Best things to do in Puerto Vallarta

20 Best Puerto Vallarta Tours

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Straddling the Pacific Coast of Mexico, Puerto Vallarta is a popular getaway famous for its beaches, colorful sunsets, and vibrant nightlife.

Puerto Vallarta is also a good jumping point for some of the most fun activities in Mexico like diving, wildlife watching, and visiting Pueblos magicos. I recommend taking one of the Puerto Vallarta tours to explore the culture of this diverse region, and enjoy its outdoor opportunities.

Some of these trips take you to places that you can’t visit on your own like Islas Marietas National Park or the secluded Las Caletas Beach. A walking tour of Puerto Vallarta or taco tasting is great for learning the culture and history of the region.

In this article, I narrowed down the list of the best Puerto Vallarta tours based on their ratings and reviews from fellow travelers. Whether you want to explore the city with a local guide, ride an ATV on a dirt trail in the jungle or learn the history, you will find something that you like!

Quick disclosure: The Discovery Nut doesn’t support animal entertainment in any form. You will not find tours that involve captured or trained animals in this article. All the Cancun tours below have been carefully sourced to offer the best cultural experience, provide insight into the Mexican culture and enhance conservation and education about species in the region.

Best Puerto Vallarta tours by category:

  • Best Puerto Vallarta tours for foodies: Taco tour 
  • The best sunset-watching tour from Puerto Vallarta: Cruise tour
Best things to do in Sayulita Mexico

1. Sayulita 

Sayulita is a surfing town along the coast of Nayarit.

Popular with backpackers and digital nomads, Sayulita is also one of the best Puerto Vallarta tours, thanks to its close location to the resort town. 

Sayulita was a quiet fishing village in the past, but it has transformed into one of the most popular beach destinations in Mexico. The tour of Sayulita from Puerto Vallarta includes highlights of this colorful pueblo like the beach, Sayulita artisan market, and local restaurants where you can grab some yummy food. 

Some of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta are surfing, hiking in the mountains, exploring beaches, and off-roaring.

I recommend booking a tour of Sayulita that includes a stop in San Pancho, one of my favorite places along the Nayarit Coast with a quiet atmosphere and wide sandy beach. 

During the tour, you will visit San Pancho and spend the rest of the day on the Sayulita beach, with time to swim, sunbathe, or catch waves on a boogie board or surfboard.

Check my complete guide to the best things to do in Sayulita ahead of your tour! 

2. Las Caletas 

If you want a paradise-like getaway from Puerto Vallarta, check out Las Caletas, a stunning beach along the shores of Banderas Bay. During the tour of Las Celatas, you get to explore the jungle, spot wildlife, and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of this place. The tour includes a light breakfast, a buffet lunch, and snorkeling. 

San Sebastian Del Oeste, Jalisco

3. San Sebastián Del Oeste 

San Sebastián is a former mining town that’s one of the best tours from Puerto Vallarta. 

Located at 4,900 feet above sea level, San Sebastián Del Oeste is steeped in mining history. While mining no longer exists in the area, it’s still part of the local heritage. A professional guide who leads the tour will tell you about the local history and show you the highlights of a walking excursion.

Check my complete guide to the best things to do in San Sebastian Del Oeste

San Sebastián makes one of the best day trips from Puerto Vallarta, and while some people rent a car to come here, I think a guided tour of San Sebastian is a much better option because you learn the history of this place and get a better context.

I recommend this private tour of San Sebastián Del Oeste, as you can enjoy this pueblo at your own pace.

4. Yelapa 

Yelapa is a fishing village in Banderas Bay, a few hours away from Puerto Vallarta.

You can get to Yelapa only by boat because of its remote location. Visiting Yelapa with a tour from Puerto Vallarta is an excellent option because the tour also includes a stop at the waterfalls and provides snorkeling equipment so you can explore the gorgeous bay around Yelapa.

This catamaran adventure is the perfect way to explore Yelapa and Majajuitas, one of the most beautiful beaches near Puerto Vallarta on a day trip. During the tour, you enjoy snorkeling around Majajuitas Beach and kayaking along the golden-sand beach.

5. ATV in the mountains 

Puerto Vallarta is surrounded by spectacular Sierra Madre mountains. And the good news is that you don’t have to go too far to explore them. Just book one of the ATV tours from Puerto Vallarta

Riding an off-road vehicle on a dirt trail in the middle of the jungle is a super fun experience as it offers a break from the city and gives you some exercise. Most ATV tours have small groups, and you don’t need prior experience to join them.

