The charm of Puerto Vallarta unveils Mexican cheerfulness. This pretty town lies on the west coast of the country at the threshold of Sierra Madre Mountain. The capital of Jalisco state bursts with colourful murals and statues. The stunning beaches scatter in its proximity giving delight to all tastes.
Enjoying Malécon or seaside promenade in Puerto Vallarta is one of the most popular activities. It brings marvelous sunsets and a relaxing atmosphere.
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Exploring the Romantic Zone
The Old Town of Vallarta or Romantic Zone is the area where colourful vibes take the rule. Your kids will surely have fun while strolling along artistic sculptures. Mariachi, Puerto Vallarta sign and seaside reflections are just some of them. Restaurant decor bursts with Mexican traditions. The spectacular charm of Puerto Vallarta belongs to the fact that river blends with the sea.
The city is so picturesque and bougainvilleas will enchant your visit. Hidden corners will surprise you with amazing murals and sculptures. Romantic Zone is truly romantic in its essence. The artistic spirit will inspire kids not only to be more creative, but more cheerful.
Los Muertos Pier
Los Muertos Pier is the highlight of Puerto Vallarta offering stunning views of the city beach. Playa de Los Muertos attracts numerous visitors, often getting crowded. Lovely restaurants and bars fill the area, as well as the souvenir vendors. The beach bursts with activities like banana boat rides or parasailing.
The pier itself was designed by the award-winning architect José de Jesus Torres Vega in 2013. Resembling a sailboat, its artistic charm is unquestionable. At night beautiful colours show up becoming more attractive to kids.
Only a short hiking trail will lead you to Playa Amapas, a cute and small beach. After passing the stunning viewpoints, you can get your slice of paradise here. The water looks even emerald at clear days.
The hidden treasure of Zona Romantica will inspire you and your kids with immense creativity. This mosaic tile park bursts with colours and gentleness. Also known as Lázaro Cárdenas Park it awakens the artistic soul of the city.
You will maybe not notice it right away as it’s not on the main promenade. Such a splendid place to chill is perfect to play and open new horizons.
More than 60 benches decorate the place, bringing loads of charm. Natasha Moranga initiated the idea, giving a new panorama of possibilities.
This funny museum at the Malecon of Puerto Vallarta is definitely worth a visit. Your kids will learn to make chocolate and other sweets like ganache and truffles. Lovely caffe and shop have an abundant offer of chocolate products.
You’ll even learn the history of chocolate during the workshop. Getting a chance to try traditional chocolate drinks is another bonus.
Nestled at Cuale River Island, another surprise of Puerto Vallarta awaits. You cannot avoid the artistic decorations like the colourful vases before the entrance.
Hanging bridges will make your fun so pleasant while changing the ambience.
Amazing crafts intertwine with clothes, ceramics and souvenirs at local prices. Nearby restaurants and caffe bars will let you enjoy Mexican cuisine.
An island gives an oasis of wildness and definitely should be included in your itinerary. Maybe you’ll even spot iguanas.
Souvenir treasure will enchant everyone at this colourful place. Huichol art prevails as it represents the local mountains of Jalisco, Sierra Madre.
If you’re a cultural hunter, go visit Cuale Archaeological Museum at Cuale River Island. The kids will expand their horizons while learning about pre-Columbian history.
Amazing Beaches for families
The pristine atmosphere of Puerto Vallarta dwells at its lovely beaches. Some of the best ones are located a bit further from the city.
While the vibrant Playa de los Muertos will certainly entertain all your senses, plenty of other beaches await. Definitely head out of the city for a more tranquil atmosphere.
This charming beach is the closest to Old Vallarta with fantastic colours to admire. Conchas Chinas is a very relaxing beach lying in the mountainous embrace. This beach is pretty suitable for small children. Waves are not too strong as rock formations created natural pools. This beach is often a venue for different romantic events.
Though there are no restaurants or bars at the beach itself, the area offers plenty of them. Many hotels scatter along this scenic route.
The Blue Flag certifies the clean waters which are also beneficial for various kinds of fishes here.
It’s easy to reach Conchas Chinas Beach going south of Puerto Vallarta. By bus it takes only 5 minutes from central Vallarta. You can also have a lovely 30 minutes walk from the city.
Playa Palmares is another lovely beach where white sand defines the charm. It’s only 7 km south of central Vallarta or 10 minutes by bus. It’s a very peaceful beach without many waves. Playa Palmares is a preferable choice of locals.
