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Top Puerto Vallarta Attractions

The first time you visit Puerto Vallarta, or any new destination, the question asked isn’t usually what attractions should be scene but what attraction to see first, what to expect, how to get there, and how much time is needed. We’ve provided tips, advice, and other information about the top tourist attractions in Puerto Vallarta to help with your itinerary planning.

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
Whale Watching Whale Watching
The Malecón The Malecon
Side Trips Side Trips

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

 Address Chico’s Dive Shop

Some hotels rent out snorkeling and scuba diving equipment, but if you are staying at a smaller hotel and would like to rent equipment, or if you need PADI or NAUI certification, or you are looking for diving trips, head for Chico’s Dive Shop where the divers are experienced and helpful.

If you are interested in going on your own, you might want to check out the popular Los Arcos reserve off the Playa Mismaloya and the bay at Quimixto. Punta de Mita also offers the Marietas Islands which have lava tubes and caves.


Adventure Tours and Whale Watching

 Address Vallarta Adventures

The large staff at Vallarta Adventures can take you on just about any kind of tour you are interested in. They offer day and evening cruises, snorkeling, diving, jeep treks, and visits to local towns by plane.

From around December 15 through the end of March, the Vallarta Adventures can also take you out to enjoy whale watching.


The Malecón

The malecón, or boardwalk, filled with sculptures, runs the length of downtown Puerto Vallarta and it is a great place to enjoy a leisurely stroll. At the southern end of the malecón, see what is going on at Los Arcos, an amphitheater where concerts and cultural events take place. As you walk north, stop in at one of the dozen small shops and boutiques facing the malecón. This is also the center of the town’s nightlife. In they evening, you can also explore the lively bars and dance clubs on the strip. A walk along the boardwalk is a local custom and should not be missed.


Side Trips

The small towns surrounding Puerto Vallarta – Punta de Mita, Bucerias, Sayulita and San Francisco, Quimixto, Yelapa, and Mismaloya -- are also worth a visit. Punta de Mita is home to two exclusive resorts: the very elegant Four Seasons and the boutique resort Casa Las Brisas. Bucerias is a favorite among retirees, with laid back, beautiful beaches. Sayulita is a small fishing village with great surfing, but it is beginning to undergo rapid development. The very small town of San Francisco is a great place to rent a horse to ride along the beach or into the jungle. Quimixto is a small town with limited water sports activities, but beautiful and quiet beaches where you can enjoy snorkeling or just relaxing on the sand. Yelapa, a peaceful kind of artists’ retreat, is one of the most famous of these small towns. A jungle waterfall is the main attraction. But, perhaps the most famous small town is Mismaloya, a pristine bay when The Night of the Iguana was filmed here, is now home to a large resort and expensive restaurants.


Puerto Vallarta Travel Guides
 Frommer's Puerto Vallarta
 Lonely Planet Puerto Vallarta
 Let's Go Puerto Vallarta
 Fodors Puerto Vallarta