Paradise is waiting for you in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico! This magical city, best known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, and electrifying nightlife, is the perfect place for your next vacation!
Looking for adventure? Spend the day on the water kayaking or jet skiing! In the mood for some rest and relaxation? Enjoy a sun soaked yoga session with one of the city's yoga groups or visit a spa at one of the luxurious hotels. Want to learn more about Puerto Vallarta’s history? Take a trip downtown to see the city’s incredible sculptures, murals, and architecture.
Sounds amazing, right? That’s because it is! You’ll truly get a little bit of everything at this one of a kind location.
More from SwimLife
Everything you need to know before a trip to Puerto Vallarta.
Where is Puerto Vallarta, Mexico?
Puerto Vallarta is located on the Pacific coast, in the State of Jalisco, the cradle of the mariachi, the tequila, the charro — in short, the Mexican spirit. In Puerto Vallarta you will experience that spirit, with the added bonus of a beach and the mountains!
How do I get to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico?
You can get here any which way you want! With direct flight by every major airline landing in the Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR) on a daily basis, cruise calls and easy land connectivity. You are invited to the party!
Any interesting historic notes about Puerto Vallarta?
Puerto Vallarta just celebrated its centennial last May. The only international destination in Mexico not created as a tourism destination, it is home to an actual Mexican city with colonial architecture and history.
What is Puerto Vallarta known for and why?
Puerto Vallarta is know as paradise! Beautiful beaches, fun in the sun, R+R.
What is the weather like in Puerto Vallarta?
We average 75 degrees.
What is the best time of year to travel to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico?
We’re open year-round but the humpbach whales, thousands of birds and baby alligators favor November, so if you want to mingle with them, get here then.
What are the beaches like in Puerto Vallarta?
The Puerto Vallarta area offers 26 miles of beautiful beaches along picturesque Banderas Bay, set on the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean.
For travelers wishing to explore the natural oasis and warm Pacific Ocean waters in a secluded setting, Puerto Vallarta offers a variety of ways to enjoy its many tropical beaches. Take a round-trip water taxi ride out of Los Muertos Beach to secluded coves or isolated beaches like Colomitos, Las Animas, Boca de Tomatlan, Majahuitas or Quimixto. For an overnight visit, Yelapa offers a variety of hotels.
What animals will I see in Puerto Vallarta?
While here, you will see whales, dolphins, monkeys, alligators, turtles, blue-footed boobies and hundreds of birds.
What should I bring home from Puerto Vallarta and why?
Bring home artwork as a unique souvenir. Puerto Vallarta has a large crafts market with works by the local indigenous population, the Huichol, as well as from all around the state of Jalisco. For a more high-end souvenir, try one of the many art galleries in the Historic Center.
What are some must have meals, go to restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and why?
You've got to have some street tacos! Many of Puerto Vallarta's restaurants have been run by families going back generations, and some have have perfected their specific taco – from smoked marlin, to ceviches, to carnitas and other exotic ingredients.
What are some must have drinks, bars, beach bars, in Puerto Vallarta?
Raicilla is tequila’s nutty cousin and Puerto Vallarta’s very own denominated spirit. It is a smoked agave spirit from Jalisco (the same area as tequila) that uses the specific species of agave called lechuguilla and pata de mula which grow in the wild only. Raicilla is different from tequila not only because of its base product, but its production style and where it’s produced.
What are the top 5 must have experiences in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico?
Vallarta Adventure’s Las Caletas: Relax on the shores of our exclusive and secluded beach hideaway nestled in the Sierra Madre Mountains. Las Caletas, Puerto Vallarta is one of the top four private beaches in the world — accessible only by boat. The day is yours to create — you provide the sense of adventure and we'll provide everything else!
Rich in tropical wildlife and filled with scenic vistas to spare, it is a beach unlike any other. The natural beauty of Las Caletas was originally discovered by the famous film director John Huston, who made it his private home for many years. Accessible only by sea, Las Caletas is surrounded by a steep, jungle-clad mountain backdrop, making it a truly secluded tropical sanctuary. Spend time out at sea on a kayak or marvel at the area’s many underwater wonders while snorkeling or paddle boarding just off shore. Take a guided nature walk and meet some of the permanent residents of Las Caletas, including playful monkeys and beautiful parrots.
Hidden Mexico with Vallarta Adventures: This is one of the most exciting ways to immerse yourself in the rural beauty of the agricultural communities that surround Puerto Vallarta. This full-day tour takes you into the lush interior of Banderas Bay, where you’ll experience the jungle not only on foot but also on four wheels. The ride is a wild one, with tight turns, climbs and splashdowns that will leave you breathless! Next, our friendly, knowledgeable guides will take you to one of the local towns for some sightseeing and to a family farm where old Mexican traditions are alive and well. Your day will end back out on the bay, where you’ll enjoy a fresh al fresco meal (plus beer and tequila) on a secluded, private beach.
ArtWalk Historic Center: Puerto Vallarta has established itself as a vibrant center of art creation, exhibition and promotion. An important contribution to the city's art scene is Puerto Vallarta's ArtWalk, which this year will be held every Wednesday from 6 to 10 p.m., from October 31 through May 29. The participating galleries in Centro Historico exhibit works by important national and international artists. Remarkable paintings, exceptional sculptures, fine ceramics and jewelry are offered.
