Located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, Puerto Vallarta is known for its beaches and beautiful vistas, but it also boasts a rich history with art galleries and a thriving Mexican community. Here, boutique hotels and haute cuisine meet eco-tourism and cultural exploration on golden shores.
The best time of year to visit Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta is a straight shot across the Pacific from Hawaii, which makes for a subtropical climate with humidity that can prove too heavy during the summer months.
Springtime draws a younger, more rambunctious crowd, as well as an influx of Mexican tourists who flood the city during Holy Week in April.
Late fall brings an array of events, including the monthly Old Town Art Walk (October to May), the International Marlin and Sailfish Fishing Tournament, the Festival Gourmet International Puerto Vallarta in November and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in December.
If you’re hoping to beat both the crowds and the heat, mid-January is an excellent time to visit, after the dust from the holiday rush has settled and daytime temperatures start hovering in the mid-70s.
What to pack for a trip to Puerto Vallarta
For a trip to this vibrant seaside city, you’ll want to pack accordingly — swimsuits, shades, hats and sunscreen are obvious necessities, though cover-ups are also helpful for exploring the beachside shops without having to fully dress.
Colorful, lightweight garb is always en vogue. Tees, tanks and shorts are ideal, while ladies will want to pack some sundresses as well.
Very few restaurants in Puerto Vallarta have a dress code, though it wouldn’t hurt to bring at least one nice outfit (a jacket for men and a cocktail dress for women).
Be sure to bring a light jacket no matter what time of year you visit. While you may not need it at the beach, the restaurants and hotels typically crank up the AC to combat the humidity outside.
Public transportation in Puerto Vallarta
Traveling around this beachside city is fairly easy and relatively cheap. Before you arrive, be sure to check with your hotel to see if it offers airport transfers. If not, you’ll have no problem hailing a cab.
One of the benefits of taxi service in Puerto Vallarta is that the rate is fixed, so you won’t have to worry about haggling with your driver. The base fee starts at about $3.50 and you’ll be charged around $1.50 for each city zone that you cross. The tip is included in your fare, but if you’d like to give a little more, a 10 percent gratuity is always appreciated.
Using the local buses can be a little daunting the first time, but once you get the hang of it, they prove to be a cheap and efficient way to explore Puerto Vallarta. Routes run from about 6 a.m. until around 11 p.m. seven days a week and you can tell where the bus goes by its color — blue buses go to the Marina Vallarta from downtown, the orange ones travel from the Romantic Zone (Old Town) to the south zone and so on.
While in Puerto Vallarta, we highly recommend visiting the gorgeous beaches south of Boca de Tomatlán via water taxi — a slightly more expensive yet experiential way to get around.