35 Best Things To Do In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

After several trips to Puerto Vallarta in Jalisco state, I’m excited to put together this guide covering all the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta. Some activities like whale watching are seasonal, but you’ll find fun ways to keep busy year-round.

What is Puerto Vallarta like?

puerto vallarta things to do
Pretty PV

I didn’t know what to expect before I visited PV. I knew it was a city with a lot of tourism, so I worried it would have ‘Cancun vibes’ (not really my scene as I tend to prefer more cultural, charming places in Mexico). But I was pleasantly surprised.

It’s somewhere between a beach town and an international city. Cobbled streets that taxis slowly bump along made me feel like I was in a European village (and of course much of the architecture is Spanish-influenced), but there’s certainly an American feel due to the thousands of travelers from the States who visit each week.

You could imagine it used to be entirely charming before tourism arrived. But there are upsides to the tourism, too, like the lively nightlife with a big LGBT scene, enjoyed by international and local tourists. Overall, it’s a fun and lively city, with a charming aesthetic and great beaches!

Oh, and it’s easy to get into nature. Things to do in Puerto Vallarta include visiting islands, jungles, waterfalls, and beaches… Right on your doorstep!

What makes Puerto Vallarta so special is the mix of old and new. Cobbled streets with decades of history lead to gay bars, while modern vegan restaurants neighbor 50-year-old taco stands. History and modernity meet in the middle, enjoyed by a wide range of travelers from Mexico and the world.

Best things to do in Puerto Vallarta

There are SO many places to visit and endless activities in Puerto Vallarta. It’s hard to know where to start! So I’ll begin with general attractions in PV and move onto what to do at night, foodie activities, and then side trips nearby in Jalisco and Nayarit states.

Let’s begin with what everyone comes to the coast for…

1. Explore the popular beaches

Playa los muertos attractions in PV
Playa de Los Muertos, PV’s most popular beach

If you’re staying centrally and want a simple beach day with the ease and convenience of umbrellas for hire and abundant beachside restaurants, you’ll want to have Playa Los Muertos on your radar.

This is the most popular PV beach located alongside the charming Romantic Quarter. It’s easy to arrive on foot by taking any side street to the water.

It’s sandwiched between Olas Altas Beach and Las Amapas Beach which are also nice places to spend a day.

2. Find some lesser-known beaches

Conchas chinas beach
A lovely hidden gem

There are thousands of beaches along the coastline near Puerto Vallarta. You’re spoiled for choice! Although there are beaches that are more ‘hidden’, my favorite beach to escape the crowds is Playa Conchas Chinas (translating as ‘Chinese Shells’ Beach).

This isn’t the type of beach where you can rent chairs and sunloungers for the day, and there’s not much around in the way of food. One option is to bring your own umbrella, or you can visit for sunset when it’s a bit cooler.

An Uber from Centro PV to Playa Conchas Chinas should cost around 80 pesos, or you can board a local bus. Note that it’s a fairly steep climb from the beach to the road (down on the way there, up on the way back) so remember sun protection and stay hydrated!

3. Spot statues on the Malecon

Malecon sculptures things to do puerto vallarta mexico

The Malecon is the seafront walkway that hugs the coastline. Not only is it a pleasant place to take a leisurely walk (especially right before sunset when the heat is cooling off) but, for a unique thing to do in Puerto Vallarta, you can go statue-spotting.

The PV statues range from seahorses to mermaids. These are wonderful works of art, most with a marine theme.

Mexican cities love a quirky statue! Finding similar sculptures is also one of the top things to do in La Paz, Baja California, another of my favorite Mexican coastal destinations.

4. Wander the Romantic Quarter

Zona Romantica is a charming place by day and a fun party district by night. It’s the oldest part of the city complete with cobbled streets, historic buildings, and lots of popular restaurants and cafes, many of which have been open for decades.

Separated from Centro by Rio Cuale island, Zona Centro runs adjacent to the Malecon walkway beside the ocean. Lazaro Cardenas is a beautiful park decorated with mosaic artwork at the heart of the area.

Romantic quarter places to visit puerto vallarta
Many of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta are in the Romantic Quarter

Zona Romantica is the Gay Quarter of PV, home to lots of LGBT+ bars and drag shows that get going in the evening. A tour guide told me that conservative types blocked the area from being named the Gay Quarter so it was named the Romantic Quarter instead. Still, everyone knows that’s what it is. This beloved part of PV is a great place to visit, day or night.

colorful places to visit puerto vallarta

In the same area, another fun thing to do in Puerto Vallarta downtown is visiting…

5. Lazaro Cardenas

Lazaro Cardenas

For me, this is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places to visit in Puerto Vallarta. Lazaro Cardenas can be found at the end of the Malecon in the Romantica Quarter. Almost every inch of the park is covered in beautiful azulejos (tiles) designed by a local artist.

