surrounded by rugged rock formations. Dine upon a gourmet 3-course meal by candlelight before watching the renowned Rhythms of the Night show, a stunning spectacle that promises to transport viewers to a spiritual land that time forgot. Read more about Puerto Vallarta Sunset Cruise and Candlelight Dinner with Show
Puerto Vallarta Outdoor Adventure Tour
Satisfy an appetite for adrenaline on a thrilling 6.5-hour outdoor adventure tour from Puerto Vallerta. Enjoy an exhilarating ecological experience packed with challenges and fun on this Puerta Vallerta Adventure; ride on a super-fast speedboat; rappel down rushing waterfalls; ride powerful 4×4 jeeps; soar over the tree tops on zip lines and cross suspended rope bridges hanging high above the jungle. This tour is the ideal way to spend an exciting day outdoors on your Puerta Valletra vacation. Read more about Puerto Vallarta Outdoor Adventure Tour
Marietas Islands: Snorkel Cruise
Explore the magnificent marine life of the Mexican Pacific and the Bay of Banderas on an exciting full-day tour from Puerta Vallarta. Snorkel to observe an incredible underwater wonderland; kayak in the warm waters of the Marietas Islands; and watch for exotic birds flying in their natural habitat. Look out for dolphins, whales, giant manta rays, and sea turtles as an experienced guide directs your attention to the wonders of nature on this eco-adventure. Read more about Marietas Islands: Kayak, Snorkel Cruise
Canopy & Speed Boat Adventure in Puerto Vallarta: Los Veranos
Soar through the treetops of the rain forest straight into a tequila bar during this canopy tour, which begins with an optional speedboat ride. On Puerto Vallarta’s first-ever zipline circuit, you’ll cover 2 miles (3 km) on strong cables suspended 328 feet (100 meters) in the air and enjoy panoramic vistas. Conclude the exhilarating experience with time to swim, kayak, and race down a waterslide, or greet the diverse wildlife of the on-site menagerie. Read more about Puerto Vallarta Zipline Tour and Speed Boat Ride: Los Veranos
Best Puerto Vallarta Restaurants
La Palapa $11 – 30
La Palapa takes beachfront dining to another level with efficient and personal service. This can all be enjoyed while feeling the sand between your toes. A family-owned and -run restaurant, La Palapa combines fresh, local ingredients with Asian and French elements. This makes for some tasty dishes, all at a reasonable price. The selling point here, however, is the combination of such good food with such an amazing view. Telephone: 52-322-222-5225 Web: La Palapa.
Playa Detox $11 – 30
Playa Detox is a recently opened and locally owned vegan restaurant and juice bar. It has a focus on cutting the acidity from our diets. The coconut ceviches are a stand-out menu item, offering a fruity twist on the classic beachfront favorite. They are served piled high on a crisp tostada. Combine with a fresh, cold-press juice for a refreshingly healthy lunch. It’s handily located opposite a beautiful yoga studio, and regularly offers healthy living sessions on the premises. Playa Detox is a must-visit for both vegans and those feeling the effects of holiday overindulgence alike. Telephone: 52-322-224-6714 Web: Playa Detox.
El Coleguita $11 – 30
A Puerto Vallarta institution, El Coleguita has three locations in the area, but the best views are offered down by the marina. Grab a table on the terraza to really take advantage of the stunning scenery, but don’t feel like you need to dress up for the occasion. El Coleguita has a relaxed, friendly vibe and excellent freshly caught and cooked seafood. There are also complementary tequila shots and banana desserts with every order. If the vegan ceviche from Playa Detox doesn’t float your boat, come and try the original down by the docks at El Coleguita. Telephone: 52-322-167-8095 Web: Mariscos El Coleguita.
El Arrayán $11 – 30
Dine in comfort at El Arrayán, with tables surrounding the picturesque courtyard, whose trees more often than not provided the fruits for your delicious cocktails. Arrayanes are a little-known Mexican fruit, more subtle in taste than tamarind. This offers a lovely parallel to the offerings of the restaurant itself – still overwhelmingly Mexican, yet with a refined touch and are the inspiration for the restaurant’s name. Serving traditional almost gourmet Oaxacan-inspired cuisine, this atmospheric restaurant is located a few streets back from the malecón. It is accommodating for those following gluten-free diets and alters the common misconception that Mexican food is always cheese- and grease-heavy. Telephone: 52-322-222-7195 Web: El Arrayan.