On this tour, you will splash through jungle rivers, pass quaint villages, and get a glimpse of the real Jalisco, away from glitzy resorts. You can choose between a 3-and 4-hour trip by ATV and spend the day exploring the Puerto Vallarta countryside.

6. Zip-line 

Zip-lining is one of the best Puerto Vallarta tours for adventure lovers. 

Soar above the lush jungle and soak up incredible views of the Pacific Ocean in the distance! The zip-lining tour begins with an optional speedboat ride. On Puerto Vallarta’s first-ever zipline circuit, cover two miles (three km) on strong cables suspended 328 feet (100 meters) in the air and enjoy panoramic vistas. 

To finish your tour, enjoy a refreshing swim, kayak, or a waterslide. 

Whale watching tour is one of the best things to do in Mexico

7. Private whale-watching tour 

Your best chance for spotting humpback whales in Puerto Vallarta is from December through late March. Although it’s not uncommon to spot these marine giants from the shores of the Bahia De Banderas, you can enjoy a much closer encounter by joining a whale-watching tour!

Take a private whale watching tour with a marine biologist.

You will have the guide and the boat to yourself as your cruise the Pacific Ocean in search of these magnificent animals. The tour departs from Puerto Vallarta Marina as you spend the morning spotting whales from a safe distance that won’t disturb them. 

Don’t forget to bring your questions for your guide, and your camera to capture the magical moment when the whale shows up from the dark blue water.

During the tour, you will learn about all sorts of marine wildlife, not just whales.

8. Hidden beach 

Although Islas Marietas is one of the most popular Puerto Vallarta tours, the most coveted spot within this national park is the Hidden Beach, a small strip of land inside the open crater that can be accessed only by boat.

While many Puerto Vallarta tours to Islas Marietas adventure a visit to Hidden Beach, they don’t guarantee a stop there. 

This specific tour from Puerta Vallarta includes a stop at the hidden beach

The tour allows 4-6 people and includes stops at two Marietas islands. The first stop is the famous beach, and the second one is snorkeling for around 30 minutes.

After the snorkeling activity, you get off at Nopalera beach, where you can hang out for about 20 minutes. This Puerta Vallarta tour lasts about 3 hours and is perfect for adventure lovers.

9. The Rhythm of the Night 

If you want a colorful show with a touch of culture, book the Rhythm of the Night tour from Puerto Vallarta

The tour starts with a dinner cruise along the Bahias de Banderas where you get picked up by a boat and watch the magical Puerto Vallarta sunset while savoring drinks and snacks. 

After that, you arrive at Las Caletas, a private beach with an amphitheater where the show takes place. The performance is a mix of dance, culture, and art with some acrobatic elements and constantly gets good reviews from travelers.

The tour begins around 7 p.m. and ends at 1 p.m. when you return to Puerto Vallarta by boat.

This is one of the most popular Puerto Vallarta tours, and it sells out very quickly. Book your tickets in advance to reserve your spot! 

Best tours from Cancun

10. Signature taco and street food tour in Puerto Vallarta 

There is no better way to explore the Mexican gastronomy scene than by indulging in delicious tacos!

The Jalisco State is home to some of the best gastronomy in Mexico and Puerto Vallarta is a perfect place to try it. 

Bite into mouthwatering tacos and learn how the locals eat while an expert foodie guide leads you on foot to family-owned eateries and taco stands. Many people who sell tacos and other food on the streets of Puerto Vallarta have been doing it for years, and you can learn their culinary secrets during this tour. 

Book a signature taco tour here.

11. Hop-on hop-off tour 

Hop-on hop-off tour is one of the most budget-friendly tours in Puerto Vallarta which is $20 for the day.

The tour is perfect if you are visiting Puerto Vallarta for the first time and want to see the highlights of the city. It includes stops at highlights like Playa De Los Muertos, Zona Romántica, the Malecón, and Marina Vallarta.

Joining the hop-on hop-off bus tour also saves you hours of walking, as you can jump on the bus and get at off at any stop that you like. 

12. Puerto Vallarta walking tour 

Exploring Puerto Vallarta with a local guide is one of the most fun experiences in this city!

This small group tour is a perfect way to get acquainted with Puerto Vallarta and dive into the local culinary scene. The tour is led by a local expert who can show you the highlights of Puerto Vallarta before you go on a sampling spree of local delicacies.

