Puerto Vallarta Travel Guide

Mexico  #1 in Best Cheap Spring Break Destinations
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Free Things To Do in Puerto Vallarta

If you have extra time, Bucerías is worthwhile.
  • #1
    Los Arcos and El Malecón
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    #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), El Malecón is 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 iconic Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. El Malecón is also home to the Los Arcos Amphitheater, another iconic symbol of Puerto Vallarta that plays hosts to free performances, featuring live musicians and traditional Mexican dance troupes, just about every night. 

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  • #2
    Zona Romantica
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    #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 area is also known as Old Vallarta or Old Town.

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  • #4
    Bucerías
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    #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 for an afternoon of fishing or swimming. 

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  • #5
    Playa Los Muertos
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    #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 than the water sports.  

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  • #6
    Isla Río Cuale
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    #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 Bay. To see the island, simply walk south from El Malecon until you reach a bridge that spans the river, and you'll discover the island. 

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  • #8
    Playa las Gemelas
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    #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, it can feel quite congested, especially on the weekends. To avoid the crowds, travelers should visit during the week and arrive in the morning to stake their spot in the sand. They should also pack their own supplies – drinks, snacks, sunscreen and towels – since there are no vendors or shops nearby. 

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  • #9
    Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe
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    #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 of activity. During the annual festival, there is plenty of music, dancing and street processionals. 

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