Puerto Vallarta
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Plan Your Trip to Puerto Vallarta: Best of Puerto Vallarta Tourism

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Explore Puerto Vallarta

A colorful resort town known for its nightlife, Puerto Vallarta is also a charmer by day. Strolling, shopping, and sipping tequila along the Malecon boardwalk is the best way to kick off your vacation. Then, hit the cobblestone streets of Old Vallarta to browse the flea market for crafts and works from local artisans. For a closer look at the arts scene, give yourself a self-guided tour along the cluster of fine art galleries in El Centro. When it's time to hit the beach, the calm, warm waters of the Bay of Banderas make for excellent diving, or you can just kick back and watch artists sculpt spectacular creations in the sand. But back to the nightlife we mentioned: cocktail joints, nightclubs, beach bars, and craft breweries give you plenty of options whether you're planning for a chill evening out or wanna party ‘til dawn. There's tons more to do and see—and we've got recs below.

Travel Advice

Essential Puerto Vallarta

How to do Puerto Vallarta in 3 days

Hidden beaches, centuries-old churches, and seaside oysters
Read on

My favorite local restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

If you’re looking for a true taste of Mexican cuisine, you’re in luck: I’ve uncovered incredible local restaurants—from basic taco joints to fine dining spots—that serve authentic dishes and flavors you’ll want to cook up at home. These are my go-to spots.
timjohnsontravels, Toronto, Canada
  • Café Des Artistes
    6,937
    Get dressed up for this elegant spot where the chef pairs French techniques with Mexican ingredients to amazing results. I’m a huge fan of the cacti with roasted avocado and octopus with chicatanas (a type of local ant—trust me, you’ll like them). Six courses served in a tropical secret garden filled with sculptures all under twinkling white lights. Magic.
  • Mariscos Cisneros
    332
    Take a stroll through Zona Romantica, the city’s tightly packed old town. When you see a line of hungry diners, you’ll know you’ve arrived at Mariscos Cisneros. The wait is for the locally-caught, super-fresh Pacific seafood (I recommend the whole, fried red snapper, as well as the shrimp tostadas). They also have a food truck out front; grab some tacos, walk a couple blocks, and you can eat them right on the beach.
  • La Palapa Restaurant
    7,133
    Anyone who comes to Puerto Vallarta on a regular basis has probably eaten here dozens of times (it’s been around since 1959). The place serves crowd-pleasing Mexican comfort food under beach umbrellas (and the namesake thatched palapa) right on Los Muertos Beach. Order up some tortilla soup, fish ceviche, or seafood enchiladas and watch the waves roll in.
  • Vallarta Food Tours
    6,541
    Vallarta Food Tours was voted one of the top five food tours in Latin America by Tripadvisor users. It takes the stress out of finding delicious street food with several tasty tour options. I recommend starting with the original downtown tour, which provides an intro to all the local favorites, including birria, a hearty, perfectly spiced meat (usually goat, beef or lamb) slow-cooked into a stew.
  • Oculto by El Arrayan
    85
    For nearly two decades, El Arrayan was one of Puerto Vallarta’s most popular restaurants (I often came here straight from the airport). Now the chef-owners have started a cooking school with classes that go well beyond simple chopping and stirring, starting with a visit to a local market to buy ingredients. You’ll get to whip up a meal and learn all about the traditions tied to dishes like mole before eating your creation.

Puerto Vallarta Travel Guide

Travelers' pro tips or experiencing Puerto Vallarta

Enrique A

Downtown is home to the highest concentration of restaurants of various gastronomic styles. This is your best bet to satisfy even fussy eaters.

Berenice G

The Botanical Gardens are a must-see but get their bug repellant! it's worth it.

Fernanda C

Take a bus to downtown to get acquainted with the area, and enjoy picturesque views out the window along the way.

Abraham M

Located in a unique part of Mexico, surrounded by tropical rainforest, pine, and oak woods, and arid zones where you can find cacti ... this diversity of habitats makes Puerto Vallarta perfect for flora and fauna observation.

Computernana

Puerto Vallarta is a great down to earth vacation destination for all types of people.

Rad L

Some of the best dining options in the world are found in Puerto Vallarta! Street food or fine dining on the hillside or on the beach--you will want to go back again and again!

What is the best way to get there?

flying

The Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport services the region. Hotel shuttle buses and taxis are available.

cruise

Puerto Vallarta is a popular destination for cruise trips. Ships dock at the Marina Vallarta Maritime Terminal and visitors can easily find cabs, tours, and shuttles to popular destinations from here.

driving

Those who drive to Puerto Vallarta are most likely coming from Guadalajara. The drive takes about five hours.

Do I need a visa?

If you’re visiting Mexico from overseas, check with the government’s Visa website.

When is the best time to visit?

There’s nothing quite like a warm-weather vacation in the midst of winter. That’s why it’s best to visit Puerto Vallarta from December through March as a quick escape. And, as a bonus, guests may even spot a whale or two swimming by the coast on migration. Average daily temperatures this time of year are highs around 29 C/84 F and lows around 16 C/61 F.

Get around

bus

Buses are plentiful in Puerto Vallarta and are the recommended mode of transportation. A ride costs under $1.

taxi and rideshare

Both taxis and ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft are readily available.

driving

Rental cars are available in Puerto Vallarta and parking is easily accessible both in town and at hotels. Mexico recognizes U.S. driver's licenses.

On the ground

What is the timezone?

Eastern Standard Time

What are the voltage/plug types?

The standard voltage in Mexico is 127 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz. The plug has two flat parallel pins.

What is the currency?

The Mexican peso

Are ATMs readily accessible?

Yes

Are credit cards widely accepted?

Yes

Is it easy to find a bank?

Yes

How much do I tip?

Bartender

$1 (about 24 pesos) a drink or $2 for a more labor-intensive cocktail

Restaurant

15-20%

Bellman

$1 to 3 per bag

Housekeeper

$2 (about 50 pesos)-$3 per night

Taxis/rideshare

15-20%

Shuttle driver

$1-$2 per person

Tour guide

10-20%

Are there local customs I should know?

Drinking

The minimum legal drinking age in Mexico is 18 years old.

Walking

Walk to the right of the sidewalk and step off to the side of the sidewalk if you want to stop to check your phone, look up directions, or want to take in a view.

Public transport

Allow others to disembark before boarding, don’t take up more than one seat, and stand to offer seating to pregnant women or someone with a disability.

Try to speak the language

Learn a few basic phrases as a sign of respect. Locals will often switch to English for your ease and comfort but they appreciate the effort.

Frequently Asked Questions about Puerto Vallarta


Some of the most popular restaurants in Puerto Vallarta include:



If you're a more budget-conscious traveler, then you may want to consider traveling to Puerto Vallarta between September and November, when hotel prices are generally the lowest. Peak hotel prices generally start between June and August.