Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Activities
Downtown Puerto Vallarta, Mexico -Downtown Puerto Vallarta offers wonderful attractions, activities and things to do. One of the top attractions in Puerto Vallarta is El Malecon, a beachfront boardwalk lined with shops and restaurants. Strolling along El Malecon is one of the most delightful things to do in Puerto Vallarta.
Relax on wrought-iron benches or in a café, and enjoy incredible views of the emerald waters of Banderas Bay. Stroll back in time as you meander down the streets of the historic part of town, or follow the rhythms of the Mariachi. See historic landmarks, churches, and the famed Seahorse and Dolphin sculptures. A festive market, authentic restaurants and art galleries enhance your Puerto Vallarta sightseeing adventure.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Plaza -Plaza Principal, or El Jardin Principal (The Main Garden), is the main downtown square. With live bands and entertainment, it's one of the most fun things to do and see in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The Plaza features a gazebo and a statue of Don Ignacio L. Vallarta, the renowned Jalisco jurist for whom the city was named. The Plaza features live bands, theater performances, an open artist market, and food stands. Enjoy free concerts each weekend and join the holiday celebrations in the plaza.
Marina Vallarta -Mexico's most sophisticated marina and one of the most popular attractions in Puerto Vallarta, Marina Vallarta features a modern 500-slip boat marina, boat facilities, an 18-hole championship golf course, a waterpark, and a beautiful beach. Lining the Marina's boardwalk are numerous shops, boutiques, galleries, cafés and seafood restaurants. The Marina's famous landmark, El Faro (the Lighthouse), offers spectacular views of the Marina and Banderas Bay.
Puerto Vallarta Los Arcos Amphitheater -Los Arcos Amphitheater, or Aquiles Serdan Theater, is a famous tourist attraction in Puerto Vallarta known for its four stone arches, a symbol of Puerto Vallarta. At this beautiful open-air theater, you can enjoy festive nightly performances and street vendors that offer local food, arts and crafts. It is the perfect spot to watch the sun set behind the natural arches of Los Arcos and beyond to the horizon of Banderas Bay.
Banderas Bay in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico -The largest and deepest natural bay in Mexico, Banderas Bay (Bay of Flags) is a horseshoe-shaped bay with gentle, emerald waters. Measuring 20 miles across with over 40 miles of coastline, the Bay is one of the deepest bays in the world with depths up to two miles. Framed by the Sierra Madre Mountains, the waters of Bahia de Banderas are protected from the open seas.
With its deep, calm waters, Banderas Bay offers some of the best sport fishing in the world and endless things to do on the water in Puerto Vallarta. Enjoy scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, boating, kayaking, windsurfing an fishing. Cruise out into the beautiful bay to encounter humpback whales, dolphins, giant sea turtles and manta rays.
Puerto Vallarta's El Malecon -One of the most beautiful miles on Earth, Puerto Vallarta's famous Malecon is a mile-long oceanfront boardwalk that follows the beach and runs along the main street in downtown Puerto Vallarta. Puerto Vallarta's top attraction, Malecon begins at Hotel Rosita - the first hotel in Vallarta - and ends at a beautiful open-air theater known as Los Arcos, or The Arches.
Puerto Vallarta's Malecon is a fun strolling, sightseeing and shopping destination, where art, culture, shopping, and dining are everywhere. On the city side, Malecon is lined with boutiques, stores, gift shops, cafés, bars and restaurants that offer stunning views and gorgeous sunsets over Banderas Bay. Watch the rolling surf from the wrought-iron benches, take pictures of the famous Dolphin and Seahorse sculptures, and relax in a café overlooking the sea.
Las Marietas Islands -Originally made famous by Jacques Cousteau in the 1970s, the Marietas Islands Marine Reserve is one of the most popular scuba diving areas in Western Mexico, with a great variety of caves, reefs, and drop-offs for exploring. This beautiful destination features a variety of tropical fish, mantas, turtles and whales (December to April). Las Marietas Islands, which have been preserved by the Mexican government as a bird sanctuary, is also an incredible spot for snorkeling and windsurfing. These islands are accessible by boats that can be rented on most of PV's northern beaches
Las Caletas -Situated on Puerto Vallarta's Banderas Bay, Las Caletas is an exclusive tropical beach hideaway. Enjoy the most fantastic coastal scenery that Vallarta has to offer while cruising to a private cove where you will discover the wonders of the bay while kayaking, snorkeling, surfing or scuba diving. On land, you can explore the surrounding forest, meet a colorful parrot or relax in a hammock on the golden beach.
