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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:
- The best value for money tour from Puerto Vallarta: Yelapa and Mahajuitas
- The cheapest tour from Puerto Vallarta: Hop-on hop-off tour
- Best Puerto Vallarta tours for foodies: Taco tour
- The best cultural tour from Puerto Vallarta: San Sebastian Del Oeste
- The best wildlife watching tour from Puerto Vallarta: Whale watching tour with marine biologist
- The best adventure tour from Puerto Vallarta: ATV in the jungle
- The best sunset-watching tour from Puerto Vallarta: Cruise tour
- The best-rated tour from Puerto Vallarta: Canopy, zip lining and speed boat tour
- Best Puerto Vallarta Vallarta tours: Private tour of Islas Marietas National Park
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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
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.