I recently moved to Mexico from Guatemala and have just started exploring the area a little more. My son came for a visit and we headed off to Puerto Vallarta. I’d like to share some Puerto Vallarta travel tips with you now.
I’ve done an awful lot of traveling in the last 10 years and though I’m not overly fond of crowded beaches and super hot locales, I was pleasantly surprised by this destination.
Now keep in mind, these are my observations and my travel tips. You will find millions of others on the world wide web I’m sure. TripAdvisor also has some great tips you may want to check out in this post here.
(this post contains affiliate links so if you make a purchase I make a small commission-affiliate disclosure)
Puerto Vallarta travel tips for a great vacay!
I think before you head anywhere you should really do some research and check out a few travel tips before you go.
Or maybe this is your first holiday and are totally clueless! We’ve all been there. Don’t feel bad. But I would definitely recommend reading up on the destination you have chosen so you make a wise decision on where to go that will fill all your needs.
I always love to read up a little on the place I’ll be going on holidays. I like to look for things to do, weather, prices and such like that.
Stay informed! I’m a huge fan of Lonely Planet and love that they share so much amazing information on just about any place in the world!!
7 things to know before you go to Puerto Vallarta
In no particular order of importance, here are my Puerto Vallarta travel tips for you!
Best time to go
Many people have to plan their travel around allowed vacation time from work and other responsibilities. We also like to make sure we are going to get the best weather when we go. Unfortunately, mother nature always has different plans for us.
I did some research for you and here is what Puerto Vallarta weather is like during the year.
- From November to March the weather is cooler, meaning it’s not scorching hot but still beautiful. Evenings and mornings will be a wee on the cooler side. Nothing that a light jacket or sweater can’t fix.
- April to early June is probably an ideal time to go as the weather is comfortable and there aren’t many tourists. It’ll be easy to get great rooms at affordable rates during this time too!
- Rainy season runs from June to October and though no one likes to visit places during their rainy season, one thing to note is that it usually rains in the evening. But let’s get real. Who wants to take the chance? And one more thing to note about this time of the year is that this is the hottest time.
Is it safe in Puerto Vallarta?
I used to get asked this question a lot when I moved to Guatemala. People read too much into the news in my opinion. And while, yes, you should exercise caution, exercising common sense will go a long way too.
So it is safe in Puerto Vallarta?
Yup. It sure is. Most of the crimes that happen occur between locals (drugs/drunk locals/etc). But like anything and any place you still need to use some common sense. If you left your purse unattended someone will likely take it, no matter where you are.
So don’t do that.
Don’t get into cars with strangers, don’t leave your drink unattended at the bar. You know. The usual stuff you wouldn’t do in your city anyway.
Pass the sunblock please!
I can’t believe I have to even mention this but here it goes anyway.
Before you travel to Puerto Vallarta or any tropical place for that matter, and if you happen to be a really white person (is that racist? lol) and burn easily, for the love of God and everything holy, pack sunblock.
There’s nothing quite like ruining your two week holiday because on Day 1 you got sunburned and now you need to stay indoors.
Don’t be that person. If you have your favourite sunblock, bring it. If you don’t, you can easily buy some anywhere. Just make sure to use common sense in the sun too and wear your damn sunblock.
I know you want to pack 20 pairs of shorts and sandals and tank tops and half your wardrobe. Don’t do that because you’ll probably also want to do some fun shopping!
Leave room in your suitcase for things you are going to buy (touristy stuff!) and besides, you don’t need all those clothes anyway.
You’ll most likely be at the beach all day lounging around with a margarita! It’s ok to wear the same pair of shorts 3 days in a row. I promise no one will notice.
Live on the edge a little will ya? :p
Choose your adventure packages carefully
Every hotel has brochures for adventure packages. I almost signed up for the whale watching one but ironically enough on our first nite there we saw them jumping out of the water from where we were sitting at a beach side restaurant.
Now if you want to get closer to them, then go ahead and book your tour but you could save money by just watching them from the beach. December to March is whale watching season.
There are so many things you can easily do on your own (like whale watching) so don’t feel like you have to book a bunch of adventure tours. Not only does it add up but it gets exhausting.
Choose carefully. Remember, you also want to relax too!
Which zone should you stay in?
So this was something interesting to know about Puerto Vallarta. There are many different zones you can stay in. The zones are as follows:
- Marina Vallarta-more action, boats (obvi) partying and mingling here-most all inclusive spots are here
- Hotel Zone-newer area (little history or architecture), malls, shops, not great beach area,
- Downtown Zone-older area, tons of architecture to look at, very few all inclusive hotels here
- Romantic Zone (where we stayed)-lots of activity, not much history, older couples and gay friendly
- Nuevo Vallarta-this is tourist central and the whole town is built to cater to you!
- North Zone-chill out zone-very little to no partying-mostly retirees and families
So I do have to mention that as much as I loved our vacation and the area we were in was pretty, as a single 50-ish female who loves to socialize and check out hot guys, this was def not the place for me. I mean gay guys are hot too but…ya.
Please don’t pay full price
I’m the cheapest Italian on the planet and I’m also a negotiating master. I will not pay full price for anything and neither should you.
If I had to choose which one of these Puerto Vallarta travel tips was the most important, this would be the one. I cringe when people pay full price for anything. Don’t be taken advantage of and spend your money on other things, like more margaritas!!
Keep in mind, the vendors jack their prices up because they think we’re all rich. We’re not (well at least I’m not). You will be bombarded with vendors at the beach. A simple no thank you will send them away. As soon as you show the least bit of interest in what they have, it’s a pain in the bum to get them to leave if you don’t want to buy anything. Beware.
I wanted earrings. One vendor came to the table with nice ones. His prices started at 1500 pesos. I got him down to 500 which was probably still too much but they were really nice earrings. Don’t be afraid to go low.
More helpful Puerto Vallarta travel tips
If I had to give you any more travel tips it would be these ones:
- don’t be afraid to get out and explore
- take a bus and check out other areas
- talk to other travelers for more info and other cool places to go visit
- try new foods
- be friendly and kind
- remember you are in someone else’s country-be respectful
- if you are single, don’t bring strangers to your room
- food poisoning is quite rare…eat fun stuff!!
- weed is pretty easy to find (for all you pot smokers) and it’s pretty damn good too! 😉
Remember you are on holidays, vacation, chill out time, down time. Let your hair down, relax your shoulders and have fun. You are doing something most people only dream of doing.
Don’t stress out about things. Everything always has a way of working itself out. Always.
ox iva xo