Table of Contents
- 1 Foodie Travelers
- 2 Adventure Travelers
- 3 Wellness Traveler
- 4 Sightseeing Traveler
Puerto Vallarta is a favorite beach destination for all types of travelers and it isn’t hard to see why, whether you are a foodie, an adventurer, a health and fitness fanatic, or you just love exploring the sights, the sky is the limit when it comes to activities in Puerto Vallarta, and there is something for everyone. The weather is warm year-round, and while you will find some of the most pristine beaches here, there are also mountains, fun eco-tours and nature trails to explore, a host of wellness activities, and some of the finest gastronomy in the world.
Puerto Vallarta is a fantastic foodie destination for anyone who loves food and wants to explore epicurean hot spots. From seafood and fusion cuisine to sushi and authentic Mexican fare, Puerto Vallarta is one of the best places to go in the world for a foodie vacation. Here is a list of some of the top restaurants to try:
Café des Artistes
Café des Artistes is the place to go for French-Mexican fusion cuisine and was named by Nestle Food Service as one of the 80 best restaurants in the world. Thierry Blouet is a renowned chef and founder of this restaurant and his creative spirit and passion for haute cuisine comes through in every dish. Not only will you experience gourmet food with high-quality ingredients and excellent service, but you will enjoy an exclusive ambiance amid lush gardens with live music that all combine to create a magical atmosphere. Reservations are recommended. Pro tip: Request a table in the garden, it is the most popular area and at night the designer lighting and host of candles make it a very romantic spot.
TRIO is a downtown Mediterranean cuisine restaurant with a beautiful piano bar specializing in inventive French cooking. You will find on the menu delicious items such as foie gras, oysters, pan roasted fish, sea scallops, beef tenderloin, and roasted veggies. This three-level European restaurant has an open courtyard with a fountain, tropical plants, and an exhibition of paintings by local artists, where you are sure to spend a delightful evening.
Le Kliff is aptly named because it is a palapa restaurant located south of downtown Puerto Vallarta that is perched high on the edge of a cliff. This restaurant has achieved international fame, not only for its prime location where you can watch the best sunsets, but also for its gourmet cuisine which incorporates the culinary traditions of Mexico. You will find on the menu a variety of delicious seafood items including fresh catch of the day, lobster tails, grilled salmon, shrimp burgers, and ceviche along with BBQ ribs and beef steak.
Garza Blanca Gourmet Restaurants
For serious foodies, one of the best resorts in the Bay of Banderas that you can stay at which offers the finest cuisine is Garza Blanca Resort. Opt for the Gourmet Culinary All-Inclusive plan and enjoy unlimited dining all day and all night at a host of gourmet restaurants including: Blanca Blue, Aquazul, and Bocados Steak House. As a guest of Garza Blanca with the all-inclusive plan, you also have the option to dine at all the restaurants at its sister resort, Hotel Mousai, including Hiroshi, a Japanese restaurant, and the Rooftop restaurant. Coming this November 2021 there will be two additional restaurants including DAO for Oriental cuisine, and NOI for Italian cuisine.
There’s more to Mexican food than tacos, quesadillas, and burritos. UNESCO has added Mexican cuisine to the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which is significant because it means that the UN is committed to protecting and preserving Mexico’s culinary traditions. A food tour is the best way to try all the specialty foods not only from the region of Puerto Vallarta, but from all Mexico. Not only will you get to try authentic Mexican tacos, which are nothing like the tacos you find at Taco Bell, beyond them there is also chilaquiles, aguachile, tamales, sopes, the freshest seafood, and flan for dessert. Flan is one of the most beloved desserts among Mexicans and was brought to Mexico by the Spaniards during the Spanish conquest. Or you can try the local chocolate made from authentic cacao beans. Food tours are one of the best activities in Puerto Vallarta to experience.
