Puerto Vallarta travel guide

Puerto Vallarta Tourism | Puerto Vallarta Guide

You're Going to Love Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is a beach resort city that became popular with tourists after it was used as a backdrop for the 1964 movie "The Night of the Iguana". The city has evolved into a modern hotspot with rich nightlife and an EDM festival. It is also a popular LGBT destination.

You can discover the more traditional aspects of the city as you walk through the Zona Romantica and shop at the flea market, and see the more modern side of Puerto Vallarta as you explore the bars and clubs that border the Malecón.

Plan out your itinerary to see the Belle Epoque buildings, try the best seafood restaurants, or simply go explore the Zone Romantica and let Puerto Vallarta surprise you!

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Puerto Vallarta

1. Experience the Charm of a Small Mexican City

The tight cobblestone streets and tile roofs that are characteristic of traditional Mexican towns. The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Saucedo Theatre are worth checking out if you are interested in early 20th-century architecture.

2. Let Nature Amaze You

Puerto Vallarta is located near two gorgeous beaches. Spend an afternoon at the Los Muertos Beach to enjoy the rock formation of El Púlpito and Las Pilitas or head to Playa Conchas Chinas if you want to relax in a more secluded area. The Los Arcos Marine Park, located seven miles south of Puerto Vallarta, is the perfect place to see pelicans or go snorkeling.

3. Take a Walk on the Malecón

The Malecón is a boardwalk that comes to life in the evening. You can take a stroll to admire El Caballito and other sculptures by artists such as Sergio Bustamante or Alejandro Colunga, or sit down at one of the many cafes for a few drinks.

4. Shop at the Public Markets

You will find Mercado Isla Cuale and the Mercado Municipal Cuale as you head towards the Centro area. Shop for souvenirs, crafts, and traditional clothes before heading to the Pueblo Viejo area to shop for jewelry, traditional clothes, or to try street food.

5. Try a New Activity

Cycling is the perfect way to explore the tropical wilderness around Puerto Vallarta. If cycling is not your thing, you can go golfing at the Marina Vallarta Club de Golf or at the Vista Vallarta de Golf.

Where to Eat in Puerto Vallarta

Make sure you try local specialties such as red snapper marinated in peppers (Huachinango Zarandeado), skewered meat with hot sauce and lime (Mahi-mahi), and raw fish cured with lime juice (Ceviche). Head to Le Kliff, Vista Grill, or La Leche for Mexican fare and seafood. If you want a cheaper meal, Pancho's Takos and Pepe's Tacos are excellent choices. You will also find that Puerto Vallarta has some excellent steakhouses such as BocaDos STK and Asador La Vaca Argentina. A meal will typically cost Mex$160 to Mex$240 and eating at an upscale restaurant should cost Mex$700.

When to visit Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta in April
Estimated hotel price
$168
1 night at 3-star hotel
Puerto Vallarta in April
Estimated hotel price
$168
1 night at 3-star hotel

Puerto Vallarta has a tropical climate and temperatures can be high from July through September. The high season typically starts in November and ends in April. Traveling between April and June is ideal if you want to avoid crowds. The Electro Beach festival is held in March and attracts large crowds. The Cultural Festival in May is worth the trip, as is the Day of the Dead celebration in November.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Puerto Vallarta

Plane

The Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR) is only 15 minutes away from the Centro. You can drive from the airport to Puerto Vallarta by heading south on Avenida Francisco Medina Ascencio. There is a local bus that leaves from the airport and will take you to the Marina or to the Centro for Mex$6.50. You can also take an Aeromovil taxi, which should cost Mex$180 if you are heading to the Marina and Mex$195 if you are staying in the Centro area. If you are traveling on a budget, take a colectivo minivan instead of a taxi. This trip should only cost Mex$75 if you are going to the Marina and Mex$90 to go to the Centro.

Car

Puerto Vallarta is located along the Bahia de Banderas coast and can be reached by driving up or down Highway 200. If you are coming from further north, follow Highway 150 south until it turns into Highway 200. If you are coming from Guadalajara or another eastern city, take Highway 70 until it turns into Highway 544. You can easily reach Puerto Vallarta by taxi from any major city in the area. Taking a taxi between Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta should cost Mex$2,400 and a taxi between Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta should cost Mex$2,000.

Bus

You will find the Central Camionera station near the Modelo building in the airport area. ETN and Primera Plus connect Puerto Vallarta to other major cities in the area and to smaller coastal towns. Taking a bus between Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta will only cost Mex$600 and taking a bus between Mazatlán or Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta should cost between Mex$400 and Mex$600.

