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Travel Guide: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Here’s the details from our trip to Puerto Vallarta to help you plan your future trip!  It was honestly our first vacation as a family that left us feeling relaxed by the time we got home, so whether or not you have kids, if you need to unwind, it’s a great (and very affordable) destination.

Our Itinerary (click link for blog post):
Day 1 & 2: Arrival, Playa Los Muertos Pier, The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Malecon
Day 3: Vallarta Botanical Gardens, Playa Los Muertos Pier at night
Day 4 & 5: Ichthyotherapy, Tequila tasting, Malecon, Sunset swim

Stay tuned to see all of the places we ate in Puerto Vallarta and which ones we really recommend.

***Our best tip is to use the Google Maps app on your phone.  Plan in advance, and bookmark all of the locations that you want to see – you can even bookmark restaurants if you’ve been researching those too.  When you get to a landmark, check your Google Map to see what other places you’ve bookmarked that are in that vicinity.  We typically would cluster our stars visually and spend the entire day in one or two “clusters” so we don’t waste time bouncing around town.  With a tot in tow however, make sure to prioritize what you want to see/do in each area.  It’s likely you won’t get to do everything on your list, but at least you’ll hit the stuff that’s really important to you.

Where We Stayed:

We stayed at Playa Los Arcos Hotel which had a reputation as being a family-friendly hotel.  It’s located in the Romantic Zone and away from the big resorts.  PV has some great all-inclusives, but because we preferred to explore and experience the city (and also eat all of the local food!) we opted not to stay in a resort.

How We Got Around:

We walked pretty much everywhere.  The only place we didn’t walk to was to the Vallarta Botanical Gardens, and to get there we asked for a taxi.  It was hot and humid when we went, so the AC was very welcome!  To and from the airport to the hotel, we booked a pickup service through Superior Tours Vallarta.

Phrases to Learn:

Because it is a big tourist city, most people you meet will speak English, but it’s always good to know a few phrases to help yourself get around.  Most people also naturally warm up to you more if you make the effort.

Hello – Hola
Please – Por favor
Thank you – Gracias
Do you speak English? – Habla ingles?
Goodbye – Adios

Things to Keep in Mind:

It was really hot when we went.  Really hot.  It was about 90 degrees with 90% humidity.  Make sure you buy plenty of water bottles to stay hydrated and don’t rush the day if you find yourself in this weather.

If you’re not keen on Mexican food, there’s plenty of other food options here.  Again, because it’s a big tourist destination, you’ll find a wide variety of food to satisfy your taste buds.

One Thing We Wish We Did:

There are sooo many day trips that you can take from here that land you in very beautiful and private beaches.  The only thing is, we couldn’t take advantage of them because most of them require everyone to be at least the age of 4.   There was one restaurant we found that hangs right over the shore of a beach, a beach where hammocks actually hang over the water, and a beach with some amazing snorkeling.  It will definitely be something we look into again if we find ourselves coming back!

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