Puerto Vallarta

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Puerto Vallarta - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. ChocoMuseo

    ChocoMuseo is a museum where visitors not only learn all about the history and nature of chocolate but also find out how to work with it and create different cocoa-based products and dishes. You can book workshops on how to prepare the Mexican national dish of mole, make chocolate truffles, or let your children experiment with a mini chocolate workshop. 

    Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez 128, Mexico

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun.
  • 2. El Malecón

    Zona Romántica | Promenade

    If you have visited Puerto Vallarta before, maybe you remember that its malecón used to have cars between the boardwalk and the shops and nightclubs. But in 2012 Puerto Vallarta's beloved walkway underwent a huge renovation that closed it to traffic and transformed it into a highly enjoyable (and quiet) pedestrian walkway. The scene now takes in runners, skaters, and bicyclists, as well as traditional bronze sculptures. There is talk of reopening it to cars to cater to local businesses negatively affected by the loss of traffic, but for now you can enjoy it as a lovely pedestrian promenade.

    Paseo Diaz Ordaz, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
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  • 3. La Tovara

    Turtles sunning themselves on logs, crocodiles masquerading as logs, water-loving birds, and exotic orchids make the maze of green-brown canals that is La Tovara—an out-of-town must for nature lovers. Launches putter along these waterways from El Conchal Bridge, at the outskirts of San Blas, about a three-hour drive from Marina Vallarta, or from the nearby village of Matanchén. After cruising along for about 45 minutes—during which you'll have taken way too many photos of the mangrove roots that protrude from the water and the turtles—you arrive at the spring-fed freshwater pools for which the area is named. You can hang out at the restaurant overlooking the pool or play Tarzan and Jane on the rope swing. Most folks take the optional trip to a crocodile farm on the way back, stretching a two-hour tour into three hours.

    Carretera Las Islitas s/n, 63744, Mexico

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $8
  • 4. Playa Borrego

    You can walk or ride a bike to long, lovely Playa Borrego, 1 km (½ mile) south of town. Rent a surfboard at Stoners' or Mar y Sol restaurant to attack the year-round (but sporadic) shore or jetty breaks here, or stroll down to the southern end to admire the lovely, palm-fringed estuary. Amenities: parking (free). Best for: walking; sunset; solitude.

  • 5. Playa Los Muertos

    Zona Romántica

    PV's original happening beach has nice bay views, and as action central, it's definitely the area's most engaging beach. Facing Vallarta's South Side (south of the Río Cuale), this flat beach hugs the Zona Romántica and runs about 1½ km (1 mile) south to a rocky point called El Púlpito. The steps (more than 100) at Calle Púlpito lead to a lookout with a great view of the beach and the bay. Joggers cruise the cement boardwalk early morning and after sunset; vendors stalk the beach nonstop, hawking kites, jewelry, and serapes as well as hair-braiding and alfresco massage. Bar-restaurants run the length of the beach; the bright blue umbrellas at the south end belong to Blue Chairs resort, the hub of PV's effervescent gay scene. The surf ranges from mild to choppy with an undertow; the small waves crunching the shore usually discourage mindless paddling. There are lifeguards on the beach, but the service isn't consistent. The Los Muertos Pier underwent a recent face-lift and it's now one of PV's main landmarks and a prime spot for romantic night walks. Amenities: food and drink; water sports. Best for: partiers; sunset; surfing.

    48399, Mexico
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  • 6. Basilica de Talpa

    On the large plaza, the Basilica de Talpa is the main show in town. The twin-spire limestone temple is Gothic with neoclassical elements. After visiting the royally clad Virgin in her side chapel, stroll around the surrounding square. Shops and stalls sell sweets, miniature icons of the Virgin in every possible presentation, T-shirts, and other souvenirs. Chicle (gum) is harvested in the area, and you'll find small keepsakes in the shapes of shoes, flowers, and animals made of the (nonsticky) raw material.

    Morelos s/n, Mexico
  • 7. Bucerías Beach

    Riviera Nayarit

    The stretch of sand right in front of downtown Bucerías is not as appealing as what you'll find if you just walk about 200 meters south. The shore break can get a bit sketchy when there's a swell, so you might just want to walk toward Nuevo Vallarta before planting your beach umbrella. Amenities: parking (free); food and drink; water sports. Best for: walking; windsurfing; sunset. 

  • 8. Casa Museo de Doña Conchita

    You're welcome any time at the Casa Museo de Doña Conchita. The affable owner shows visitors photos of her venerable family—which she traces back six generations. See banknotes from the mining days, bloomers, shirts made by hand by the lady for her many children, and other memorabilia. If you speak Spanish, ask Doña Conchita to tell you about the ghosts that haunt her house, which is right on the square between the basketball court and la presidencia, or town hall.

