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I’m back in Puerto Vallarta after just visiting a couple of months ago and I love it here. Puerto Vallarta is where the jungle meets the beach so you get the best of both worlds in one city. Located in the heart of Mexico’s Pacific coastline and framed by the Sierra Madre Mountains and fronted by Banderas Bay, Puerto Vallarta is a quick flight from Texas! I stayed at Casa Velas, an adults-only all-inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta, located just 5 minutes from the Puerto Vallarta Airport and 15 minutes from downtown Puerto Vallarta.
So what’s there to do in this tropical destination? Walk along the sandy beach, take a dip in the ocean, take a boat ride to the different islands, eat all the street tacos, or ride an ATV up the mountain – here are the top 7 things to do in Puerto Vallarta!
1. EXPLORE EL MALECÓN
El Malecón is the historical center of Puerto Vallarta that stretches across 12-blocks with a beautiful view of the bay. Malecón actually means “esplanade along a waterfront” in Spanish. It’s easily walkable by foot so spend a couple of hours exploring the art galleries, restaurants, bars, local shops, and sculptures.
THINGS TO DO IN EL MALECÓN
- Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe (La Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe)
- Drink tuba – there’s a man that sells this drink by the bay. Tuba is fermented palm juice with chopped walnuts and apple.
- Visit Casa Kimberly – this was the previous home of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
- Take a walk down Zona Romantica (romantic street) at night
Centro, Puerto Vallarta 48300, Mexico
2. BOAT CRUISE AROUND BAY OF BANDERAS
Puerto Vallarta is surrounded by small islands that are perfect for a day trip. We did a boat cruise with Mike’s Fishing sailing around El Malecón, Los Arcos National Park, and then to our private island where we spent the day snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, and eating lunch on the beach.
3. GO ON A STREET TACO TOUR
You can’t travel to Puerto Vallarta without eating tacos and the best way is to go on a street taco tour with a local. Our evening with Vallarta Food Tours started in Emiliano Zapata Centro (downtown) where we ate at 5 different taco stops and 2 churros stands!
4. HEAD TO THE BEACH
Kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing, swimming, or even sunbathing – the beautiful shoreline of Puerto Vallarta has it all! Popular beaches in Puerto Vallarta include:
- Playa Los Muertos – located at Malecón
- Playa Las Gemelas
- Playa Mismaloya
- Playa Camarones
- Playa Yelapa
SEE ALSO: PERFECT WHITE BIKINI FOR SUMMER
5. RIDE ATVS & ZIP LINE ACROSS THE JUNGLE
Roar up the mountain to the river canyon on an ATV! It was so refreshing to take a dip in the river canyon and waterfall “el salto.” The ATV ride ends across a suspended bridge with the jungles of Puerto Vallarta. This was my first time on an ATV and I was surprised by how much I loved the ride!
Puerto Vallarta is made of tropical jungles, which makes it amazing for zip lining! At Canopy River you’ll go flying 200 meters above the river and through the treetops, and it ends with a mule ride. I’m deathly afraid of heights so I only did one of the 7 zip lines.
6. THRILLER JET BOAT RIDE
If you like riding jet skis, you’ll love the Thriller Jet Boat Ride on the Banderas Bay and it’s completely on a different level. Thriller is a unique speedboat that’s propelled by a jet stream of water so you drift across the water with 360° spins like the Fast & Furious.
7. WHALE WATCHING
When I went to Puerto Vallarta in February, I did a whale watching tour and was able to catch the last of the season. Whale watching season in Puerto Vallarta is December to March when the humpback whales migrate to Banderas Bay to give birth. There’s no specific time of the day when the whales are most active but I got super lucky on my tour because the whales were jumping out of the water for an hour!