Puerto Vallarta Travel Guide

  • Puerto Vallarta
    by africateach
  • Puerto Vallarta
    by jmv1224
  • Puerto Vallarta
    by AlisonCoghlan

Puerto Vallarta Highlights

  • Pro
    jamiesno profile photo

    jamiesno says…

     The sunset, Flamingo Beach, Los Arcos, the food, people and the peso! 

  • Con
    Chica_Mellie profile photo

    Chica_Mellie says…

     People trying to sell you time shares 

  • In a nutshell
    mjd74 profile photo

    mjd74 says…

     Although touristy, you can still dive into the local culture 

Puerto Vallarta Things to Do

  • Malecon

    One of the most touristy, but truly beautiful things to do in Puerto Vallarta is to take a walk along the Malecon. Local artist display their paintings, there is often a sandcastle competition on the beach with amazing sculptures of sand. The breeze from the ocean cools you down on the hottest of summer days, and there are plenty of restaurants...

    more
  • Old Town

    Old Town is definitely the place to be. You will feel like you are really in Mexico, unlike some the places with walled off beach areas to the north. Why go to Mexico if you don't want to experience anything Mexican? Our favorite places to hang out on the beach are Epoca and Cuates y Cuetas. At Epoca, you can sit under a palapa in the sand and have...

    more
  • Boat Cruises

    It sounds cheesy but it was a really great experience. If you want to have a "real" drink on the boatride there just ask for it. They have some snacks on the boat to tide you over. Don't buy the bugspray at the Marina, bring your own or don't worry about it. Be hungry for dinner, the food is really great. It is a very romantic trip. After the...

    more

Puerto Vallarta Hotels

Puerto Vallarta Restaurants

  • Pipi's Restaurant & Bar

    My wife and I have been going to PiPis since 1991 and have taken friends and customers to this great resturant. The people are friendly, the food is great, the drinks huge. We go yhere at least twice in our seven day stay in PV. Fajitas, all of them, served flaming hot and with all the fixings.

    more
  • Chico's Paradise Restaurant, Bar & Grill

    The food was great and the zipline was fun until I hit the platform at 30 miles an hour and broke my tailbone in half and all the nerves in my butt are numb. Also, my backside was bruised even down my thighs for three months and I couldn't sit down. It has been 10 months and still isn't healed and I could have been parylized. They did nothing about...

    more
  • Le Kliff

    This restaurant is a 'must-see' to believe restaurant in terms of ambiance and breath-taking views!! The multi-level dining areas, as well as the colorful, multi-level gardens, all set on the side of a cliff, overlooking the ocean make this a one-of-a-kind dining experience. The staff was very attentive, fun and professional. The seafood enchiladas...

    more

Puerto Vallarta Nightlife

  • Zona Roja

    I have heard that Puerto Vallarta has a red light district but I didn`t know where it is. I found it and discovered that it was more than just an "it". PV has at least three red light areas. One is the "zona", the second is called Las Conejitas and the third is an area downtown where the girls hang out on their own. These are all places where the...

    more
  • College Club

    We attended the famous foam party on Tuesday and had a great time, but there are a few things to remember if you decide to go: 1. foam is wet and soapy - it will burn your eyes if you accidentally get it in there 2. floors are slippery - a friend of ours slipped and cut his forehead open - it was not pretty. do not wear heels 3. watch for your...

    more
  • Malecon

    When I was in Puerto Vallarta it was Easter and wow!!!! The party at the Malecon was in full swing!!!! The streets wer full to capacity. There was live music and dancing everywhere. It was awesome. Many restaurants and bars were full to capacity. It was interesting to watch people and talk to people. Casual

    more

Puerto Vallarta Transportation

  • Taxis

    The cab fare from the "Hoteles" to the airport (one way) is usually 80 Mexican pesos. This is the regular price. If you pay more than this, then you are paying a lot! It is approximately 2.5 kms from the hotel to the airport. The hotels are very close. You can even walk if you wanted to.

    more
  • Bus/Transit

    It sounds like the City of Puerto Vallarta designed their public transportation stopping stations so as to unclog traffic and it's design is working. However, this system is costing the public a lot of money! Instead of just paying one fare, they pay two fares even if the same bus is going to the same direction! For example, the blue bus and white...

    more
  • Automobile

    If you need to rent a car while in the Puerto Vallarta area, I reccommend Gecko car rental in Bucerias. We have rented from several other agencies, but we will go with Gecko from now on. They will pick you up at the airport and take you back when it is time to leave. A canadian gentleman, Denis Beauvais, operates the agency and is very friendly and...