The beautifully decorated restaurant lies above the beach and it’s rare to see other places to eat and drink.
Playa de la Gemelas
Playa de la Gemelas is a true gem of the area. Due to its stunning colours, this little beach often gets crowded. The name (twin beach) literally describes the beach as it consists of two adjacent beaches.
The local vendors usually sell some fruits and snacks on the beach.
The location follows the coastal highway so it’s an easy 20 minutes drive from central Vallarta.
This mesmerizing beach is one of the best choices for a family vacation in Puerto Vallarta. 10 km south of downtown Puerto Vallarta you’ll find this tranquil oasis of paradise.
In 1964 it became famous by the film The Night of Iguana with Richard Burton. Barceló hotel dominates at the northern side of this small beach. You can also find some lovely restaurants and beach vendors.
Los Arcos Marine Park gives the opportunity to go scuba diving and snorkelling. It’s a group of small islands with various rock arches and tunnels. Lying just in front of Mismaloya beach where you can experience biodiversity. This means seeing penguins, pelicans, coral reefs and various tropical fishes.
Playa de las Tortugas
Playa de las Tortugas lies on the North of Puerto Vallarta, offering stunning views of the city. Volunteering here at the Centre for the protection of turtles is especially popular with children and teenagers. Saving baby turtles helps the ocean and gives incredible experience. You can also buy different souvenirs.
The lush nature around Puerto Vallarta gave fantastic places which became adventure parks.
Nogalito Ecopark is a paradise for outdoor lovers and it’s only 15 minutes by bus from downtown Vallarta. Taking either Canopy Zipline Tour or Fairy Hiking Tour, you’ll have lots of fun. Not only zipling, you can also visit an animal sanctuary, take a speedboat or swim in the river. Though suitable for older children, you’ll enjoy a relaxing atmosphere and scenic views.
The Fairy Hiking Tour will take you to the waterfalls through an easy trail.
Nogalito Ecopark offers one of the longest ziplines in Mexico and a fantastic adventure for the whole family.
The Las Animas Adventure Park
Las Animas Adventure Park is located south of Puerto Vallarta, near Boca de Tomatlan. The panorama of activities is pretty abundant and family-friendly. It includes rock climbing, canopy bridges, zipling, swings on rope.
Some tours also offer dolphins and whale watching, sailing or snorkelling. You can also enjoy a delicious lunch at their restaurant.
The nearby Las Animas beach is only accessible by the sea.
Aquaventuras Water Park
Aquaventuras Water Park is located at the frontier with Nayarit state, about 14 km north of Puerto Vallarta. It bursts with fun activities including 10 water slides. This is a fantastic chance to enjoy a lazy river, pirate ship and even swimming with dolphins. Climbing walls will sharpen your adventure skills and let your kids the same.
Discover the Botanical Garden
Botanical Gardens stretch at the picturesque mountains of Sierra Madre, south of the city. It takes 40 minutes to reach the Gardens but they offer marvellous experience.
This relaxing paradise covers the admiring collection of native plants such as orchids, agaves, cactuses and others.
The hiking trails will let you enjoy tropical plants and you can even take a swim in Rio Horcones. The Gardens are very pretty with alluring decor.
Puerto Vallarta offers a fantastic time on Mexico’s Pacific coast. It bursts with vibrant charm, pretty beaches and activities. Kids will love the cozy atmosphere full of artistic shine.
Lush jungles will bring outdoor fun so definitely check out the adventure parks like Nogalito Ecopark.
Puerto Vallarta surprises with the amazing treasure for all tastes and ages.
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Get Travel Insurance
Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that can go wrong on any trip. Be prepared for the worst with travel insurance. We use Travelex.
I use Skyscanner to find flights. I use it so much, I wrote an entire guide to finding cheap flights with Skyscanner! Momondo is also a great site for finding cheap flights.
Book a Place to Stay
I recommend using Expedia.com or Hotels.com for most hotel bookings. I prefer to book directly with Marriott when I stay there because of their excellent military discount.
If you prefer staying in a vacation rental instead, I recommend VRBO.
Choose Activities and Tours
To find great activities in any area I use Get Your Guide and Viator. If we are visiting a city with lots of popular attractions I always check CityPass and GoCard to see if they have discount cards available.
When I want to book a full-on multi-day tour I use TourRadar. They’ve got fantastic weekly deals.
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