Do you want to feel more alive than ever before? You will love the thrill of adrenaline flowing through your veins with a plethora of exciting activities designed for those who want to add a little adventure to their tropical vacation experience. Discover Mexico’s ancient past, fly over the tree tops, blaze through twisting trails under tropical palms, hike through the jungle, or scuba dive with tropical fish. Adventure is endless in Puerto Vallarta. Here is our top list of adventure tours:
Zip Line Over the Treetops
Puerto Vallarta is well-known, not only for its spectacular beaches, but also for its vast jungles. There are several reputable tour companies that offer zip lining in the most breathtaking locations. Get your heart pumping while being immersed in nature’s paradisiacal beauty and fly like Tarzan through the jungle on a series of thrilling zip lines. Canopy River, Vallarta Adventures, and Rancho Vista Paraiso are all very good tour operators that will take care of your safety by giving you safety instructions and of course, a helmet to wear. Their zip lines are built for safety, so all you have to worry about is having fun. Screaming while zip lining is optional, and also fun.
Go Scuba Diving
Though most people associate Cancun and Cozumel as top places to scuba dive in Mexico, you can also see all sorts of wondrous sea creatures in Puerto Vallarta. The two best scuba diving spots are Los Arcos, a National Marine Park south of downtown, and Las Marietas, a protected nature reserve in the north of the Bay, 5 miles from Punta Mita. At both sites, you will find striking coral reefs, stunning rock formations, and incredible underwater landscapes teeming with colorful tropical fish, eel, starfish, and so much more. If you are not a certified scuba diver, you can get your certification while on vacation. We recommend that you do it through a 5-star PADI Center in Puerto Vallarta to ensure both your safety and a great experience.
Marigalante Pirate Ship
Aaaargh you ready for the best pirate experience aboard the Marigalante? Take a swashbuckling adventure on a replica of Christopher Columbus’s ship, the Santa Maria. This multi-decked galleon with billowy fore-and-aft masts, was constructed from 30 species of wood. You can take a day cruise to Majahuitas or a sunset cruise complete with dinner, dancing, music, and fireworks. The Marigalante showcases an open bar and an exciting pirate show where you will witness pirates walking the plank along with acrobatics, blasting cannons, sword fights, and high-quality entertainment full of non-stop laughs.
Rhythms of the Night
Spend a thrilling evening at the secluded cove of Las Caletas and enjoy a candlelight dinner at a seaside table followed by Rhythms of the Night, a spectacular acrobatic show where stories of an ancient civilization are told through music and dance. Your evening starts boarding a catamaran, which will take you to the secluded cove. After a delicious buffet dinner that takes place in the heart of the tropical rainforest, you can witness an exciting show with acrobats, fire twirlers, and contortionists in an amphitheater with designer lighting surrounded by palm trees. This is yet another one of the best activities in Puerto Vallarta to do while on vacation.
ATV Mountain Experience
Explore the Sierra Madre Occidental along winding trails and experience the adventure of a lifetime as you blaze up high peaks, through mud, and over mild streams on your all-terrain vehicle. If you want to have a personal journey, single ATVs are available, or you can hop on a double ATV and enjoy the thrill with your adventure partner, which is double the fun!
Stay healthy and fit on your vacation. Puerto Vallarta offers is a sanctuary of health and wellness with integrated wellness activities including yoga, paddle boarding, surfing, kayaking, and a secluded cove bursting with fun and healthy activities. Get wellness inspired in paradise!
Practice your mountain pose and downward dogs in one of the most picturesque locations right on the beach. Most resorts in Puerto Vallarta offer yoga classes on the beach with qualified instructors who teach the classes in English. For travelers staying with relatives or in an Airbnb, the Yogi Bar located in Marina Vallarta offers everything you need to nurture your body and mind with amazing yoga classes and a range of smoothies and healthy snacks.
There are numerous hiking trails to enjoy in Puerto Vallarta. From hiking along the coast from Boca de Tomatlan to Las Animas, or hiking up to a peak that overlooks the whole bay at Monkey Mountain, or a wonderful trek from Sayulita to San Pancho, you can connect with nature walking along trails overlooking the ocean, through the luscious green jungle with abundant tropical flora and steep inclines, and to beautiful hidden waterfalls.
Snorkel at Los Arcos
This Maritime Natural Reserve near Mismaloya Beach is special. You can see colorful fish, octopuses, and various other sea creatures. Los Arcos is one of the most popular places among snorkelers to visit in Puerto Vallarta. You can get there by hiring a panga boat from Boca de Tomatlan, join a tour that goes there from one of the many tour companies, or you can even kayak there.
