Puerto Vallarta, Mexico is a beach resort city on the Pacific Ocean’s Bahia de Banderas. With a year round climate of 70-100 degrees Fahrenheit, beautiful tropical beaches, and activities every season, it’s no wonder that Puerto Vallarta attracts tourists year round.
People love Puerto Vallarta for having the activities of a resort town with friendly residents who interact with tourists and make them feel at home. Of course, one main attraction to Puerto Vallarta is its many beautiful beaches.
You can visit Playa Camarones, the Northernmost public beach in Puerto Vallarta. It was named “Shrimp Beach” after the shrimp fisherman that once landed their launches on that beach. Playa Olas Altas (High Waves Beach) is a popular destination for locals and national tourists. Ironically, the waves are not very high, so it is a perfect place to swim. Playa Los Muertos, or “The Beach of the Dead” is the city’s largest public beach. The name stems from a battle between pirates and local miners after bodies were strewn across the beach, but this is just a legend, since there were never miners in Vallarta.
Many tourists go to the beaches to swim, jet ski, kayak, windsurf, or go snorkeling. December through April, see the migrating Humpback whales in Banderas Bay.
Along with its beaches, Puerto Vallarta has shopping and nightlife. The city is known as an art center, with many fine art galleries and museums, including the Cuale Archeological Museum’s, showcase of local and regional pre-Hispanic art.
Plazas, markets and flea markets sell silver jewelry, blown glass objects, local pottery, sarapes, clothing, masks and other artisan products. There are also historical landmarks, like the Saucedo Theatre Building. Built in 1922, the theater presented live shows and films, and even housed a ballroom. The nightlife in Puerto Vallarta is another must do on your trip. The tourist favorite spot is the seaside promenade called the Malecon.
While there are many activities to experience in Puerto Vallarta, attending a festival or major event will enrich your experience as a tourist. Here is a rundown of events by month:
Celebrate Año Nuevo, or New Year’s Day, with fireworks and ships in the bay and events in El Malecon.
February 5th, enjoy a parade in honor of the Anniversary of the Mexican Constitution.On February 14th, celebrate Friendship Day with special menus in most local restaurants and live music in different night clubs.
Celebrate Carnival Day on the first Tuesday. Party with locals in masks and kids parading in the streets.
On April 30, children participate in a parade and enjoy parties during Children’s Day.
Along with three national holidays, there is the Annual Puerto Vallarta International Sports Classic and the May Cultural Festival all throughout Mexico, with events and activities held all month.
June 1st is Navy Day. The event is held mainly at sea with the city’s Navy ships in an offshore parade. It is followed by ceremonies that honor navy personnel, held by tour boats and fisherman.
This month brings festivities in honor of Mexico’s independence. During Charro Day, men on horseback parade through town. On Independence Eve, people gather in the center plaza to watch the lighting of the flame of independence, followed by a parade through the center of town. Independence Day brings another and fireworks at night.
On Halloween, there will be costume parties and trick-or-treating, but the real festivities follow in November.
All Souls Day is when Mexicans pay their respects to the souls of the children who have passed on. Families leave sugar skeletons, skulls and treats on altars custom-designed for the occasion. Each year City Hall and the Cultural Center on Rio Cuale Island offer special altars for this occasion, along with some restaurants, nightclubs and stores.
The Puerto Vallarta Art Festival, held all month, showcases art shows and beachside theatre performances. The 10-day Festival Gourmet Internacional de Puerto Vallarta showcases culinary talents from the local chefs at participating restaurants and over 20 guest chefs from internationally acclaimed restaurants and hotels throughout the world. Mexican Revolution Day on November 20th brings a parade through the center of town. Finally, the International Fishing Tournament Marlin & Sailfish is held during mid to end of November.
December 12 is the Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe, where the central plaza is filled with street vendors selling fruits and other local specialties, followed by fireworks at night.
Whether you come to Puerto Vallarta to go to the beach, to enjoy the culture or to celebrate in one of their many festivals and events, the city has something for everyone.