For a long time, Puerto Vallarta has ranked among our top vacation choices in Mexico. The city of Puerto Vallarta is separated into communities (zones) to suit the city’s endless activities, which are spread out along Banderas Bay and beyond. You can put down roots anywhere in the city and still have quick and easy access to any other section of the metropolis, thanks to the reliability of the public transportation system.
It would help if you still seriously consider the atmosphere you want to create and your available budget when choosing a venue. Based on my research and exploration, I’ve narrowed the options for things to do in Puerto Vallarta down to the top 15.
1. Rhythms of the Night Show
The five-star Rhythms of the Night dinner performance in Puerto Vallarta is a must-see. Experience the night in its entirety on the Rhythms of the Night tour. To kick things off, you’ll set sail on the Bay of Banderas for a romantic meal as the sun goes down. Enjoy the beautiful PV sunset while sipping a drink (or several, as we did) on this 1-hour catamaran trip.
To top it all off, whale sightings are possible during specific year periods.
You’ll be escorted to Las Caletas (a private beach) and seated in the theater before the concert begins. The co-founder of Cirque du Soleil conceived of Rhythms of the Night, making it a unique fusion of acrobatics, theatrics, and music and dance. However, it adds a Mexican twist to traditional historical myths and legends storytelling. Following the performance, you’ll be transported to one of the beach’s many restaurants for a candlelit buffet meal for a romantic evening. There are excellent alcoholic beverages available, including cocktails, spirits, beer, and wine. The meal well exceeded our expectations. Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, available only in Puerto Vallarta.
2. View Sundown
Something quite particular about the sunsets can be seen along the Pacific Coast, especially in Puerto Vallarta. This location has given us some of the most beautiful sunsets we have ever witnessed. Take a swig of your beverage of choice and savor the moment.
Excellent vantage points may be found anywhere along the Malecon, on the hill behind the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, or from El Barracuda, our favorite beach bar.
The party gets started in PV when the sun goes down. Puerto Vallarta’s nightlife is famous for its abundance of bars and clubs. Therefore the city is known for its vibrant party scene. Please take advantage of the sunset in Puerto Vallarta because it’s one of the best free things to do.
3. Islas Marietas National Park & Hidden Beach
The Islas Marietas, sometimes known as the Marieta Islands, are incredibly beautiful. This region comprises several uninhabited, beautiful little islands, and it is the ideal setting for unwinding and discovering some of the most stunning natural beauty that Puerto Vallarta offers. Because they are islands, you will require a boat to travel to each one and investigate it.
This full-day tour takes you to the national park for fun and relaxation, such as riding on a catamaran, kayaking, paddle boarding, and snorkeling.
One of the trip highlights is exploring the various caves and archways by kayak or paddleboard and then going snorkeling to see the fish, turtles, and other marine life. You’ll also stop at Majahuitas Beach, known for its seclusion and peaceful atmosphere.
Make every effort to plan the excursion that takes you to Hidden Beach if possible (pictured above.) This is the highlight for most participants, but due to the new limits, not every trip will visit this location. Even excursions that claim to take visitors to Hidden Beach don’t always take those visitors to the beach.
4. Playa Las Gemelas
The ocean at Playa las Gemelas is turquoise, while the sand is a soft white. The waves were mild and comfortable to swim in when we went, and there were no riptides or undertows. The weather and time of year are the only variables since other visitors have reported glassy water.
Only two apartment buildings, with no public amenities (including restrooms), can be found along the shore. Bring some refreshments and spend the day together.
While the walk down to the beach involves a fair amount of steepness and several somewhat unsteady steps, the payoff is well worth the effort. To get here, the closest parking garage is Condominios Girasol Sur (at the entrance alongside the street). You can also catch a local bus that will drop you off at this location. That one stands out as my first pick when I think of Puerto Vallarta beaches. If you can help it, try not to miss it.
5. Swim with wild dolphins
Having the opportunity to swim with wild dolphins is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You will be able to interact and play with dolphins in their natural habitat when you participate in this special tour departing from Puerto Vallarta. Because the tour operator is dedicated to studying and preserving the dolphins in this region, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are participating in an ethical activity. In addition, you will be led through the experience by a knowledgeable biologist who will teach you all about the animals!
The tour will supply you with all of the necessary equipment to snorkel and take you out on the water to see a resident pod of bottlenose dolphins. You may see whales, turtles, and orcas when you are on your way out to view dolphins.
