Puerto Vallarta Attractions
Aside from the strolling the Malecon, these Puerto Vallarta Attractions should be entertained on your itinerary:
Guided City Tour & Tequila Tasting
Offered by Gray Line Puerto Vallarta, this 5 hour guided tour is a no-hassle introduction to the resort city. It features notable architecture, sculptures, outdoor art, yachts at the marina, mangrove swamps & canals, home to crocodiles & birds, plus a Mexican lunch & tequila tasting in rainforests of Sierra Madre. There is a small admission fee at the protected crocodile area, if you choose to enter. Considering all the features, the $65 tour fee is well worth it. Hotel Pick-up location is Puerto Vallarta Jalisco.
Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe
This landmark historic church and its chiming church bells have been an attraction long before American tourists arrived. During the Feast of Guadalupe, held every year from 1-12 December, the church is a hub of activity with festive music, dancing and street events. Other times of year, enjoy visiting this catholic church to admire its European Renaissance-style tower. Others stopping inside to see elegant interior or attending Mass. English services are held Saturdays at 5pm and bilingual service is held Sunday at 10am. The bells ring 30 and 15 minutes before each Mass.
Plaza de Armas
Its the main square in El Centro to the east and the Malecón to the west. The bandstand in the centre of the square often features bands here from 6pm on Thursday and Sunday evenings and on other days there’s danzón-style dancing. The square there’s a monument to Ignacio Vallarta, to whom the city is named after. He was governor of the state of Jalisco in the 1870s. He was forced into exile in America during the French intervention in the mid-1860s.T his attraction is also a useful landmark only half a block away from the Church of our Lady of Guadalupe.
Isla Río Cuale
This place is difficult for many first-time visitors to locate because they think its an off-shore island. Actually, its an in-shore island that requires 2 roadway bridges or 3 pedestrian bridges to reach while near downtown. Walk south from El Malecon until you reach a bridge that spans the river, and you’ll discover the island. The municipal market on Isla Cuale opened in 1979. It has almost 160 stands over two floors, and many of its stands are oriented towards tourists. You can browse jewelry, leather goods, cats and souvenirs on the ground floor. As you casually stroll the small island, you’ll feast on art, crafts & souvenirs hawked by merchants in Isla Rio Cuale. Food vendors are on the second level. There is a swarm of vendors selling fresh tacos, chicken and rice with mole, shrimp broth, and more.
Los Muertos Pier
Not your average beachfront pier, Los Muertos, is a relatively recent attraction on Puerto Vallarta’s oceanfront. Its photogenic, curvaceous sail-shaped frame looks like a pyramid from a distance. At night its bathed in blue light — catching the attention of all who wander along the Malecon. The pier is also the embarkation point for water taxis to other parts of the city and other beaches. Many visitors believe evening is best to visit to see un-obstructed sunsets from the pier. Since more people have have learned of this sublime treasure, arrive early to get a seat.
A planned district, the marina began in 1986 following a surge in tourism to Puerto Vallarta.
At entrance, you’ll be met by a monumental sculpture of a mother whale and its calf. Cruise, snorkel and dive excursion companies are located here, and they share the space with boutiques, upscale restaurants and yacht dealers. On the water are 450 berths, many filled by plush luxury yachts, while rising behind the storefronts are condos. Wandering along the promenade anytime day or night.
Food and Mixology Tour
As you might guess, there’s lots of Tequila, Tacos, and Mexican Cocktails involved. A foodie guide leads you through the streets of Puerto Vallarta on a taco, tequila and dessert tour of tastings. Five Mexican cocktails are served by mixologists. You’ll learn about the cultural roots of spirits like mezcal, tequila and raicilla, and taste coffee-flavored kahlúa and michelada, Mexico´s signature beer cocktail. Numbers are limited to ensure a small-group experience. Food and cocktail tour of Puerto Vallarta also visit popular eateries and bars for food tastings and drinks. A bit pricey at $82, but may be worth it for the group fun.
The small fishing village of Bucerías is becoming a popular daytrip for visitors and a reminder of old Puerto Vallarta. Spending Thursday evening doing the Bucerías Art Walk, a self-guided tour of more than a dozen galleries and arts boutiques. Friday & Saturday visits are also charming. Beachside dining Mar y Sol also comes highly recommended at this secluded oasis. To visit from Puerto Vallarta, take a 30 minute bus journey from from the Walmart located across the street from the ferry terminal. A round-trip ticket costs less than $4. Taxis or Ubers are also an option.
Jardines Botánicos de Vallarta
The Botanical Gardens of Vallarta feature an assortment of flora and fauna that provides a relaxing getaway from the touristy hustle of downtown and beachfront Puerto Vallarta. You can easily spend 4 hours enjoying the near wildlife, jungle’s rocks and swim a section of the river. Some say that these activities are only for fit travelers. Dine at the local restaurant, which comes highly recommended for its fantastic Mexican Cuisine. If you plan to hike, you’ll want to bring insect repellent from your hotel/villa, wear an wide brim hat, long sleeves and pants. Though beautiful to the eye and fragrant to the nose, its a feeding round for insects out there. , though hours can vary depending on the season. The gardens are located 20 miles south of Puerto Vallarta and accessible by taxi or inexpensive (and slow) El Tuito bus in Zona Romantica. The Bus leaves every 30 minutes. Even if you take taxi or bus to the gardens, most travelers return via Uber.
ADMISSION: small fee for adults, kids under 4 enter free
DAYS & HOURS: daily 9am-6pm, but closed on Mondays from April-November
This south side beach village is less resort-like. It’s also the center of the city’s strong gay population and has a bevy of gay beaches, bars and restaurants lining Olas Atlas. The area contains a number of the city’s best restaurants, excellent cultural opportunities and the most popular beach in the city, Playa Los Muertos. The pier built in 2013 offers seating for pedestrians and illuminates each evening with a kaleidoscope of colors. From the pier, travelers can board water taxis to some of the area’s more secluded beaches. This area is also known as Old Town. You’ll find grocery stores, restaurants, cafes away and souvenir vendors away from the beach. This area is bordered by Rio Cuale on the north, Santa Barbara Street on the south and the beach on the west.