Best things to do in Puerto Vallarta
Find out more about those top places in Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta, one of the most historic towns on Mexico’s Pacific coast, is famed for its stunning beaches, enchanting colonial-era center and backdrop of tropical mountains. While the town is no longer the hidden gem it once was, Puerto Vallarta is undoubtedly one of Mexico’s star attractions. The faded grandeur of the Spanish colonial streets are complemented by a mouth-watering array of traditional Mexican street foods, bohemian art galleries and café culture fit for a city far larger. Sleepy during the day, Puerto Vallarta’s terracotta roofed old town comes alive in the evenings, as it is a haven for more discerning ‘spring breakers’ and Mexico’s LGBT community. What is more, the surrounding white sand beaches, coral reefs, lofty mountains and world famous cave beach make for splendid day trips.
Set sail from the charming city of Puerto Vallarta to the Marieta Islands, where you can swim in one of the world’s most iconic beaches, the Playa del Amor. The beach, which is only accessible through a cave, is sunk down into a deep crater and filled with turquoise waters and pristine white sand. Tours of the Marieta Islands also include trips to the many coral reefs that pepper the sea.
Puerto Vallarta is one of the best places in Mexico to spot whales, dolphins and other ocean dwelling giants. For the best experience take an ecotour from the town where expert guides will take you out to sea to get up close with these majestic creatures.
The Yelapa district of Puerto Vallarta is undoubtedly its most picturesque. Sandwiched between a perfect white sand beach and gently rolling tropical hills, this fisherman’s quarter is also the best place to taste the town’s award-winning seafood and immerse yourself in local culture. For the best experience, come just before sunset when most of the day-trippers will have left and you can get the most authentic experience of Mexican nightlife.
Located on the rolling Pacific Coast is one of Mexico’s most verdant landscapes, Puerto Vallarta’s world-class botanical gardens. Spread over rolling hillsides, the more time you leave to explore this wonderland the more hidden gems you will find: vast bromeliads playing host to innumerable hummingbirds; grottoes clad in Technicolor green mosses and ferns; and gentle rivers that are perfect for swimming.
Less touristy than Puerto Vallarta is the charming seaside village of Boca de Tomatlán, which can be easily reached via sea taxis. Once there laze on its pristine white sand beaches, go snorkeling in tropical reefs and make sure to try one of the ceviche tostadas that are served up at beachside stalls.
The real emblem of Puerto Vallarta are a series of Romanesque seaside arches, known simply as Los Arcos. The beautiful architectural ensemble makes for the perfect photo opportunity and looks particularly gorgeous at sunset. What is more, the plaza surrounding Los Arcos comes alive in the evenings with mariachi bands, gaucho parades and more.