This small-group tour is limited to just 10 people, so you will get plenty of personalized attention.

13. South Shore Private Sightseeing Cruise 

Book this tour to enjoy the beauty of Puerto Vallarta’s south shore from a private yacht. 

Cruise by Los Arcos, the rocky arches that are a Puerto Vallarta landmark, weigh anchor and splash over the side to snorkel (equipment is included,) or enjoy your time aboard the yacht with a cold drink and your friends and family. Hire a 26-foot (8-meter) yacht for a private cruise along the South Shore. 

What’s cool is that you can customize your itinerary according to your preferences, and include as many passengers as you want in your group. A private tour is the best way to enjoy the spectacular Puerto Vallarta sunset as you have the entire boat to yourself. 

14. Vallarta Botanical Garden tour 

If you want to discover the flora and fauna of the region without going too far, ” target=”_blank”>book a tour of the Vallarta Botanical Gardens. This quick adventure is one of the best value tours in Puerto Vallarta that takes only. couple of hours.

15. Islas Marietas 

Islas Marietas is one of the most popular Puerto Vallarta tours, and for a good reason. Nicknamed “The Galápagos of Mexico,” this place is home to many endemic animals like many types of fish and birds.

This is one of the most popular tours from Puerto Vallarta that allows you to explore the magnificent marine life of the Mexican Pacific and the Bay of Banderas.

The tour includes stops for kayaking, snorkeling, and sunbathing. During the tour, you will see many animals like dolphins, whales, giant manta rays, and sea turtles as you explore these islands in the middle of the Pacific. 

16. Downtown Puerto Vallarta Food Tour 

Foodies can’t miss this fun tour! 

Get acquainted with Puerto Vallarta’s delicious food scene on this 3.5-hour food and eating walking tour

Sample the diverse array of the city’s edible delights, from tacos to sweets on this culinary adventure. Stop at 10 different spots to sample the food. And while going from place to place, see some of the highlights of the town and learn about the history of Puerto Vallarta. 

This small-group tour is limited to just 10 people, ensuring plenty of personalized attention. Book it here.

17. Private surf lesson 

If you ever wanted to learn to surf, Puerto Vallarta is a perfect place for it!

During a private lesson, you will go into the open water with a local surfing instructor and hit the point break! But before you get to ride the wave, you will learn some of the maneuvers and safety aspects. After the lesson, enjoy snacks and drinks at one of Puerto Vallarta’s bars. 

The tour includes transport from a central location in Puerto Vallarta, and a customized lesson suitable for all skill levels. 

Book your surfing adventure in Puerto Vallarta here.

18. Learn to dive in Puerto Vallarta 

Begin your undersea adventures in Puerto Vallarta with a crash course in scuba diving!

Learn the basics of diving in the waters of Las Caletas, home to intricate reefs, deep caves, and incredible sea life, such as majestic manta rays, turtles, and fish. Your trip includes instruction from a PADI-certified divemaster, as well as lunch. 

Book your introductory diving trip here.

Best day trips from Puerto Vallarta

19. Tequila 

Famous for the famous drink, Tequila is a small town a few hours from Puerto Vallarta. Many tourists take a tour of Tequila from Puerto Vallarta with a guide, although it’s also possible to visit it if you have a car rental. 

During the tour, you get to visit the towns of Toriles and Tequila on a full-day excursion from Puerto Vallarta that explores ancient Aztec ruins, traditional tequila, and historic architecture. 

You will also see mysterious buildings and petroglyphs, then learn how locally-grown agave plants become tequila. 

This 12-hour tour from Puerto Vallarta includes hotel pickup and drop-off, a hearty breakfast, entrance fees, and a tequila tasting for a day-long immersion in authentic Mexican culture. 

All entrance fees and breakfast are included in the price. The tour includes free hotel pickup and drop-off. 

20. Puerto Vallarta cooking experience 

A cooking class in Puerto Vallarta is a perfect chance to feast upon the rich flavors of Mexican cuisine. 

The tour begins in the busy outdoor market where you will shop for some produce and learn the secrets of regional cuisine with a knowledgeable guide. 

You can also gain insight into custom cooking techniques with a local master chef, discover recipes like fish ceviche, and taste tequila during the culinary tour. By the end of this small tour, you will learn how to make a flavorful Mexican dish and also get to share your cooking with everyone. 

Book your culinary adventure here.