Mexico Family Travel

9 Amazing Things To Do In Puerto Vallarta With Kids

June 12, 2021

9 Amazing Things To Do In Puerto Vallarta With Kids

Puerto Vallarta is a vibrant city full of history and beauty. It’s also a perfect place for a beach getaway! Families looking for things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids will be pleasantly surprised by how much the city has to offer.

From boat excursions to beach exploration, cooking classes to snorkeling adventures, there really is something for everyone when you’re planning a trip to Puerto Vallarta. Whether you're visiting Puerto Vallarta with a baby, or visiting Puerto Vallarta with toddlers, the family activities in Puerto Vallarta listed in this are truly unique and amazing.

Take a look at some of our ideas for family things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids. You'll be surprised at how many fun things you can do here with your family.


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Boats in Puetrto Vallarta

Table of Contents

Basic information for visiting Puerto Vallarta with kids

Puerto Vallarta is a popular resort destination, located in Banderas Bay, on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. There are around 200,000 people living in Puerto Vallarta. Yet the city sees over 3 million tourists each year! Puerto Vallarta tourism certainly plays a big role in the city’s economy, with plenty of options for things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids.

The city was once part of the Manila Galleon, which connected Acapulco, Mexico with Manila, Philippines. There is a rich maritime history in Puerto Vallarta. You can read more about Puerto Vallarta’s history in the Lonely Planet Mexico guide book.

How to get to Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta has an international airport which sees several million passengers per year. The airport services international destinations such as Los Angeles, Dallas, and Houston in the United States. Flights from Puerto Vallarta also fly out to places like Calgary and Vancouver in Canada.

Major international airlines that fly into Puerto Vallarta include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, United and Air Canada. Domestic airlines that fly into Puerto Vallarta include Aeromar, Aeromexico, VivaAerobus, and Volaris. Some domestic flights may route you through Guadalajara on your way to Puerto Vallarta.

Where to stay in Puerto Vallarta

Families visiting Puerto Vallarta with kids can opt to look for Puerto Vallarta kid-friendly resorts, hotels, or vacation rentals in the Hotel Zone. This is located right along the beach. You'll find many Puerto Vallarta all inclusive kids and family resorts in the Hotel Zone. Most of these have their own offerings of things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids.

Families can also look at the Zona Romantica for lodging options, which is located adjacent to Centro. Zona Romantica is convenient to a lot of the things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids, as you're right in the heart of the city. However, the costs of accommodation may be more expensive than places away from the city center.

Another option is Marina Vallarta, which also has family resorts in Puerto Vallarta. This neighborhood is located to the north of the city. So it’s not necessarily the most convenient location for many of the things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids. However, there are often a lot of vacation rentals available in the condo complexes around Marina Vallarta.

Book one of these amazing Puerto Vallarta kid friendly resorts in Marina Vallarta for your trip:

San Tropico Petite Hotel and Peaceful Escape

Holiday Inn Express Puerto Vallarta

Family Luxury Suites by Velas Vallarta

An alley in Puerto Vallarta

Getting around Puerto Vallarta with kids

Puerto Vallarta is a great city to visit with kids, and is one of the top safe places in Mexico for travel.

The easiest way to get to your things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids is by taxi. However, beware when taking a taxi! Drivers may try to charge you a higher than normal fare to get around town. Be sure to ask other travelers or locals what the regular charge should be.

Another option for getting around Puerto Vallarta is to take the public bus. These buses service routes mainly centralized along Highway 200. Average fare is around 12 pesos per person.

Money and banking in Puerto Vallarta

Mexico uses the peso for its currency. At the time of this writing, $1 USD is worth roughly 20 pesos. The bills come in the following denominations: 500, 200, 100, 50, and 20. For the coins, they include 20, 10, 5, 2, 1, and .50.

The main banks you’ll find in Puerto Vallarta are Banamex, Banorte, and Bancomer. You will also find HSBC, Santander, and Scotiabank. All these banks have ATMs that can accept foreign bank cards. However, they will have varying amounts of fees. There is usually a daily cap on how much cash you can withdraw. 

Many of the things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids requires that you pay in pesos. But some activities and attractions allow you to pay in US dollars as well. So check your attraction or activity ahead of time.

A cathedral in Puerto Vallarta

What to know about language in Puerto Vallarta

Much like the rest of Mexico, the main language spoken in Puerto Vallarta is Spanish. However, because of the huge tourism industry, many tour operators that offer things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids speak English. The same is the case for many hotels and restaurants.

