Is Puerto Vallarta a Good Vacation Spot (What to See and Where to Stay)?

With zones and areas each with their unique flavor, top attractions, charming beaches, and an even more authentic Mexican feel than Cancun or Cabo, Puerto Vallarta makes it to the list of Mexico’s must-visits. Situated just beyond Baja California Sur, this gritty vibrant coastal city is Central Western Mexico’s pride.
Is Puerto Vallarta a Good Vacation Spot
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An Old town full of colonial, and authentic Mexican charms, a newer, younger zone made especially for tourists, and many magic towns in its proximity, Puerto Vallarta is definitely worth a visit. If you don’t mind the grittiness, rough-on-the-edges, vibrant and energetic coastal town atmosphere, well, Puerto Vallarta will surprise you.

Is Puerto Vallarta Nice?

If you’re looking for a rough-on-the-edges city vibe with charming beaches, vibrant and full of life, then Puerto Vallarta is ideal. Situated in central-western Mexico, Puerto Vallarta may not be as nice and grand as Cabo, or Cancun, but it has its uniqueness.

The gritty, ragged, yet equally exciting and fun atmosphere makes it a tourist haven for those looking for a whole different flavor to a Mexican getaway. Visitors have considered Puerto Vallarta a paradise for nightcrawlers and tourists who loves a more scruffy, less organized touristy stay.

The charming beaches and the loud party scene at night in Puerto Vallarta is another note that most people consider, one of the best touches of Puerto Vallarta. Despite its rougher vibe, however, according to visitors, provides a more Mexican beach town experience. As it takes people closer to what real life in Mexico for locals is.

Is Puerto Vallarta Family Friendly?

Apart from its wild party and adult-appropriate scenes around town at night, there are plenty of family-friendly resorts that dot Puerto Vallarta. Making it a very family-friendly beach town to visit.

Puerto Vallarta boasts a plethora of family-friendly resorts and hotels for children of all ages all over town, especially along the coasts. From the Marriott to the Costa Sur, from the marina to the south hotel zone.

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe for Families?

Puerto Vallarta is considered one of the safest destinations in Mexico, this jewel of the Banderas Bay offers the best vacation experience, from family to romantic getaways. With its manageable size and friendly locals, it’s easy to feel safe and enjoy this charming beach town.

How Many Days Do You Need in Puerto Vallarta?

While you can see the city in just 3 days, to get the full experience and excitement the city has to offer, 7 days is ideal. This is enough to get the real “feel” of Vallarta. You may not be able to cover everything that’s needed to see, but it’s enough for you to grasp the authenticity, aside from the fun that the city can offer.

What Are the Zones in Puerto Vallarta?

Puerto Vallarta consists of 7 charming zones that each offer unique flavors of their own. Knowing what each zone offers will help you decide on where to stay, and where to go.

The north zone stretches from the south of Bucerias to the northwest side of the Punta Mita. Here you can find small towns that have a more Mexican feel to them, less developed, and more rustic, perfect for laid-back and relaxing. Perfect for families and older tourists.

Nuevo Vallarta, is made for tourists, like Cancun. No downtown areas, no church, and no city square. All hotels and resorts with lots of all-inclusive options, golf courses, two marinas, and a few malls. The Marina zone, offers only food places, hotels, and golf courses, while everything here sits side by side with each other making it accessible.

The Hotel Zone, around the harbor area, where cruise ships usually dock, hotels dot the area, from the two-stars to the luxurious 5-star hotels. Then there’s Downtown Puerto Vallarta, the real “old” Vallarta, with the Guadalupe Parish, the plaza, Los Arcos, various Flea markets, and museums, and the famous El Malecon.

Romantic Zone, even though a part of Downtown Puerto Vallarta, this area is relatively new to the downtown zone. More geared for tourism with an abundance of stores, restaurants, bars, cafes, clubs, and the first hotels.

