Puerto Vallarta Travel Guide

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Best Things To Do in Puerto Vallarta

There are many great activities for those spending just a day in PV. Catch a bus or take a taxi to the beautiful Malecón, the boardwalk that runs parallel to Banderas Bay. Then take your time strolling past the unusual statues and intricate sand sculptures found there, stopping for pictures or looking inside one of the art galleries along the way. You'll probably end your walk at Los Arcos or the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe – two of the most iconic images of the city. If you have more than a day to spare, plan on spending one or two hours at the Botanical Gardens of Vallarta or in the northern seaside town of Bucerías.

How we rank Things to Do

Updated August 17, 2018

  • #1
    Los Arcos and El Malecón
    View all Photos
    #1 in Puerto Vallarta
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Stretching for more than a mile along Bahía de Banderas (Banderas Bay),ElMalecónis a great place to stroll any time of day, but especially in the evenings. Along the way, visitors will see everything from sand sculptures and bronze sculptures to the iconicChurch of Our Lady of Guadalupe. El Malecón is

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  • #2
    Zona Romantica
    View all Photos
    #2 in Puerto Vallarta
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    This charming south side neighborhood is like a detached, unpretentious beach village that serves PV's more laid-back and less resort-conscious tourists. It's also the center of the city's strong gay population and has a bevy of gay beaches, bars and restaurants lining Olas Atlas. Travelers should keep in mind that this

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  • #3
    Whale Watching Tours
    View all Photos
    #3 in Puerto Vallarta
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Spotting a humpback whale as it crests the surface of the ocean is an awe-inspiring sight, and Puerto Vallarta is one of the best places to do just that. Keep in mind that prime whale-watching season runs from early December to late February or early March, when humpback whales congregate

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  • #4
    Bucerías
    View all Photos
    #4 in Puerto Vallarta
    Beaches, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    A great place to experience the joys of a resort town without the tourist-palooza that is Puerto Vallarta, the small fishing village of Bucerías is steadily becoming a popular daytrip for PV vacationers. If you have the time to spare, take a bus to this beach hideaway up the coastline

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  • #5
    Playa Los Muertos
    View all Photos
    #5 in Puerto Vallarta
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The most popular shoreline in Puerto Vallarta, Playa los Muertos (Dead Man's Beach) in the Zona Romantica, offers opportunities to Jet Ski, windsurf and even parasail and an assortment of excellent restaurants and bars. Try out some of the land sports as well, such as beach volleyball, which can be equally fun but cheaper

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  • #6
    Isla Río Cuale
    View all Photos
    #6 in Puerto Vallarta
    Shopping, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Isla Río Cuale is a mystery to many first-time Puerto Vallarta travelers. The fact that it's often difficult to find only adds to the enigma. In fact, Isla Río Cuale is almost in the heart of the city and is actually an island set upon an inlet of the Banderas

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  • #7
    Vallarta Botanical Gardens
    View all Photos
    #7 in Puerto Vallarta
    Parks and Gardens
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    To explore beyond Puerto Vallarta, you might want to try the popular Jardines Botánicos de Vallarta (Botanical Gardens of Vallarta). The gardens feature an assortment of wildflowers and insect life that provides a relaxing and romantic getaway from the day-to-day hustle of Vallarta's downtown.  

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  • #8
    Playa las Gemelas
    View all Photos
    #8 in Puerto Vallarta
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Playa las Gemelas is a small shoreline located amid condo and beach rentals. Located about 10 miles south of central Puerto Vallarta, its cerulean waves and sandy shore are a nice place to break away from some of PV's more crowded beaches. Still, because Playa las Gemelas is relatively small,

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  • #9
    Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe
    View all Photos
    #9 in Puerto Vallarta
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    The silhouette of this church in downtown PV is one of the most definable images of the resort town and its chiming church bells are one of the most recognizable sounds. During the Feast of Guadalupe, held every year from Dec. 1 through Dec. 12, the church is a hub

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  • Vallarta Food Tours
    View all Photos
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

  • Eco Ride Mountain Bike & Hiking Tours
    View all Photos
    Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

  • Vallarta Tequila Tastings
    View all Photos
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

Explore More of Puerto Vallarta

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