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Puerto Vallarta Family Activities

Gymnastics on the beach in Puerto Vallarta
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Puerto Vallarta is one of our favourite spots to visit in Mexico with kids!  Although the beaches aren't quite as nice as in Cancun-the sunsets are spectacular and there are loads of fun things to do.  We loved the cobble stone streets in the Romantic part of town, and walking the malecon each night.   We stayed in a couple of great family hotels in Puerto Vallarta right in the middle of the action and loved eating out for each meal  with hundreds of delicious restaurants to choose from!

We found Puerto Vallarta to be a great value and an excellent choice for a cheap family holiday. We took the bus everywhere-very easy to use and get around and you can't beat the street side tacos for less than a $1.

The Best Things to Do In Puerto Vallarta With Kids

  • Of course you can't go all the way to Puerto Vallarta and not visit the beach! The kids will love a banana boat ride , hunting for shells  buying trinkets from the vendors and more. Don't forget to pack the sand buckets and sun screen!  While the beaches are not quite as pretty as in Cancun and the Mayan Riviera, the sunsets more than make up for it. 

  • Your kids will be thrilled with a Canopy Adventure high above the jungle floor. Explore the treetop pathways and zipline from platform to platform. There is also a crazy ladder to climb and you can also rappel down. Kids must be 8 years old (4 feet tall) to participate.

  • If you are traveling from December to March don't miss out on a whale watching tour. Don't miss this fun thing to do in Puerto Vallarta. This is fun for all ages as you head out to Banderas Bay to see the whales playing in the waters.  We did a DIY tour by taking the bus all the way to Punta Mita and hired a small panga to take us snorkelling at the Marieta Islands  and see the whales.  We loved this-being in a small boat just us the boat captain and our guide and seeing the Marieta Island us close and wandering the sea in search of the whales!

  • The Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens are located up in the Sierra Madre mountains. Your whole family will love the beautiful flowers, exploring the nature paths, seeing the tropical birds and taking a dip in the crystal clear river.  We took the bus out here and enjoyed a lovely day exploring the many trails and soaking up the view along the river.  My teenagers loved hanging out on the comfy day beds and catching some rays.  My daughter had a blast feeding the fish.   We had lunch at the restaurant and it was delicious-lovely Mexican food served with a beautiful view.

Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens
Girl at restaurant in Botanical Gardens Puerto Vallarta
Kids in front of Bamboo in Puerto Vallarta
  • Go horse back riding in the jungles near Puerto Vallarta. with Rancho El Charro. This ranch offers several child friendly tours. The kids will love riding their horses through the paths to the waterfalls where everyone can take a dip in the cool waters.

  • We spent a fantastic day with Unique ATV tours.  I had immediately regretted booking this after my son roped me into it-but it turned out to be one of the best tours we've ever done!  We road through quiet towns, along a breath takingly beautiful river, through the jungle and through some puddles!  Drivers must be at least 16 years of age.  We stopped for a drink by a waterfall, lunch at a roadside restaurant and did the ubiquitous tequila tasting.  Highly recommend this!

  • The best thing we did in Puerto Vallarta was visit the Casa Hogar orphanage.  We brought some donations from home and stopped at the Walmart and loaded up on fresh fruit, rice, vegetables, toiletries and more to bring with us.  This is a fantastic organization that could really use your help!  We spent the day playing with the babies and toddlers.  My children absolutely loved this in fact they were begging to go back-so we ended up returning twice more on our visit.  We met lovely volunteers from around the world who were helping play with and feed the kids so the staff take care of running the place!   It still puts a smile on my face thinking of my teenage son covered in babies and having the time of his life playing with these little cuties.

feeding the giraffe at the Puerto Vallarta zoo
  • Another one of the fun Puerto Vallarta activites is the interactive Puerto Vallarta Zoo. There is a kids petting zoo and you can buy a bag of feed for the animals and feed the hippos, spider monkeys, camels and more!  We loved this!  It was so much fun strolling the grounds and feeding the animals as we went.  It is definitely not your typical zoo-and be careful with small children as some of the exhibits let you get surprisingly close to some of these animals.  We still laugh about the monkeys and that crazy baboon!

  • Enjoy the delicious Mexican food for kids. It isn't generally spicy when served. You can add spice to it with condiments. Tacos, burritos, enchiladas and more. There is lots of fresh fruit available like mangoes, papayas, pineapples and melon.  We loved eating out at the restaurants in the Romantic Zone.  The al Pastor tacos, fresh guacamole and chiles rellanos were a hit!!

  • Aquaventuras water park has 10 water slide, swimming areas and childrens play areas. You can also swim with the dolphins here.

  • Head by catamaran to Las Caletas which is a private beach offering lots of fun in the sun. The kids adventure tour includes a specially designed kids canopy with ziplines, a tarzan swing, climbing net and more. You can also snorkel, kayak, visit with the parrots or even take a Paella cooking class. This is one of the must do family Puerto Vallarta activities.

  • Head to the Malecon and take a stroll on the boardwalk. Sunday is family day where you can enjoy street performers, sand castles sculptures, local Mexican art work, street food and more.  Every night we would stroll the malecon,  enjoy the cool breeze and shop for souvenirs, enjoy a drink, ice cream or crepe along the way.  Every night there were human sculptures, live shows, artist at work and more to enjoy!
Shrimp vendor on the Malecon in PV
Human Sand Sculptures on the malecon in Puerto Vallarta
  • If your family is in Puerto Vallarta from July to November then you can take part in the sea turtle protection program. The eggs from the Banderas Bay beaches are collected and incubated. Once the baby sea turtle is born it is brought back to the beach where you child can interact with a baby turtle. As is local custom your child can name their turtle and then carefully release them in the sand.

  • Go for a stroll on the Rio Cuale River Walk when you are on your Puerto Vallarta family vacation. Here you can check out the local vendors and restaurants. Your kids will love seeing the iguanas and parrots living in the trees.

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Puerto Vallarta