The works of art depict topics related to Mexico (such as cartoon-style skeletons from popular culture) as well as whales and other sea animals found near PV.

6. Shop at Mundo de Azulejos 

One of the coolest and quirkiest shops in PV in the heart of the Romantic Quarter is Mundo de Azulejos (World of Tiles) absolutely packed to the brim with bright and beautiful items. Buy handmade tiles to decorate your home as you please, or purchase premade items like jugs, mugs, plates, wall decorations and so much more.

Even from the outside, this colorful eclectic store will draw you in. It’s worth a browse even if you don’t buy. Also, just across the street is Agua de Cebada, a street stand open for 40 years and known for serving the sweetest agua frescas (fresh waters) in abundant fruit flavors. The perfect way to cool down on a hot day!

7. Find street art

street art pv attractions

For a fun and unusual thing to do in Puerto Vallarta, why not take yourself on a street art tour?

If you visited Lazaro Cardenas and saw the tile art already, you’ll be familiar with what a vibrant, arty city this is. But it doesn’t end there: there are SO many exciting murals decorating the streets of PV!

The 5 de Diciembre neighborhood is the best place to go street art hunting. Begin at Mercado del Mar 5 de Diciembre where the outer walls of the market are plastered with quirky images like dancing skeletons and hairless Xoloitzcuintle dogs thought to guide human spirits through Mictlan AKA the Aztec underworld.

Below are a few pieces I found while wandering the 5 de Diciembre area. How cool is this moth/woman mural below? You have to stand at the right position on the sidewalk to get the full effect.

8. Take a free walking tour

It never takes me long to mention a free walking tour! I love them. You’ll discover what to do in Old Town Puerto Vallarta from a local guide and meet other travelers (which is especially handy if you’re traveling solo as I often do).

Although no payment is required, I recommend tipping your guide around $10 if you enjoy the tour and learn something new.

The Municipal Tourism Office put on a free tour at 9am on 12pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and 9am on Saturdays. There’s also a tour of the Malecon sculptures at 9.30am on Tuesdays.

I recommend Freetour.com for finding free walking tours, in Mexico and around the world. Alternatively, take this self-guided PV walking tour.

9. Walk rescue pups!

One of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta for animal lovers also doubles up as a good deed. Friends of Puerto Vallarta Animals is a beloved shelter just outside of the city that always needs extra hands on deck when it comes to walking and feeding their dogs and cats.

Drop them a message and arrange a time to come by and make some furry friends!

10. Wednesday Art Walks

Between October and June, you should certainly time your PV trip to include a Wednesday because the weekly Art Walks are a fantastic way to experience the color and culture of the city. Around 18 galleries open their doors for free between 6 and 10pm, allowing guests to hop between them admiring paintings and sculptures.

See the Art Walk PV website for the galleries participating. For the upcoming year, the dates are October 25th, 2023 to June 26th, 2024.

11. Boca de Tomatlan to Paraiso Cascada hike

Boca de Tomatlan things to do near puerto vallarta
For this amazing hike in nature, start at Boca de Tomatlan

My favorite day in PV was spent hiking through the jungle to secluded waterfalls, best reached by boat! I was stunned by how easy it was to escape the city and feel at one with nature. At 9am we were having brunch in a trendy cafe and by 11am we were deep in the forest, wading through rivers! You can’t say that about every city.

To do this hike, catch a bus, drive, or ride an Uber to the starting point of Boca de Tomatlan where you can board a local boat (around 80 pesos) around the coast to Quimixto Pier. From here, veer left and follow the trail towards Cuale Waterfall which should take you less than an hour.

The Quimixto hike isn’t hard but you should still be prepared with sun protection and comfy shoes (either waterproof ones or easy ones to whip off) because you do have to walk through a few shallow rivers. Also, don’t forget your swimwear so you can take a dip at the end, but be careful because the waterfall creates strong currents.

We were surprised to find a small restaurant by the falls serving food and drinks. We definitely overpaid for guac, chips, and margs flavored with local red berries… but at least it was delicious!

