So you're going to Puerto Vallarta and you're ready to hit up some beaches, right? If you're anything like us, you might be wondering what other activities and excursions there are for you to do in and around the city.

Lucky for you, we've compiled a list of the 10 best activities and excursions you can do in Puerto Vallarta. So sit back, grab a coffee (or tequila if you're cool like that), and read on about how we recommend you spend your time when you're not lounging on the beach with a margarita in hand.

Take a boat tour of Banderas Bay

If you are looking for an unforgettable experience in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, look no further than a boat tour of Banderas Bay. This stunning bay is one of the largest in the world and offers a plethora of activities and sights to explore.

On a boat tour, you can soak up the beautiful scenery while stopping at some of the region's most beautiful beaches and islands, such as Las Animas and Yelapa. Swim in the crystal clear waters, relax on the pristine white sands, or explore the lush jungles that line the shore.

You may even get lucky and spot some of the amazing wildlife that calls the bay home, such as dolphins, whales, and sea turtles. And if you are an avid angler, a fishing excursion on the bay is a must, with the chance to catch some of the biggest and most beautiful fish in the area.

The boat tours are often led by knowledgeable and friendly guides who can share information about the history, culture, and biodiversity of the area, making it a fun and educational activity for visitors of all ages.

Some of the best boat tours in Puerto Vallarta

  1. Vallarta Adventures: This company offers a wide range of boat tours, from whale watching and snorkeling to sunset cruises and party boats. Their boats are modern and comfortable, and their guides are knowledgeable and friendly.
  2. Mike's Fishing Charters: This company specializes in fishing charters, but they also offer private boat tours of the bay. Their boats are well-maintained and their guides are experienced fishermen who know the best spots to see marine life.
  3. Ocean Friendly Whale Watching: This eco-friendly tour company offers whale watching tours that focus on sustainability and conservation. Their guides are marine biologists who provide educational commentary on the whales and the ecosystem of the bay.
  4. Ally Cat Sailing Adventures: This company offers day trips and sunset cruises on their luxurious catamarans. Their tours include snorkeling, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding, as well as gourmet food and drinks.
  5. Marigalante Pirate Ship: This fun-filled tour company offers pirate-themed boat tours that are perfect for families with children. Their boat is a replica of an 18th-century Spanish galleon, and their crew is dressed in pirate costumes.

Explore the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe

No trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico would be complete without visiting the iconic Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This stunning church is a must-visit for tourists, not just for its religious significance but also for its unique architectural style and rich history.

The church's soaring towers and distinctive crown-shaped roofline make it one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city, and it is an impressive sight to behold. Inside, the church is adorned with intricate murals and stunning stained-glass windows, creating a serene and peaceful atmosphere that visitors cannot help but be awed by.

The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe is not just a place of worship but also a cultural hub, hosting a variety of events and festivals throughout the year, including the traditional Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture, witness the traditional religious customs, and connect with the locals.

Go snorkeling or scuba diving

When it comes to scuba diving, Puerto Vallarta is one of the best places in Mexico to explore the underwater world. The Pacific Ocean, which surrounds the city, is home to an impressive variety of marine life and underwater landscapes, making it an excellent destination for divers of all levels.

One of the biggest draws of diving in Puerto Vallarta is the chance to encounter large marine creatures, such as giant manta rays, humpback whales, and dolphins. These majestic animals are a sight to behold, and diving alongside them is an unforgettable experience.

Puerto Vallarta is also home to several stunning dive sites, including the Los Arcos National Marine Park, which is famous for its colorful coral formations and schools of tropical fish. Other popular sites include the Marietas Islands, which boast underwater caves and tunnels, and the Bay of Banderas, which is known for its diverse marine life.

Additionally, Puerto Vallarta's warm waters and great visibility make it an ideal location for beginner divers, who can easily complete their training and certification in the area.

