Things to Do


Mexico’s rich culinary tradition and the exquisite sophistication of international cuisine are present as you explore the rich bounty of Vallarta’s restaurants and cafes. Here are just a few you may want to sample while staying in Puerto Vallarta:

Amapa Sunset – International
114 local C – Tel: (322) 222-1694 – $$$
Quality, variety and service are key to the success of AmapaSunset for breakfast, lunch and dinner, whether in its accessible beach club, its fresh and open restaurant area or the unique terrace bye the entrance.

Archie’s Wok – Asian
Fca. Rodriguez 130 – Tel: (322) 222-0411 – $$
Sip a Mai Tai Thai in an oriental garden as d’Rachael delights while you await a feast of tropical flavors. Archie, movie director John Huston’s chef fr many years, garnered the best elements of Pan Asian cuisine and gave them a Thai emphasis. A real Vallarta favorite.

Banana Cantina – Mexican
Amapas 147 – Tel: (322) 222-2114 – $$
Contemporary Mexican cuisine at lunch and dinner in a vividly colorful and super comfy open-air ambiance. Daily specials, a constantly evolving menu like the almond-crusted garlic shrimp and Banana Cantina Martini made with tequila are particularly popular.

Cafe de Artistes – Avant-Garde
Guadalupe Sanchez 740 – Tel: (322) 222-3228 – $$$
Thierry Blouet, Maitre Cuisinier de France and a member of the Culinary Academy of France has what is considered by many to be the best restaurant in Vallarta, Cafe des Artistes. Recent dramatic changes have posited the Cafe as one of the best food establishments in the world and truly an elegant experience for all senses.

Cava Cinco – International
Diaz Ordaz 920, L-1D – Tel: (322) 223-2808 – $$$
A top self wine shop featuring fine choices from all over the world, available for purchase by the bottle, or by the glass at a comfortable, contemporary wine bar. Many wine-related accessories are also available to take home.

Daiquiri Dick’s – International
Olas Altas 314 – Tel: (322) 222-0566 – $$$
For two decades, Peter and Tari Bowman have nourished Vallarta at their serene, if somewhat incongruously named restaurant. What started as a beachside eatery has been transformed into a sophisticated, world-class establishment, where service is attentive, yet non-intrusive. At Daiquiri Dick’s you’ll experience a comfortable, contemporary atmosphere.

El Arrayan – Mexican
Allende 344 – Tel: (322) 222-7195 – $$
One of the hottest restaurants in town, everything about it inspired by authentic Mexican traditions. Explore this region’s most amazing dishes with confidence, because they’re all wonderful here. The duck carnitas are legendary! Even the El Arrayan cocktails will be remembered long after they’re gone.

Epoca – International
Aquiles Serdan 174 – Tel: (322) 222-2510 – $$
Featuring Nuevo Latino cuisine in the romantic zone, Epoca offers seating right on the beach. Under the guidance of Chef Gerardo Gomez Velasco, this Vallarta gem highlights locally caught seafood and well-appointed dinners that perfectly capture a nice, romantic evening out.

Hacienda San Angel Gourmet – International
Miramar 336 – Tel: (322) 222-2692 – $$$$
Hacienda San Angel is a masterpiece restoration of three classic Vallarta-style houses set on the hillside overlooking Banderas Bay, almost in touching distance of the spire of the historic center’s landmark Guadalupe church. A gourmet experience to remember.

La Leche – Avant-Garde
Fco. M. Ascencio Km 2.5 – Tel: (322) 293-0900 – $$$$
The keywords “tradition” and “evolution” describe new restaurant La Leche, Almacen Gourmet de Alfonso Cadena, which seeks to achieve a balance of sensations through the quality of its cuisine. Try something different tonight.

La Piazzetta – Italian
Rodolfo Gomez 143 – Tel: (322) 222-0650 – $$
The tastes and aromas that have emanated from their kitchen since 1995 reinforce the notion that only a native Italian can truly know this sophisticated cuisine. An abundance of return patrons attests to Mimmo’s passion for the freshest, finest local and imported ingredients.

Las Palomas Doradas – Mexican
Puesta del Sol L-12 – Tel: (322) 221-0470 – $$$
Indoor and outdoor dining on the marina for breakfast lunch and dinner. This restaurant has been around for a long time, its loyal clientele appreciating the consistent preparation of its Mexican and international specialties and friendly service.

