101+ Things to Do in Puerto Vallarta

Discover the best things to do in the beautiful resort town of Puerto Vallarta. Whether you’re visiting Puerto Vallarta for the winter or you live here, here’s a mega list of things to in Puerto Vallarta for literally everyone and every occasion.

Three months ago I moved to Puerto Vallarta and immediately fell in love. Puerto Vallarta is a city that has it all. There is SO much to do. Everything from waterfall hikes to live drag performances to open markets to meditation on the beach; Puerto Vallarta really has something for everyone.

Use this list to create your own Puerto Vallarta bucket list. Then, tag me in your Puerto Vallarta adventure shots on Instagram (@courtneytheexplorer)!

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Neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta Worth Wandering Around

1. Head to La Marina for a nighttime walk and romantic dinner at El Faro Lighthouse Bar

2. Check out Versalles for amazing food and cafes (see best restaurants below)

3. Wander up and down the streets of 5 De Diciembre for shopping, street art, and tasty restaurants

4. Head to my favorite neighborhood, Zona Romantica, known as the gay neighborhood of Puerto Vallarta, for literally everything (food, shopping, bars, etc.)

10 Best Things to Do in Puerto Vallarta (if you’re short on time)

5. Walk along the malecón

6. Watch the sunset on the beach

7. Hike to El Mirador

8. Do a free walking tour (Every Tuesday and Wednesday from 9am and 12pm, and every Saturday at 9am. Tour leaves from the Tourist Office)

9. Check out the art galleries (There’s an art walk every Wednesday night starting at 6pm, click here for a map)

10. Spend the day at the Botanical gardens

11. Take a boat tour to Islas Marietas (“The Galapagos Islands of Mexico”)

12. Take a day trip to Sayulita (bus leaves from Versalles neighborhood in front of Tarantinos and Takos El Tizok, 50 pesos, about 1 hour)

13. Whale watching

14. Eat your heart out *see best restaurants*

Hikes and Outdoor Activities in Puerto Vallarta

15. Take a boat to Yelapa and hike an hour to the waterfall

Yelapa, Mexico

16. Hike to The Quimixto Falls

17. Boca de Tomatlan to Las Animas Hike

18. Hike to Monkey Mountain Trail

19. Scuba dive at Los Arcos

20. Spend the day at the Botanical Gardens

21. Hike to El Mirador Cerro de La Cruz (in town)

More information on hikes in Puerto Vallarta, click here.

Shopping and Open Markets in Puerto Vallarta

22. Check out the fancy outdoor mall, La Isla Shopping Village

23. Enjoy the air conditioning and shop around in Galerias Vallarta (trust me, if you come to PV in the summer, you’ll be itching for air con)

24. Olas Altas Farmer’s Saturday Market

25. Sunday market, opens at 8am (local, “authentic” open market)

26. Mercado del Mar 5 de Diciembre, open daily (Fish Market)

27. La Cruz Sunday Market at 9am

28. Isla Cuale Flea Market in Zona Romantica, open daily

29. Art & Market Marina Vallarta every Thursday 6pm

More information on shopping in PV, click here.

Beaches in Puerto Vallarta

There are several beaches to check out around Puerto Vallarta. I recommend seeing them ALL, but if you only have time for one beach excursion, take the bus (or Uber/taxi) south to Playa Boca de Tomates, a small fishing village and beach.

30. Playa Camarones (clean, less crowded)

31. Playa Olas Altas (“high waves beach”)

32. Los Muertos (gay beach)

33. Conchas Chinas Beach (most secluded)

34. Punta Mita beach (in a town 10 miles north of PV, worth the visit!)

35. Playa Boca de Tomates (small fishing village)

36. Playa el Salado (Marina Vallarta)

37. Playa Las Animas (crystal clear water)

BONUS: Go to a Beach Clubs in Puerto Vallarta

More information on beaches in Puerto Vallarta, click here.

Free things to do in Puerto Vallarta

38. Visit all the murals in Puerto Vallarta in 5 de Diciembre

39. Free Wednesday night Art Walk, 6pm

40. Watch the fireworks downtown at night

41. Walk along the malecón downtown

Puerto Vallarta malecón

42. Watch the sunset on the beach

43. Explore the gayborhood, Zona Romantica by foot

Puerto Vallarta tours worth doing

44. Visit the “Galapagos of Mexico” and discover the hidden beach (tip: make sure your ticket includes the hidden beach)

45. Take the family on a Pirate Ship Tour *very popular*

46. Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour

My dad came to visit – Here’s us on the Hop On Hop Off Bus through Puerto Vallarta

47. ATV and Zip Line Combo Adventure

48. Sail Boat Tour

49. Whale Watching Tour *highly rated*

50. Puerto Vallarta Rhythm’s of The Night Dinner Show

Day Trips from Puerto Vallarta

51. Head to pueblo magico, Sayulita, a colorful small beach town perfect for surf lovers

52. Check out, San Pancho, a less-crowded small beach town right next to Sayulita

53. Take the bus to a virgin beach, Mayto Beach

54. Visit the small pueblo magico, El Tuito

55. Go to La Cruz, a popular authentic fishing village north of Puerto Vallarta

56. Head to one of Puerto Vallarta’s most talked about places: Yelapa, a stunning beach town only accessible by water taxi

