Attractions Nearby Puerto Vallarta, Day Trips and Excursions

(Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico)

Photo of Guadalajara's Catedral MetropolitanaMany quality attractions are close to Puerto Vallarta, so do try to make time to explore the surrounding area if possible. Many tourists staying in Puerto Vallarta choose to visit the endless coastal attractions around the Barra de Navidad, Costalegre and San Patricio - Melaque.

Others prefer something quite different and head to Guadalajara and its many attractions. Guadalajara a major city within easy reach of Puerto Vallarta is home to a population exceeding four million people, making it second only to the country's capital, Mexico City.

Picture of Guadalajara's Zapopan Basilica


Guadalajara is a surprisingly friendly metropolis and full of historical attractions, pedestrianised streets and large public plazas. Located directly east of Puerto Vallarta, visitors to Guadalajara should look out for the city's breathtaking twin-towered 16th-century cathedral, the Museo Regional de Guadalajara, the Plaza Tapatia pedestrian mall, the Parque Agua Azul and also the Zoológico Guadalajara, the city's zoo, which is next to the large Selva Magica theme park and planetarium (planetario).

Costalegre Beaches and Resorts

The Costalegre lies on the southern side of Puerto Vallarta and along the Pacific coastline. This region is often simply known as 'Costalegre' or sometimes the 'Mexican Riviera' and offers endless stretches of sandy beaches, which are amongst the main attractions, such as the:

San Patricio - Melaque

San Patricio - Melaque was once two settlements and this appealing beach resort is known for its strong Mexican character, currently being home to a population of just less than 10,000. Close to Puerto Vallarta, this is a great place to come and simply relax, with the main attractions and activities being based around its beaches and including swimming, sunbathing, markets or simply watching the pelicans hunt for fish. The St. Patrick's Day Festival (Fiesta de San Patricio) is another highlight and takes place each March.

Barra de Navidad

Generally referred to as 'Barra', the small resort of Barra de Navidadis is just a short trip from Puerto Vallarta and regularly frequented by surfers, who come here to enjoy the waves, which are particularly strong during the month of January. Attractions include the snorkelling, kayaking, cycling, deep-sea fishing and the seasonal international fishing competitions, which feature big prize money, such as the Torneo Internacional de Pesca in January and the Torneo Internacional de Marlin each May.

Las Marietas Islands

Las Marietas Islands make for a great day out from Puerto Vallarta and offers a chance to see some of the region's most appealing wildlife attractions. When visiting the islands, look out for dolphins and sea turtles, along with many colourful birds. Easily reached by boat, the beaches edging Las Marietas Islands are often extremely secluded and the surrounding waters are perfect for both diving and snorkelling. However, it should be noted that due to the government's conservation program, only a few companies are allowed public tours of the islands.