With the best Mexico has to offer in both natural beauty and man-made charm, travellers book flights to Puerto Vallarta to enjoy the lush greenery, varied wildlife and rich history of the city - all against the backdrop of the Sierra Madre mountain range.
The white sandy beaches and turquoise waters provide the perfect environment for stress-free relaxation and are also home to a medley of sea life. Dolphins are a common sight year-round, while humpback whales can be spotted off the coast from December through to March. Away from the beach, the cobblestone streets and whitewashed buildings enchant those who wander through them, while the malecón, the main promenade in Puerto Vallarta, is lined with bustling shops, chic restaurants and lively nightclubs. Attracting visitors from all over the world to book flights to Puerto Vallarta, the city has managed to develop into a thriving tourist destination while retaining its colonial Mexican roots.
Puerto Vallarta climate
322 days of sunshine a year makes Puerto Vallarta a very attractive year-round destination. The resort has a typically tropical climate, with distinct wet and dry seasons. June through to October is hot and wet, with average temperature highs of more than 30°C, but there is often heavy rainfall for one or two hours in the afternoon. The winter is cooler (between 26 and 29°C) with barely any rain and so is the most popular time to visit.
When to fly to Puerto Vallarta
There are a number of peak holiday periods in Puerto Vallarta; over Christmas, around Easter and July to August. The winter months are particularly popular as they are dependably dry and warm, although this means the resort is crowded and prices can rocket.
The hot wet summer months are the low season, with many put-off by the high humidity and heavy rainfall that often occurs during the afternoon. However the rain rarely lasts more than a couple of hours and the occasional tropical storm can be a spectacle in its own right. The best time of year for cheap flights to Puerto Vallarta is late March to May, as the days are warm and dry, and the resort can be enjoyed without the crowds of winter sun-seekers.
Getting around Puerto Vallarta
Parking in the city is rare and so it is not advisable to hire a car. The best way of getting from the airport to the main tourist area is either by taxi, colectivo (shuttle bus) or a local bus. The local buses provide a very cheap but not luxurious way of getting around Puerto Vallarta.
Another way to get around the city is by taxi. Taxi prices are set by zone as opposed to meter and so it is often advisable to negotiate the fare beforehand.
To explore some of the more remote and secluded beaches on the south side of the bay, a water taxi is your best bet.
Puerto Vallarta insider information
- The malecón runs for two km along the seafront and is the place to go in Puerto Vallarta to people watch and mingle with tourists and locals alike. Lining the wooden boardwalk are a number of beautiful bronze statues, and a whole host of restaurants, bars, nightclubs and shops. Often there is live entertainment to be found along the promenade and sand sculptures appear daily on the beach.
- The warm waters in the bay are home to a variety of majestic sea creatures. Humpback whales can be spotted in the winter months, while dolphins frolic in the sea all year-round. The best way to see the animals is by boat, with many companies offering specialised dolphin and whale-watching tours. The best tours are those that put the interests of the sea creatures first, as then you can enjoy the experience in the knowledge that your presence is not adversely affecting the animals.
- The most recognisable landmark in the Puerto Vallarta skyline, the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, is seen by many locals as the most precious monument in the city. Our Lady of Guadalupe is Mexico’s most beloved religious image and churches dedicated to her can be found throughout Mexico. The crowning glory of the church is just that – a beautiful gilded crown, which is a replica of the crown worn by Carlota, mistress of the Emperor Maximilian in the 1860s. The original crown was destroyed in the 1995 earthquake but has since been replaced with a crown by the local sculptor Octavio Gonzales.