Puerto Vallarta is all about fun and sun. The resort town on the Pacific Coast of Mexico has it all—historic landmarks, romantic cobblestone streets, art, shopping, beautiful beaches, stunning mountains, and amazing food. Plus, an endless array of activities offers something for everyone. From tequila tasting and swimming with sea lions to riding ATVs through the Sierra Madre Mountains, you can find it all on a Puerto Vallarta vacation.
Banderas Bay and Malecon
Malecon is the lovely boardwalk that runs parallel to the crystal blue waters of Banderas Bay. Take at least a few hours to explore the many art galleries and shops along the way. Don’t miss the mural by the legendary Mexican artist Manuel Lepe outside of the Naval History Museum. Collectors from around the world—including the Queen of England—own his idyllic paintings of local landscapes and townscapes. There is also excellent snorkeling at the southern tip of the bay. And when the sun goes down enjoy the many open-air, outdoor bars that showcase the picturesque beach.
Off-Roading through the Sierra Madre
The Sierra Madre Mountains that surround Puerto Vallarta provide some of the most beautiful landscapes imaginable. One way for adventure lovers to get a better view of the river beds and tiny villages is to head out on an ATV. From exploring the mountains to riding along the coastline, these tours let you experience Mexico’s thrilling side.
Los Arcos Marine Park
There’s no way you’ll want to miss a visit to Los Acros Marine Park, a national landmark where giant granite arches shoot out of the ocean. The rocky islands can be seen from downtown Puerto Vallarta, but are the most impressive when viewed up close. It’s a favorite spot for swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling with an abundant array of colorful corals, tropical fish, rays, eels, and sea turtles.
A Taste for Tequila
The birthplace of tequila is also one of the countries that produces the most of this revered spirit. You can book a private day trip tour to discover exactly how the local favorite is created. You’ll start by visiting fields of blue agave plants, which are used to make the alcohol. Then you and your party will go step by step through the time-honored process of making tequila. Best of all, there’s always a tasting of various tequilas at the end of your tour.
The Vallarta Botanical Gardens
This gorgeous 64-acre oasis of spectacular flowers, plants, and trees is just outside of the main city and is internationally renowned for its cultivated gardens and conservatories featuring local Mexican plants. Surrounded by the region’s lush tropical forests, visitors can hike both within the wild forests or the cultivated gardens. This piece of paradise is also a haven for bird watchers from around the world and the Vallarta Botanical Gardens are active in environmental education and preservation.
This little beach village is where visitors can discover quaint courtyard cafes, contemporary art galleries, and LGBTQ-friendly bars. It’s also home to one of Puerto Vallarta’s most popular beaches—Playa Los Muertos. Don’t be put off by the translation of its name (Dead Man’s Beach) because it’s definitely a place to feel alive thanks to jet skiing, windsurfing, and feeling the waves against your skin.
Up Close and Personal with Sea Lions
Get up close and personal with sea lions at the Nuevo Vallarta Sea Lion Encounter program, an educational experience that also allows you to get very close to these friendly marine mammals. Ideal for families, visitors get to swim alongside sea lions while learning about these special animals. We especially love that the program is committed to wildlife conservation and animal wellness, and is American Humane Conservation certified.
Isla Rio Cuale
This little island can be tricky to find, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Set between downtown Puerto Vallarta and the Romantic Zone you’ll find the Cuale River with a little island right in the middle. Cross the chain bridge to enter this array of craft markets, fruit vendors, and friendly locals. While you’re there, keep an eye on the lush trees where you’ll often spot a few of the many large iguanas living on the island.
No matter what you want to experience on a Puerto Vallarta vacation, this vibrant Mexican city has you covered. Plus, for added reassurance, our Peace of Mind collection of resorts offer enhanced, quality, health, and hygiene protocols, the flexibility to cancel and/or change your vacation plans up to 24-hours prior to check in, and a low, refundable deposit of $50 per person. Contact your GOGO-backed travel advisor to start planning.
Please note: Travel requirements and health standards are continually changing. This includes a new CDC rule that requires all travelers returning to the United States to have a negative COVID-19 virus test. Visit our parent company Flight Centre Travel Group’s COVID-19 Travel Map for up-to-date information.