Best Things To Do in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Are you looking for what to do in Puerto Vallarta?

The city is extremely popular during winter months, and usually thick with tourists. It's a beautiful and compact place of lively beaches, a beautiful boardwalk, jewel-like islands, fun canopy tours and jungle adventures, incredible cuisine from everywhere, a thriving Mexican art scene, some unique styles of architecture - the list goes on and on.

The most beautiful part of the city is the area near the Malecon esplanade and the adjacent Los Muertos beach. It's also the most crowded area. Directly in the opposite direction is the Old Town, also called the Romantic Zone. Filled to bursting with shops, art galleries, cafes, boutiques, restaurants, hotels and every manner of colorful humanity, you can spend hours just WATCHING life go by. Nightlife in the area is unique - there are dinner theatres, drag shows, tiny bars and pubs, even a dance club or two. The ZonaRomantica is also where a lot of the art and culture from all over Mexico congregates, so it's a great place to pick up souvenirs. The downtown area to the north has barely anything worth adding to your vacation travel itinerary planner.

Outside of town, the city is surrounded by some beautiful jungle, sea, beaches and islands. The Marietas Islands in particular is a highly coveted tour, often sold out months in advance. There are many beaches on the mainland inaccessible by boat, which you have to get to by taking a boat from the Los Muertos pier. And finally, there are a number of excellent travel guideadventure touring companies - Rhythms of the Night by Vallarta Adventures, Extreme Zip Line Adventure and Skydive Vallerta.

Below we have a list of things to do in Puerto Vallarta and the places where you want to spend the best moments of your trip. At the same time, the city offers you the best neighborhoods to explore and new foods to try.

This list should help you in deciding and prioritizing what you should plan on your Puerto Vallarta getaway. Find a mix of must-see tourist spots, underrated local hangouts, and maybe even a few new experiences you can try out.

Make the most of your trip to Puerto Vallarta with confidence.

Tourist Attractions in Puerto Vallarta

Here is the list of things to do in Puerto Vallarta and tourist attractions in city.

  1. Malecon

    Waterfront, Walking Area

    It's funny this place is called a boardwalk - there are no boards! But "Malecon" means "esplanade along a waterfront" in Spanish, and that describes this place very well. Always alive and bustling, it's said this seaside stroll alone is enough to fully immerse you in the city's vibe. A series of startling bronze statues and elegant palm trees mark the 800 metre pedestrian walk. Interspersed in ...Read more
  2. The Church Of Our Lady Of Guadalupe

    Church, Religious Site

    There are so many famous churches around the world it can sometimes be hard to place them with just an image, but there is no mistaking this one. The silhouette of the church is topped by a distinctive crown hoisted up by figrines of angels. Also distinctive are the unique sound of the chiming bells, which sound a quarter hour before mass time. The church's legend goes that in 1531, the Virgin ...Read more
  3. Vallarta Botanical Gardens

    4.7 (665 Votes)
    Vallarta Botanical Gardens

    Botanical Garden

    This is an interesting attraction - it doesn't try to overplay its assets; rather it seeks to maximise the visitor's experience. Set over 20 acres of land, the garden demonstrates the Tropical Dry Forest Biome, cultivating trees such as oaks, bromeliads, agaves, cactus and wild palms. Winding hiking paths course through these plants, and on your walk, you ought to spot a great variety of orchid...Read more
  4. Marietas Islands


    On one of the endless list of 'most beautiful sights/places on Earth' that you'll find on the internet, there is almost always a picture of a crystalline beach hidden inside a crater, like a jewel inside a treasure chest. This is the place. Cutely called Playa de Amor (Beach of Love), the beach is no natural creation - it was formed when a bomb was accidentally detonated here by the military. N...Read more
  5. Marina Vallarta

    4 (1243 Votes)
    Marina Vallarta


    This is not a commercial marina. Rather, it's a business, residential and resort area with a catchy name. That said, it does have a marina of sorts for private vessels - yachts, boats and charters. It's nice to stroll past them at sunrise on sunset on the Marina's boardwalk. On the boardwalk you'll also find jewellery shops, antique stores, restaurants, spas, cafes and confectionaries. Atop a l...Read more
  6. Playa Los Muertos Pier

    4.7 (994 Votes)
    Playa Los Muertos Pier


    Every major city has at least one tourist attraction that is clearly and sheerly a tourist trap, made with the blatant intention of capturing passing tourists, and it's still impossible to give them a miss because they are so good. This pier is one of them. Made famous by a 1960s movie, the pier's latest incarnation was revealed in 2013, when architect Jose de Jesus Torres Vega shaped it t...Read more
  7. Los Muertos Beach

    4.5 (762 Votes)
    Los Muertos Beach


    The Beach of the Dead has several legends behind its name's origin - from indian attacks, to Indian and pirate attacks and the fact that an Indian graveyard was found here, which is the only factual origin. The atmosphere at the beach is nothing like its name might suggest. Families, locals and tourists alike, throng the beach, soaking up the sun, frolicking in the waves, or dozing in under a s...Read more
  8. Las Animas Beach