Surf in Sayulita
Sayulita is a small fishing village 25 miles south of Puerto Vallarta. The town is best known for fresh, local seafood, local artisanal markets and shops, and for its surf, with over 19 surf breaks. The main beach is perfect for beginners due to its gentle waves, but there are other spots to surf that are great for intermediate and advanced surfers. Right Point Break is a great place for more advanced surfers and when a large swell rolls in, you will love riding the epic waves. If learning to surf is on your bucket list, stop by Lunazul Surf School & Shop. They are so confident in their instructors that if you don’t manage to stand up on your first surf lesson, you won’t need to pay!
Las Caletas Beach Hideaway
Las Caletas is a tropical beach hideaway in a secluded nature reserve that was once the home of former Hollywood director, John Huston. This ¾-mile long beach is south of Puerto Vallarta and leased by Vallarta Adventures – a tour company. During their Las Caletas Beach Hideaway excursion, you will enjoy a 7-hour tour that starts with a boat trip to the cove. Once you arrive, you can enjoy a variety of wellness activities including kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boarding, nature hikes, and so much more. Continental breakfast, lunch, and an open bar are included. There is a Kids Adventure Park and Teen Adventure Cove for those traveling with youngsters. This is one of the best activities in Puerto Vallarta to do when you are enjoying a healthy family getaway.
For the sightseeing traveler, there are many great sites that you can explore for a few hours, an afternoon, or an entire day. With so many beautiful beaches, you can devote an entire day or days, or even weeks to exploring them all. Discover the romantic zone and the incredible Malecon, the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the Botanical Gardens. These are just a few of the marvelous places you can visit on your vacation here, but there are plenty more!
Visit the Beaches
It’s fair to say there is a plethora of gorgeous beaches in this seaside community along Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Among the best beaches are Los Muertos, Conchas Chinas, Playa Las Gemelas, Mismaloya, and Playa Los Camarones. The spectacular beaches are the quintessential component that make Puerto Vallarta impossible to overlook as a travel destination. You’ll find all kinds of lavish hotels in and around all of those beaches.
La Zona Romantica
Known as “the Romantic Zone,” this is the oldest part in all of Puerto Vallarta. The cobblestone streets, bright colors, and colorful facades have enabled La Zona Romantica to maintain its old-world charm. The neighborhood is awash with shops, galleries, restaurants, and bars. This locale is quite popular among tourists due to its lively and buzzing atmosphere.
Walk Along the Malecon
Walking along the Malecon is yet another one of the best activities in Puerto Vallarta. This mile-long oceanfront promenade is the perfect place for a late afternoon or evening stroll. You can find dozens of unique sculptures and statues, souvenir stores, ice cream shops, bars, and restaurants here. One popular occurrence at the Malecon is la danza de los voladores which means “dance of the flyers.” This Mesoamerican custom entails four men tying themselves to the ends of ropes spinning back to the ground while a fifth person plays the flute. Nearby is the ChocoMuseo where you can learn how chocolate is produced from cacao beans. As well you can find a large assortment of different chocolates.
The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe
This majestic work of architecture towers over Puerto Vallarta. This house of worship is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. It makes an ideal place of refuge whenever it rains. Inside the cathedral are carved confessionals, an amazing marble altar with a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and various paintings of saints adorning the wooden panels. Here you can celebrate numerous festivals, colorful parades, and candlelight processions between December 1st and 12th.
You will enjoy a journey along a scenic winding road on your way to this site. The Botanical Gardens have a vast display of cacti, orchids, agave, old trees, and other native vegetation. It’s one of the best activities in Puerto Vallarta for nature lovers. A neighboring hiking trail and river swimming are available. Furthermore, you can enjoy a tour of a tequila distillery and an organic coffee factory.
Whatever type of traveler you are, there are so many exciting possibilities that await you in Puerto Vallarta! We hope you found our list of the best activities in Puerto Vallarta for all types of travelers useful, and look forward to welcoming you to this beautiful destination very soon.