Although a modern tourist area, Puerto Vallarta is still a relatively conservative town (you may want to keep this in mind when considering any overly public displays of affection).  Puerto Vallarta takes great pride in its traditions – pre - Columbian mystical tradition combined with Catholic, Spanish, and other more contemporary traditions. This leads to a great many festivals and parades throughout the year, and nearly every night there is a party worthy of fireworks as part of fiesta or religious celebrations.

One such festival is the Procession for the Virgin of Guadalupe to the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe , which takes place between the first and 12 th of December.   Processions (complete with bell-ringing) take place round the clock, with people walking on foot from as far away as Mismaloya. Wearing white, holding candles and singing to Vallarta's patron saint, neighborhoods, hotels, businesses and civic associations form processions, all of which end in a church mass. The final day brings a huge parade.

Another cultural event that is amazing to observe, is the Day of the Dead Festival.  This starts at the end of October and culminates on November 1st and 2nd.  The first day, November 1st, is known as the Holy Innocents Day, or All Saints Day.  This is when the spirits of the children who have died, come to be baptized.  The second day, November 2, is when all the dead spirits are honored. 

n Puerto Vallarta, there are parades on the evening of each day, going through the Malecon area.  In the days prior, you will see decorated altars in every town.  These are deccorated with things that are personal to the person who passed, such as pictures, food, drink, and hobbies they enjoyed.  The altars are also decorated with Marigolds, salt, water, and many other items.  Here is a link to an article decribing all the items on the altars, and their meanings:


The mood around the Day of the Dead, is more a celebration of the life of the person, than a mourning of the dead.  In the cemetery in Puerto Vallarta, it's not uncommon to find people playing guitar and singing over the graves of loved ones.

Puerto Vallarta is, of course, a Spanish-speaking area, but learning English is more or less required of people who want to work at the hotels and come into contact with visitors.   Even if your Spanish is limited, you should be fine, although the attempt is always appreciated.