This is your complete guide to Puerto Vallarta’s transportation and tourist activities so you can ensure your wedding guests have a stress-free experience during your destination wedding. It is important to consider how feasible the journey will be for your least travel-savvy guest. If your wedding destination involves planes, buses, boats, and taxis, it may be impossible for the elderly or pregnant guests. Thankfully, there are lots of beautiful and easily accessible wedding venues in Puerto Vallarta. Furthermore, getting around Puerto Vallarta is relatively easy and affordable. An added bonus is that Puerto Vallarta is very English-friendly as a major tourist destination for Americans and Canadians.
What are the best transportation options for wedding guests in Puerto Vallarta?
- Taxis: Taxis are plentiful in Puerto Vallarta, and they are a convenient way to get around the city. Taxis are usually safe and reasonably priced. However, make sure to agree on the fare before getting into the taxi to avoid any surprises.
- Uber: Uber is also available in Puerto Vallarta, and it is usually cheaper than taxis. The service is reliable, and it allows you to pay through the app, which can be more convenient than dealing with cash.
- Car rentals: If you prefer to have your own transportation, there are several car rental agencies in Puerto Vallarta. However, driving in Puerto Vallarta can be challenging due to heavy traffic and narrow streets, so it is not recommended for everyone.
- Airport transportation: Many hotels and resorts offer airport transportation services for their guests. You can arrange for a shuttle or private car to pick you up at the airport and take you directly to your hotel.
- Public transportation: Puerto Vallarta has a public transportation system that consists of buses and shared taxis called “colectivos”. These options are cheap, but they can be crowded and not very comfortable.
Here’s a rough estimate of travel times from the airport to some popular destinations in Puerto Vallarta:
- Amapas/Conchas Chinas: about 20-30 minutes by car, depending on traffic.
- Centro Historico (downtown): about 15-20 minutes by car, depending on traffic.
- Nuevo Vallarta: about 25-35 minutes by car, depending on traffic.
- Punta Mita: about 45-60 minutes by car, depending on traffic.
- Sayulita: about 45-60 minutes by car, depending on traffic.
What are the best tourist activities in Puerto Vallarta to offer wedding guests in their free time?
There are many fun and exciting tourist activities in Puerto Vallarta that wedding guests can enjoy in their free time. Here are our top-rated options:
1. Visit the Malecon. The Malecon is Puerto Vallarta’s famous boardwalk that stretches along the beach and is lined with restaurants, shops, and galleries.
2. Take a boat tour. There are many boat tours available in Puerto Vallarta, including sunset cruises, whale-watching tours, and snorkeling trips. Here are the top-rated boat tours based on customer reviews:
- Marietas Islands: This boat tour takes visitors to the beautiful Marietas Islands, located off the coast of Puerto Vallarta. The islands are home to a variety of marine life, including dolphins, whales, and sea turtles. Visitors can also explore hidden beaches and snorkel in crystal-clear waters.
- Las Caletas Beach Hideaway: This boat tour takes visitors to a secluded beach, where they can enjoy a variety of activities, including kayaking, paddle boarding, and snorkeling. The tour also includes a gourmet lunch and live entertainment.
- Sunset Sailing: This boat tour takes visitors on a relaxing sunset sail around Banderas Bay. Visitors can enjoy beautiful views of the coastline, as well as drinks and snacks onboard the boat.
- Yelapa and Majahuitas: This boat tour takes visitors to the charming fishing village of Yelapa, as well as the secluded beaches of Majahuitas. Visitors can swim, snorkel, and explore the village, and the tour also includes lunch and drinks.
- Whale Watching: During the winter months, visitors to Puerto Vallarta can take a boat tour to see humpback whales in their natural habitat. The tours are led by experienced guides who provide information about the whales and their behavior.
3. Explore the Romantic Zone. The Romantic Zone is a charming neighborhood filled with cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and great restaurants and bars.
4. Take a cooking class. Puerto Vallarta is known for its delicious cuisine, and there are many cooking classes available where guests can learn to make local dishes. Here are some of the top-rated cooking classes in Puerto Vallarta:
- OCULTO: OCULTO provides culinary tours and cooking classes in one immersive experience. Start with a guided tour to a fresh fruit & vegetable market, butcher, and tortilla factory then head back to a private kitchen and dining room to prepare your meal, generally consisting of three full courses + fresh salsa.
- Miriam’s Culinary Experience: Miriam offers hands-on authentic Mexican cooking classes. Inspired by her grandmother from an early age, Miriam mixes her authentic Mexican roots with her Cordon-Bleu training.
- Rosie’s Vallarta Cooking: Rosie is a Mexican mom/grandma/wife who learned to cook from her grandmother, all different dishes from scratch as a pre-hispanic way. She will take you from buying and selecting fresh ingredients at the farmers market to preparing and tasting the most delicious and typical Mexican dishes.
