Travel Rankings & Advice

Tips on What To Do in Puerto Vallarta

You should do nothing but relax on the beach -- all day. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, take a kayak tour along the expansive Banderas Bay. If you travel during the winter, you can take a boat tour and spot the mating and/or migrating humpback whales. Afterward, go back to the beach and do nothing all over again.

Puerto Vallarta isn't full of nightclubs and bars without reason. In fact, most writers consider Puerto Vallarta one of the top nightlife destinations in Mexico, as it boasts dozens of lively clubs in the downtown district, and one of the liveliest gay scenes in Mexico.

One of the more controversial aspects of Puerto Vallarta is its bullfighting scene, a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike. Bullfights typically begin at 5 p.m. in the Corrida del Toros, or bull ring, near the cruise port, and are held between November and April.

  • Day-tripping to Yelapa? Warning: If you miss the last water taxi from back to PV, you’ll be stuck finding accommodations for the night as there are no land routes back to the mainland." -- Sherman's Travel
  • Nighttime is the right time for strolling PV's famous malecón. Bring your camera to photograph the seawalk's whimsical statues at sunset. Sip a cool drink, buy a caramel-topped crêpe from a vendor, or eat at a restaurant across the street." -- Fodor's
  • If the pretty town beaches aren’t enough, you can venture out on cruises, horseback rides, diving trips and day tours -- and be back in time for a late dinner and an even later excursion to one of the many sizzling nightspots on offer. Puerto Vallarta is the gay capital of Mexico." -- Lonely Planet
  • Ecotourism activities flourish -- from canopy tours to whale-watching, ocean kayaking, and diving with giant mantas in Banderas Bay. Forty-two kilometers (26 miles) of beaches, many in pristine coves accessible only by boat, extend around the bay." -- Frommer's


The beach is one of Puerto Vallarta's main attractions, with sandy shores splayed out along the city's Banderas Bay.

  • Off the coast lie the Marieta Islands, which provide exceptional snorkeling, scuba diving and whale-watching sites. Going south towards the city is Bucerias, a quaint beach community and fishing village with sandy coves and cobblestone streets." -- Travel Channel

Los Arcos

Los Arcos is the iconic rocky end to Puerto Vallarta's south side -- and makes for excellent scuba diving and snorkeling.

  • Great spots for diving and snorkeling are Los Arcos, the rocky islands south of the city center, and the Islas Marietas, which are surrounded by reefs, tunnels, walks and underwater caves. Dolphins, whales and giant manta are often sighted between December and April." -- Lonely Planet  

Golf Courses

Puerto Vallarta rivals other Mexican destinations, including Cabo San Lucas, as a premiere golf destination.

  • El Tamarindo: About two hours south of Vallarta on the Costalegre is the area's best course. At least six of the holes play along the ocean; some are cliff-side holes with fabulous views, others go right down to the beach." -- Fodor's


Puerto Vallarta has a dance-inspired and outdoor-focused nightlife scene, replete with crazy bars and nightclubs and excellent, non-stop live music.

For a great night out, take the night cruise, Rhythms of the Night. You'll cruise to Caletas, which takes you to the remote cove of Las Caletas, where you can dine by candlelight as local dancers and performers provide entertainment. If you decide to stay on land, try the popular de Santos, an upscale local club and bar.

  • Major hotels in Puerto Vallarta feature frequent fiestas for tourists -- extravaganzas with open bars, Mexican buffet dinners, and live entertainment. Some are fairly authentic and make a good introduction for first-time travelers to Mexico; others can be a bit cheesy. -- Frommer's
  • Although there's definitely crossover, many Mexicans favor the upscale bars and clubs of the Hotel Zone and Marina Vallarta hotels, while foreigners tend to like the Mexican flavor of places downtown and the south side (the Zona Romántica), where dress is decidedly more casual." -- Fodor's

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