Cozied on the western coast of Mexico on the Pacific Ocean is the stunning beach town of Puerto Vallarta. While tourism has vastly grown over the years in Puerto Vallarta, its charm remains. There are so many things to do in Puerto Vallarta. Puerta Vallarta is the perfect place to visit whether you’re looking for some relaxation, to enjoy an exciting culture, or spend time in scenic nature.

There’s so much to see and do and we’re here to help you have the most incredible trip to Puerto Vallarta. We’ve got some of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta including boat cruises, shopping, and nightlife activities.

best things to do in puerto vallarta
Chris Ziplining in Puerto Vallarta

Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta

As stunning as Puerto Vallarta is, it’s hard to go wrong when picking a place to stay. Here are popular areas to stay in Puerto Vallarta that offer plenty of things to do in Puerto Vallarta.

Downtown Puerto Vallarta

Also referred to as El Centro, downtown Puerto Vallarta is the place to be if you like all the action! This area features beaches, restaurants, bright buildings, cobblestone streets, and so much more. Walking is easy downtown and there’s something to discover everywhere you go. You can find several mostly smaller hotels in this area.

Zona Romantica (Old Town)

To be close to a happening nightlife in Puerto Vallarta, the Old Town or Zona Romantica is the place to be. You can find some of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta right in the Old Town. It’s LGBTQ-friendly and is known for bars, restaurants, and clubs. You can also find the popular beach of Los Muertos. There are several hotels to choose from in the Old Town.

Conchas Chinas

Conchas Chinas is a more upscale, quiet area to stay in while in Puerto Vallarta. There are several nice hotels found in Conchas Chinas. There are also a few restaurants and bars to enjoy and Old Town is a close walk for even more activities.

Hotel Zone

The Hotel Zone is an area north of Conchas Chinas that offers beautiful hotels and beaches with long stretches of sand. There are plenty of attractions nearby including restaurants, nightlife, and shopping centers. Hotel Zone also has several large resorts.

Nuevo Vallarta

For more exclusivity and luxury, check out Nuevo Vallarta, located north of Puerto Vallarta. There’s plenty of options for golfing and white sandy beaches. You can also find fine dining, spas, and upscale shops in Nuevo Vallarta.

When you’re ready to book your next trip, check out our secret hacks for booking on Skyscanner.

best things to do in Puerto Vallarta
Boardwalk in Puerto Vallarta Photo by Nicole Herrero on Unsplash

Outdoor Activities in Puerto Vallarta

When it comes to things to do in Puerto Vallarta, getting outside is definitely one of them. In fact, you could spend all your time outdoors in Puerto Vallarta if you wanted to. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, we’ve got you covered. Feel free to do a bit of both, too!

Off-Roading and Ziplining Adventure

This two-in-one ATV and Zip-Line adventure is certainly one of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta! For a real feel of Mexico’s enthralling culture, start your day by hopping on an ATV and visiting some of Mexico’s quaint villages. This journey will then take you on a ziplining adventure above the jungle.

things to do in Puerto Vallarta
Chris and Reg Off-Roading in Puerto Vallarta

Relax on the Beach

Puerto Vallarta is a tropical paradise and you can’t visit without spending lots of time chilling out on the beach! From local beaches to beach clubs, there’s a beachside spot for everyone’s liking. Here are some of Puerto Vallarta’s most noteworthy oceanside spots.

Full-Day Adventure Cruise 

Take a day trip to Yelapa and Majahuitas and explore 2 of Mexico’s most picturesque coves on this full-day adventure cruise. On this adventure, you have opportunities to discover sandy beaches and tropical wildlife. Spend some time snorkeling, hiking, and relaxing.

best things to do in Puerto Vallarta
Chris and Reg on the Beach in Puerto Vallarta

Watch the Whales

Did you know humpback whales visit the Bay of Banderas to reproduce, give birth, and hang out in waters surrounding Puerto Vallarta? Because of this, whale watching is one of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta. Whale watching season is usually from December to March. This can vary so check with local tour guides, who also offer whale-watching excursions.

Eating and Shopping in Puerto Vallarta

We can’t talk about things to do in Puerto Vallarta without sharing some five-star places to eat and shop. While the list is endless for fantastic places for eating and shopping in Puerto Vallarta, we’re going to share a few of our favorites.

Eat, Shop, and Walk the El Malecon

This iconic boardwalk overlooks the Bay of Banderas and has so much to buy, eat, and see! Locals and tourists alike can spend hours here. While shopping and trying tasty foods, gander at tons of picturesque sculptures from unicorns to abstract art. This is also the perfect area to grab dinner and a cocktail while watching the sunset.

Best 16 Things to Do in Puerto Vallarta and Places to Stay 1
Sculpture at the El Maceon
Image by cgordon8527 from Pixabay

Downtown Puerto Vallarta

As mentioned earlier, downtown Puerto Vallarta is where all the life takes place. This area is by the El Maceon and includes even incredible food and endless shopping. One downtown restaurant that’s got it all including brunch, dinner, live music, and cocktails is Restaurante Barcelona Tapas Puerto Vallarta. The vibrant streets in downtown Puerto Vallarta are lined with restaurants, bars, and unique stores.

Tasty Mexican Breakfast

While eating tacos all day is surely one of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta, there are plenty of breakfast spots definitely worth checking out. Fredys Tucan is one well worth a mention! It offers a bright, open, and colorful atmosphere. Their massive menu has so many incredible breakfast bites to try and it’s vegetarian-friendly, too.

Taco Food Tour

No Puerto Vallarta trip is complete without a taco food tour. While you should really be trying all the tacos when in Mexico, taking a food tour is a fun way to find the best street taco places in town. Signature Taco and Street Food Tour is one of the many excellent tours to join where you’ll be guided by a local expert to small, family-owned taco stands and a candy shop for dessert.

Pro Tip: If you want to lead your own taco food tour, look for stands with a crowd. They’re probably worth the wait!

Nightlife Puerto Vallarta

Whether you’re into a laid-back or vivacious nightlife, Puerto Vallarta is the place to be! There are so many entertaining things to do in Puerto Vallarta at night including boat cruises, local breweries, dancing, and so much more.

nightlife in Puerto Vallarta
Cheers from Chris and Reg in Puerto Vallarta

Sunset Dinner Cruise and Show

What better way to enjoy a stunning sunset than on a boat? There are many ways to do this in Puerto Vallarta including the one-of-a-kind Rhythms of the Night Dinner Show. Enjoy a candle-lit dinner under the stars as you watch a show-stopping acrobatic dinner show with the sound of the ocean in the background.

Local Breweries

Puerto Vallarta has two local breweries with delicious brews worth checking out! Monzon Brewing and Los Muertos Brewing both serve craft beer 7 days a week until midnight. If you’re looking to grab a bite to eat, both spots also offer food menus.

Beach Bars

There’s not much else like hanging out at a bar on the coast having a cold drink. Puerto Vallarta offers tons of beach bars with a good vibe. Mantama Beach Bar is a fun place to relax by the sand, enjoy good food with a beverage, and listen to music.

In Conclusion

Puerto Vallarta is a spectacular spot to visit. Anyone can find exceptional things to do in Puerto Vallarta that make for an unforgettable time. There are endless outdoor activities, outstanding food and shopping, and a lively nightlife in Puerto Vallarta.

Be prepared for your next travel adventure with our list of 32 long flight essentials.

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