Whether instant gratification or prolonged bliss is what your holidaying heart desires, the things to do in Puerto Vallarta are as endless as its famous stretches of beaches. Nature enthusiasts and adventure addicts will find plenty to do outdoors, while spa treatments, exciting nightlife and gourmet dining lure you back inside.
1. Take a City Tour
It’s tempting to stay confined to your all-inclusive, where service is at the drop of a hat (or sombrero!) and said “confines” are acres of sprawling beach and amenity-laden rooms. Once you get out and see what the town of Puerto Vallarta offers, you won’t be disappointed.
We recommend taking a guided tour, where a local expert will take you legendary landmarks, like the impressive Our Lady of Guadalupe church and the iconic Malecon boardwalk. Ask your Flight Centre travel consultant to find you a quality tour operator.
2. Eat Like a Local (and a King!)
You’ll have plenty to taco ’bout when you experience the coastal culinary scene. Puerto Vallarta resorts offer excellent dining options, but if staying to eat on-site only is not your thing, head into town and hit up restaurants frequented by the locals. Check out our Puerto Vallarta foodie page for inspiration and suggestions on where to eat favourites like freshly-caught mahi-mahi or meat-stuffed poblano peppers. Guac on!
3. Enjoy Some Mex-ology
With all the eating you’ll be doing in Mexico, you’ll need something to wash down the mouthwatering goodness. Puerto Vallarta has a vibrant bar scene as well as organized tequila factory tours. Local libations include Raicilla (an agave spirit and Jalisco specialty), mezcal, craft beers, Kahlua liqueur and of course, tequila.
We recommend a “booze tour” where you can visit places like a tequila factory, as well as learn about the traditions and craftsmanship of Mexico’s distilleries and breweries. As always, please enjoy responsibly!
4. Biking & Hiking
You’ve feasted and fiesta’d, now it’s time to get some exercise. Puerto Vallarta offers a range of activities for all physical levels. Rent a mountain bike or better yet, join a cycling tour, where you will be taken over a range of terrains and visit waterfalls, local villages and more. Walking is a great way to see scenic Puerto Vallarta, and its many hiking trails let you take it up a notch and enjoy gorgeous panoramic views.
5. Watch the Sunset
The Puerto Vallarta sunsets are truly spectacular, and our globe-trotting travel experts can vouch for this. There is something magical about Pacific sunsets, and the transformation from sunny day to still night in Puerto Vallarta is particularly dramatic. Sip on a pre-dinner cocktail and watch the show from the beach of your Puerto Vallarta resort, or along the Malecon.
6. Snorkel and Scuba
Puerto Vallarta is a water sports enthusiast’s dream. Surfing, kayaking, windsurfing, jet skiing and deep sea fishing, as well as excellent snorkelling and scuba diving. If doing the latter, make sure that the school is PADI-certified. You can also take PADI classes to get certified yourself or do a beginner’s dive where certification is not required, and you can still admire sea turtles, stingrays and schools of fish.
If submerging yourself underwater is too intense, don’t miss out on the colourful aquatic life here; borrow snorkelling gear from your resort or rent them at a scuba school.
7. Catamaran Tours
If you prefer to stay on the water, instead of in it, Puerto Vallarta catamaran tours are a popular activity. Usually a half-day tour, you’ll be taken to picturesque inlets and spot wildlife like playful sea lions and majestic whales. December to March is the best time to spot the latter, which include Humpback whales, Blue whales, Sperm Whales and Orcas.
A catamaran boat ride allows you to enjoy beautiful Puerto Vallarta from a different perspective, and with the sun almost always shining, slather on some SPF and get front row to Mother Nature’s aquatic marvels.
8. Treat Yourself to Spa Treatments
Our Better Beach Puerto Vallarta resorts are world-class, which means one thing: world-class spa treatments! Take your vacation to the next level by relaxing and rejuvenating at your on-site spa and wellness centre. Mayan chocolate body wraps, coconut milk facials, or beachside massage therapy, pamper yourself with a Mexican flair. Your travel consultant may reserve your treatments in advance to avoid disappointment, or you can book an indulging treatment once you’re there.
9. Check out Casa Kimberly
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Puerto Vallarta has an impressive array of accommodations befitting of celebrities. One of the town’s most popular resorts and restaurants is the former love nest of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Proving love is love, the compound was the site of the couple’s romantic trysts, and now Casa Kimberly is a preferred destination of LGBTQ travellers. Not to mention, anyone who enjoys glamorous history, gastronomic delights and gorgeous surroundings.
Even if you aren’t staying overnight, be sure to check out the acclaimed Casa Kimberly fine dining restaurant. Advanced reservations are highly recommended and a Flight Centre Expert Traveller can arrange them.
10. Meander Through a Market
Mexico’s vibrancy is woven tightly through its cultural fabric, and there are few better places for a visitor to experience it than in a local Mexican market. Colourful and boisterous, Puerto Vallarta has several markets that specialize in everything from local produce, fresh fish and seafood, artisanal wares, and trinkets that range from the touristy to traditional.
Among the markets worth visiting are the Municipal Market of Colonia Emiliano Zapata, open 365 days of the year, Olas Atlas Saturday Market and Mercado Municipal Rio Cuale.