    more

Puerto Vallarta Shopping

  • Markets

    This two story maze of shops is laden with everything "Mexican." One of the stalls we frequented was the Artesanias Los Gemelos run by Dora. Here you can find scores of T-shirts, silver jewelry, leather goods, hundreds of handicraft items and home-style lunches. The rule of the day is to barter for the best price, but beware the sales people are...

    more
  • Souvenirs

    VALLARTA MART visit the best shop of souvenirs and crafts located in Walk Diaz Ordaz 830 Center encontraran the best crafts, beach, shorts, tequilas and liquors to the best price DO NOT STOP GOING. T shirts, polo shirts, shorts, best crafts in town, beach shorts, tequilas and liquors to the best price DO NOT STOP GOING. 60 DOLARS AND FREE A BAG ASK...

    more
  • Art/Silver

    I remember we bought 4 paintings of this local artist. As you can see from the picture he was painting on these tiles using only paint and his finger nail!!! They were amazing landscape pictures of the local area and they worked out to be only $20 Canadian. It was a steal and they look great to this day. They were even framed.

    more

Puerto Vallarta Local Customs

  • Tipping

    Even when "all gratuities included" at a resort (and I laugh), think twice about not tipping. If you like waiting 10-20 minutes to be noticed for a drink that's fine.. but tipping 1.00usd a round gets you noticed.

    more
  • Local People

    Puerto Vallarta, just as it is now, meets all the expectations that visitors may have; however, it isn’t resting on its laurels. Projects are being planned for the development of the area to make it even more attractive. Former Mexican President, Gustavo Díaz Ordaz once commented, "The more I see this land the more I love Jalisco. This is a mirror...

    more
  • Shopping/Haggling

    It seemed common that a lot of women where getting their hair put in beads. I didn't see any local women with them but amongst the local tourist it seemed to be the thing to do for the women. I don't remember exactly the cost but they were negotiable and it wasn't cheap!!!!

    more

Puerto Vallarta Warnings and Dangers

  • Health/Safety

    Make sure that when you bring children, they are always with an adult. The swimming pools at the hotels here don't have life guards on them! Also, the beaches have strong currents and not actually great for swimming especially in Puerto Vallarta!

    more
  • Legal

    We did not have a problem driving in the area and in the remote locations we visited, but this is something that our car rental agency warned us about when we got the car. If you are stopped by the local police while driving and if they want to give you a ticket, don't pay for it on the spot. Just ask the police officer to write down the car...

    more
  • Attractions

    One thing I did not do (and learned my lesson!) was to check with the guys at the reception desk of our hotel before going to Chino's Paradise. I just relied on the information provided in the guidebook I purchased prior to going to Puerto Vallarta. I was really looking forward to going to Chino's Paradise, taking a dip in the pool, enjoying good...

    more

Puerto Vallarta Tourist Traps

  • Time Share

    Went out shopping and met a number of Mexicans offering bribes of anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000 Pesos. Some of them had small offices while others had no office at all! What we discovered is that you may not actually get paid anything and have given up five hours (also known as a 90 minute presentation) for nothing. The 90 minutes begins after...

    more
  • Attractions

    Located 12 km south of P.V. is a little village called Mismaloya. All I remember about it is that there is a very luxurious hotel nearby, and that 5 km north from there "El Eden" is located. "El Eden" is by the way a typical tourist trap, and you'll find it as an attraction in any guide book. We felt like hiking for one day so we decided to visit...

    more
  • Shopping

    I purchased a yellow diamond ring from Pacific Jewelry/Gad & Co (both stores owned by the same people) in April 2010. When I returned to the US, I had the ring appraised and found it was worth less than half of what I had paid! Months of discussion with the manager and owner have been fruitless, as they have been unwilling to exchange, give partial...

    more

Puerto Vallarta What to Pack

  • Clothing/Luggage

    OK....you've planned a family vacation to Puerto Vallarta. The tickets were reasonable, the weather is perfect, now what to bring? First let me say check with your airline regarding your baggage allowance. Many airlines are now charging for the first checked bag, as well as any subsequent bags.....these costs can add up rather quickly! And remember...

    more
  • Health/Safety

    Make sure your luggage is washable, we had to totally disinfect ours from all the sand fleas and mini spiders. Take extra fast drying clothes, the humidity hinders the drying process. IMODIUM, GRAVOL, PEPTO BISMOL, MOSQUITO REPELENT, CALAMINE LOTION, AND SUN BLOCK LOTION. Take your own towel. You can get a towel from the resort with a towel key,...

    more
  • Complete List

    I recommend packing light, that way you can bring back more stuff! :o) Bring cool clothes, maybe a sweater for night time, a pair of pants too. If you will be doing alot of walking, its always good to have comfortable walking shoes. Have all your medical suppiles on your carry on. if your bag goes missing it may be importaint to have those with...