6. San Pancho
Among the best things you should do in Puerto Vallarta is to visit the coastal city of San Pancho (San Francisco), located about an hour’s drive away. Though not as peaceful as it once was, this city is worth seeing. Surprisingly, San Pancho has a wide variety of attractions despite its relatively small size. Meeting up with Samuel and taking a relaxed bike ride around San Pancho is a great way to learn about the area. When you go on a tour with Samuel, he will show you many interesting places and tell you exciting stories about the area. All of the necessary bicycle gear and some snacks and beverages are provided for in this highly rated and inexpensive activity. Learn more about this here.
Located about one hour from Puerto Vallarta, the town of San Pancho makes for a pleasant afternoon excursion. From Puerto Vallarta, you may get to San Pancho by renting a car, taking the bus for around 50 pesos, or signing up for a day trip that includes San Pancho and the nearby town of Sayulita. Remember that the ocean here is rough and is not an excellent spot for swimming. Bucerias is a good option if you want to go swimming.
7. Eat Contemporary Seafood
Although Mexico is known for the best place for variety of delicious food, and there is undoubtedly a Puerto Vallarta restaurant for everyone, sometimes it’s best to eat street (beach) food. If you’re an oyster connoisseur, you’ll be happy to know that you can purchase freshly shucked oysters at the beach. Many vendors may sell these delectable treats just below the bridge that spans the River Cuale.
Plastic tables and chairs are set up so you may enjoy your dinner by the water or grab it and go. Put in some salt, a squeeze of lime juice, and some hot sauce if you like things spicy. You can also partake in this delectable oyster and seafood experience, which features much more than just the abovementioned items. Fish fillets, tacos, quesadillas, soups, ceviche, aguachile, and as many other seafood meals as you can eat will be provided. Everything you need is already there. Plus, you may drink as much beer as you want with it. Tickets for this spectacular tour go fast because of its popularity.
8. Banderas Scuba Republic
When traveling, it is always a good idea to get out on the sea, but it is also a good idea to get below it. The third segment consists of scuba diving in Mexico. Try out the Banderas Scuba Republic regardless of whether or not you have a license to scuba dive. PADI recognizes this company and its staff members all hold PADI certifications.
You can earn your certification at this scuba store by taking the required courses and classes, and if you already have your Open Water certification, you can go on several dives here. Although scuba diving in Puerto Vallarta isn’t the best in Mexico, it’s still a good idea to get out there and try it at least once. It would help if you were also looking for turtles, rays, eels, and other animals. Visit the Banderas Scuba Republic, which can be found within the Romantic Zone, and see what they offer.
During your time in Puerto Vallarta, you will likely find yourself frequently hanging out at the drop zone. It is undoubtedly among the best places in the world to go skydiving.
It was surprising to see such a wide range of ages and nations represented among the folks who decided to try skydiving for the first time in Puerto Vallarta. It is obvious that this is a very well-liked activity among people from a diverse range of backgrounds that come to Puerto Vallarta.
It appeared as though every person was having a wonderful time. Seeing so many scared people leap made me think of the first time I went skydiving and brought back thoughts of the exhilaration and excitement I felt at the time. Although it may sound terrifying, skydiving is meant to be scary. Skydiving in Puerto Vallarta is an absolute must if you’re looking for something to get your heart racing.
10. Zona Romantica
Zona Romantica Puerto Vallarta, sometimes known simply as the Romantic Zone, is the best area in all of Puerto Vallarta to soak up the city’s enchantment and experience its old-world allure. This area, also known as Old Town Puerto Vallarta, is home to a variety of historic residences, popular eateries, chic stores, and hip bars. You can hear the locals saying hello to one another and the vendors setting up shop as you stroll through the cobblestone streets. Some of the city’s most recognizable landmarks, including the Los Muertos Pier, can be found here. The area is frequented by tourists from all over the world eager to experience the local customs. This is why the Zona Romantica in Puerto Vallarta is where everyone wants to be.
Even though more structures and businesses have opened up shops in the Romantic Zone, the area is still commonly referred to as Old Town Puerto Vallarta. It is separated from Centro by the Rio Cuale and finishes at Los Muertos Beach before the mountains rise to the south. In this area, you’ll find a mix of commercial and residential structures, from single-family homes to high-rises. There aren’t many hotels to choose from in Zona Romantica Puerto Vallarta, but getting here is as simple as taking a bus or a taxi.