Airports near Puerto Vallarta

Airlines serving Puerto Vallarta

United Airlines
Good (69,510 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (47,694 reviews)
KLM
Good (3,808 reviews)
Delta
Good (30,757 reviews)
Air France
Good (4,367 reviews)
British Airways
Good (23,353 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Excellent (11,549 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (25,053 reviews)
Alaska Airlines
Excellent (30,340 reviews)
Spirit Airlines
Okay (63,102 reviews)
JetBlue
Excellent (20,185 reviews)
Air Europa
Good (3,265 reviews)
LATAM Airlines
Good (5,796 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (3,958 reviews)
Aeromexico
Good (9,972 reviews)
Avianca
Good (13,615 reviews)
Frontier
Okay (40,473 reviews)
Japan Airlines
Excellent (4,647 reviews)
WestJet
Good (9,167 reviews)
Sun Country Air
Good (9,180 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Puerto Vallarta

The Flamingo Vallarta Hotel & Marina or the all-inclusive Velas Vallarta are ideal options if you want to stay in the more modern area of the Marina. If you are looking for comfort, the Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort is located a little further south on the beach. The Encino Hotel and Hotel Rio Malecón are more affordable options that are closer to the Malecón. If you want to stay in the Zona Romantica, consider the Hotel Eloisa, the Hotel Playa Los Arco, or the Hotel Posada de Roger.

Popular neighbourhoods in Puerto Vallarta

El Malecón - the Malecón is a popular promenade between the historical center and the beach. You will find many cafes and bars as well as live music on the Plaza de Las Armas.

Zona Romantica - this is the old downtown area with cobblestone streets and tile roofs. You cannot visit Puerto Vallarta without taking a walk through this part of the city, seeing the cathedral, and shopping at the flea market. You will also find a lot of great bars and seafood restaurants.

El Centro - the Centro is the area north of the Zona Romantica. This neighborhood is built on a hill and you will find many small shops that sell art, clothes, and souvenirs as well as dining options as you go up and down the narrow streets.

Most popular hotel in Puerto Vallarta by neighbourhood

Where to stay in popular areas of Puerto Vallarta

Most booked hotels in Puerto Vallarta

Sunset Plaza Beach Resort & Spa
Excellent (8.7, Excellent reviews)
$345+
Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta & Spa Hotel
Excellent (8.4, Excellent reviews)
$427+
Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel & Romantic Getaway
Excellent (8.6, Excellent reviews)
$424+
Barceló Puerto Vallarta
Excellent (8.3, Excellent reviews)
$270+
Plaza Pelicanos Grand Beach Resort
Good (7.9, Good reviews)
$193+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Puerto Vallarta

Public Transportation

There are three different bus unions that provide public transportation services in Puerto Vallarta, including Ixtapa, Mismaloya, and Pitillal. Bus fare only costs Mex$7.5 or Mex$8 within the Centro and Zona Romantica area. Taking a bus between the Centro and the Nuevo Vallarta area should cost Mex$12. Buses typically run every 10 minutes.

Taxi

You will easily find taxis around Puerto Vallarta. Rates are established in advance and are calculated by zones. The minimum fare is Mex$35 and fares between the Centro to the Marina should cost Mex$80.

Car

Driving in Puerto Vallarta is not ideal between the lack of parking spaces and the narrow streets of the Centro area. You will also find that most residential areas have dirt roads. You can rent a car at the airport for Mex$400 to Mex$800 a day and will have to pay an additional Mex$300 a day for insurance. You will find an Avis, Budget, and Mex Rent A Car location at the airport, among other options.

Car hire agencies in Puerto Vallarta

National

National

Thrifty

Thrifty

Alamo

Alamo
Find car hire in Puerto Vallarta

The Cost of Living in Puerto Vallarta

Shopping Streets

Go for a walk in the Zona Romantica or spend an afternoon at the flea market on Mercado Isla if you want to shop for souvenirs, art, traditional clothes, and food. There is a mall on Plaza Caracol just south of the river with modern Mexican fashion stores. You will find more shopping options in the Marina area, such as the art galleries and clothing stores on Plaza Neptuno.

Groceries and Other

There is a Sam's Club and a Walmart near the Marina and another Walmart located east of the Centro area. Groceries are very affordable and you should pay Mex$14 for a quart of milk, Mex$29 for a dozen eggs, and Mex$17 for a loaf of bread.

Cheap meal
$7.28
A pair of jeans
$62.45
Single public transport ticket
$0.63
Cappuccino
$2.64
Other popular cities in Jalisco