Puerto Vallarta

Top Things to Do & Best Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

sarah Guides, Latin and Central America, Mexico, Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta has everything you need for a perfect beach vacation including great food and lively nightlife. We have put together a list of our personal favorite things to do for fun and entertainment plus our choice for best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta.

We had the opportunity to live in Puerto Vallarta for three months which gave us time to really explore and experience this fabulous coastal city. Of course, we couldn’t possibly sample all that PV has to offer but we certainly did our best…it’s a tough job but it’s what we do. Now we can share our picks for best restaurants, bars, sightseeing, excursions and even ways to stay fit in and around Puerto Vallarta.

Best Restaurant in Puerto Vallarta for Pizza

Best Pizza in Pauerto Vallarta

La Piazzetta @ Olas Altos and Rodolfo Gomez #143, Romantica Zone

  • Nice setting in the heart of Old Town and very delicious brick oven pizza at a reasonable price. This is also one of our top choices for pasta.



Best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta Coco's KitchenBest Puerto Vallarta Restaurant for Brunch


Coco’s Kitchen @ Pulpito 122, Amapas

  • Not the cheapest place in town for breakfast but worth the splurge at least once. The food is wonderful and so is the setting. Sit in a shady bar-side garden and enjoy some traditonal chilaquiles.

Best Romantic Beachside Restaurant in Puerto Vallarta

Best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta La Palapa

La Palapa @ Pulpito 103 (right on the beach just past the pier)

  • Our first choice for a special occassion or romantice dinner. The menu is five start and the setting can’t be beat. Ask for a table on the beach lit only by torches and candlelight.

Best restaurants in Puerto VallartaBest Restaurant in Puerto Vallarta for Unique Setting


Cuale Paradise Riverside Dining @ somewhere on a river in the jungle?? The address is Manatial #372, Buenos Aires but that won’t help much. You will need to take a taxi and try to have a map or directions from the website as even most taxi drivers don’t know how to get there.

  • A somewhat hidden gem in PV as it is way out of the tourista area and far from the beach. It’s situated on a river in a jungle setting and is quite simply amazing. Try to get the table on a little strip of sand in the middle of the river. Be prepared to pay a bit more at Cuale but its well worth it!

Best Place in Puerto Vallarta for Live Rock Music

Puerto Vallarta The Roxy

The Roxy @ Ignacio L Vallarta, Old Town

  • What is it with bars named The Roxy? They all seem to be the best places for live music and good times.


Best Puerto Vallarta Destination Restaurant


Vallarta Botanical Gardens Restaurant Vallarta Botanical GardensIn the middle of the Botanical Gardens is a lovely Hacienda which houses a shop, art gallery and amazing restaurant overlooking the jungle. The service, food and view make it well worth the journey. Be sure to try the traditional chismole salsa made right at your table. You can read about our experience here.

Best Bar in Puerto Vallarta for a Quiet Cocktail & View


Faro Lighthouse Bar  Timon Paseo de la MarinaBest bar in Puerto Vallarta

  • At the top of a faux lighthouse is a classy bar with a 360’ view. Worth the trip to Marina Vallarta even if you’re not staying near there.


Best Live Blues in Puerto Vallarta

Best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta Nacho Daddy

Nacho Daddy at Basilo Badillo #287

  • Aside from the creative and hilarious name, Nacho Daddy is also a favorite for good Mex Tex food and great live Blues music.





Best Cheap Drinks on the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta

Cheap drinks in Puerto Vallarta


Cheeky Monkey  @ 556 Paseo Diaz Ordaz (right on the Malecon)

  • Great spot to watch the parade of people on the Malecon from an upper balcony but the best part is they offer happy hour prices all day!




Comida Corida MexicoBest Lunch Deal in Puerto Vallarta


Comida Corrida’s are restaurants which offer meals which usually include a drink and maybe a soup or salad at very reasonable prices. They often won’t have a consistent set menu but rather a choice of 3 or 4 entrees which may changes daily. Theses specials are usually only available from 1-3pm.

Best Free Event in Puerto Vallarta

Southside Shuffle Puerto Vallarta

Southside Shuffle at Basilo Badillo

  • Every other Friday evening from 6pm-10pm from October to May many of the shops, restaurants and art galleries open their doors and offer up free drinks and a chance to browse and mingle. There’s also live music on the street. You can read more about it here.


Exercise in Puerto VallartaBest Place in Puerto Vallarta to Exercise for Free


Agustin Flores Contreras Municipal Stadium at Francisco Medina Asencio across from the Sheraton

  • This park and stadium has a great running track, soccer fields, exercise equipment and even a boxing area…and it’s all free to use!