    more

Puerto Vallarta Off The Beaten Path

  • Nearby Towns

    As we were driving from our hotel to the restaurant for dinner, I sincerely enjoyed the transition from crowded city to thick foliage and quaint villages. At one point, I said, to noone in particular, "This reminds me of The night of the Iguana." The taxi driver responded, "We are about to enter the village where most of The Night of the Iguana was...

    more
  • Local Places

    There are several Mexican beaches with this same, almost frightening, name (Beach of the Dead, but don’t let that deter you). This Puerto Vallarta beach is a amazing people-watching spot. Mariachis stroll about looking for business, kids catch a free ride on the river as it enters the sea, and drummer circles coalesce in the sweaty heat of the...

    more
  • Festivals/Customs

    I wish more people would include the "good" prices they negotiate! I started at the top of the Malecon and worked my way down to the Romantic Zone. The prices were cheaper at the starting end, but I chose a company near the pier. We negotiated a price of 500 pesos (I detest when people give prices in US dollars ~ you are in MEXICO people!), but as...

    more

Puerto Vallarta Sports & Outdoors

  • Water Sports

    Snorkeling at Los Arcos, Baya Banderas, was a lot of fun, although colder than we had expected. We had no exposure suit, so we didn't stay in as long as we might have otherwise. Los Arcos is a wave-formed rock formation near Mismaloya. The rocks are a federal eco-preserve and named after the arching grottoes channeling through some of the rocks....

    more
  • Scuba

    Best Scuba Diving store in Vallarta is Banderas Scuba. They are located in the Romantic zone, and they are professionals, and really nice guys too! I´ve been going with them many times, and is always a pleasure... I recommend them and only them!

    more
  • Beach Sports

    I was on a horse in Mexico at Quiximto so I didn't go for it at the Royal Decameron Resort Complex but there is obviously ample opportunity depending on where you are to I guess. These guys in the picture left right from the Royal Decameron Resort Complex beach. The vendors in this area are liscensed and have permission to be there. I always...

    more

Puerto Vallarta Favorites

  • Beaches

    As I already mentioned, THE BEACH was my biggest disappointment. The shore was very rocky and the water quite murky and muddy, not at all blue as I had expected. On the last day that we were there (Thursday) the lifeguard actually put up the red flag, as there was a large algae blob in the water, that made it unsafe to swim. Note, in my picture...

    more
  • Weather

    The boat pulled into the bay around 6 in the morning...the city was asleep, but you could see the sun coming up over the mountains...what a beautiful sight. Today was going to be a great day and the weather didn't disappoint us as the sun was out and there was a nice breeze blowing through the city.

    more
  • Siteseeing

    There is so much to do and see in Puerto Vallarta that you should never get bored. If this is your first time here, don't try to do too many tours...you'll be back for more. But do attempt to take at least one of them...we've done the Tequila Tour as well as the Jungle Tour and had a blast.

    more

Instant Answers: Puerto Vallarta

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

61 travelers online now

Comments (1)

  • Nov 8, 2012 at 1:15 AM

    Has anyone seen the carved gourds used for lanterns for sale in either Bucerias or PV

 
Explore Deeper into Puerto Vallarta
Groceries
Shopping
Downtown
Things to Do
El Eden
Things to Do
Vendors
Shopping
The Zoo
Nightlife
Royal Decameron Complex
Nightlife
Senor Frogs
Nightlife
Financial/Shopping
Warnings and Dangers
BLUE SHRIMP
Restaurants
Aye Caramba
Restaurants
Water/Boat
Transportation
Cafe Des Artistes
Restaurants
La Palapa
Restaurants
La Dolce Vita
Restaurants
El Palomar De Los Gonzales
Restaurants
Airplane
Transportation
Canopy Tour
Things to Do
Cultural
Favorites
Shopping
Favorites
Night of the Iguana
Things to Do
Swim with Dolphins
Things to Do
Nikk Beach
Nightlife
Relaxing
Favorites
Financial
Local Customs
Los Arcos
Things to Do
Club Roxy
Nightlife
Health/Safety
Local Customs
Nearby Towns
Tourist Traps
Walking
Transportation
Food/Drink
What to Pack
Nature
Local Customs
Planet Hollywood
Nightlife
Flores Magon (Orphanage)
Off The Beaten Path
Health/Safety
Favorites
Golfing
Sports & Outdoors
ROCKY BEACH
Warnings and Dangers
SWIMMING POOLS
Favorites
THE BEACH
Favorites
NIGHTLY ENTERTAINMENT
Nightlife
SO MANY STAIRS
Warnings and Dangers
Map of Puerto Vallarta

View all Puerto Vallarta hotels