Some great options for scuba diving and snorkeling:

  1. PV Ocean Tours: This dive tour company offers a variety of scuba diving tours for all levels of experience. Their guides are certified instructors and dive masters who prioritize safety and provide personalized attention to each diver.
  2. Chico's Dive Shop: With over 30 years of experience, Chico's Dive Shop is one of the most established and respected dive operators in Puerto Vallarta. They offer a range of dive tours, including night dives and wreck dives, and their equipment is well-maintained.
  3. Vallarta Undersea: This dive company specializes in small group tours and private charters, ensuring a more personalized and intimate dive experience. They offer dives at a variety of locations, including Los Arcos Marine Park and the Marietas Islands.
  4. Mismaloya Divers: This family-owned and operated dive shop has been serving the Puerto Vallarta area for over 20 years. They offer a range of dive tours, including beginner courses and open water certification, and their guides are experienced and knowledgeable.
  5. Scuba Steve's Dive Shop: This dive shop is located in the heart of Puerto Vallarta's hotel zone and offers a variety of dive tours for all levels of experience. They have a small, friendly team of certified instructors and divemasters who prioritize safety and fun.

Take a cooking class in Puerto Vallarta

If you're a foodie looking to explore the vibrant cuisine of Mexico, taking a cooking class in Puerto Vallarta is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the local culture and learn new culinary skills.

The city's rich culinary traditions blend indigenous flavors and techniques with Spanish, French, and other international influences, resulting in a diverse and exciting cuisine that is sure to tantalize your taste buds.

In a cooking class, you'll learn how to prepare traditional dishes such as ceviche, tamales, and mole, as well as regional specialties like Puerto Vallarta-style shrimp and fish tacos. You'll get hands-on experience with local ingredients, learn about the history and cultural significance of the dishes, and gain valuable cooking tips from expert instructors.

Taking a cooking class in Puerto Vallarta is not only a great way to expand your culinary knowledge but also to meet new people and make lasting memories. Plus, you'll have the skills and knowledge to recreate these delicious dishes at home and impress your friends and family with your newfound expertise.

Best places to take a cooking class in Puerto Vallarta:

  1. El Arrayán - This award-winning restaurant in downtown Puerto Vallarta offers daily cooking classes that focus on traditional Mexican cuisine. The classes are led by experienced chefs who will guide you through the preparation of classic dishes such as chiles en nogada and cochinita pibil.
  2. Casa de los Sabores - Located in the charming neighborhood of Emiliano Zapata, this cooking school offers hands-on classes that highlight the flavors and ingredients of Jalisco and Nayarit. You'll learn how to make salsas, tortillas, and other staples of Mexican cuisine while enjoying a fun and relaxed atmosphere.
  3. Seasons PV - This cooking school, located in the Romantic Zone, offers a range of cooking classes, including Mexican, Italian, and sushi. You'll learn how to prepare a variety of dishes using fresh, local ingredients, and get to enjoy your creations at the end of the class.
  4. Cookin' Vallarta - This cooking school offers a variety of classes, including market tours, tequila tastings, and cooking lessons. You'll learn about the history and culture of Mexican cuisine while preparing classic dishes such as pozole, tamales, and flan.

Visit the Malecon Boardwalk

The Malecon Boardwalk in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico is an absolute must-visit for any traveler. This iconic boardwalk stretches along the beautiful beachfront, providing a stunning backdrop for a leisurely stroll or a romantic sunset walk. The Malecon is lined with an array of delightful restaurants, bars, and shops, offering a fantastic opportunity for visitors to sample the local cuisine and pick up some souvenirs.

The lively and vibrant atmosphere of the Malecon is what makes it so special. Here, you will find street performers, musicians, and artists showcasing their talents, adding to the unique cultural experience. The impressive collection of public art installations is another highlight, featuring sculptures by renowned artists from around the world.

The Malecon Boardwalk is also an excellent starting point for various activities and excursions, such as boat tours, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Whether you are looking for a peaceful walk, an adventure-filled day, or a fun night out, the Malecon has something to offer everyone.

Visit the Vallarta Botanical Gardens

Nestled in the hills just south of Puerto Vallarta, the Vallarta Botanical Gardens are a hidden gem and a must-visit for nature lovers and garden enthusiasts. This stunning 64-acre oasis boasts an impressive collection of over 3000 species of plants from all over the world, as well as numerous walking trails, waterfalls, and scenic viewpoints.

