Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

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Explore Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Reigning over Banderas Bay and bordered by the tropical forests of the Sierra Madre Mountains, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, is both a modern beach resort and an eco-adventure launching pad. On Puerto Vallarta cruises, scuba dive with manta rays, spot dolphins playing in the waves, and hike to jungle cascades. Admire contemporary Latin American art in this breezy seaside city on your Carnival cruise to Puerto Vallarta.

  • Spot blue-footed booby birds on Las Marietas Islands.
  • Pay homage to Ava Gardner or John Huston before snorkeling from Playa Mismaloya or Las Caletas.
  • Join a whale-watching tour in winter, when humpback whales cruise through Banderas Bay.


Things To Do

Local Attractions

Explore Puerto Vallarta, where galleries display eye-popping art, and magenta bougainvillea blossom along downtown’s charming streets. Bronze sculptures shine under the sun, as the Pacific Ocean glitters green beyond. Blue-footed boobies pad around Las Caletas Islands and silvery dolphins race through the waves. Pack your dive card, binoculars, and extra memory card to catch all the vivid colors on your Puerto Vallarta cruise.

  • Wander downtown’s cobblestone streets, past artisan shops and international art galleries.
  • Bathe in a tropical waterfall and the Pacific Ocean at Yelapa beach.
  • Tour the verdant tropical jungle on horseback or by four-wheel-drive.
  • Swim with dolphins or scuba dive with tropical fish.
  • Soar through the jungle on some of the longest zip lines in Central America.

Fun Facts

  • The crown on top of the Parish of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe church is a replica of the crown worn by Mexican Empress Carlota during the reign of her husband, Emperor Maximilian, from 1864 to 1867.
  • When Richard Burton filmed The Night of the Iguana on Playa Mismaloya in 1963, he brought along his new lover, Elizabeth Taylor.
  • The blue-footed booby bird is only found on Las Marietas and the Galápagos Islands.

Beyond the Port Area

Whimsical bronze statues by famous Mexican sculptors dot the seafront promenade—the malecón—in downtown Puerto Vallarta. Peek into the municipal building on the malecón to see a colorful mural by Puerto Vallarta artist Manuel Lepe. Nearby is the Parish of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe church. The church’s clock tower is topped by angels carrying a queen’s crown to the heavens.

Beyond the Port Area

Puerto Vallarta has several challenging golf courses. Try your game at the championship course El Tigre on the El Tigre Golf & Country Club excursion.

During your cruise to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, make a date to swim with dolphins at Dolphin Adventure. In the winter months, whale-watching tours follow migrating humpback whales as they surface and slap their heavy fins on the waters of Banderas Bay. Explore the lush Sierra Madre Mountains on a horseback trail ride or by Unimog all-terrain vehicle. Swing through the jungle on sturdy cables strung between tropical trees on a zipline adventure.

Beaches & Watersports in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta’s in-town beach, Playa Los Muertos, is lined with thatch-roofed seafood restaurants, beach bars and lounge chairs.

snorkel

Take a boat to the uninhabited Las Caletas Islands during Las Caletas beach Hideaway excursion. Discover the secluded all inclusive tropical paradise of Las Caletas, accessible only by sea. See why John Huston chose the remote location of Las Caletas, to establish his hideaway. Take a boat ride and explore the secluded beach. You’ll spot wild dolphins cavorting in the swells and blue-footed boobies tottering around on the islands’ rocky coastline. Scuba divers can spot manta rays and sea turtles swimming along the coral-crusted underwater rock walls. Snorkelers have plenty to see, too, in the shallows off the island beaches.

Shopping in Puerto Vallarta

The municipal market, where vendors sell silver jewelry, leather goods, and clothing, is on the River Cuale near the church. A short bridge connects the market to an island shaded by leafy trees—a favorite spot for landscape painters. The small outdoor market here has folk art and crafts.

shops

The art galleries of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, display paintings, pottery and sculptures by modern artists from across Latin America. As you walk through downtown, look for discerning crafts stores selling hand-carved furniture, colorful paper-mache figurines and mirrors bordered in shimmering pressed tin. The most sought-after crafts in Puerto Vallarta are authentic Huichol Indian art—brilliant “paintings” of psychedelic animals and patterns painstakingly rendered with thin string and tiny technicolor beads.

Travel Tips

TRAVEL TIPS

  • Carnival cruises to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico either dock directly in Marina Vallarta or anchor offshore and tender passengers into the marina.
  • The official language of Mexico is Spanish, although English is widely spoken in Puerto Vallarta.
  • You can withdraw pesos, the official Mexican currency, from ATMs in town.