Naya Homes
Guests     10 Mar 2023

What to do in Puerto Vallarta: The Ultimate Guide

Playa Conchas Chinas, Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful resort town located on the Pacific coast of Mexico. It is in Jalisco State, about 190 miles (310 kilometers) west of Guadalajara.

Puerto Vallarta is famous for its stunning natural beauty, including miles of pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush tropical forests. Visitors to the area can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities, such as swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, sailing, and whale watching. The town is also home to several world-class golf courses, as well as numerous spas and wellness centers.

Puerto Vallarta is also known for its rich cultural heritage. The town’s historic center, known as the Zona Romántica, is filled with charming cobblestone streets, colorful colonial-style buildings, and lively markets and cafes. Visitors can also explore several fascinating museums and galleries, which showcase the region’s art, history, and culture.

Photo: Nicole Herrero

Another popular attraction in Puerto Vallarta is the Malecón, a long seaside promenade that runs along the town’s waterfront. The Malecón is lined with art installations, sculptures, and street performers, with stunning views of the bay and the surrounding mountains.

Overall, Puerto Vallarta is a wonderful destination for anyone looking to enjoy sun, sea, and sand, while also experiencing the rich culture and history of Mexico.

Below are a few recommendations of attractions to see when you are visiting Puerto Vallarta. 

What are the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta?

Café des Artistes, Puerto Vallarta
Café des Artistes, Puerto Vallarta

There are a wide array of restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, ranging from local mom-and-pop eateries to fine dining by the sea. Here are a few of our favorites.

  1. Café des Artistes – This fine-dining restaurant serves contemporary Mexican cuisine with French influences. The menu changes frequently and uses only the freshest local ingredients.
  1. Le Kliff – Set on a cliff overlooking the ocean, Le Kliff is a seafood restaurant with a romantic atmosphere. The menu features a variety of fresh seafood dishes and an extensive wine list.
  1. Tacos el Cunado – For a more casual dining experience, Tacos el Cunado is a great option. This street-side taco stand serves delicious tacos with a variety of fillings, including carne asada, al pastor, and fish.
  1. La Palapa – This beachfront restaurant serves modern Mexican cuisine with a focus on seafood. The menu includes dishes like ceviche, grilled octopus, and fresh fish tacos.
  1. El Arrayán – This cozy restaurant serves traditional Mexican cuisine with a focus on the flavors of the Pacific coast. The menu includes dishes like mole, chiles rellenos, and pozole.

What are the best day trips from Puerto Vallarta?

Yelapa, Puerto Vallarta
Yelapa, Puerto Vallarta. Photo: Wally Gobetz

Puerto Vallarta is conveniently situated on Banderas Bay, where you will find beautiful nearby beaches, hidden hikes and quaint towns. Here are our favorite day trips from Puerto Vallarta:

  1. Sayulita – This charming surf town is just 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta. Sayulita has a laid-back vibe, with colorful streets, excellent restaurants, and great surfing beaches.
  1. Marietas Islands – These uninhabited islands are a protected nature reserve located off the coast of Puerto Vallarta. The islands are home to a diverse range of marine life, including dolphins, whales, and sea turtles.
  1. San Sebastian del Oeste – This historic town is located in the Sierra Madre Mountains, about two hours from Puerto Vallarta. San Sebastian del Oeste has a rich mining history and is known for its colonial architecture and picturesque streets.
  1. Yelapa – This remote village is only accessible by boat and offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of Puerto Vallarta. Yelapa has a beautiful beach, a waterfall, and a handful of restaurants and bars.
  2. Los Arcos National Marine Park – This marine park is located just south of Puerto Vallarta and is home to a diverse range of marine life, including colorful tropical fish, sea turtles, and manta rays. Visitors can explore the park by snorkeling or scuba diving.

Things to do in Puerto Vallarta

Old town (Zona Romántica), Puerto Vallarta

Just looking for things to do in Puerto Vallarta so you can stay put, rest and relax? There is also so much to do within the town.

  1. Relax on the Beach – Puerto Vallarta has a number of beautiful beaches, including Playa de los Muertos, Conchas Chinas, and Playa Punta de Mita. Visitors can swim, sunbathe, or enjoy water sports like snorkeling, kayaking, or stand-up paddle boarding.
  1. Visit the Malecón – The Malecón is a lively promenade that runs along the waterfront in downtown Puerto Vallarta. It’s a great place to take a stroll, people-watch, and enjoy street performers, artists, and vendors.
  1. Take a Boat Tour – There are a variety of boat tours available in Puerto Vallarta, from whale-watching and dolphin encounters to sunset cruises and snorkeling excursions. Some tours also visit nearby islands and secluded beaches.
  2. Explore the Old Town – Puerto Vallarta’s historic Old Town is full of charming cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and traditional architecture. Visitors can explore local shops, art galleries, and restaurants, or take a walking tour to learn more about the area’s history.
  1. Visit the Botanical Gardens – The Vallarta Botanical Gardens are located south of Puerto Vallarta and offer a peaceful escape from the city. Visitors can wander through the gardens, explore the jungle trails, and admire the collection of orchids and other tropical plants.


Is Puerto Vallarta Safe?

Like any city, Puerto Vallarta has its safety concerns, but overall, it is considered a safe destination for tourists. The city is well-policed and has a low crime rate compared to other cities in Mexico. However, it’s important to take some basic safety precautions while traveling in Puerto Vallarta.

Where is Puerto Vallarta?

Puerto Vallarta is located on the Pacific coast of Mexico, in the state of Jalisco. It is situated on the western side of the Bay of Banderas, a large bay that stretches across the states of Jalisco and Nayarit. Puerto Vallarta is about 120 miles (190 km) south of the popular resort town of Mazatlán and about 300 miles (480 km) west of Mexico City. The city is easily accessible by air, with its own international airport (Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport) located just a few miles north of the city center.

Where to stay in Puerto Vallarta?

Puerto Vallarta offers a wide range of accommodations, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly guesthouses. The best area to stay in Puerto Vallarta depends on your preferences and travel style. Here are some popular areas to consider:

  1. Zona Romantica – This is the historic old town area of Puerto Vallarta and is popular with both tourists and locals. It’s known for its charming cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and excellent dining options. This area is also home to the popular Playa de los Muertos beach.
  2. Marina Vallarta – Located to the north of the city, Marina Vallarta is a modern development that offers luxury resorts, golf courses, and a marina with restaurants and shops. It’s a good area to stay if you’re looking for a more peaceful atmosphere.
  1. Hotel Zone – This area is located along the beach to the north of the city center and offers a variety of hotels and resorts. It’s a popular area for tourists and is close to restaurants, bars, and shops.
  1. Nuevo Vallarta – This area is located to the north of the airport and offers a range of luxury resorts and vacation rentals. It’s a good area to stay if you’re looking for a more secluded and peaceful atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Looking for a place to stay in Puerto Vallarta?

Naya Homes has a wide range of curated apartments in Puerto Vallarta’s safest and most visited locations. Check them out here.

Naya Homes at Plaza Mar, Zona Romántica


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