Best Place in Puerto Vallarta for Partiers of a Certain Age

Puerto Vallarta Andale

Andale at Olas Altas across from Los Arcos Hotel, Old Town

  • Always a party at Andale with the kind atmosphere and music that gets both college kids and Grandma up dancing on the bar.



Puerto Vallarta Joe Jack'sBest Casual Restaurant for Seafood in Puerto Vallarta


Joe Jack’s Fish Shack  at Basilo Badillo #212, Old Town

  • A Puerto Vallarta fave for eight years with delicious fish tacos and fish and chips.

Best Puerto Vallarta Hike

Hiking Puerto Vallarta

Hike from Boca to Las Animas

  • A really great way to see some beautiful beaches not accessible by road. We enjoyed it so much we hiked it 3 times! Click here to get all the details and directions so that you can do it yourself.



Sayulita mexicoBest Beach Day Trip from Puerto Vallarta


Take the bus from Puerto Vallarta 20 miles north and you will find the hippy-esque surfing town of Sayulita. It’s a great day trip where you can chill on the beach, go surfing or paddle boarding and enjoy some  of the best fish tacos and margeritas.


Best Evening Excursion from Puerto Vallarta

Rhythms of the Night

Rhythms Of The Night

  • An amazing evening which includes a boat ride, a great live show and a romantic dinner by candle and torchlight on the beach of a private island. As with all the Vallarta Adventure tours it’s a bit pricey but it’s worth it and was one of our most memorable experiences. See details here.

Puerto Vallarta SPCABest Place to Volunteer in Puerto Vallarta


SPCA PV dog sanctuary  a secret location

  • The people who volunteer and work at this sanctuary are amazing and the dogs they care for are so very happy and grateful. I just can’t say enough about this place. Please take the time to visit or donate in some way to this amazing place. For info on how to get there you can go to the FB page or look for them at the Saturday market in Old Town.

Best Restaurant View in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta view

Hacienda San Angel at  Miramar #336, El Centro

  • We never actually ate here but we heard the food was very good. We just went to see the view of Puerto Vallarta.



Best Puerto Vallarta viewBest View of Puerto Vallarta


We are always looking for the best view to take photos and this one is a definite winner. It’s a bit of a workout to climb the steep steps up Calle Galeana but at the top you will be rewarded with a stunning view of Puerto Vallarta. Try to go at sunrise or sunset for the best photo ops.

Best Puerto Vallarta Adventure

Vallarta Adventures Ziplining

Puerto Vallarta was the first place we ever tried ziplining and we loved it so much we’ve done it three times since, including at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.




Best trips from Puerto VallartaBest Non Organized Tour in Puerto Vallarta


If you have a group of people you can have a great, more budget friendly day by organizing your own tour. Just start chatting with the many boat owners and fishermen along the beach and strike a deal to hire them and their boat for the day to take you snorkeling, whale watching and beach exploring.

Best Puerto Vallarta Waterfall for Swimming

Puerto Vallarta waterfall


  • You have to take a boat to Quimixto and then it’s about a 20 minute hike to the waterfall but it’s worth it. Most people go to the waterfall at Yelapa which is really pretty but Quimixto has a great swimming hole and a natural waterslide. You can see a video of our trip here.



Puerto Vallarta MaleconBest Way to Spend a Sunday Evening in Puerto Vallarta


Stroll the Malecon

  • Sunday evenings are when the locals stroll along the Malecon. Join them and try some treats from the street vendors, watch a performance at Los Arcos Amphitheatre and join in the traditional dancing at the square in front of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It’s a great evening of free entertainment!

Best Street Tacos in Puerto Vallarta

Fish Tacos

Unfortunately our favorite street taco stand is no longer there. The good news is that there are dozens of great one still to choose from. Some people may be cautious of street food but we ate it all the time in Puerto Vallarta and had no problems. One tip we can offer is to go to the more popular street stands since the higher turnover means the food will be fresher.

As you can see we have good reason to love Puerto Vallarta. However, we have spent even longer in PV’s Caribbean sibling, Playa del Carmen, and love it there as well. If you are trying to decied which beautiful Mexican beach town to pick for your next vacation you may want to read our article which compares Puerta Vallarta to Playa del Carmen.

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A list of great things to see and do as well as the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta. #PuertoVallarta #Mexico #restaurantsinpeurtovallartaThank you for following along on our adventures. If you enjoyed this article please share.

Popular Tours in Puerto Vallarta

Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something through one of these links we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This is one way that we make a living which allows us to keep this site running and we thank you for your support.

Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something through one of these links we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This is one way that we make a living which allows us to keep this site running and we thank you for your support.Save