February 20, 2023
Take early 2023 as the ideal time to start planning your next trip to Puerto Vallarta. The World's Friendliest City offers you a wide variety of experiences to enjoy throughout the year. Keep an eye on the following 7 recommendations for an unforgettable vacation in Puerto Vallarta in 2023.
South of Puerto Vallarta, accessible only by sea, you will find 2 perfect options to take a break from your cell phone and spend a day in the sun with zero distractions.
Playa Caballo is a small oasis of tranquility. Its fine golden sand invites you to relax while contemplating the lush tropical vegetation around you. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes and let the gentle swaying of the ocean waves lull you into a state of peace and introspection. Isn't that what vacations are all about?
To get there, the suggestion is to board a reliable panga from Boca de Tomatlán straight to the dock at Las Animas beach. Once there, walk along the path towards Hotelito Mio; just to the right, you will find Caballo beach.
A few minutes further south, 1.24 miles by boat west of Quimixto village, is the charming Playa Majahuitas. Its transparent waters, rocky geography and abundant marine fauna are ideal for kayaking, snorkeling and even scuba diving.
The natural beauty of the area is complemented by the tropical jungle, numerous coves and a submarine canyon, made up of several caves decorated by black reefs inhabited by multicolored fish.
Unlike Playa Caballo, here it is possible to find a few picturesque restaurants sheltered by the cool shade of the majahua trees -hence the name of the beach- and some palapas with lounge chairs for carefree sunbathing.
Visitors to Puerto Vallarta are welcomed to explore the great natural richness surrounding the area; from the Sierra Madre Mountains embracing the traditional beachfront town to the amazing biodiversity that inhabits our rivers, estuaries, mangroves, Marine Natural Parks and much more.
Bird watching at the Vallarta Botanical Garden is the To Go option as the first sun rays break into a brand new day. More than 200 species of birds have been identified from the numerous trails that wind their way through the lush vegetation of the tropical dry forest and the Los Horcones River.
Considered one of the 10 Best Gardens in North America, this natural reserve extends over 120 hectares and is located about 45 minutes south of downtown Puerto Vallarta.
From December to March, the warm waters of the Mexican Pacific that bathe the coasts of Puerto Vallarta receive as prominent visitors the humpback whales.
Although there are a wide variety of options for whale watching tours in Puerto Vallarta, we suggest you choose experienced agencies such as Eco Explorer Vallarta, Wildlife Connection, Vallarta Adventures and Ecotours Vallarta. With luck, you will also be able to observe other species that visit the bay such as dolphins, manta rays, sea turtles, and even killer whales!
Sea turtles release is a jolly, touchy and educational activity that is great fun for the whole family. Turtle camps and several hotels have their own conservation programs and it is possible to accompany the hatchlings from their nest to the shore of the beach where they begin their adventure to the sea. Turtle releases are free, open to the general public and take place in the hours before sunset from August to December.
Other attractive options to consider are guided tours of the natural protected area El Salado Estuary; going into the jungle and climbing the Palo Maria waterfalls; or diving and snorkeling in Los Arcos National Marine Park, south of Puerto Vallarta.
Enthusiasts of extreme outdoor adventures and adrenaline-filled activities will feel at home while vacationing in Puerto Vallarta.
The Sierra Madre Mountains offer the perfect setting for hiking and trekking, for a tropical safari in ATVs, by mountain bicycle or on horseback. You can always end your tour with a refreshing dip in one of the rivers that meander down to meet the Pacific Ocean.
A recommendation for those brave and lionhearted spirits is ziplining at full speed from the tops of the hills and through the treetops. The breathtaking 492 feet-high views from the El Jorullo Bridge are something to behold; in fact, it is considered the longest vehicular suspension bridge in the world. You can go across its 1,542 feet in length either by ATVs, RZR vehicles or on foot.
Parasailing and skydiving are unique experiences that will allow you to contemplate in all its splendor -if only for a few seconds- one of the most beautiful bays in the world.
Looking for something not so extreme? Take off on a parachute (or parasailing) that is usually offered in the traditional Camarones, Los Muertos and Playa de Oro beaches. Here you will also find other fun options such as jet ski rentals and even paddle board lessons.
End your day of extreme outdoor activities with a relaxing luxury tour of the bay aboard a private yacht or sailboat and treat yourself to an unforgettable sunset.
Puerto Vallarta is THE culinary destination par excellence. Flavors from all over the world converge with the richness of Mexican traditional cuisine, named Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO for the past 13 years.
A must for foodies is the Festival Gourmet International, the greatest gourmet tradition in Puerto Vallarta since 1995. Led by the "Three Musketeers" -chefs Thierry Blouet, Heinz Reize and Roland Menetrey-, the annual autumn event gathers prestigious masters of Mexican and international cuisine to present their culinary creations to the public in the city's most select hotels and restaurants.
Another event not to be missed is Restaurant Week by Vallarta Lifestyles. For a 3-week span between May and June, Puerto Vallarta's vibrant culinary scene is enriched with a variety of special three-course menus (with 3 options each) that participating restaurants offer at a fixed price. It is an excellent opportunity to try the latest creations of both consolidated chefs and newly arrived talents.