Florios $11 – 30
Florios has customers flocking in to try the delectable thin crust pizzas and pastas, generously topped with Mexican and Argentine-inspired salsas. The ever popular chimichurri comes highly recommended, accompanied by a refreshing agua fresca to combat the famous Vallarta heat. Located downtown, the brightly decorated, cozy Florios often has live music. Don’t miss the opportunity to take a break from exploring the malecón. Enjoy the excellent service, affordable food, and meet the friendly owner, Miguel. The 2-for-1 offers on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays only add to the appeal. Telephone: 52-322-222-1765 Web: Florios.
Best Puerto Vallarta Bars & Nightlife
Devil’s Bar is right on a prime corner of El Malecon so you can enjoy your cocktail and the fresh ocean air at the same time. It’s a great sports bar if you’re away from home during the big game, and the perfect place to relax and make new friends. The staff is extremely friendly and the bartender will mix you whatever you want. Because of its location, it’s also a great place to hang back from the crowds and watch festivities on El Malecon like parades for Mexican Independence Day or Dia de Muertos. Telephone: 52-322-223-8327 Web: Devil’s Bar.
Are you ready to get the party started? Because at Mandala you’ll be dancing all night long. The scene is relaxed and friendly, not what you’ll find at clubs in Hollywood. Everyone just wants to have a good time! It’s a great place to go with friends and they play a variety of music including Spanish language and popular American songs. Get a table and prepared to be treated like royalty. The staff is extremely attentive and will keep your drinks flowing and your cigarettes lit. Telephone: 52-322-224-7437 Web: Mandala.
Zoo Dance Bar
This place is crazy and memorable for sure. Climb the ladder to get on the back platform where they sometimes spray you with foam. They even have a wet t-shirt contest on Tuesdays! Don’t be afraid to check it out during the day time too. The food is great and you’re right on El Malecon for easy people watching. With the fun decor, your kids will love it too. Just be sure not to leave without taking a picture with the giant gorilla in the entrance. Telephone: 522-322-150-6574 Web: Zoo Dance Bar.
Bar La Playa
If you want great cocktails, visit Bar La Playa. With fresh ingredients and unusual combinations, you won’t be disappointed. Beer and wine is also served, but do yourself a favor and try a fancy mixed drink instead. The craft cocktails are made to order without a bottled mix in sight. Happy hour is 3-5 but stay until 6 if you like more of a crowd. It’s the perfect place to start the night before hitting the town! Telephone: 52-322-100-2272 Web: Bar La Playa.
At Andale, there’s never a dull moment. It’s popular for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and has a great bar and entertainment. It’s also a perfect place to dance and meet new people. They even have a donkey at night. This place has it all! It’s loud and can get packed shoulder to shoulder, but the best part is that you can dance on the bar. Telephone: 52-322-222-1054 Web: Andale.
Best Puerto Vallarta Hotels
Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit
Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit is a luxurious all-inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, featuring an award-winning spa, incredible dining and entertainment, playful activities, kids club, stylish event space, and a breathtaking landscape on the emera.
Hotel Mousai is the first and only AAA Five Diamond rated resort in Puerto Vallarta and the state of Jalisco, where fresh flirtatious aesthetics and cutting-edge comfort will inspire you to live sensationally at the beach.
Escape to a beautiful beach resort in Puerto Vallarta for an indulgent vacation refuge with sublime dining, a pristine beach, ocean club, golf courses, pools and a spa. Our spectacular resort is within walking distance of Puerto Vallarta’s sophisticated 500-slip marina and 15 minutes from the city center.
Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa
Spectacularly flanked by the vibrant blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and the verdanant tropical forests of the Sierra Madre mountains, Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa nestles gracefully just minutes south of historic Puerto Vallarta, one of Mexico’s most dynamic and sophisticated vacation destinations.All Suites feature in-style decor that include marble floors, granite countertops, private terraces, whirlpool tubs and artisan in room amenities.Our ultra-chic gourmet restaurant is one of Puerto Vallarta’s most sophisticated and premier dining options, catering breathtaking ocean views, a stylish lounge, a 230 label award-winning wine cellar, and a selection of unique contemporary dishes tailored to scintillate your senses.
Grand Miramar All Luxury Suites & Residences
Situated 5 minutes south of the Puerto Vallarta Downtown, Grand Miramar, an intimate, elegant boutique resort with a Contemporary style, surrounded by the lush tropical Sierra Madre Mountains and facing those breathtaking bay views.ACCOMMODATIONSGrand Miramar features Residences of 4,3,2 and 1 bedrooms, contemporary concept with interior decor meets serenity and luxury accommodations, full size balconies with beautiful ocean views, granite countertops in kitchens and bathrooms, marble floor throughout, hard wood furniture, luxurious high thread – count linens, high-end appliances including microwave and dishwasher, and sophisticated colors that let you drift away into your own private world.