Puerto Vallarta Tours & Day Trips - Things to Do

Puerto Vallarta vacations usually involve enjoying the area's beautiful coastline: sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling. Our page on fishing and watersports gives information on such activities, but there are plenty of other things to do in Puerto Vallarta. This page gives you a few ideas about what to do on your Puerto Vallarta vacation.

Many visitors explore the surrounding area on day trips. Roughly 22 nautical miles from Puerto Vallarta (to the north) are Las Marietas, a group of volcanic islands. Boat trips to Las Marietas give you the opportunity to see dolphins and turtles, and during the right season (between December and May) you may also be able to see humpback whales. When you get to the islands themselves, you will see several species of sea-birds, including the "blue-footed booby", whose feet really are a surprisingly bright shade of blue. The Ocean Quest Dive Center is based on Las Marietas, and runs scuba-diving and snorkeling tours.

The Marigalante pirate ship tour is very popular with children, and it's a lot of fun for adults if you get into the right spirit. The ship is a replica of the Santa Maria, the vessel that Columbus first sailed to America. Tours leave from the marina in the morning, and breakfast in the galley is included in the price. The ship goes to Las Cargadas, where you can snorkel or just enjoy the beach. Don't go on this trip for the destination; go for the on-board entertainment. From the time you finish breakfast, you will be entertained by the "pirates", who sword-fight, play music and organize dancing competitions. Audience participation is the key, and children usually love getting involved with skits. The trip costs between $50 and $60, including the food, which is excellent and plentiful. Alcoholic and soft drinks are free too.

Puerto Vallarta vacations wouldn't be complete without a taste of the local culture, so make sure you see a Mexican fiesta during your stay. There are weekly events which are like a miniature version of the Rio Mardi Gras celebrations: in other words, there is plenty of music and dancing in traditional costumes. These weekly fiestas take place at various locations, especially at the bigger hotels.

If you're an art lover, Puerto Vallarta is also good for galleries; there are around 30 art galleries in the town. The South Side alone contains the Galeria Olinala, which specializes in folk art, as well as a gallery dedicated to sculpture (the Galeria Dante) and the Galeria Piramide, intriguingly nicknamed the House of Beaded Iguanas.

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