With that said, it is still helpful to brush up on some basic Spanish words before traveling to Puerto Vallarta with kids. Some examples of words you should know include hola (hello), por favor (please), and gracias (thank you). Desculpe is used when trying to get someone’s attention, and lo siento is used when apologizing.   

What to pack for your Puerto Vallarta vacation with kids

In terms of packing for a trip to Puerto Vallarta with kids, be sure to bring your bathing suits and lightweight beach towels or sarongs. It’s also helpful to pack some water shoes as some of the things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids may require them, such as snorkeling or boat excursions. 

Most toiletries items and first aid items are available for purchase in Mexico, so there really is no need to pack them for your trip. However, specialty items like motion sickness strips or reef-safe sunscreen may not be as readily available in Puerto Vallarta.

Explore the Pacific Coast region of Mexico here.

Suitcase for travel

Fun things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids

As you’re researching things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids for your trip, take a look at the family-friendly activities suggested here. To get the full experience of Puerto Vallarta, you should aim to spend at least six days in the city. That way, you can plan for one activity each day.

However, if you’re visiting Puerto Vallarta as part of a bigger Mexico itinerary, you can condense your trip to one or two days.

1. Dolphin excursions with Ecotours de Mexico

Ecotours de Mexico offers nature excursions, expeditions, and adventure-based things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids throughout Banderas Bay. The company also plays a role in whale research and conservation through its support of a local non-profit organization called Ecobac (Ecología y Conservación de Ballenas, Ecology and Conservation of Whales). 

Tours offered by Ecotours de Mexico include wild dolphins snorkeling, bird watching, a sea turtle encounter, snorkeling, scuba diving, whale watching, and more. Ecotours de Mexico has a very extensive selection of eco-friendly activities that families can choose from when visiting Puerto Vallarta with kids.

Book your dolphin excursion with Ecotours de Mexico here:

Wildlife dolphins encounter and snorkeling at Los Arcos

Dolphins during a tour with Ecotours de Mexico

2. Cooking class with Cookin’ Vallarta

In a destination like Puerto Vallarta, where tourists mainly come for the beaches and resorts, taking a food tour and cooking class may not seem like an obvious choice for things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids. But actually, it’s a great way for families to dive deeper into Mexican culture. And it's a fantastic opportunity to learn some new Mexican food phrases too!

Cookin’ Vallarta helps visitors learn about Mexican culture by offering Mexican cooking classes five days a week. Every class includes a visit to the local market. And it also includes a cooking demonstration, with hands-on opportunities to prepare traditional dishes. The classes are $65 to $90 for children and adults.

Book your cooking class with Cookin' Vallarta here:

Puerto Vallarta Cooking Class: Market Tour, Lesson and Tastings

Ingredients for a cooking class with Cookin' Vallarta

3. Boat tour with La Vida Bella Private Boat Tours

La Vida Bella Private Boat Tours is a family-owned based in Puerto Vallarta. They offer a selection of things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids, by way of tours and excursions, including dolphin encounters, snorkeling, whale watching, and other day trips from Puerto Vallarta.

Tours from La Vida Bella Private Boat Tours are private, which offers a lot of flexibility for families in terms of what they will see and do during their tour. The tours cost $65-$75 per hour, with a tour time between 3-8 hours.

Book your private tour with La Vida Bella Private Boat Tours here:

South Shore Private Sightseeing Cruise in Puerto Vallarta

A view of the beach at Yelapa

4. Paddleboarding with Xiutla Riders

If your family enjoys adventurous activities, then they’ll want to try a paddleboarding tour with Xiutla Riders Ecoadventure. It’s a locally-owned adventure tour company that offers ATV tours, paddleboard lessons, surfing lessons, bike rentals, and other things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids. 

Paddleboard lessons with Xiutla Riders costs $36 USD per person for a 2 hour lesson. They are done right at the beach. You can also do a 4 hour paddleboard tour of Los Arcos National Park. For families interested in bike rentals, hourly rentals with Xiutla Riders range from $4 to $28, depending on the length of the rental.

Book your paddleboard lesson with Xiutla Riders here:

Stand-Up Paddle Board Lesson in Puerto Vallarta

Paddleboarding with kids

5. Marigalante Pirate Ship tour

When you’re traveling with kids, you have to find ways to make travel fun for them. That’s why the Marigalante Pirate Ship tour is the perfect experience for things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids. Although the prices for these tours are a bit hefty ($113 with the special online discount for adults, and $57 with the discount for kids), it’s nice to give your family a splurge from time to time. 

