Puerto Vallarta, nestled along the Pacific coast of Mexico, is a tourist destination that seamlessly blends natural beauty with the charm of a coastal city. Its golden beaches, lush green mountains, and rich culture make it an ideal location for an unforgettable vacation. If you're planning a visit to Puerto Vallarta, here's a list of the 10 must-try activities that you can't afford to miss.
Top 10 Activities to try and enjoy in Puerto Vallarta
1. Enjoy the Beaches
The beaches of Puerto Vallarta are its main attraction. From the famous Los Muertos Beach to Conchas Chinas Beach, you'll find soft sand, crystal-clear waters, and a relaxed atmosphere. You can swim, sunbathe, or engage in water sports. The region offers a diverse beach experience, ranging from the lively Los Muertos Beach, ideal for socializing and immersing in the local scene, to more tranquil and secluded options like Gemelas Beach, perfect for a romantic getaway.
Nature enthusiasts should not miss Las Caletas Beach, accessible only by boat. Here, you'll discover a hidden paradise surrounded by tropical jungle, ideal for snorkeling and exploring the abundant marine life that inhabits these waters. The beaches of Puerto Vallarta offer a wide range of experiences, from basking in the sun with a cocktail in hand to exploring thrilling coral reefs.
2. Explore the Malecón
Puerto Vallarta's Malecón is a seaside promenade filled with sculptures, art galleries, and restaurants. It's the perfect place for a sunset stroll and to immerse yourself in the vibrant nightlife. Extending along 12 blocks, the Malecón serves as the heart of the city, where residents and tourists come together to enjoy ocean views, craft shops, and delectable street food.
Don't miss the chance to visit the famous "Caballito de Mar," an iconic sculpture of a rider on a seahorse that has become a symbol of Puerto Vallarta. Throughout the year, the Malecón hosts cultural events and festivals that showcase the city's rich artistic and cultural traditions.
3. Take an Excursion to the Marietas Islands
The Marietas Islands are an ecological paradise and a perfect spot for snorkeling. Hidden Beach, also known as the "Playa del Amor," is a highlight—an enchanting beach concealed within a cave. The Marietas Islands are a group of uninhabited islands located a few miles off the coast of Puerto Vallarta. These islands serve as a wildlife sanctuary and a nesting site for seabirds, making them a unique natural wonder.
One of the standout features of a Marietas Islands excursion is the opportunity to visit the famous "Hidden Beach." This beach is nestled inside a subterranean cave and is accessible only through a narrow tunnel. Upon reaching the beach, you'll be awestruck by the beauty of this secret spot, surrounded by cliffs and crystal-clear waters. Be sure to book your excursion in advance, as access to Hidden Beach is limited.
4. Jungle Adventure
Explore the surrounding tropical jungle through exciting jeep or horseback tours. You'll have the chance to appreciate the region's flora and fauna as you immerse yourself in nature. The jungle surrounding Puerto Vallarta is a biodiversity treasure, and there are several thrilling ways to experience it.
One of the most exciting activities is zip-lining through the jungle. Soaring through the treetops while enjoying panoramic views of the lush jungle is an experience you'll never forget. Additionally, some tours include off-road jeep rides to explore remote areas and hidden waterfalls.
If you prefer a more relaxed approach to jungle exploration, opt for a horseback ride. Riding through jungle trails allows you to get up close with nature and savor the tranquility of the surroundings.
5. Visit the Vallarta Botanical Garden
If you're a nature lover, the Vallarta Botanical Garden is a must-visit. Situated in the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains, this botanical garden boasts a diverse collection of tropical plants and serene trails amidst the jungle. The garden is a paradise for botany enthusiasts and photographers, offering a peaceful and educational experience.
You can explore well-maintained trails that will take you through a stunning array of native and exotic plants, including orchids, cacti, and bromeliads. Additionally, the Vallarta Botanical Garden hosts nature-related events and workshops, making it an excellent choice for learning more about the region's flora and fauna.
6. Wander the Old Town
The historic heart of the city will captivate you with its cobblestone streets, ancient churches, and colonial charm. Explore the Romantic Zone and its charming cafes and shops. Puerto Vallarta's Old Town is a window into the city's past and a place where you can immerse yourself in local culture and history.
A must-visit in the Old Town is the Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a beautiful neo-Gothic church that has become an icon of the city. You can enter and admire its impressive interior architecture. Moreover, strolling along the cobblestone streets will lead you to art galleries, craft shops, and restaurants offering authentic Mexican cuisine.