12. More beaches along the coast

Beach hopping is a fantastic thing to do in Puerto Vallarta and, if you have a car, you can explore the coastline at your leisure. Playa las Gemelas is a gorgeous beach 10 minutes south of Zona Romantica (by car or taxi). The only amenity is the small stand serving fresh seafood, so make sure to bring your own umbrella etc.

Yelapa is one of the most popular beaches in Jalisco beside an idyllic fishing village. Because no roads reach it, the best way to arrive is by boat either from Boca de Tomatlan or Puerto Vallarta directly. Playa Majahuitas is a secluded bay known for its turquoise water, ideal for practicing watersports or simply relaxing on the golden sands.

Related activity: Yelapa & Majahuitas day trip inc snorkelling 💰 Cost: $99 per person | ⏰ How long? 7 hours | Book online with Viator

13. Marieta Islands

Marieta islands

Once you’ve finished with the main PV attractions, head out to the islands.

The two islands in Banderas Bay that comprise the Marieta Islands may have survived 60,000 years since their volcanic birth but it’s the social media era that’s nearly killed them. It’s hardly surprising everyone wants to visit these idyllic, uninhabited islands with a ‘hidden beach‘ at the heart of Isla Redonda, but too many people and boats were slowly destroying the islands.

The government intervened and now you can visit the Hidden Beach in a more controlled manner on selected days only. There are just over 100 slots open each day so sign up early. You only get 30 minutes on the beach so enjoy paradise while you can! Book a snorkeling tour to hidden beach.

If the organization of getting to the hidden beach is too much, don’t worry; you can visit the islands by boat trip daily. Book your Marieta Islands cruise with Viator.

14. Hike to Mirador de la Cruz

Mirador de la cruz things to do puerto vallarta

Climbing up to Mirador La Cruz del Cerro (The Cross on the Hill Lookout) is one of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta downtown especially if you want amazing views! You can see all the way to Punta Mitla and Los Arcos. You don’t need pro hiking boots and a spare day: this is an easy – although steep – hike just 20 minutes from the Malecon.

To begin the Mirador de la Cruz hike, follow Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez Street from Centro. It’s a straight path with a gradual incline.

15. Ziplining & adventure tours

PV is a great place for adventurous types. One of the longest ziplines in the country is located nearby so, for a fun day out, hop on an adventure tour including a speedboat ride, waterfall rappelling, and a 4×4 journey through the jungle.

Book your adrenaline-inducing day out with Viator.

16. Have a wellness day at Terra Noble Arts & Healing

Terra Noble Arts & Healing

It may not be your typical Puerto Vallarta tourist attraction but my friend and I had a great day at Terra Noble, an arts and healing center perched on a lofty hilltop with spectacular views of the city and coast. They offer accommodation, spa treatments, workshops, and events.

From yoga to sound healing, massages, meditation, and traditional Mexican experiences like temazcal, it’s the perfect place for some soul-searching and healing.

Terra Noble Arts & Healing activities puerto vallarta

Keep an eye out for wellness festivals; we bought a day pass that included access to loads of sessions like yoga, Tae Kwon Do, and African dance. It was a fun vibe with lots of cool people, food stands selling yummy Mexican dishes, and pop-ups from local businesses like Puerto Cafe, the best specialty coffee roastery in town.

17. Isla Cuale Flea Market

isla cuale flea market

If you need to buy souvenirs, Isla Cuale Flea Market is one of the places to visit in Puerto Vallarta for shopping purposes. Even if you’re not planning to shop, it’s an atmospheric place to wander.

Isla Cuale is an island in the Cuale River just before it joins the sea, and an informal separation point between the Romantic Quarter and Centro. Several swinging bridges connect the island on either side so it’s easy to walk from one barrio to another, stopping on the island.

At the Flea Market, you can buy all sorts of colorful clutter as well as all your typical Mexican tourist items from handicrafts to clothes, jewelry, and crockery. Keep walking around the island because there’s a cultural center and some cafes with great views.

18. More crafts markets

Markets are at the heart of every Mexican city. They’re where local restaurants pick up fresh produce, families buy their weekly goods, locals sit down for hearty meals, and tourists get acquainted with the culture.