A constellation of the most innovative chefs and mixologists in Mexico, Latin America and Europe -but also from Michelin Stars, 50 Best and Top Chefs- come together annually at Vallarta Nayarit Gastronómica. Its program of events features exclusive dinners in paradisiacal settings throughout the bay, wine tastings by the best sommeliers, as well as tastings and gourmet workshops for professionals and the general public.
Don't forget to take a look at our comprehensive restaurant guide and learn more about Puerto Vallarta's extensive gastronomic offer.
Diverse artistic and cultural manifestations flourish in Puerto Vallarta throughout the year. National and international music, film and theater festivals enrich the city's cultural offerings, which extend to a variety of galleries, small independent venues and public spaces to enjoy diverse shows.
Considered an open-air art gallery, the Malecón is home to a large collection of sculptures -the most emblematic of them is arguably Rafael Zamarripa's The Boy on the Seahorse- by renowned Mexican artists. The sculpture promenade extends to the Cuale River island, Lázaro Cárdenas Park and Los Muertos Beach.
The pilgrimages in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe congregate, during the first 12 days of December, thousands of faithful who go out to the streets to demonstrate their faith and to give thanks for the favors received during the year.
The Fiestas Guadalupanas of Puerto Vallarta were declared "Intangible Cultural Heritage of the State of Jalisco" in 2018, for materializing the collective identity of the municipality.
The Fiestas Patrias in Puerto Vallarta represent an unbeatable opportunity to delight yourself with exquisite Mexican antojitos, to feel the energy and sentiment of live mariachi music, to taste tequila and other agave spirits to the shout of “Viva Mexico!”
The Plaza de Armas (Main Square), in the heart of the city, is transformed into a popular family celebration with live music, dancing and typical food. The colorful fireworks show at Los Arcos del Malecón is a must-attend on the eve of Mexican Independence Day.
The Charro and skirmish parade held the day after, from the Romantic Zone through the Malecon and Colonia 5 de Diciembre streets, brings the Fiestas Patrias celebrations to a joyful end.
The Day of the Dead Festival has gained special relevance in recent years. In 2022, Puerto Vallarta achieved the distinction of “The World's Tallest Calavera Catrina" by the Guinness World Records.
At some 75.5 feet high, the monumental calavera catrina became the artistic centerpiece of a celebration that included the placement of altars, more than 80 "sugar skulls" decorated in various motifs throughout the Malecon and a full program of cultural activities.
Every Wednesday afternoon, from October to June, 16 of the main galleries located in Downtown Puerto Vallarta open their doors to the Historic Center Art Walk.
Participating galleries present exhibitions with highlights from their catalog of Mexican and international artists and often offer complimentary wine of honor. The tour is free and open to the public. In addition, the proximity between galleries makes it possible to visit several in a single afternoon and mingle with other art lovers.
Due to its privileged location between the sea and the mountains and a pleasant tropical climate with sunny days practically all year round, Puerto Vallarta hosts important national and international sporting events.
Puerto Mágico Open summons the most outstanding tennis players from Mexico and the world in the Challenger 80 Category. It is considered the biggest men's tournament in the history of the State of Jalisco, and it has been awarded as the best ATP Challenger in the world in its 2 previous editions.
Puerto Mágico Open will take place on an outdoor hard court at the tennis complex inside the Parota Park in the heart of Puerto Vallarta's Hotel Zone.
A tradition among sport fishing enthusiasts is the Puerto Vallarta International Marlin and Tuna Fishing Tournament. Organized for 67 years by the Puerto Vallarta Fishing Club, the competition awards a purse of over 1 million pesos in categories such as marlin, tuna, dorado (mahi mahi), sailfish and best crew.
Runners from Mexico and the world gather at the Puerto Vallarta Marathon. In its fourth annual edition, in 2023 it anticipates a totally renewed circuit with the commitment of being an iconic marathon in Mexico. The race consists of the marathon, half marathon and a recreational race of 5k and 10k, with a purse of 400K Mexican pesos to be distributed in 4 categories.
The FIRERIDE Festival Puerto Vallarta gathers the top 30 athletes from Mexico, United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Great Britain and New Zealand in the mountain bike discipline. Expect exciting competitions in categories such as Dual Slalom, High Jump Challenge, Best Trick, and Whip Off Battle, to the rhythm of DJ music and a gastronomic showcase.
Puerto Vallarta is known worldwide as an LGBTQ+ friendly city. One of the most popular events of the year is Vallarta Pride, a colorful celebration that makes visible and celebrates members of sexual diversity and their allies.
To be held from May 20 to 28, 2023 under the concept "Nature", the festival includes themed parties, cultural and sporting events, as well as the grand Pride parade that runs along the main avenue through the Malecon to Olas Altas Street in the Romantic Zone.
With so many options to choose from, we are sure that your next vacation in Puerto Vallarta will be an unforgettable experience that you will treasure forever!
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