    Paso del Norte 2, 46990, Mexico

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $1
  • 9. Cerro de la Cruz

    The countryside just outside town is ideal for hikes and drives. From Mascota's plaza you can walk up Calle Morelos out of town to Cerro de la Cruz. The hike to the summit takes about a half hour and rewards with great valley views.

  • 10. Cerro de San Basilio

    For a bird's-eye view of the town and coast, hike or drive up Calle Juárez, the main drag, to Cerro de San Basilio. You can also take Road 74 out of town, turn right at the fork and then right at Calle del Panteon, which is the only road you'll find before reaching the river.

  • 11. Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe

    The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe is dedicated to the patron saint of Mexico and of Puerto Vallarta. The holy mother's image, by Ignacio Ramírez, is the centerpiece of the cathedral's slender marble altarpiece. The brick bell tower is topped by a lacy-looking crown that replicates the one worn by Carlota, short-lived empress of Mexico. The wrought-iron crown toppled during an earthquake that shook this area of the Pacific Coast in 1995 but was soon replaced with a fiberglass version, supported, as was the original, by a squadron of stone angels. This was replaced with a newer and larger rendition in 2009.

    Calle Hidalgo 370, 48330, Mexico
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  • 12. Contaduría

    Cannons protect the ruined contaduría, built during colonial times when San Blas was New Spain's first official port.

    Cerro de San Basilio, 63740, Mexico
  • 13. El Malecón

    El Malecón of Puerto Vallarta is its flagship attraction. The construction started in 1936 and it went through a complete renovation in 2011. Now, it’s closed to traffic and pedestrians can stroll for almost 1 km (½ mile) through a gorgeous palm-filled promenade. The walk starts at the Rosita Hotel and continues to the amphitheater across the main square. On your way, enjoy the 10 sculptures and the Voladores de Papantla (ancient Mesoamerican tradition involving bungee-jump-like "flying people").

    Paseo Díaz Ordaz, 48300, Mexico
  • 14. El Templo de la Virgen del Rosario

    Continuing down the road from the contaduría brings you to El Templo de la Virgen del Rosario. Note the new floor in the otherwise ruined structure; the governor's daughter didn't want to soil the hem of her gown when she married here in 2005. A bit farther on, San Blas's little cemetery is backed by the sea and the mountains.

    Calle Jose Ma. Mercado at Echevarria, Mexico
  • 15. Estero El Salado

    Marina Vallarta | Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    You know how in New York they reserved a huge piece of much-coveted land for Central Park? Well, something like that happened in Puerto Vallarta with the Estero El Salado. This estuary right in the middle of the city has been declared a protected area featuring spectacular examples of biodiversity. Boat tours go deep into El Salado from Tuesday to Saturday at 11 am and 3 pm. Get ready to see plenty of crocodiles up close and personal in their natural habitat, as well as a variety of birds and impressive vegetation. There is a museum and a tower offering stunning views of the estuary and the city. Call or write ahead (via the website) to book a tour.

    Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $25; check website for different discounts
  • 16. Estero El Salado

    El Salado Estuary is a natural reserve set in the middle of Puerto Vallarta. Considering it's in an urban area, the biodiversity is impressive. They offer boat tours across the estuary, where you will see crocodiles roaming free in their habitat, as well as several species of water birds.

    Blvd. Francisco Medina Ascencio s/n, Mexico

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon.
  • 17. Iglesia de la Preciosa Sangre

    Mascota's pride is La Iglesia de la Preciosa Sangre (Church of the Precious Blood), started in 1909 but unfinished due to the revolution and the ensuing Cristero Revolt. Weddings, concerts, and plays are sometimes held here under the ruins of Gothic arches. Note the 3-D blood squirting from Jesus's wound in the chapel—you can hardly miss it.

    Calle Rosa Davalos s/n, Mexico
  • 18. Iglesia de la Virgen de los Dolores

    On one corner of the plaza is the town's white-spire Iglesia de la Virgen de los Dolores. The Virgin of Sorrow is feted on September 15, which segues into Mexican Independence Day on the 16th.

    Calle Ponciano Arriaga 110, Mexico
  • 19. Iglesia de San Sebastián

    Iglesia de San Sebastián is a restored 1800s-era church that comes to life in the days preceding its saint's day, January 20.

  • 20. International Festival of Migratory Birds

    In late January, you can attend the International Festival of Migratory Birds for bird-watching tours and conferences with experts and fellow enthusiasts.


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