Market hopping is a fun thing to do in Puerto Vallarta during any spare time. A few PV markets to have on your radar are:

  • Mercado Muncipal Rio Cuale – not to be confused with Rio Cuale Flea Market, this large indoor market on the Centro side of the island is the biggest traditional market in PV. Downstairs, there are crafts and souvenirs while upstairs, there’s a large food court where I had an absolute FEAST of chicken, mole, frijoles, rice, and juice for around 100 pesos. Bargain!
  • Pueblo Viejo Mercado De Artesanias – two blocks from the muncipal market, the oldest market in the city is a huge emporium selling every souvenir you could ever need, and several you definitely don’t need but may want anyway!
  • Marina Vallarta Art & Market – held Thursdays only in the Marina, there’s food from around the world as well as clothes, accessories, and art.
  • Mercado del Mar 5 de Diciembre – to escape the touristy central markets, this is the place to go for fresh produce including seafood. Even if you don’t buy, it’s a great place to soak up local life.

19. Church of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

Church of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

When wandering in Centro, you can’t miss the Church of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, the largest and most important church in PV. Although it’s an important place for locals who practice there, you don’t need to be religious to marvel over the incredible structure with a Renaissance-style tower.

If you visit when a wedding is happening, you’re in for a treat. Mexican weddings are a real occasion, especially with a backdrop like this church which is one of the top attractions in PV!

20. Vallarta Botanical Garden 

PV botanic gardens

Although Vallarta Botanical Gardens is a trek from downtown Puerto Vallarta, it works so well because it’s a vast natural space far removed from the city. It’s the primary site for studying and preserving native flora and fauna like orchids. Not only can you wander for hours in the gardens, but you may be lucky to spot hummingbirds and rare military macaw parrots.

Haciendo de Oro is a gorgeous restaurant in the gardens with organic, homegrown food, and spectacular views to accompany your meal.

Although it’s an hour’s drive from the city (around 350 pesos in an Uber), it’s easily one of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta for nature lovers. It’s just past Boca de Tomatlan where the Quimixto waterfall begins; a wonderful day could be combining both Puerto Vallarta activities.

Entry tickets to the gardens costs 300 pesos per person.

21. Mariposario Jardin Magico

If you love nature, don’t stop at the Botanical Gardens. The Buttery Sanctuary is a wonderful place to see and learn about beautiful butterflies. What’s great is you see the whole lifecycle from caterpillars to pupas and butterflies.

Swing by to take a tour of the sanctuary and support a fantastic initiative. Fabian is a very knowledgeable guide!

It takes around 45 minutes to drive or take a bus from downtown PV to the sanctuary on the outskirts of the city.

22. Visit the art galleries

My friends and I loved visiting Arte VallARTa Museo which is a real hidden gem! On a relaxed cobbled street slightly away from the tourist zone, the building is colorful from the offset with some beautiful street art murals on the outside walls.

Inside, the art displayed is all by local Mexican artists. As well as the inside gallery, there’s a pleasant outdoor section with some colorful exhibits, friendly staff, and a cafe. Entry is free but you can give a donation.

It’s located just outside the Romantic Quarter, and we walked there stopping at Marismo Fish Taco which is en route. However, we then had to walk along a main road under a dark tunnel so it was a bit of a stressful arrival on foot. Maybe get an Uber!

23. Whale watching (Nov-April)

If you’re visiting over the winter months, I’m sure you already know one of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta (and, in fact, any of the northwestern Mexican coastal towns) is going whale watching! The absolute best months are January and February, but the whole season of November to April provides opportunity to see these beauties.

Humpback whales arrive in the Bay of Banderas during their epic annual migration. Here, they mate and give birth before continuing their journey with their babies in tow. While whale watching in PV, you’ll hopefully be lucky and see plenty from your boat.

Related activity: whale watching tour 💰 Cost: $100 per person | ⏰ How long? 3 hours | Book online with Viator

24. Swim with wild dolphins

dolphin watching pv

This coastline is full of abundant marine life, not limited to whales. Pods of bottlenose and spotted dolphins call the PV waters home and can be easily spotted during boat tours.

What I especially like regarding wildlife tourism in Mexico (unlike some of the sad things I witnessed during my travels in Asia) is that the animals are generally visited in ethical ways. Tours watching and swimming with wild dolphins are led by trained biologists and proceeds go towards research and conservation.

Hydrophones on board the boats allow you to hear the communications of the dolphins and, depending on them, you may get a chance to swim with them! Turtles, rays, and birdlife are also often spotted en route.