The Marigalante Pirate Ship tour, which pays homage to Puerto Vallarta’s pirate history, offers an on-ship entertainment show that is completely bilingual, with plenty of dancing, singing, and action. Two meals are served on the ship during the tour. 

The ship also makes a stop at Majahuitas beach, where activities like kayaking, beach volleyball, snorkeling, and banana boat riding are all set up for you. There’s even a bar on the beach, so while the kids are off doing their treasure hunt, led by one of the pirates, the grown-ups can enjoy a cold drink on the beach! Be sure to wear some reef-friendly sunscreen when you’re out in the sun.

Book any of these Puerto Vallarta pirate ship tours for your trip:

Puerto Vallarta Pirate Sailing Cruise

Majahuitas Island Pirate Ship Adventure

Pirate Ship by Day

The pirate ship in Puerto Vallarta

6. Workshops, walking tours and other ideas for things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids

Puerto Vallarta has a rich history. And spending some time learning about the city’s history and culture is well worth doing when you’re visiting Puerto Vallarta with kids.

If you're looking for things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids, why not spend an afternoon walking along Puerto Vallarta’s Malécon? It’s lined with plenty of restaurants and shops. Be sure to visit Playa Los Muertos pier for beautiful views of the ocean and shore. There is also a Naval Museum that provides more information about Puerto Vallarta’s history.

For other free things to do near down town Puerto Vallarta, you can take a walk through the Isla Cuale Flea Market to see the beautiful artisan goods for sale. Or stroll through the city’s Romantic Zone. Every Saturday, there is a farmer’s market at Olas Altas. And on Thursday evenings, there is a public market at Marina Vallarta.

For more ideas of things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids, book this walking tour or workshop:

Downtown Puerto Vallarta Food Tour

Bean to Bar Chocolate Workshop

A view of the resorts with things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids

7. Enjoy nature in Puerto Vallarta with kids at Jardin Botanico Vallarta

For ideas for Puerto Vallarta excursions, take a visit to the family friendly Vallarta Botanical Gardens. Known locally as the Jardin Botanico Vallarta, the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens is full of native plants and Mexican orchids.

Entrance to the Vallarta Botanical Gardens is 200 pesos for adults and children over 4 years old. The garden is open 7 days a week from 9am to 6pm during the months of December to March. It’s open 6 days a week (closed on Mondays) during the months of April to November.

8. Water park activities for visiting Puerto Vallarta with kids

Another excursion idea is to visit a water park in Puerto Vallarta. There are a few water parks located in nearby Nuevo Vallarta with plenty of fun activities and water slides for families, even ones with older children.

Aquaventuras and Splash Parque Acuatico are popular water parks for travelers looking for fun Puerto Vallarta family activities.

9. Other excursion ideas for things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids

Families who enjoy nature and are looking for more things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids can opt for excursions that take you out to the outer areas of the cities. The Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range lies inland and to the northeast of Puerto Vallarta. Popular activities in the Sierra Madres are hiking and horseback riding.

Additionally, water activities like sailing, dolphin watching, whale watching, and fishing are popular things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids. The Bay of Banderas is abundant in diversity of marine life. And it's perfect for families to explore.

For more options for things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids, book one of these excursion ideas:

Horseback Riding Tour in Sierra Madre

Private Inshore Fishing Adventure in Puerto Vallarta with Snacks

Whale & Dolphin Watching with a Biologist in Puerto Vallarta

Day Sailing on Banderas Bay

Want to explore another popular beach destination in Mexico? Click here to learn more about all the fun things families can do in Cancun.

Spending time at Isla Cuale Flea Market in Puerto Vallarta with kids

Experiencing the best parts of Puerto Vallarta with kids

There is so many unique things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids. The city’s interesting history is worth diving into. But you can also dive into the city’s surrounding natural marine wonders too!

If you’re planning to visit Puerto Vallarta with kids, you really need to plan for a second trip as well! After your first visit, you will most certainly want to come back again.

Have you visited Puerto Vallarta with kids? What are your tips for things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids? Drop us a comment on our Facebook page.

9 Fun Things to do in Puerto Vallarta with Kids | Family Travel Mexico

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Image description: coastline of Puerto Vallarta with condos and resorts overlooking the beach. Words are overlaid on top of the image.

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