- Vallarta Food Tours: Vallarta Food Tours offers cooking classes as part of their culinary tours in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The classes are taught by local chefs and focus on traditional Mexican dishes, such as tamales, ceviche, and mole.
5. Go zip-lining. There are several companies in Puerto Vallarta that offer zip-lining tours through the jungle.
6. Visit the Los Arcos Marine Park. The Los Arcos Marine Park is a protected area that offers excellent snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities.
7. Take a day trip to Sayulita and/or San Pancho. Sayulita is a charming beach town located about 40 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, known for its surf culture, great restaurants, and bohemian vibe. We recommend driving just 6.5 miles (about 15-20 minutes) north of Sayulita to the even smaller town of San Pancho (officially known as San Francisco) which has nicer beaches and tends to be less crowded.
8. Visit the Vallarta Botanical Gardens. The Vallarta Botanical Gardens is a 64-acre property that is home to a variety of tropical plants and flowers, as well as hiking trails and a restaurant.
9. Go to the beach. There are so many beautiful beaches in Puerto Vallarta and Banderas Bay. Here are our top picks, in geographical order starting from beaches in the south of Banderas Bay all the way to the northernmost tip.
- Yelapa Beach: This is another secluded beach located south of Puerto Vallarta, accessible only by boat or water taxi. The beach is known for its laid-back atmosphere and rustic charm, with a variety of small restaurants and shops along the beachfront.
- Las Animas Beach: This is a secluded and picturesque beach located south of Puerto Vallarta, accessible only by boat or water taxi. The beach is surrounded by rocky cliffs and offers crystal-clear waters for swimming and snorkeling.
- Punta Negra Beach: This hidden gem is located about 25-30 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta and is known for its soft sand, clear waters, lush green hills, and rocky cliffs. The beach only offers a few small restaurants and palapa-style rentals offering lounge chairs and umbrellas. It’s a great beach to avoid the large crowds.
- Conchas Chinas Beach: This is a secluded and tranquil beach located on the south side of Puerto Vallarta. The beach is surrounded by lush jungle and offers stunning views of the ocean and the mountains.
- Bucerias Beach: This is a long and wide beach located in the nearby town of Bucerias, about 15 miles north of Puerto Vallarta. The beach is known for its calm waters and soft sand and offers a variety of restaurants and shops along the beachfront.
- Playa Destiladeras: Located 20-25 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, this beach is known for its clear blue waters, soft sand, and gentle waves, making it a great spot for swimming, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. It’s a popular spot for families, as it has a calm and relaxed atmosphere, with several restaurants and vendors selling snacks and drinks. There are also several palapa-style beach clubs where you can rent lounge chairs and umbrellas.
- Sayulita Beach: Located about 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, this beach is a favorite among surfers and has a bohemian vibe with its colorful buildings and street art.
- Playa Patzcuarito: This secluded and pristine beach is located about 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, between the towns of Sayulita and San Francisco (San Pancho). This beach is known for its soft sand, crystal-clear waters, and stunning natural beauty, surrounded by lush green hills and rocky cliffs. It’s relatively undeveloped, with only a few small beach restaurants and palapa-style rentals offering lounge chairs and umbrellas. As a result, this beach is a great spot to escape the crowds.
- San Francisco Beach, also known as San Pancho Beach: This is a beautiful and popular beach located about 40 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta known for its long stretch of golden sand and tranquil waters. It’s also a popular spot for surfing, especially during the winter months when the waves are larger. There are several surf schools in the area that offer lessons for beginners and experienced surfers.
10. Eat at one of Puerto Vallarta’s top-rated restaurants. Puerto Vallarta is a top culinary destination in Mexico known for its incredibly fresh seafood and cultural fusions. Here are 10 top-rated ones based on customer reviews:
- Café des Artistes: This fine-dining restaurant is known for its elegant atmosphere and French-Mexican fusion cuisine. The menu includes dishes like lobster ravioli, duck confit, and filet mignon.
- La Leche: This trendy restaurant serves modern Mexican cuisine in a minimalist, all-white setting. The menu includes dishes like octopus carpaccio, pork belly tacos, and homemade ice cream.
- La Palapa: This beachfront restaurant is known for its fresh seafood, including ceviche, grilled fish, and shrimp. The restaurant also has a great cocktail menu and live music on weekends.
- Barrio Bistro: This charming restaurant serves Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, such as lamb shank with roasted garlic, grilled octopus with olive tapenade, and homemade pasta.
- Tintoque: This modern seafood restaurant serves dishes like tuna tartare, shrimp aguachile, and grilled octopus. The restaurant also has an extensive wine list and creative cocktails.
- Trio: This fine-dining restaurant has been serving innovative international cuisine for more than 20 years. Chef Bernhard Guth creates dishes that showcase the best of local ingredients while incorporating global flavors and techniques.
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