You have a week off from papers, tests and classes, so what do you do? Trade in your snow boots for some swimwear, of course! Escape the cold and thaw out at the beach in beautiful Puerto Vallarta. It's the perfect mix of breathtaking resorts and traditional Mexican vibes. What more could you want in a vacation? How about some authentic markets, tequila tastings, and jungle adventures? Don't worry, Puerto Vallarta has that too. Whether you're traveling with your college roomies or entertaining your family, this city is sure to please everyone.
Enjoy These 10 Fun Things To Do In Puerto Vallarta
1. Take on stroll down El Malecon
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You can't go to a beach town without taking a stroll down the boardwalk. This seaside promenade has been around for over 80 years, but it's recently been renovated with a new pathway and benches. It's a great way to experience everything that Puerto Vallarta has to offer. Take in palm trees and the ocean on one side and browse souvenir shops, savory restaurants, and hip clubs on the other. Keep an eye out for special events because there is often a festival with fresh food carts, or a concert at Los Arcos. Even if there's nothing going on, there are amazing sculptures and artwork lining the entire boardwalk.
2. Grab a bite in Zona Romantica
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If you're tired of all the tourists, walk down a few blocks to Puerto Vallarta's Zona Romantica, also known as Old Vallarta, Old Town, or South Side. This area just south of downtown is always bustling. It's newer than downtown, but with its signature cobblestone streets, it feels like you're going back in time to a Mexican pueblo. There are some beautiful boutique hotels along with quant restaurants, cafes, book stores, art galleries and more. It's the perfect place to go shopping for one of a kind finds rather than the typical tourist souvenirs you see on El Malecon.
3. Hang loose with Vallarta Adventures
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I know what you're thinking. You didn't travel all the way to the Mexican jungle just to stroll down the sidewalk. Outdoor Adventure with Vallarta Adventures is the fastest way to get your adrenaline pumping. Some people have called it one of the greatest adventures on earth, and after experiencing some of Mexico's highest and longest zip-lines, at almost 1,000 ft long and 250 ft high, and two thrilling waterslides, you'll definitely understand why. Your adventure starts with a speedboat ride to Boca de Tomatlan where a 4x4 will take you to base camp. You'll then trek up the mountain even deeper into the sub-tropical forest on a mule, scream your way through the ropes course and finish the day with two amazing waterslides. If this doesn't sound like your speed, Vallarta Adventures has tons of others tours available from swimming with dolphins to a nighttime beachside getaway.
4. Take a tour of the Rancho Verano Distillery
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Tequila is the official drink of Mexico, so touring a tequila factory is an absolute must. Of course you get to taste a variety of different tequilas and other liqueurs made with tequila, but you'll also learn the history of this classic drink and the proper way to taste it. Top it off with a fantastic lunch and a few bottles for the road, and you're all set to impress your friends when you get home.
5. Stop and smell the roses at Vallarta Botanical Gardens
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This one is a little more of a family affair than a tequila tasting, but all ages will enjoy the beautiful Botanical Gardens. Now, this isn't your grandparents' botanical garden. The trails meandering through the garden are more like a hike than a stroll through the park. Bring some water and bug spray, and don't forget your swimsuit so you can take a dip in the Crystal Pools! 30 minute tours are also available and well worth it if you want to learn a little more about the different varieties of plants. Definitely a must for all you nature lovers!
6. Get spiritual at The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe
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Known in Spanish as La Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, this church has been called "one of the most endearing" of the Puerto Vallarta's landmarks. It's open every day, with services in English available on Saturdays and mass in both Spanish and English on Sundays. Even if you're not religious, you'll be in awe of the unique architecture and artwork. The wrought-iron crown held on top of the building by angels is designed after the one worn by Empress Carlota of Mexico.
7. Make a splash in El Eden
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Any Predator fans out there? Now you can visit the set of the popular Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. Take a zipline tour, or if you're all adventured out, swim in the waterfall pool or dine at the El Eden Jungle Restaurant at your leisure. Don't leave without trying the rock slides and rope swing. Then, you can either hike up the trail or take an easy horseback ride. Open air bus rides are also available.
8. Buy souvenirs at Mercado Municipal
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You can spend an entire day wandering the stalls at Mercado Municipal. Here, you can find souvenirs for everyone on your list. Shop for embroidered blouses, maracas made of coconuts and other beautiful handcrafted items. Just be sure to brush up on your Spanish so you can get a great deal! Most of the vendors speak English, but rumor has it you'll get a better deal if you speak their language. Negotiating is definitely encouraged. Don't be shy! There are also a number of restaurants that offer authentic Mexican food at amazing prices.
9. Take a sunset sail
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There are a number of different options available for chartering a boat in Puerto Vallarta, but there's nothing quite like being out at sea when the water and sky turn amber. Just imagine watching the sun dip into the water with a cocktail in your hand and nothing but the sound of the ocean. Talk about romantic! Get an excursion that includes wine and cheese and you're all set. Maybe leave the kids at the hotel for this one. There are also plenty of cruises with a DJ included. Party time!
10. Vallarta Zoo
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This zoo is unlike any zoo you'll find in the United States, and the kids will love it. For only $2 you can purchase a bag of food to feed the animals as you walk through. Your kit includes carrots, pieces of bread, corn and more along with instructions on what to feed each animal and how. Many of the animals are used to the human contact so you can easily interact with them. Pay a little extra and you can hold a tiger cub. It's definitely an experience you'll never forget.
This article was written by Lauren Gaw.