💰 Cost: $88 per person | ⏰ How long? 3.5 hours | Book online with Viator

25. Turn up the adrenaline with some watersports

Parasailing and jet skiing are two activities in Puerto Vallarta for adventurous types, while paddleboarding is ideal for more leisurely travelers… Like myself! The easiest place to try these watersports in PV is at Playa Los Muertos, the main tourist beach where there are countless boards and skis to hire. Las Glorieas Beach is also a good spot.

There are also great opportunities in PV for divers and snorkelers. The unique rock formation of Los Arcos (The Arches) is home to lots of colorful sea life, while Las Caletas (a beach only accessible by boat) is perfect for snorkeling in the calm waters.

💰 Cost: $120 per person | ⏰ How long? 7 hours | Book online with Viator

What to do in Puerto Vallarta at night

PV is a vibrant and exciting city at night. There’s nightlife from fancy cocktail bars to cheap dive bars and booming clubs. But it’s the LGBT nightlife that makes PV special. Obviously, this is present in most big cities (and there are countless gay bars in Mexico City) but it’s PV that’s always mentioned as the top LGBT destination in Mexico.

26. Rhythms of the Night show

Easily one of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta at night is watching the incredible Rhythms of the Night show from a private beach! Your night starts with a sunset boat cruise across Banderas Bay before arriving at Las Caletas beach where the magical show begins.

Directed by co-creator of Cirque du Soleil, Gilles Ste-Croix, the incredible show uses mind-bending acrobatics, music, costumes, and rhythms to convey ancient Mexican stories and legends.

Your ticket also includes dinner and a welcome cocktail! Book your ticket now.

27. Attend a drag show

As the LGBT capital of Mexico, where could be better to experience a vibrant drag show? The show lounge in La Noche Bar holds nightly drag shows starting from 9pm. Other options include The Palm Cabaret Bar, Act2 PV, Butterfly Cabarat, and CC Slaughters. There are so many places to choose from!

Another fun option is a daytime drag brunch with food, booze, and entertainment from talented queens!

28. Party!

PV has amazing nightlife whether you’re looking for rooftop bars and sophisticated cocktails or something a little more crazy.

For cocktails, I like El Colibri and Twisted Palms. For clubs, Co-De, Strana, and any of the Malecon bars (like Zoo and La Vaquita) are lively until the early hours.

Swell and El Solar are popular beach bars. For gay bars, you can’t beat Blue Chairs Rooftop Bar or Mr Flamingo which are always lively. Finally, if you like craft beer, don’t miss Los Muertos Brewing!

Foodie things to do in Puerto Vallarta

Read next: the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

29. Take a food tour

I had the best time taking a 3.5-hour walking tour with Puerto Vallarta Food Tour. Our guide was super knowledgeable and we visited a wide variety of venues from authentic street food stands to nice, sit-down restaurants.

Food-wise, we tried everything from meaty tacos to fresh seafood and sweet, refreshing agua frescas. The tour was a great way to learn from a local and meet other travelers from around the world.

30. Find the best fish tacos

fish tacos pv

In any Mexican coastal town, there’s one thing you NEED to eat: fish tacos! For an affordable yet amazing quick bite, you can’t beat Marisma Fish Taco, an iconic stand with fish, shrimp, and marlin tacos for under 50 pesos. It’s conveniently located in Zona Romantica so you can easily visit around your Puerto Vallarta sightseeing plans.

For an atmospheric place to sit down and eat world-class fish tacos and other seafood dishes with strong margaritas and flan for dessert, run don’t walk to Mariscos El Guero. Luckily you can’t miss it because the outside of the restaurant is plastered with colorful murals.

Finally, my new favorite place from my 2024 trip is Maria Baja with amazing tuna tostadas and the best selection of salsas I’ve ever seen!

31. Eat at iconic Pancho’s Takos

Tacos al pastor

If it’s meaty tacos al pastor you’re looking for, don’t miss Pancho’s Takos! It’s worth the wait… and wait you WILL because this is a popular joint. They’re open from 4-11.30pm and the latter half of this is busiest because tacos al pastor is typically a late-night dish, often eaten after leaving a bar.

In case you’re unfamiliar, tacos al pastor are typically a Mexico City street food that arrived with Lebanese immigrants. Made with delicious shwarma pork meat topped with pineapple, onion, and cilantro, they’re now popular around the country. YUM, or as the locals would say, muy rico!

32. Try a chocolate-making class

For a fun activity in PV, I can highly recommend the ChocoMuseum right by the Malecon. They offer a bean-to-bar workshop that walks you through the entire process of chocolate production and shares the significance of cacao in prehispanic Mexican culture.

