Free Things to do in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Since you are at the beach, there are so many things to do. If you are downtown you can simply walk up and down the famous Malecon. Maybe you are up for more of an adventure and want to go on a jungle hike! Check out our top 5 free things to do in Puerto Vallarta:
Stroll down the Malecon, the beautiful boardwalk along the beach that is full of boutique shops, restaurants, and bars. Watch the sunset, grab dinner, and walk around to see the performers and artists. There is an amphitheater, multiple sculptures, and of course the Papantla Flyers. The iconic Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe is also only 1 block away, so it is worth checking out. After 10 pm the boardwalk becomes the heart of the local nightlife.
Chill at the Beach
Rent a comfy lounge chair at the beach or hang out all day at a beachfront restaurant with margaritas and ice-cold Pacifico beers. They usually require each person to consume a minimum of ~$250 MXN, but each place is different, so make sure to ask. Check out our post with the 7 best beaches in Puerto Vallarta.
Go on a Jungle Hike
There are tons of hikes in the area since it is surrounded by the Sierra Madre Mountain range. Check out our post with the 5 best hikes in Puerto Vallarta. Our favorite hike one starts at Boca de Tomatlan and goes all the way to Las Animas and Quimixto. It is a beautiful trail that follows the coastline and there are a lot of beaches along the way. Therefore, you can stop and take a dip to cool down whenever you want.
The Ocean Grill is a restaurant that is only accessible by boat or by doing this trail. Their food is amazing, and you can’t beat the views they have of Playa Colomitos, Mexico’s smallest beach. It is maybe a 45-minute hike from the starting point in Boca de Tomatlan.
The route is safe and well-labeled by locals. At the end of the trail, there are a bunch of local restaurants to choose from. Afterward, you can hike back the same way, or simply grab a water taxi.
Every day on the southern end of El Malecon a colorful ritual takes place: Los Voladores de Papantla. Men descend upside down while spinning from a very tall pole while their ropes unwind. It is hard to explain, so you’ll have to see it for yourself!
Stroll through the ‘Romantic Zone’
This trendy area is full of art galleries, boutique shopping, cafes, bars, and upscale condominiums. It also has a lively ex-pat and LGBT community. Walk along Playa Los Muertos (Dead Man’s Beach) where there are many aquatic activities such as jet ski rentals, windsurfing, and parasailing.
Go to the Bucerias Art Walk [BONUS]
Yes, this may not technically be in Puerto Vallarta, but it is a short drive north to this quaint beach town. The self-guided Bucerias Art Walk happens every Thursday from 6 pm – 9 pm. The participating galleries are all clustered together in the city’s Art District, also known as the Golden Zone. Sip wine, sample cheese, wander the area’s beautiful cobblestone streets, and interact with some of the top artists and gallery owners in Banderas Bay.