    4.6 (405 Votes)
    Las Animas Beach


    This secluded beach cannot be reached over land. Water taxis will drop you off at the pier. Tourists appreciate it more than locals do. Don't be surprised to see locals strolling around with iguanas and snakes - take pictures with them and give a tip. Do the same if some random musician serenades you. There are some nice restaurants. The beach has some cool restaurants and shacks. Water sport o...Read more
  9. Olas Altas
    Not far away from Los Muertas, the city's most popular beach, is the Olas Altas street. The mile long neighbourhood is an excellent tourist trap, and part of Vallarta's Romantic Zone's main appeal. Art galleries and boutiques can take a whole day to explore. The cafes make chilling look cool. The bars may be open during the day, but they really liven up during the night, when small pubs and lou...Read more
  10. El Eden

    4.2 (736 Votes)
    El Eden


    What does a restaurant have to do to be hailed as a popular tourist attraction? As far as El Eden is concerned - two things. The first is to be located inside a natural paradise, where the Mismaloyariver coursing through lush jungles creates a natural pool of emerald waters worth frolicking around in. The second is to be the location of an iconic movie shoot! Arnold Schwarzenegger's sci-fi clas...Read more
  11. Metamorfosis Day Spa

    4.8 (450 Votes)
    Metamorfosis Day Spa


    The city's favorite spa - loved by locals and tourists alike - was founded by the wonderful Angie. It's a small set up, but intimate and cozy. The staff welcome you like you're a long-lost family member, and if you visit more than once, they'll always remember you. The services offered are all at a fraction of a cost you'll find at a more upscale setting, and yet by every the experience seems t...Read more
  12. El Faro Lighthouse

    4.4 (395 Votes)
    El Faro Lighthouse

    Bar, Light House, Cafe

    Located on the Marina Vallarta, El Faro is actually the name of the cafe and bar atop the lighthouse. Visit the 110 ten feet high cafe during sunset and then stay a while for the jazz music to begin playing. That is when all the elements of the bar - the music, the cocktails, the lighting, the sunset and the panorama of the sea and the mountains - all come together. No food is served here throu...Read more
  13. Aquaventuras Park

    4.4 (471 Votes)
    Aquaventuras Park

    Water Park

    The city's only water park isn't quite as glamorous as most American parks tend to be, but it does have one fantastic dolphinarium. That's what most people come to see, and they pay a steep price for it too! It's totally justified, considering you actually get to swim with the dolphins. The Royal Dolphin Swim package has you being towed along by Dolphins like some sort of Aquaman. If you want s...Read more
  14. Twisted Palms Rooftop Lounge
    In the city's Zona Romantica, on a second floor lounge, is the local favorite nightspot. Run by owner Allan Sellers, the lounge mixes inventive but excellent martinis, the open night sky, and nightly movie projections to make this place feel like a home away from home. For convenience, because he serves no food, nearby restaurants are allowed to deliver food to the lounge. You can even get your...Read more
  15. Mandala

    4 (79 Votes)

    Nightclub, Adults

    The decor of this nightclub takes inspiration from its name - lots of Hindu and Buddhist symbolism and sculptures. Its three levels are separated into a bar, a restaurant and disco. No matter which level you're at, its location across from the pier affords it a lovely view over the beach and the sea. There are no cover charges, but the drinks can be expensive. Service is quick. Let the staff re...Read more

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  • are there catamaran trips or renting of utv or cart carts for viewing places

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  • Is there hot air balloon riding in the area?

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    • I've heard that the company which used to offer the hot air balloon rides in Puerto Vallarta went out of business. Currently, no hot air balloon rides are offered here, I guess. 

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  • Is there yoga on the beach along the malacon?

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    • I don't think this info is available. It would be better to ask the locals around as they are the best source of information.  

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  • Are there any zip line only attractions?

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    • I am not sure about zip line only, but you can check places like Canopy River Oficina Las Glorias, Mundo Nogalito, and Nogalito Ecopark as they do offer different adventure activities including ziplining. 

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  • any Mexican cooking schools

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  • looking for a walking map of the area

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    • I am not sure if such a map is available. You may contact a local tourist center and inquire about it.  

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  • Is the price the same whether or not a person does an activity or not?

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    • I am not sure which attraction you are talking about exactly. Will you please provide more details? 

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  • any lesbians bar or things for gay to do

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    • Yes, there are many gay-friendly bars and pubs in Puerto Vallarta. You can go to Los Amigos - Cantina Style Gay Bar, BLONDIES LOFT SLUSHBAR, Mr. Flamingo, and La Noche. There are other places along Olas Altas as well. It also has famous gay-friendly beaches like Playa los Muertos where you can enjoy a number of outdoor activities. 

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