Madison South – International
Privada del Bosque 483 – Tel: (322) 222-1451 – $$
Casa Isabel’s Madison South Bar & Grill, a full-service restaurant overlooking Puerto Vallarta and Banderas Bay, is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a busy day exploring Vallarta. They offer their customers daily half price appetizers from 1 to 4 pm!

Rincon de Buena Aires – Argentine
Royal Pacific L-126, 127 – Tel: (322) 221-2260 – $$$
When it comes to a fine cut, fresh seafood or delicious pasta, your best bet is Rincon de Buenos Aires. The wood-fire grill gives a unique flavor to the fine cut meats and fish. The filled pastas, such as the ravioli and lasagna, are a delight.

The Deli – International
Venustiano Carranza 311-B – Tel: (322) 223-9523 – $$
Why even think of eating anywhere else for lunch when this casual, gourmet deli provides such a fabulous range of fresh, healthy food – not to mention the town’s best coffee and pastries?

Vitea – Mediterranean
Libertad & Malecon – Tel: (322) 222-8703 – $$
There’s a lot of buzz about this oceanfront bistro offering something completely different in Vallarta, like classic and contemporary bistro fare in a casual European Riviera ambiance. This swanky, but definitely unstuffy art deco space, is sister restaurant to the very popular, Trio.

Trio – Mediterranean
Guerrero 264 – Tel: (322) 222-2196 – $$$$
European chefs Bernhard Guth and Ulf Henriksson have become the favorites of locals and food critics alike with their hearty, honest food. This cosmopolitan, multi-level eatery with an open courtyard, Tiffany-style windows and hand painted doors is top shelf, though the atmosphere always welcoming.

Puerto Vallarta

Nestled between the majestic Sierra Madre Mountains and the beautiful Bahia de Banderas, Puerto Vallarta boasts a picturesque setting that has long attracted visitors from around the world. Its culturally-rich and hospitable people help create the warm ambience that makes this lively vacation destination one of the most inviting on the planet. Enjoy its white-sand beaches or take advantage of the many shops, restaurants and friendly bars along the famous “Malecon” boardwalk by the sea.

Also known for its cinematic tropical background and distinctive old-world charm, Puerto Vallarta and its neighboring beaches and lush forests have been Hollywood’s “back lot” for many years. This is where John Huston’s 1964 film, “The Night of the Iguana”, was shot, starring Richard Burton, Ava Gardner and Deborah Kerr. This Academy Award winning film was centered at the beaches of Mismaloya. There is also a bronze statue commemorating John Huston in the downtown Mercado section of Vallarta.
Another popular film featuring the tropical jungles of Puerto Vallarta was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Predator”. You can rent a Jeep and drive near to the film’s location where there is a local cafe, a river waterfall and some of the props used for the movie. This area is accessed by a red dirt jungle road in the hills behind Mismaloya.

Puerto Vallarta’s south downtown hotel zone is known as “El Pueblito”. There you can find rich, locally influenced architecture, the town’s best restaurants, cafes, art galleries, boutiques, discos, nightclubs, and incredible regional landscapes. It’s only 20-minutes from the International Airport and not far from some of Mexico’s most challenging golf courses. El Pueblito is very safe, friendly and simply a lovely way to spend a day sightseeing. It’s a place where visitors from around the world come to enjoy everything that Vallarta has to offer.

Deep-sea fishing for Marlin, sailfish, tuna and many other species of big game fish can be found throughout Vallarta, with charters available all year. Whether you choose conventional tackle, or the challenge of a fly rod, outstanding fishing is bountiful in the tropical waters off this Mexican coastal city.

Aquaventuras is a World-class Marine attraction park and Water World playground just outside the entrance to Nueva Vallarta tourist zone. It’s just a ten-minute drive from the International airport and features Dolphin exhibitions, Sea lion shows, marine creatures of all sorts, exotic birds, a Turtle Sanctuary, and interaction with the marine animals, sunbathing grottos, and more!


Parish Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe – Col. Centro

Pulpito and Pilitas (Pulpit and Baptismal Font) – Col. Emilio Zapata – two rock formations at the South end of Los Muertos Beach. El Pulpito is the tall headland and Las Pilitas are the formation of rocks beneath it. Las Pilitas was the original location of the Boy on a Seahorse sculpture (El Caballito) now located on the Malecon. There are two streets in the Olas Altas area named after the rock formations.

Playa Conchas Chinas (Chinese Shells Beach) – Fracc. Amapas – the city’s most secluded beach, located to the South of the headland, which forms the boundary of Los Muertos beach.