Yelapa -Nestled in an enchanting cove off the southern coast of Banderas Bay, the peaceful village of Yelapa, Mexico in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental is a fishing village that is one of Puerto Vallarta's most amazing attractions. Most accessible by boat from Puerto Vallarta, Yelapa's tranquility is ideal for a laid-back vacation. Covered in a blanket of golden sand, the beautiful beach is a superb place to swim, snorkel or parasail.
Relax in one of the numerous beach chairs and soak up the sun, or hang out at a palapa bar. Horseback ride through the colorful village, then walk to the 65-ft waterfall and take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear water pool. Yelapa also boasts a thriving art community.
San Sebastian del Oeste -San Sebastian del Oeste is a beautiful 17th-century silver mining village that offers some of Puerto Vallarta's most historically rich attractions. At 4,500 feet, with tall pine trees, the historic town offers a pristine retreat in the peaceful mountains with a unique atmosphere and colonial treasures, such as the Plaza and Bandstand. Founded in 1605, San Sebastian was one of the gold and silver mining centers of Mexico and a thriving provincial capital.
Enjoy an informative tour of this deserted village, including ruins of the mines, the town's matriarch-run museum, the charming 1600s pastel-colored church, the restored Hacienda Jalisco, once headquarters of the mining company, the old Town Hall, a scenic park, and charming stores in the Colonial-style Plaza. Observe Mexican traditions first hand on this fun and informative tour, including authentic Mexican recipes in a quaint atmosphere at lunch. As you fly over the verdant valley, you'll see cattle, corn and a coffee plantation.
Sierra Madre Mountains -The chief mountain system of Mexico, the Sierra Madre Mountains consist of the Sierra Madre Oriental, the Sierra Madre Occidental, and the Sierra Madre del Sur. Extending from northwest to southeast through Mexico from the U.S. border, the rugged Sierra Madres are 6,000-12,000 feet high, with deep, steep-sided canyons. The terrain ranges from snow-covered peaks to hot, tropical valleys, and from the humid, vegetated seaward slopes to the dry, barren interior-facing slopes. Stretching across Western Mexico, and surrounding Puerto Vallarta, the lush, verdant Sierra Madre Occidental range tumbles into the southern part of Banderas Bay.
A few miles from the shore, the mountains are an incredible place to explore. Hike along crystal clear rivers and waterfalls, and through canyons surrounded by palm trees and ponds where you can swim. Tour guides can teach you about the wildlife and culture of this beautiful mountain region. The mountains are home to several indigenous nations, including the Huichol Indians in the southern part and the Tarahumara of the central range.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church -Located in Puerto Vallarta's downtown El Centro district, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, completed in 1951, is the most endearing of all Puerto Vallarta's landmarks. The gilded crown that tops the magnificent church is a replica of the crown worn by Carlota, empress of Mexico in the 1860s, the base of which is decorated with eight angels holding hands. The original crown was made of concrete and was unfortunately damaged in the 1995 earthquake, but has since been replaced by one done by the famous sculptor Octavio Gonzales.
Old Town Vallarta -Full of fun and romantic things to do in Puerto Vallarta, Old Town is the historic section and offers a relaxed and artsy vibe. Old Town gives way to some of the most romantic restaurants, cafes, clubs and sights you can find in Mexico. The local citizens refer to it as Zona Romantica, and it truly lives up to its name. The community is home to many unique art galleries and local artists
Huichol Indian Art -One hour from Velas Vallarta, a remote mountain village in the high reaches of the Sierra Madre Occidental is home to the Huichol Indians - descendants of the Aztecs and one of the last indigenous peoples of Mexico. Retaining their traditions, customs, art and language, the Huichol Indians are the last tribe in North America living as it did in pre-Columbian times. Journey back in time to their remote mountain village and experience the beauty of their culture and art.
Their spiritually driven yarn paintings, breathtaking arts and crafts and colorful beadwork can be found in Puerto Vallarta markets and high up in the mountains behind town. The yarn paintings depict visions and tell a story, which will usually be written in Huichol and Spanish and attached to the back of the work. Pictures of wolves, snakes, scorpions and deer depict traditional elements of Huichol lore. The beaded works are usually wooden shapes that have beads attached to them and represent animal forms.