Visiting one of Mexico’s resort towns on the beach is a favorite vacation known by many.

Puerto Vallarta is a quaint, exciting, and unique beach resort city. You might be hesitant about heading to Mexico these days, but it can be done safely. However, if you're looking for a safe excursion, Puerto Vallarta is your place. One of the draws of this city is that its beginning goes back a thriving Mexican trade village, long before being a tourist destination. It was acclaimed as la Ciudad más amimgable del mundo, or the friendliest city in the world. But, it has now become more popularized and tourist-friendly, so it has lost that name since. If you're looking for a more off the grid Mexican excursion, check out Huasteca Potosina. But, you're here to know some of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta.

1. Visit the Galleria Dante

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The Galleria Dante is a world-class art gallery in the hub of Puerto Vallarta. Curated sculptures and art adorn the walls of this vibrant house. Central American culture has influenced the local and international artists that are displayed here. You can take a stroll to enjoy the outdoor courtyard filled with their work. Most things in the gallery are for sale as well, and they understand that most people who shop are traveling. With full packaging and support, be prepared to take home a priceless piece of creativity from Puerto Vallarta. Go in with the full knowledge that there are many, many rooms here. Be prepared to take a break, or come back another day to fully enjoy this place. The broad range of art and culture has made the Galleria Dante one of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta.

2. Enjoy a Beach Day at Las Caletas

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Are you searching for your perfect beach hideaway? Look no further than Las Caletas to be one of your favorite things to do in Puerto Vallarta. Vallarta Adventures will whisk you away to one of the top four private beaches in the world. Only accessible by boat, Las Caletas is the romantic's getaway, the families place to reconnect, and the spot for friends to enjoy each other. Starting at $139 dollars, you will have access to two meals, an open bar, and adventure. You can go on parrot and monkey encounters, paddleboard the calm waves, or model clay. If you’re feeling adventurous, taste some mescal or head over to the kids or teen adventure park.

3. Stroll the Arches at El Malecon

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For a true taste of Puerto Vallarta, take a walk down El Malecon. A hub of activity, you will find the local teenagers hanging out, as well as the expected tourist souvenirs. Over the years, the walk has greatly improved to impress with sculptures and more cultural shops and stops. You will see the icon of Puerto Vallarta, the arches framing one of the beaches. Stop here to take a few pictures proving you found things to do in Puerto Vallarta. This would be a perfect activity for a rest or budget-friendly day. You can enjoy the full day of the sun without spending a peso. Remember, if you stroll at night, the music and dance scene will be in full swing!

4. Tour the Marigalante

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Tell me that you wouldn’t want to have a swash-buckling trek aboard a pirate ship! Touring the Marigalante is an incredibly exciting thing to do in Puerto Vallarta. This ship is a perfect replica of the Santa María, the ship Christopher Columbus ventured out into the world on. It can hold up to two hundred and forty passengers, so feel free to invite a few friends along. The ship is made with over thirty types of tropical wood, which provides you with a fully authentic experience. In addition, you can enjoy the Mexican dining room below deck. There have been a few modern additions to the ship, so your comfort is the top priority. With AC in the dining hall and a fully lit and professional sound, you may enjoy a pirate show as well.

If the water is more what draws you, there are inflatable bananas for rides, eight kayaks, fifteen boogie boards., and plenty of snorkel masks. You can indulge in tours of the pirate bay at night, or a show called the ‘Last Canadian Pirate Night’. So, peak around their website to find the experience that fits you.

5. Ride Horses at Rancho El Charro

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At Rancho El Charro, the owner Pamela has perfected your horseback-riding excursion. Having been a tourist herself, she has curated the perfect, relaxing experience. Just fifteen minutes from Puerto Vallarta, you will find yourself in a charming, quaint village. You’ll meet your horse that matches your needs, whether you are experienced or this is your first time. You’ll pass by a swimming hole and waterfall to start as you begin exploring the river. The horses have been born and raised on the ranch, so they are the cream of the crop.

Choose from a three or five-hour ride or an overnight trip. You can also lengthen it to a few days of all-inclusive horseback adventuring! You can explore old silver and gold mining camps which are an essential part of history in Mexico. So, whether you just want a day or a whole week, riding at Rancho El Charro is a spectacular thing to do in Puerto Vallarta.

6. Take Pictures of the Boy on a Seahorse Statues

No trip to another city is complete without a goofy picture of that city’s icon. Sculpted by Rafael Zamarripa Castañeda in 1960, the artist was only eighteen. He won the Mexican National Sculpture Award. This statue rose him to fame, and now he is a famous choreographer, sculptor, ceramist, designer, painter, dancer, teacher, and scenographer. The original Boy on a Seahorse sculpture was taken by a storm, so the one that stands now is the second round commission. The first statue was found, though! Then, it was lost again, and – you guessed it – found again. So, now finding both statues is a great thing to do in Puerto Vallarta.

A quick hint, the two statues can be found at Las Pilitas and Los Muertos Beach. Finding the Boy on a Seahorse statues may be a quirky thing, but it is well worth the time.

7. Explore the Beach at Banderas Bay

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Banderas Bay could easily be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. With stunning waves lapping the shore, you may get lucky enough to see whales and dolphins playing in the surf. This will be your family's perfect place to soak up the sun that everyone hopes for on a Mexican vacation. There is a long pier that edges into the ocean to give you the feeling of being fully surrounded. Travelers from around the glove acclaim Banderas Bay as being a slice of heaven. Bad weather is not a thing here, so you are truly set up to have a stunning day here. Make sure this is on your list of things to do in Puerto Vallarta. 

8. Swim at Playa Los Muertos

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While in Mexico, you should swim at the beach of the dead! But, it is much more beautiful than the name beckons. Slightly less popular than Banderas Bay, you will have more room to yourself. Playa Los Muertos has a plethora of shops and eateries along it. In addition, activities like windsurfing, whale watching, kayaking, and boogie boarding are all at your fingertips. The second boy on a Seahorse statue is also located here. The more family-friendly atmosphere of this beach easily put it on the list of things to do in Puerto Vallarta. 

9. Find the Isla Rio Cuale

The Isla Rio Cuale is a hidden oasis within Puerto Vallarta. This little village has all the nature you’re hoping for: iguanas, cormorants, and pelicans. As they're wild, don't walk up and feed them please. But, at the Isla Rio Culae, you’ll have the market experience, with local shop stalls decked out in fabrics and trinkets. This is the perfect place to stock up on souvineers for your friends, or buy some fun local fabric for yourself. To get here, you’ll have to find the sneaky, hidden bridge taking you over to the island. It’ll be worth your stroll over for an afternoon.

If you're looking for stunning beaches, good evenings, and fun family adventures, you'll find that in this list of things to do in Puerto Vallarta. 

Start your trip with the art of The Galleria Dante. It will dazzle you as you walk through the rooms of cultural explosion. Stroll across a bridge to see the more humble side of Puerto Vallarta, the Isla Rio Cuale. When you're ready for an adventure, venture onto the pirate ship or take an excursion into history. Ride off into the sunset with your love at Rancho El Charro, or simply soak up the rays of the sun on the beach. Whatever you are putting on your list of things to do in Puerto Vallarta, these are essentials. Once you've experienced all that this city has to offer, let me know what your favorites or additions to this list would be. Happy travels!

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