The best places to visit in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and top things to down in the city are numerous, and you can venture out knowing that SELECT has you all set up in this Mexican hotspot with a little help from our inside guide to the city below. You can probably figure out the beaches on your own, but we’ve also included a few here you may not have been aware of when booking your flight. If you’re looking to escape to Puerto Vallarta, immerse yourself in the city that has more to offer than high-rise resorts. Step outside of the resort and experience the best places to visit in Puerto Vallarta – all you need to kick-start your trip can be found here.
It may be one of the most populated beaches in Puerto Vallarta, but it’s popular for a reason. It’s in a central location so it’s not too far from your hotel or dinner destination. And don’t worry about the name – nothing is dead about this beach, as it’s a popular hotspot with vacationers.
Carret. Barra De Navidad Km. 24, Las Juntas y los Veranos, 48447 Cabo Corrientes, Jal., Mexico
Reconnect with nature at the botanical gardens. Wander the paths lined with lush foliage and find hummingbirds buzzing along beside you. The beach won’t miss you if you escape here for a morning or afternoon. There’s plenty to discover amid the leaves.
Part of the appeal of Isla Cuale is that it’s tricky to find. But once you locate this area (which you can get to by walking south from old town), you’ll be glad you did. Visitors are charmed by its crafts and colorful fruit stands. The vibe breaks away from the resort-saturated city for an escape from the modernity of the area.
In Yelapa you’ll find a small fishing village with hushed beaches and quiet cove. This is an ideal day trip from Puerto Vallarta. Hop on the water taxi for a 45-minute ride to the secluded town with taxis leaving twice a day.
You don’t need to know Spanish to understand what Zona Romantica means. This is the old town and the heart of the city, and it is truly one of the best places to visit in Puerto Vallarta. It’s also heart of the city’s gay population and arts scene. Some of the best cultural attractions and dining options can be found along its unpretentious streets.
This is an iconic landmark and a defining piece of the city. They overlook the water and are the perfect spot to end a sunset stroll. Public events occur in the amphitheater nearby, adding to the culture and sights.
The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe competes with Los Arcos at being the city’s defining landmark. You can step inside the church for a quick peek or marvel at the structure from outside. Listen for the bells as they chime before daily mass.
Americans would refer to this as a “boardwalk,” but you won’t find the standard seaside fare here. Malecon is a 12-mile stretch along Puerto Vallarta’s heart that has the city on one side and Banderas Bay on the other. You’ll encounter street performers, artists, and vendors along your walk, making it well worth a stroll in the unshine.
Plaza de las Armas is an art hub where artists have been known to display their work. It’s along the Malecon and not far from Our Lady of Guadalupe. It serves as a pleasant backdrop and space for performances.
Eje Vial Carretera Costera a Barra de Navidad Km 11 | Zona Hotelera Sur
Film buffs will know this as the location of The Night of the Iguana. Others will appreciate its natural beauty and wildlife. It’s another spot for snorkeling and swimming, but the hiking through the park is a nature lover’s dream.
The culture here is just as interesting as the resorts. Discover more about the best places to visit in Puerto Vallarta at these links:
Assistant Editor Ciara is a DC native and East Coast roamer with degrees in both English Professional Writing and Drama & Theatre Studies from Elon University. She's written for a variety of publications including Highway 64, Travel Writing at Elon, and Odyssey. More of her work can be found at ciaracorcoran.com.