Somewhat like the North Zone, the South Zone is a bit far from everything. With hotels and resorts, with rising condos in the area, the area is fit for families with small children, older couples.

What is the Best Area to Stay in Puerto Vallarta?

While Puerto Vallarta has 7 unique zones, each with its flavors fit for whatever experience you would like to have, it’s best to decide on what you want to get out of. Consider your budget, the places you want near you, and the primary experience you want to have while you’re there.

Nuevo Vallarta, the Hotel Zone, and the Romantic Zone are the ideal places for most tourists wanting to get the most out of the fun and excitement Puerto Vallarta can offer.

Where Do Celebrities Stay in Puerto Vallarta?

Puerto Vallarta has become a frequent in celebrities’ vacation list in Mexico, especially since the iconic “Night of the Iguana” was released putting Vallarta on the map.

Garza Blanca Preserve probably tops the list, thanks to the risky romance of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton. This hotel is one of the most popular among Hollywood stars – with all the seclusion, luxury, and romantic atmosphere it offers.

Hotel Mousai has seen its fair share of celebrity presence as well, the likes of Jeff Perry, Nyle DiMarco, and Kate Walsh. With its picturesque infinity pool and world-class luxury, Hotel Mousai is the first 5-diamond rated resort in Vallarta.

Other honorable mentions are Casa Kimberly, Hacienda San Angel, and Barcelo Puerto Vallarta.

Where Should I Stay in Puerto Vallarta?

With its plethora of unique zones and areas to stay and explore, the best places to stay will always depend on what kind of experience you want to get into right away.

The Romantic Zone, with its many hotels, vibrant town, and unique stores its the most famous area to stay. Just a walk away from the Romantic Zone, Downtown Puerto Vallarta, or the Centro, is another popular option for those looking to experience the real “old” Puerto Vallarta.

Other than the central areas of Puerto Vallarta, the Hotel Zone is another go-to choice, with the most resorts and hotels, the only thing that’s challenging in the Hotel Zone is to decide on which hotel or resort to stay.

What Should I See in Puerto Vallarta?

Los Arcos and El Malecon, are great places to stroll around at any time of the day. Puerto Vallarta also offers Whale Watching Tours especially at the peak whale season that runs from early December to late February, with Humpback Whales in the Banderas Bay.

The small fishing village of Bucerias is also a fitting place to have that authentic Puerto Vallarta experience, you can take the bus and have a day trip there. The most popular shoreline of Puerto Vallarta, Playa de Los Muertos offers many activities like Jet Skiing, windsurfing, and even parasailing.

Vallarta even has a botanical garden just outside of town, featuring assorted wildflowers and insects providing a quieter, curious experience away from central Puerto Vallarta. The defining Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe is probably one of the iconic sites in Puerto Vallarta, stopping by will complete your Puerto Vallarta trip.

And of course, with plenty of food places, offering good food and regional specialties, a Puerto Vallarta Food Tour is not a question.

Its gritty, rougher, and more authentic vibe Puerto Vallarta offers plenty of things to see and places to go. From the unique charms of each of the zones to the best attractions available in the city

What is There to Do in Old Town Puerto Vallarta?

Strolling and checking out quaint streets and charming stores around the old town might be the slowest and most authentic experience ever. The old town of Puerto Vallarta never goes out of style, especially for those looking for that authentic and historical feel of the town.

From shopping for locally made goods, food tours, or just merely walking around on its narrow cobblestone streets, Old Town offers just that, an authentic Old Town charm. From El Malecon to the Romantic Zone, the Old Town has that unpretentious feel.

What is There to Do in Downtown Puerto Vallarta?

With its many attractions and features, Downtown Puerto Vallarta offers many must-dos. Walking the Malecon has to be the most popular option. This seaside promenade has been one of the city’s main attraction, with many charming stores adjacent to it, Malecon is a rite of passage in Puerto Vallarta.