Visitors to the gardens can spend hours exploring the various gardens, each with its own unique theme and style. From the cactus and succulent garden to the tropical orchid house, there is something for everyone here. The gardens also offer a variety of guided tours and workshops, including birdwatching, plant identification, and even chocolate-making classes.

One of the highlights of the Vallarta Botanical Gardens is the Hacienda de Oro, a beautifully restored 19th-century hacienda that serves as a museum and cultural center. Here, visitors can learn about the history and culture of the region, as well as enjoy delicious food and drinks at the on-site restaurant.

Go on a tequila or mezcal tasting tour

If you're a fan of tequila or just looking for a fun and unique experience in Puerto Vallarta, a tequila-tasting tour is a must-do activity. Not only will you have the opportunity to sample a variety of tequilas, but you'll also learn about the history and production process of this beloved spirit.

You'll visit local tequila distilleries and learn from knowledgeable guides who will teach you how to properly taste and appreciate tequila. Plus, if you do a tour that gets you out of the city centre then you'll get to enjoy the stunning scenery of the Jalisco region where the tequila is produced. 

A Puerto Vallarta tequila-tasting tour is a fun and educational way to immerse yourself in Mexican culture and enjoy some delicious drinks along the way.

Some great Puerto Vallarta tequila tour options:

Tequila Doña Engracia

Vallarta Tequila Tastings

Tequila & Raicilla Tasting by Noble Corazon

Tequila Mama Lucia

Take a zip-lining tour

Looking for an exhilarating way to experience some beautiful natural landscapes? Look no further than a Puerto Vallarta zip-lining tour. This heart-pumping excursion is perfect for thrill-seekers who want to explore the stunning forests, mountains, and rivers of this beautiful region.

Zip-lining tours in Puerto Vallarta offer a unique and thrilling perspective on the area's natural beauty, allowing you to soar high above the treetops and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views. Many tours also include other exciting activities like rappelling, hiking, and swimming in natural pools or waterfalls.

Whether you're an experienced zip-liner or a first-timer, there are tours available to suit all levels of skill and experience. Experienced guides will ensure your safety and provide you with all the necessary equipment and training.

Zip-lining is a truly unforgettable way to experience the stunning natural beauty of Puerto Vallarta, and an experience you're sure to remember for a lifetime. So if you're looking for an adrenaline-pumping adventure, be sure to add a Puerto Vallarta zip-lining tour to your itinerary.

Explore the Old Town in Puerto Vallarta

Exploring the Old Town in Puerto Vallarta is a delightful way to discover the city's rich history, culture, and charm. This charming area is filled with narrow cobblestone streets, brightly painted buildings, and a fascinating mix of colonial, traditional, and modern architecture.

As you wander through the Old Town, you'll encounter a wealth of sights, sounds, and smells that will transport you to another time and place. From the bustling street markets and local boutiques selling traditional handicrafts and souvenirs to the vibrant art galleries and street performers showcasing the region's artistic spirit, there's something for everyone in this vibrant and lively part of town.

Along the way, be sure to stop at one of the many cozy cafes, restaurants, or bars that line the streets, serving up delicious local cuisine, refreshing drinks, and friendly hospitality. Whether you're looking to soak up the sun, people-watch, or simply take in the colorful surroundings, the Old Town of Puerto Vallarta is an enchanting destination that is sure to capture your heart and imagination.

Take a day trip to Sayulita

Sayulita is a charming surf town located just a short drive away from Puerto Vallarta, and it's an absolute must-visit for anyone exploring the region. With its colorful streets, stunning beaches, and relaxed vibe, Sayulita is the perfect place to spend a day away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

One of the biggest draws of Sayulita is its world-renowned surf scene. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner, you'll find plenty of opportunities to catch some waves here. Surf lessons are available for those who want to learn, and the warm waters and consistent waves make it a great place to hone your skills.

But even if surfing isn't your thing, there's still plenty to see and do in Sayulita. Explore the town's many boutique shops and art galleries, or simply relax on the beach and soak up the sun. With its laid-back atmosphere and stunning natural beauty, Sayulita is the perfect place to slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

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We've compiled a list of the 10 best activities and excursions you can do in Puerto Vallarta. Wanderlust included.