The Malecon – paved walkway along the seashore in Col. Centro – especially popular during the Sunday evening paseo. It features a collection of contemporary sculptures by Sergio Bustamante, Alejandro Colunga, Ramirz Barquet, and others. The Malecon was extensively rebuilt in 2002-2003 following damage from hurricane Kenna.

Mercado Isle Cuale and Mercado Municipal Cuale – there are two large public markets in the Centro along the banks of the Cuale selling a variety of artisan and souvenir goods, and the Isla Cuale has a number of souvenir vendor shops as well. The Isla Cuale was also famous for its cat population. The Island was a lower class suburb until flooding during Hurricane Lily (1971) forced residents to be relocated. They were moved to Palo Seco (which means, dry stick) and the Island was converted into a site for restaurants, shops and a cultural center.

Cuale Archaeological Museum – on the West side of the Isla Cuale, the museum presents a significant collection of local and regional pre-Hispanic art in a number of informative displays. The museum also houses a small gallery for showing contemporary art.

John Huston Statue on Isla Cuale – dedicated on the 25th anniversary of the film’s release and honoring Huston’s contributions to the city. Huston’s son Danny was married in a ceremony that took place at the statue in 2002.

Plaza de Armas (Ignacio Vallarta) / Aquiles Serdan Amphitheater (Los Arcos) – the city’s main plaza – site of public concerts both at the bandstand in the Plaza de Armas and on the stage in front of the arches across the street.

City Hall – a modern city hall laid out using a traditional courtyard plan. There is a tourist office in the SW corner, and on the landing of the main (west off the courtyard) stairwell there is a modest naive style mural by local artist Manuel Lepe.

Saucedo Theatre Building (Juarez at Iturbide) – Built in 1922 in a Belle Epoque style reminiscent of architecture of the Porfirato. The theater presented live shows and films on its first floor, and the second floor housed a ballroom. The building has been converted to retail use.

Local Festivals

December 1 to 12 – Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
May Festival (last week of may and first week of June) – commemorating the anniversary of the municipality. The festival features outdoor concerts, artistic expositions, sporting events and a parade.


Puerto Vallarta’s climate is typically tropical wet and dry, with a marked dry season in the winter. The high temperature and variations in humidity can make July through September a challenge for most “touristas”. It has pronounced wet and dry seasonal variations, with sudden rains from July through September, normally for a few hours in the evenings.

The average daily high temperature is 86 F (30 C); average daily low temperature is 70 F (21 C); average daily humidity is 75%. The rainy season extends from mid June through mid October, with most of the rain between July and September. August is the city’s wettest month. Occasional tropical storms will bring thunderstorms to the city in November, though the month is typically dry. February, March and April are the months with the least cloud cover.

Private Boat Rentals


There is nothing like spending a day on the water in Puerto Vallarta. The sun shimmers off the glass-like water as the humpbacks leap and curious dolphins come to see who’s there. A great way to enjoy the many attractions of the bay without the crowds or a set itinerary is to charter (rent) your own boat. Sound expensive? Not with Private Boat Tours by Johann and Sandra! We offer you 4, 6, 8, or 10 hour private charters that can take you to the popular snorkeling destination, Los Arcos, the popular beaches of Las Animas or Yelapa where you can lounge on the beach, parasail, ride a banana boat, go on a horseback ride, or whatever else you want to do (beach activities are available at extra cost). Check it out here ยป

Local Transportation

Puerto Vallarta is serviced by three municipal bus unions, which provide coverage for most of the greater Puerto Vallarta area (e.g. Ixtapa, Mismaloya, Pitillal). Most of the population of the Municipality of Puerto Vallarta travels by municipal bus. Automobile ownership is not rare, but automobiles are seldom used to commute to and from work. They are typically reserved for family outings and major shopping trips. Parking in Puerto Vallarta is scarce, and this makes automobile commuting impractical.

Throughout the central area of the city and along the coastal strip, roads are generally paved, often with cobblestones. In the residential areas outside of the central commercial area dirt roads are the norm, and many of them are in poor condition and not suitable for normal automobiles except at very low rates of speed.

A large fleet of taxis that can take you anywhere serves the city. Rates are controlled by a taxi driver’s union, and set in negotiations between the union and the city. Rates are based on established zones rather than using taximeters.


Main Bus Station and Regional Buses

National bus lines connect Puerto Vallarta (via the Central Camionera near the Modelo building north of town near the airport) with Guadalajara, Mazatlan, Manzanillo and points beyond. Bus lines include ETN and Primera Plus. Smaller bus lines connect Puerto Vallarta to small coastal and sierra towns.