57. Explore Bucerias, a small town north of Puerto Vallarta famous for kitesurfing and beautiful beaches

58. Discover Nuevo Vallarta, resort town 15 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta

59. Visit San Sabastian, charming Spanish colonial town nestled the Sierra Madré mountains

60. Take a short bus ride to Bocas de Tomatlan and spend the day at this cute fishing village

LGBTQ things to do in Puerto Vallarta

61. DO NOT leave Puerto Vallarta without going to a drag show at The Palm Cabaret & Bar

62. Sip on a martini at Apache’s Martini & Cocktail Bar

63. Grab a drink at the only lesbian-owned bar in town, Elixir Mixology Bar

64. Stay at a luxury gay resort, Almar Luxury Resort

65. Get your tan on at the gay beach in town, Los Muertos

66. Dance your heart out to 90s jams at Mr. Flamingo Bar

67. Wander around Zona Romantica, Puerto Vallarta’s gay neighborhood

68. Celebrate one of the largest pride celebrations in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta Pride Week (May 26th-31st 2021)

69. Go on a gay cruise or tour!

Best restaurants and cafes in Puerto Vallarta

70. Head to Playa Detox for “tuna” tostadas and coconut ceviche

71. Grab a (vegan) poke bowl from Poke Poke Hawaiian

vegan tofu poke

72. Try Budaixi‘s famous cold noodles (fideos frios) and veggie bao

Fideos frios from Budaixi in Versalles

73. Go to Mei Ramen for mouthwatering spicy vegan ramen and veggie potstickers

74. Enjoy a beautiful sunset and some veggie tacos while dipping your toes in the water at Mar Y Vino

75. Watch the sunset and enjoy famous tapas at Barcelona Tapa’s

76. Indulge in a vegetarian lunch buffet at Vegetarian Mary’s

77. Sip on an almond milk latte at the best cafe in town, Calmate Cafe (order the tofu breakfast wrap!!)

78. Enjoy a full vegan menu at The Green Place

Veggie burger with sweet potato fries at The Green Place, Puerto Vallarta
Veggie burger with sweet potato fries at The Green Place

79. Head to Pizzeria Fiamma for the best Italian-style pizza (+ service is amazing)

80. The best sushi in Puerto Vallarta: Samurai Sushi (start with their tempura vegetables!)

Local street food to try in Puerto Vallarta

81. Try an elote en vaso (corn in a cup) loaded with mayo, local cheese, and an assortment of toppings

82. Buy a “la tuba” juice on the malecón, a Puerto Vallarta favorite made with coconut cream, apple vinegar, and bits of apple and walnuts – sounds weird, but it’s OOBER refreshing!

83. Grab some churros on the street, fried dough coated in cinnamon sugar, for the perfect late-night snack

84. Try rajas (pepper) street tamales

85. El pastor tacos (pork tacos) are famous here (tip: head to Olas Altas Saturday market for the MOST delicious vegan version of el pastor tacos made from jackfruit at the Rancho San Agustin booth!)

86. Refresh yourself with a coconut water straight from the source

87. Try ALL the local fruit! Grab a mango off the tree next to The Mango Library!

Nightlife and Entertainment in Puerto Vallarta

88. Go out dancing at La Bodeguita del Medio for live Cuban salsa or Bar Océano for live salsa, cumbia, and bachata

89. $1 margaritas and epic sunset views at Sea Monkeys

90. Grab a cosmo with breathtaking sunset views at Sky Bar, arguably the best spot for sunset cocktails in Puerto Vallarta

91. Live music at….

  • El Rio BBQ (live music Tuesday-Sunday at 3pm, variety of music)
  • Kelly’s Pour Favor (oldies music, towny feel)
  • Garza Blanca (variety)
  • The Jazz Foundations (jazz music)
  • Roxy Rock House (late-night rock music)
  • El Solar (funk, reggae, or acoustic set; DJ on Friday’s)
  • Patio de mi Casa (blues or smooth jazz)

93. Go to a high quality theater production at Act2PV

94. Looking for something different? Go to a live psychic medium show at Mystic Cafe

99. Try local beer at Los Muertos Brewing Company or Monzón Brewing

Other Things in PV

Here are some bonus things that are definitely worth worthing doing.

100. Treat yourself to a $20 deep tissue massage at Angie Spa! Prepare for rebirth.

101. Hop on the local bus and explore the city for 10 pesos (50 cents)

BONUS: visit the best snorkeling spot (on your own!)

BONUS: Yoga with a view at Terra Noble Art & Healing Center!

BONUS: Visit the pig at Oregano Caribbean Cuisine (amazing tofu refried rice AND THERE’S A PET PIG!!)

BONUS: Go to a twerking or pole class at BE YOU Pole Fitness & Dance Studio

What’s YOUR favorite things to do in Puerto Vallarta? Favorite restaurant? Favorite experience? Comment below!

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