You’ll get to make your own chocolate bonbons and chocolate drinks to take home. Book your workshop for $50.

Things to do near Puerto Vallarta

Once you’re finished with the main Puerto Vallarta attractions, you’re only just getting started with the surrounding area!

33. Sayulita, Nayarit

Sayulita things to do near puerto vallarta

This hippie coastal town an hour’s drive from PV makes a fantastic side trip. If you’re short on time, you can easily visit Sayulita as a day trip by traveling from the city up the spectacular Nayarit Riverira.

Since Sayulita is in Nayarit not Jalisco, you’re ticking another state off your Mexico bucket list!

Sayulita is a small place so it would be easy to soak up the vibes, see the main attractions and markets, and eat some amazing food before heading back to PV at the end of the day. You should also try surfing because the gentle break makes it a far better beginners surfers paradise than PV!

Read next: the best things to do in Sayulita

sayulita Nayarit

How long you spend depends what type of traveler you are. I like to take my time and explore places thoroughly so I chose to spend a few days in Sayulita. I stayed in a great hostel, Viajero, with a rooftop pool and FREE daily yoga classes. The best Sayulita beaches are NOT in town so staying longer allows you to explore out-of-town beaches like Playa De Los Muertos.

Getting to Sayulita from Puerto Vallarta: driving takes around 1 hour or you can do what I did and board a local bus from PV to Sayulita bus station. This was super straightforward and very cheap! Another option is getting an Uber the whole way for around 500 pesos.

34. San Pancho, Nayarit

San pancho Nayarit

Indicating how destinations are always changing, San Pancho is apparently what Sayuilta used to be like before it boomed in popularity: a chilled, hippie beach town with a community feel and artsy vibe.

There’s not loads to do but that’s half the charm. Visit the beach, stop at community art centers like Entreamigos, and enjoy tasty local food at Chido Greens and Taqueria Los Arbolitos. The best coffee is at DoughJoe.

San Pancho is just a 10-minute drive from Sayulita so, if you have a car, you could visit both small towns from PV during a day trip. If you’re relying on public transport and want to see both places, I’d suggest staying overnight in one of them. A local bus costing 50 pesos ($2) connects the two towns.

Compostela buses taking just over 1 hour run directly from PV to San Pancho if you’re not planning on stopping in Sayulita en route.

Related activity: guided Sayulita & San Pancho day trip from PV

Another place you can visit even further down the coastline is Lo de Marcos, an idyllic pueblo with quiet beaches and cute cafes. There aren’t loads of things to do in Lo de Marcos, and it’s not somewhere for fancy beach clubs, but I thought it was just perfect!

35. San Sebastian del Oeste 

When you’ve finished with the main things to do in Puerto Vallarta, there’s a nearby pueblo magico (‘magic town’ voted by the tourism board for its unique cultural heritage) that should be on your radar! This ex-mining town hasn’t changed much since the 18th century which is why locals and foreigners like to visit and soak up its scenic charm.

Unlike the many coastal towns near PV, this inland town is nestled among the Sierra Madre mountains, just a 45-minute drive from PV. If you’d rather go with a group and tour guide, take a San Sebastian tour from PV.

Best neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta

Photo spots in Zona Romantica

Zona Romantica – a lively area close to River Cuale, the Malecon, and Playa Los Muertos. This is a charming, old part of the city as well as the LGBT and nightlife zone. There are endless hotels, cafes, and restaurants. Many of the best things to do in PV are located here!

Centro – also running along the Malecon with lots of restaurants, this is a slightly more residential area, separated from Zona Romantica by Rio Cuale island.

Conchas Chinas – an upmarket part of PV with fancy homes and hotels, close to the beach of the same name.

5 de Diciembre – more of a local area packed with street art, authentic modest restaurants, and bustling markets.

Hotel zone – near the Marina, this area is what it says on the tin: the hotel district with many nice options to choose from.

The Marina – an upscale part of town not far from the hotel zone.


Is Puerto Vallarta worth visiting? Yes! PV is popular for nightlife, beaches, seafood, hiking, and more. It’s a vibrant city with lots to see do, and eat.

What does PV have to offer? PV has lots to offer in terms of city pleasures AND nature. You can get from the city to hidden beaches, waterfalls, and hiking areas by a 20-minute Uber ride. I love the city for that!

Is PV really touristy? Yes, it is pretty touristy but not more than many other cities in Mexico. It’s easy to escape the touristy areas in favor of quieter beaches and areas.

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