A popular destination for international and domestic travelers, Puerto Vallarta is one of the most popular ports in Mexico. Unlike many other beach resort cities that have become overly touristy, Puerto Vallarta retains its roots and Mexican charms. Here, the ocean meets the jungle, which meets the mountains. Whether you’re a backpacker, a travelling couple, or a digital nomad, you’ll find lots here to keep you occupied. Without further ado, here are the six top things to do in Puerto Vallarta!
1. Take a walk on the Malecòn
One of the most popular things to do in Puerto Vallarta is to stroll on the Malecòn. This 1.5km long walkway along the coast takes visitors between Centro down to Zona Romantica. The Malecòn is closed to vehicles, so you can take your time without having to deal with the busy traffic. Along the way, take in views of the Bay of Banderas, the beaches, live performances, and check out some of the hottest restaurants of Puerto Vallarta. This is a lively spot, and you can always find something going on here regardless of the time of day.
2. Check out Zona Romantica
You can’t come to Puerto Vallarta and not check out its historic district. Zona Romantica is the heart and soul of the city, characterized by its bright colours and red-tile roofs. This is also where the popular Playa de Muerto is located. There is a pier here which lights up every evening, and visitors can hop on a water taxi to check out some of the more secluded beaches in the area. For fresh local produce, make sure to stop by the Old Town Farmers Market that’s open every Saturday.
3. Go beach hopping
Puerto Vallarta is fringed with shoreline, but they’re very popular and tend to be very crowded. For a more relaxing time, head slightly out of town. Las Gemelas is 20 minutes away by car, south of Puerto Vallarta. It’s a local spot, which means less tourists and more space to sprawl out under the sun! For more of an adventure, Colomitos Beach is a hidden beach surrounded by the mountains of Sierra Madre. To get there you can either take a water taxi, or a 40-minute hike from Boca de Tomatlán. There are no restaurants or facilities here, so make sure to bring snacks, water and everything you need!
4. Join walking tours
Walking is the best way to explore Puerto Vallarta. But if you want to learn more about its history and culture, walking tours are a great way to start. Puerto Vallarta Walking Tours have different programs where you can visit workshops and markets, meet local artisans and vendors, learn about interesting history, and visit places you may not find on your own. Getting an insight into the city you’re in is best with a knowledgeable guide!
5. See the Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe
The Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe is an iconic part of the Puerto Vallarta skyline. You can visit the parish and stop to admire the architecture on your walk on the Malecòn, or going inside to see the gorgeous interior or even attending Mass. English services are held on Saturdays at 5 pm, while a bilingual service takes place every Sunday at 10 am. During the Feast of Guadalupe, the church buzzes with activity from 1 Dec to 12 Dec. If you’re here during this time, check out the music, dancing and street processions.
6. Delve into its culinary scene
Puerto Vallarta is a culinary hotbed with food for all budgets and tastes. It enjoys its popularity partly thanks to its gastronomic offerings. During your time here, you can check out charming hidden spots, award-winning restaurants, oceanfront trattorias and bistros, traditional Mexican restaurants, cafés and dessert bars, and just about everything your palate craves. For our recommendations, make sure to check out these Puerto Vallarta restaurants!