These top 20 things to do in Puerto Vallarta were recommended by real locals and will guarantee you see the very best of this incredible coastal city.
11. Hit the Clubs
All of the locals we spoke to agree on one thing—you CANNOT leave Puerto Vallarta without at least one night of wild fun at a PV club.
Puerto Vallarta clubs are a point of pride in the city. They are known for their excellent service, signature drinks, and world-class DJs. When partygoers talk about the best clubs in the world, PV’s clubs rank in the top spots with Las Vegas and Ibiza clubs. The difference is that they cost a lot less to enjoy!
Here’s where locals recommend for the best PV clubbing:
- La Santa: La Santa is best known for having an on-site pool. Are you ready for your night to get wet and wild?
- La Vaquita: A barnyard-themed bash, La Vaquita has a very relaxed dress code and serves massive drinks in styrofoam cups. A place to let loose!
- Strana: A cathedral of light and sound, Strana is one of the most exclusive and immersive clubs in the city.
Nightclubs in Puerto Vallarta are very popular, so you need to book in advance to avoid long lines which often extend out the door and into the street. Or, you can let the locals at PV Nightlife take care of it for you and enjoy VIP access all night long.
Bonus: Puerto Vallarta Accommodation Hacks
The quality of your vacation in Puerto Vallarta will depend greatly on where you choose to stay. This city is full of resorts and hotels, but locals don’t recommend these places.
Resorts are ok for families, large groups, and the elderly, but those who want to explore and make the most of their trip won’t like the fake atmosphere and overcrowding.
Hotels are a luxurious way to travel, and Puerto Vallarta has some excellent ones to choose from. The downside is that you’ll pay international prices to book somewhere like the Hilton or the Hyatt.
If you’re traveling with your family or a group, we highly recommend booking a private villa instead of traditional accommodation. You can actually book a beachside villa with luxury décor and amazing amenities for less than the price of most hotels.
Even better, your villa can be customized in any way you like. You can ask for a private chef, a driver, for a mariachi band to come at night—the possibilities are really up to you.
When you work with an agency like PV Nightlife, there’s no limit to what you can do and where you can stay. Get in touch now to view beachfront villas and to turn your accommodation into a private paradise.
12. Scuba Diving
If you’ve never been Scuba diving before, Puerto Vallarta is the place to have your underwater adventure. If you have, you’ve never seen ocean floors like ours!
Enter a wonderland of crystal-clear waters and interact with playful fish and other sea life. You’ll encounter amazing rock structures, reefs, massive schools of fish, and even ghostly shipwrecks.
The Scuba tours in PV are led by licensed professionals, so all you have to do is sit up and be amazed!
13. Colonia Emiliano Zapata Municipal Market
The food culture in Mexico is protected by UNESCO—it’s the only culinary tradition to have that honor! So, when deciding what things to do in Puerto Vallarta, visiting a local market is an absolute must.
The Colonia Emiliano Zapata municipal market is full of colorful produce, tropical fruit, seafood, local spices, street food, and so much more. The best thing about this place is that everyone here is super helpful and always smiling. It’s the perfect place to get some cooking tips from real locals while going on a tasting spree.
The market is open every day from 6 AM to 3 PM. We recommend going in the late morning. It’s the perfect time to see all the vendors while they’re still fully stocked and to work up an appetite for lunch.
14. Los Muertos Beach
Los Muertos Beach is one of the hottest spots in the city. It’s great for lounging, swimming, and watersports, and it’s also full of bars and restaurants with music and beach sports. It’s more of a party beach than a relaxing spot, but that isn’t a bad thing!
Los Muertos is located directly off the Malecon, so it’s the most accessible beach in the city. In fact, it’s impossible to miss, as it’s visible from most of the city center. Even if you don’t like crowded beaches, stop at a beach kiosk for a margarita or two. The fun is contagious!
15. Mirador de La Cruz
Mirador De La Cruz is an observation platform just outside the city center. The locals know this spot offers the best views of Banderas Bay and the lush mountains bordering the city, but you won’t find many of us making the climb on a hot day!
The trek to Mirador de La Crus takes about 40 minutes from the Malecon, and the last 20 minutes are made up of steep climbs and stairs. Nevertheless, this is where you’ll be able to snap panoramic photos of the city and the sea that will make all your Insta followers jealous, so bring your walking shoes and don’t miss it!
16. Into the Wild
Just outside Puerto Vallarta’s antique streets, you can venture into the unknown and explore Mexico’s lush jungle terrain. Don’t worry, there aren’t any dangerous animals lurking in the depths, but there are plenty of exotic flowers, fresh fruits, colorful insects, and other amazing things to see.
You can tour the jungle on foot with a guide or you can schedule an ATV tour for an off-road adventure. We don’t recommend exploring the jungle alone.
17. Have a Spa Day
Take a break from all the adventure, sun, sand, and tequila by detoxing your body and rejuvenating your skin at one of Puerto Vallarta’s famed spas. Featuring specialized treatments made from sea minerals and local ingredients, there’s no better way to experience the ultimate in personal pampering while doing something good for your health.
These spas are well-known by locals as being reasonably priced and extremely professional:
- Quetzalli Spa & Skin Care
- Metamorfosis Day Spa
- Artepil Spa
18. Marina Vallarta
Marina Vallarta is a place where the wealthy bump elbows with locals and tourists who like to watch as boats pass over the horizon. Known for its iconic lighthouse bar, this area of the city is quiet and breezy, and it’s the perfect place to take a date before dinner in the Romantic Zone.
Locals don’t hang out here often, but we like going for happy hour at the rooftop bars nearby. Many luxurious clubs and hotels, such as the Marriot, offer half-priced drinks in the early evening, making this a great place to live it up on a budget.
19. Dine in Style
Street food is delicious, by you’d be missing out if you didn’t treat yourself to a bit of fine dining in this food capital of Mexico. Puerto Vallarta is known for amazing BBQ and seafood dishes, and the chefs here are some of the most creative in the world.
Diners can enjoy rich salsas made with local fruits and vegetables as well as light tortillas and hearty soups like the local favorite “birria,” a spicy pork stew served with lime.
PV has also been influenced by an influx of international chefs, making this city a unique culinary jewel on the Pacific.
Here are some local favorites for decadent dining:
- La Leche: Foodies looking for the perfect sharable photo love La Leche. The entire restaurant is white, making the colorful dishes burst with life.
- La Palapa: Fine dining on the beach. Enjoy fantastic views and incredible seafood.
- Café des Artistes: Featuring French and Mexican fusion, Café des Artistes may be the most upscale restaurant in the city.
20. Mezcal and Tequila
Two of our most beloved local pastimes—mezcal and tequila! Puerto Vallarta is a place for sipping and snacking, and our favorite liquors make each night go down smooth.
Both tequila and mezcal are produced in the Jalisco region of Mexico (where PV is located), so this is one of the best places to try artisanal liquors from some of the finest distilleries.
For a great selection of straight mezcal and tequila as well as signature cocktails and snacks, we have to recommend Bar Morelos. This place gets pretty busy and has a club on a separate floor, so you’ll need to book a table if you don’t want to get stuck standing.
Are you ready for your trip to PV? There are so many things to do in Puerto Vallarta that the hardest part is choosing! That’s where we come in at PV Nightlife.
Our local guides and experts are dedicated to putting together the perfect evening, weekend, or complete holiday for you. And our packages are never pre-set. We dedicate a planner to your vacation who works with you to deliver the exact holiday you want.