Visiting iconic places, especially the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, on Calle Hidalgo, this beautiful church symbolizes Puerto Vallarta. The El Zocalo is also another iconic must-visit attraction, you can eat ice cream, rest on the benches, feed birds that flock here, and on Thursdays and Sundays at 6 PM the Municipal Band plays at the kiosk.

Municipal Market and the many art galleries are also worth visiting. Galleries showcase local Mexican art, from the avant-garde to the indigenous, and the market offers artisan crafts made by locals.

What to Do in Puerto Vallarta When It Rains?

Watching a movie in theaters is naturally an ideal option, but theaters here are different – they have reclining chairs, full-service restaurants, and serve alcohol.

Shopping until you drop is also the go-to choice, get around the tianguis on the Rio Cuale for souvenirs, Galleria Vallarta and Plaza Caracol have clothing stores, restaurants, and more. And you can always trust art to save you no matter what, visit art galleries in Vallarta Art Walk, or take Art classes available across PV.

If you want to sweat it out, there yoga classes across town, and gyms offering Crossfit to pilates, in gyms and fitness clubs around the Hotel Zone, Marina, and Downtown.

Puerto Vallarta doesn’t only serve Mexican dishes, the city also offers a diverse cuisine perfect for your international palette, from Italian, Greek, Israeli, and Japanese, food places offer plenty of food options.

Even on a rainy day, you can still have fun in Puerto Vallarta, just get to town and you can find an abundance of options from there.

Are There Any Cenotes in Puerto Vallarta?

Unlike the Yucatan, on the eastern side of the country, Puerto Vallarta doesn’t have any cenotes. However, the closest thing to a cenote is Puerto Vallerta’s Hidden Beach, 22 miles west off the shore of Puerto Vallarta in the Marietas Islands. A gorgeous blue water beach encased within an island cavern that opens up to the sky.

Are There Any Mayan Ruins Near Puerto Vallarta?

Puerto Vallarta doesn’t have any Mayan ruins near enough for day tours. As the Mayan civilization is centered around the Yucatan Peninsula.

What Else is Close to Puerto Vallarta?

There are plenty of Magic Towns near Puerto Vallarta, close enough to visit. Pueblos Magicos or Magic Towns in Mexico are small cities that have a special distinction given by the Mexican government for their fascinating qualities, each with its unique characteristics.

One of the best magic towns to visit near PV is Tequila. Home to the world-famous Mexican liquor, you can learn about the history and birth of this drink that has taken the world by a storm. Plus, the town’s charming streets add to the magic.

Sayulita, a surfing village off the coast of Riviera Nayarit, while it may still be a quaint town, it’s famous for its surf-worthy beach, and streets perfect for strolling and exploring.

If you want a change of scenery, away from the beach, San Sebastian del Oeste is the best choice. This mountainous town, with its rich mining history, is filled with charming haciendas, green mountains, and cobblestone streets.

Can You See Whales on a Whale Watch in Puerto Vallarta?

Home to one of the world’s greatest creatures, the Humpback Whale, Puerto Vallarta hosts one of the most entertaining whale watch tours in Mexico. These beautiful giants visit Banderas Bay to give birth and mate.

Where Can I See Whales in Puerto Vallarta?

Just off the coast, around the Banderas Bay, giant Humpbacks congregate after their yearly migration from the west coast of Canada and the United States, traveling through Baja California until they reach the shores of Puerto Vallarta.

When Can I See Whales in Puerto Vallarta?

Annually, whales congregate, mate, and give birth, from early December to late February, sometimes even up to early March.

What Kind of Whales Are There in Puerto Vallarta?

The majority of whales you’ll see breaching and congregating in Puerto Vallarta, are humpback whales. But, you can also rarely see Bryde’s Whales.

Are There Killer Whales in Puerto Vallarta?

You can also see Killer Whales in Puerto Vallarta, but you have to be very lucky to spot them. The Banderas Bay hosts an abundance of other marine animal life, at different seasons of the year, other than whales and orcas, like various species of dolphins.