Nestled between the Sierra Madre Mountains and the enormous Banderas Bay is a destination that has been attracting tourists, regulars and expats to Mexico’s Pacific coast for years. Puerto Vallarta, or simply Vallarta, has long been one of Mexico’s favorite vacation spots, thanks to its myriad of activities, idyllic sights and unforgettable natural treasures, many of which are ideal to both kids and adults.
Here are some of Puerto Vallarta’s must see attractions, whether or not it’s your first time.
The city’s picturesque boardwalk stretches for more or less a mile, offering sightseeing, shopping and cultural immersions to those who visit. It’s practically an essential part of any Vallarta vacation, one that affords a good glimpse of the daily local life and the perfect view of the setting sun. Get ready to shop; amidst the countless Señor Frogs are local shops that sell authentic local products such as the intricate Beaded Huichol pieces.
Much like Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta is a haven for whale watching enthusiasts and those who simply enjoy witnessing one of nature’s most beautiful migrations. Whale watching season typically runs from early December through March, but do check before going as weather conditions can affect their migration patterns. Book a tour with trusted operator Vallarta Adventures so your trip is not only a success, it will be a pleasant and entertaining one as well.
Cruising visitors may flock to this tiny coastal town not far from Puerto Vallarta, but when the cruise ships go on their way, Yelapa goes back to its slow paced way of life. Climb its narrow, winding streets flanked by unassuming houses to see the waterfalls (and maybe swim its refreshing pool). Later, head back down to the pretty beach where you can witness the comings and goings of the locals as you lounge on a beach chair while enjoying Mexican delicacies and refreshing drinks.
Tour operator Vallarta Adventures’ little piece of heaven only a short boat’s ride away from Puerto Vallarta is simply divine tropical hideaway. Think of it as Disney’s Castaway Cay, but cheaper and with better food (sample that paella!). Most of the island’s activities and amenities are included in the tour rate, which means plenty of opportunities for fun without breaking the bank – snorkeling, kayaking, clay modeling and cooking classes, to name a few. The best part? There are locally-made hammocks strategically placed right on the beach so rest and relaxation is easy.
The uninhabited islands off the coast, formed thousands of years ago by volcanic activity, have become some of Puerto Vallarta’s most beautiful and most exciting attractions. Plenty of activities await in and around these islands that have been declared a national park in the ‘60s. Snorkeling and scuba diving are among the favorites; as are turtle, bird and whale watching. The most popular, however, is the legendary “Hidden Beach,” which can be accessed during low tide by swimming through a cave. It’s exciting, but not recommended for the little ones.
Family-Friendly Eats: Head to the Malecon and have a nice sunset dinner right on the beach at Si Señor, an authentic Mexican cuisine spot that serves truly delicious dishes, some inspired by the owner’s grandmother’s cooking.
Family-Friendly Accommodations: Hacienda-style CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa is a great resort choice for every type of traveler. It’s family-friendly but it’s also a fantastic setting for an adults’ only getaway. Among its fantastic offerings include a wonderful infinity pool, terrific restaurants, complimentary guacamole tastings, and access to a number of water activities.