My Top 10 Things to do in Puerto Vallarta

1 - Botanical Gardens

This is one of my favourite places to go when I am in Puerto Vallarta. I find it best to go earlier in the day than later as it can get extremely hot and muggy.

There are stunning walks to enjoy throughout the forest which will take you to an amazing river where you can sit and enjoy the sound or wade  out into it to cool your feet.

The various plants, flowers and birds are incredibly beautiful, and you will want to take a ton of pictures.

Be aware, you will want to bring bug repellent with you. Also located here is a wonderful restaurant which overlooks the forested mountains. You can sit and enjoy all the beautiful birds that come to visit. 

Visit them here:   www.vbgardens.org

Botanical Gardens
Botanical Gardens Puerto Vallarta bird

2 - Markets


One of the main markets in Puerto Vallarta is Olas Altas Saturday Market @ Lazaro Cardenas Park It happens every Saturday in the Park and opens at 9:00. Here you can sit and eat all day, everything from crepes to paella. You can shop for breads, produce and hand-crafted goods. Typically, there will be live entertainment for you to enjoy as well. I always enjoy spending time here on a Saturday.

Visit Here   https://www.facebook.com/olasaltasfarmersmarket/ 

Other similar markets are:

Lazaro Cardenas Park

3 - Sailing, Whale Watching, Fishing

One can’t take a trip to Puerto Vallarta without getting some fishing, sailing or whale watching in.  The days spent out on the bay are so relaxing and enjoyable. It is an exciting time when we manage to catch our dinner for the night.

I have always been impressed with the captains, they know where to go to catch the fish and ensure an enjoyable time out on the water. Truly one of my favorite ways to spend a day. Almost guaranteed that along the way you will encounter the best sea life: between the whales, dolphins, and sea turtles there something happening for you to go “Wow.” Other things to remember, bring a hat, sunscreen, snacks, and a camera.

Here’s a link:   Puerto Vallarta Fishing Tours

Charlie and a Bonito

4 - Cooking Classes

Coocking class

The Best of Gaby’s Mexican Cooking Class https://gabysrestaurant.com/ 

There are lots of cooking classes that you can enjoy in Puerto Vallarta, Gaby’s is my favorite.

You start the day off at the restaurant, then go shopping to get your groceries for your cooking class. You go to the markets where you purchase everything fresh. Once back at the restaurant the preparation and cooking begin. You will cook Molcajete sauces, guacamole, tortilla soup and chicken in mole, the food in incredible. The total time spent is about 5 hours. 

Cooking Class 2

5 - Total Chocolate Experience

Make your own chocolate @ Choco Museo.

Although there are a few choices that you can make here, I did the Total Chocolate   

Experience. Another fun activity where I learned the entire chocolate making process, made my own chocolate truffles and make my own ganache:  We made so many chocolates and it was great to share this experience with others.

Why is Chocolate so popular in Mexico?

It wasn’t just about making a tasty treat, however. For the Mayans, chocolate was often used in religious ceremonies, with cacao-derived drinks being offered to the gods. The Aztecs shared a love of chocolate with the Mayans – at times, the cacao bean was so valuable that it was used as currency!


6 - Restaurants

Barcelona Tapas

This can be a whole article on it’s own.  I will give you just a few of my favorites: 

The first will be  Barcelona Tapas https://barcelonatapas.net/  The Spanish food is out of this world as well as the sangrias and it does not matter if you choose red or white.

Then of course there is the view as you sit high up on the hill and have a perfect view of the bay, what better place to watch the sunset.  I have taken a cooking class here where we made a traditional paella. 

If you are wanting something more home cooked, with tons of flavour, and generous portions “The Greasy Gourmet” is the place for you. It is located at #534 Lazaro Cardenas just down the rode from one of the main produce and meat markets.  At the Greasy Gourmet you will get things like traditional Donairs, homemade soups, poutine, salisbury steak, hot chicken sandwiches, pizza, drinks and so much more.  When I am in Puerto Vallarta this is a must for me at least once a week.

7 - Mascota

Which means “place of deer and colubirds” is a colonial-stlye town surrounded by roads and pine-covered mountains.  It is a little cooler here as you are up in the mountains…very refreshing after the heat of Puerto Vallarta.

One of my favorite things to see in Mascota is the unfinished temple de la Preciosa Sangre.  It looks like a very old ruin of a church or castle in England.

Another stunning 18th century church to see is Parroquia de Nuestra Senora de los Dolores which has beautiful carved stone arches.

Ways to get there: Bus, Drive, tour guide, or tour company.

Mascota map

8 - San Sebastian

San Sebastian

About an hour and ten minutes away from Puerto Vallarta on the way to Mascota, basically at the foot of the Sierra Madre mountain range.

Great coffee tours there with cafes to sit at and enjoy the main plaza area.  San Sebastian was an old silver mining town back in 1605.

You will find that San Sebastian’s has maintained it’s historic feel as the homes have remained very historic. It has earned the on the UNESCO;s World Heritage List . 

San Sebastian

9 - El Tuito

Also an authentic colonial village surrounded by the Sierra Madre mountain range. 

It is approximately 45 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta.  Great historic cobblestone streets to walk and a beautiful square to sit and enjoy some lunch or a cervasa.

This is a very compact town that is basically a two block radius. Once again it is a little cooler than Puerto Vallarta. A beautifull little town where you can walk, relax and enjoy the wonderful surroundings.  

Mascota map
El Tuito

10 - Walking the Malecon Boardwalk and Zona Romantica

Puerto Vallarta Malecon

It is a 12-block, mile-long walk in Puerto Vallarta’s Centro and Zona Romantica zones.  Situated on the waterfront of the bay, it’s a great way to spend an evening or a day in Puerto Vallarta.

  You will find several sculptures along the way, restaurants, bars, shopping and an impressive amount of people out walking, doing as you are doing, and enjoying the views.

In the spring, from the Malecon you can look out over Banderas Bay and see whales breaching and the many boats and ship coming and going.  In the evening you may even spot a pirate ship.

There are numerous beaches all along the Malacon for you to enjoy, as well as a very wide selection of bars and resteraunts.

Malecon Sunset in Puerto Vallarta

Malacon Sunset
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