Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: Top attractions

Numerous tours and sights attract many visitors to explore Puerto Vallarta’s surroundings. Just 30km south of the city are the Vallarta Botanical Gardens, featuring some gorgeous fauna and humming birds. A day trip, by boat, to the enchanting and well-secluded Las Caletas, shores of Banderas Bay, is a great family adventure. Las Caletas is an ideal place for a relaxing retreat, where visitors can enjoy therapeutic massages, kicking back on the beach or in a hammock, as well as a good spot for scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, exploring the regional flora and birdlife and even taking some cooking lessons. Another good option is seeing Las Caletas by night through the Rhythms of the Night tour. From a scenic sunset cruise to forgotten rituals and customs, as well as a dance performances staged on a Mayan pyramid, the tour is sure to leave anyone impressed.


Day sailing trips depart from Vallarta Marina and offer a relaxing tour of Banderas Bay. There are excellent swimming and snorkeling spots, which may include the protected waters of a secluded cove, and the opportunity to learn the basics of sailing. The trip is also the best opportunity for spotting humpback whales, wild dolphins, manta rays and turtles.

The Puerto Vallarta outdoor adventure tour is a thrilling and challenging ecological experience. After a speed boat ride to Boca de Tomatlan, a secluded beach on the southern shore of Banderas Bay, a 4x4 expedition will take visitors to the base camp in the Sierra Madre Mountains. Following this is a mule ride deeper into the sub-tropical forest where zip-lining and rappelling opportunities await.

Nobody should miss out on a chance to visit the Marietas Islands. The tours to the islands provide great snorkeling, diving, kayaking, bird watching, as well as dolphin, turtle and whale spotting opportunities. The islands’ rocky caverns and arches are great places to explore while kayaking or diving. Marietas Islands are also home to a wonderful hidden beach that can only be accessed by swimming.

Aside from the countless tours offers from Puerto Vallarta, visitors can also drive up the coast to cross to explore the offerings of the small state of Nayarit. Enjoy the many beaches stretching along the coastline or visit some of the developing resort towns, like Nuevo Vallarta. Las Islitas features relaxing virgin beaches with hammocks, while Playa Los Cocos is a favorite spot for surfers. Playa Chacala is very rarely crowded and has some beach-side restaurants that serve seafood.