The Romantic Zone, also known as "Old Town" or "Viejo Vallarta," is an area filled with charm, a bohemian atmosphere, and a wide variety of beachfront bars and restaurants. It's a perfect place for a leisurely evening.
If you're a golf enthusiast, Puerto Vallarta offers world-class golf courses with stunning ocean views. The region's pleasant climate makes it an ideal golf destination year-round. Some of Puerto Vallarta's standout golf courses include Marina Vallarta Golf Course, designed by Joe Finger, and Vista Vallarta Golf Course, which offers two 18-hole courses designed by Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf.
Playing golf in Puerto Vallarta is a unique experience, as many courses are surrounded by the natural beauty of the region, including tropical jungles and the ocean. Additionally, Puerto Vallarta's golf infrastructure provides a wide range of amenities, including equipment rentals, golf lessons, and high-quality dining options.
8. Whale-Watching Expedition
During the whale-watching season, you can embark on a unique adventure to observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. The whale-watching season in Puerto Vallarta typically runs from December to March when humpback whales migrate to the warm waters of Banderas Bay for breeding.
Several tour companies offer whale-watching excursions, where you'll have the opportunity to witness breaches, tail slaps, and splashes from these incredible marine mammals. Knowledgeable guides will provide insights into the biology and behavior of the whales, making this experience both educational and thrilling.
9. Indulge in Local Cuisine
The food in Puerto Vallarta is delicious and diverse. Try local dishes like fish tacos, ceviche, and chiles en nogada. Puerto Vallarta's cuisine is a fusion of traditional Mexican flavors with international influences, resulting in a wide range of culinary options. Here are some dishes and foods you mustn't miss:
Fish Tacos: Puerto Vallarta is renowned for its fresh fish tacos, often served with a variety of salsas and toppings. You can enjoy these delicious tacos at street stalls or local restaurants.
Ceviche: The coast of Puerto Vallarta offers an abundance of fresh seafood, and ceviche is a popular way to prepare it. Ceviche is a mixture of raw fish or seafood marinated in lime juice with onion, tomato, cilantro, and other fresh ingredients. It's a refreshing and flavorful option.
Chiles en Nogada: This dish is a gem of Mexican cuisine and is especially popular during the chile season in August and September. It consists of poblano peppers stuffed with picadillo (a mixture of ground beef and pork with fruits and spices), topped with a rich walnut sauce, and garnished with pomegranate seeds and parsley. It's a colorful and delicious dish that reflects Mexico's culinary heritage.
Pescado a la Tall: This dish is a true delight for seafood lovers. The fish is grilled and covered with a sauce made from dried chilies and spices, giving it a spicy and smoky flavor. It's often served with rice and fresh vegetables.
In addition to these traditional dishes, Puerto Vallarta also offers a wide range of international options, from Italian cuisine to high-quality sushi. No matter your culinary preference, you'll find delicious options at every corner of the city.
10. Enjoy a Night of Fun
Source: Vallarta Nayarit Blog
Puerto Vallarta's nightlife is vibrant, offering entertainment for all tastes. From nightclubs to beachfront bars, the fun never stops. Puerto Vallarta is renowned for its lively nightlife, catering to a wide range of tastes. Whether you prefer dancing the night away in a nightclub, enjoying live music at a local bar, or simply relaxing at a beachfront lounge, Puerto Vallarta has something for everyone.
The famous bar "La Bodeguita del Medio" is an iconic spot for sipping mojitos and listening to live music. If you're looking for a more relaxed experience, head to Los Muertos Beach and choose from the numerous beachfront bars where you can enjoy cocktails at sunset.
For live music enthusiasts, the "Roxy Rock House" is a standout venue featuring local and international bands in an intimate setting. Additionally, if you want to dance until the early hours, clubs like "Mandala" and "La Santa" are popular destinations for music and partying.
Conclusion: Enjoying 10 must-try activities in PV
Puerto Vallarta offers something for everyone, from beach relaxation to jungle adventures and thrilling cultural experiences. These 10 must-try activities will allow you to make the most of your visit to this charming Mexican destination. Get ready to create unforgettable memories in Puerto Vallarta!
From golden beaches and the Malecón to exciting adventure tours and rich local cuisine, Puerto Vallarta provides a unique experience that combines natural beauty with Mexican hospitality. Whether you're traveling as a couple, with friends, or with family, this destination will leave you with lasting memories and the promise of returning to explore more of its wonders. Don't wait any longer to discover Puerto Vallarta and all it has to offer!