Rhythms of the Nights by Vallarta Adventures: Rhythms of the Nights is an excursion unlike any other. Gilles St. Croix has truly outdone himself with SAVIA, and his cast of magnificent dancers, astonishing fire jugglers and dexterous acrobats make the secluded outdoor amphitheater come alive in the night. As the performers weave a mystical spell, you’ll feel like a part of the spiritual celebrations of the region’s oldest people. It really is an incredible way to experience the history and culture of Mexico. Rhythms of the Night will leave you speechless — and give you memories to last a lifetime. Rhythms of the Night — SAVIA is a celebration of spectacular acrobatic skill, pulsating rhythms, vibrant dance, amazing costumes and Ste Croix’s breathtaking interpretation of the Aztec creation story.
Vallarta Food Tours’ Original Downtown Tour: We know that tacos are on your list of food priorities and this culinary tour has tasty tacos and more. The tour takes you to locally owned restaurants and street food stands you might not find on your own but certainly don’t want to miss. With over 1,000 restaurants to choose from in Vallarta it can be overwhelming to decide where to eat. We introduce you to the local gems serving the best regional cuisine the city has to offer.
For an adventurous traveler, what can I experience in Puerto Vallarta?
MOUNTAIN BIKING: Mountain biking is a must. Enthusiasts can take advantage of the many offerings at this destination. Bike tours of the Sierra Madre offer participants the opportunity to visit nomadic tribe settlements, magical towns with colonial architecture, as well as sample rural cuisines, taste locally-produced raicilla and walk along foot trails.
HIKING: One of the most popular free local tours in Puerto Vallarta is the 4-hour hike around the Bay of Banderas. The trail starts in the fishing village of Boca de Tomatlan by a river that flows into a small bay leading through the tropical jungle and over a rope suspension bridge and ends at one of Puerto Vallarta's most secluded beaches, Playa Los Colomitos. Hikers may encounter a wide variety of exotic birds, butterflies, lizards and tropical trees along the way, and hiring a guide can help identify creatures along the way.
KAYAKING: Sea Kayaking and SUP excursions depart from Boca de Tomatlan and Colomitos Beach south of Puerto Vallarta’s historic center. Here the calm and clear turquoise water of the Bay of Banderas allow for a fun active excursion at the destination. From November to March, marine life is abundant, and some of the species that visitors may encounter include multicolored tropical fish of all sizes, sea turtles, manta rays and eagle rays, among others.
SCUBA: Banderas Bay, with its warm blue waters, beautiful coral reefs, natural rock formations, and abundant marine life is a magnet for snorkelers and scuba divers. There are numerous snorkeling options in the Puerto Vallarta area, whether close to shore in Mismaloya, Yelapa or Majahuitas, or on exciting boat trips to secluded islands such as the Marietas or the Caletas. The rich marine life that the area houses include turtles, spotted eagle rays, needlefish and many varieties of tropical fish. A lot of the snorkeling tours can also be combined with sea kayaking or simply relaxing on a deserted beach.
SURF: With more than 60 places to surf along the Banderas Bay, including many secluded surf beaches, the Puerto Vallarta area is a true surfers’ paradise. The best surfing conditions are usually found in the late summer and early fall when hurricane season often drives huge swells ashore all along the Pacific coast. Some of the more popular locales for surfing include Ipala and Las Peñitas (on the Cabo Corrientes coast south of Tehualmixtle), Playa el Tecuán, Playa la Manzanilla, and Barra de Navidad (at the jetty).
SWIM WITH DOLPHINS: Nature and conservation enthusiasts can also visit dolphins in their natural environment and participate in a research project that helps understand and protect dolphins. Local biologists take visitors to the middle of the Bay of Banders where the group interacts with a bottlenose pod in their environment for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
EXPLORE THE LAGOON: Early risers can enjoy a visit to Estero del Salado Lagoon. A heaven for wildlife enthusiasts, the Estero, located in the middle of the city, is a beautiful expanse of white mangrove, palm trees, mosses, ferns, and fauna that are home to some 100 exotic species of colorful birds, crabs, iguanas, monkeys, fish and more.
What are some budget traveler tips for traveling to Puerto Vallarta?
Tight budgets open up our imaginations in Puerto Vallarta. Stay at one of the boutique hotels in the Historic Center, many of which have been around for generations. Try the many free tours of the city, taste the street tacos (the more locals you see waiting, the better they are), take hike around the Sierra Madre to your own private beach.
What makes Puerto Vallarta so special?
Puerto Vallarta is blessed with natural beauty. The city is situated at the base of the Bay of Banderas, bathed by warm Pacific Ocean waters and surrounded by the lush Sierra Madre Mountains. The city’s heart is a colonial architectural gem of cobble stone streets lined with whitewashed adobe homes and small buildings that house countless shops, art galleries, restaurants, cafes and bars.
Puerto Vallarta’s natural surroundings offer an impressive range of outdoor activities beyond sunbathing and golf. In Puerto Vallarta visitors will find an endless choice of activities from bird watching or whale watching to mountain biking. Not your thing? There's also horseback riding, hiking, zip-lining and ATV riding on suspended bridges — and, of course, countless watersports ranging from surfing, paddle boarding and kayaking to scuba diving, snorkeling and sailing.
The combination of mountain, ocean and colonial city, along with our award-winning culinary offering and welcoming people, makes Puerto Vallarta unique in the international tourism stage. Americans and Canadians have noted it as a major reason why they continue to visit, return regularly and even establish a part-time or permanent home in Puerto Vallarta, contributing to a growing number of international visitors over the past 8 years in a row.