13 Best Things to Do With Kids in Puerto Vallarta

13 Best Things to Do With Kids in Puerto Vallarta

stroll-the-malecon-with-kids-puerto-vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is an alluring destination along Mexico’s Pacific Coast, boasting a wealth of unique cultural attractions and outdoor excursions that appeal to the entire family. Offering insight into the vibrant traditions and natural beauty of the region, top activities in Puerto Vallarta range from strolling its oceanfront promenade and snorkeling past colorful marine life to bucket list-worthy whale watching tours. 

Boasting an endless array of oceanside activities, you can spend your sun-filled days in Puerto Vallarta building sandcastles on one of the palm-fringed beaches, while a visit to an adventure park and chocolate-making classes offer long-lasting family vacation memories. After you’ve checked into your family-friendly beach hotel, fill your vacation itinerary with these top things to do with kids in Puerto Vallarta. 



1

Hit the Beaches

Families are spoiled for choice with beach destinations in Puerto Vallarta, including Los Muertos Beach where kids can enjoy beach volleyball games and banana boat rides, while Playa Camarones is a great spot to try parasailing. For the perfect family atmosphere, visit the laid-back surf town of Sayulita, home to shops offering longboarding and paddleboarding lessons to beginners, or visit Playa Las Gemelas for a quiet stretch of sand away from the tourist crowds. After a long day in the sunshine, retreat to the family-friendly Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa, where you’ll find kid-approved on-site amenities such as an infinity pool, a pirate show, balloon crafts and mini Olympics as well as a private beach. 

2

Stroll the Malecón

Courtesy of Terry Lucas

Stretch your legs along the Malecón, a waterfront promenade just a short taxi ride away from most hotels in Puerto Vallarta. Visitors of all ages can have fun at this boardwalk by the sea, browsing its selection of shops, restaurants and bars or admiring the performers and impressive sand sculptures on the beach. Kids will love cycling along this mile-long entertainment hub, where you can stop for a cold drink at one of the outdoor cafes or marvel at the statues dotting the pathway. 

3

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at the Choco Museo

Courtesy of Choco Museo

It’s no secret that kids love chocolate, so visiting Puerto Vallarta’s popular Choco Museo is sure to be a hit. This free museum offers you a chance to learn about the history of cacao and find out how chocolate is made, from harvest to production, then you can pay to participate in chocolate-making classes and workshops. Depending on your interests, you can learn how to make traditional mole sauce, hot chocolate truffles or chocolate drinks. Kids will love the Mini Chocolate Workshop, which is only 45 minutes long and allows them to leave with their own handmade chocolates filled the way they like. 

4

Come Face-to-Face With Dolphins & Sea Lions

Both kids and kids at heart will enjoy a day at Aquaventuras Park, which offers visitors a chance to swim with dolphins and sea lions. While this family-friendly park’s biggest focus is on the conservation of marine mammals, it’s also home to exciting water slides, like the famous Teeth Breaker and Happy Widow, while inner tube rides and a lazy river are the perfect places to soak up some sunshine. Little ones can join in on the fun, as the park also has an aquatic kids area. 

5

Explore Old Town Puerto Vallarta

For a dose of local life in Mexico, walk the narrow cobbled streets of Old Town (also called the Romantic Zone) and listen to the sweet sounds of mariachi bands, then step into the stunning Our Lady of Guadalupe church to see its iconic crown-topped bell tower. When hunger strikes, dine on freshly caught fish tacos at one of the budget-friendly eateries dotting the lanes before browsing boutique shops and colorful markets selling souvenirs. 

6

Take a Break at Vallarta Botanical Gardens

Courtesy of Vallarta Botanical Gardens

Kids will love the colorful displays at Vallarta Botanical Gardens that showcase an impressive assortment of wildflowers, orchids and marigolds in 64 acres of pristine coastal wilderness. Escape the city’s bustle for a blissfully quiet day of strolling through the greenery and learning about the variety of plants on a guided tour. Families can also take a hike in the short nature walks to spot birds above, then cool off with a swim in the crystal clear waters of Horcones River. When it’s time to eat, visit the on-site restaurant Hacienda de Oro for wood fire pizza and gorgeous terrace views. 

7

Sign Up for Off-Roading Adventures

Courtesy of Vallarta Adventures

If you’re an adventure-loving family, Puerto Vallarta has got you covered. Vallarta Adventures offers an array of adrenaline-pumping tours that older kids can enjoy on both land and water. Join a full-day excursion of exploring the lush interior of Banderas Bay in signature Mercedes truck combined with a 45-minute guided jungle hike or see the city in style on the ATV Puerto Vallarta Tour with a 4×4 off-road vehicle. If you prefer your thrills on water, join an action-packed Ocean Mania tour that zips you across the ocean and ends with a meet and greet with friendly sea lions. They’ve even got an extreme Zip Line Adventure where you can fly through a tropical forest and experience “Superman”, one of Mexico’s longest and fastest zip lines. 

8

Explore the Los Muertos Pier

Enjoy a laid-back day of meandering around Los Muertos Pier, where you can swim in the ocean, then browse the shops or hop on a bike to cruise the area. Stay to watch one of Puerto Vallarta’s colorful sunsets and see the pier’s multicolored lights adorning the large sail, creating a beautiful backdrop for your souvenir photos. It’s also the launching off point for day trips to nearby islands and beaches like Las Animas, Yelapa and Las Marietas Islands. 

9

Catch a Captivating Dinner Show

Courtesy of Vallarta Adventures

Families won’t want to miss the iconic Rhythms of the Night dinner show in Puerto Vallarta, as it’s considered one of the best things to do in the area. This fascinating cultural show offers an engaging display that kids will enjoy, offering a combination of Cirque de Soleil meets dinner theater that depicts various stories of the ancient Hispanic civilization and Mexican folklore. Start with a sunset cruise across Banderas Bay to Las Caletas, then enjoy the mesmerizing show that features live music, dancing, contortionists, fire-twirlers and a large buffet dinner. 

10

Go Horseback Riding

Courtesy of Comisión Mexicana de Filmaciones

Families who love adventure can sign up for exciting horseback riding excursions into the Sierra Madre. Rancho El Charro sits just outside Puerto Vallarta in a charming untouched village nestled at the banks of the Pitillal River where you’ll start your excursion. Many of the ranch’s tours are ideal for young riders. Trots head upriver to a sparkling swimming hole and waterfall, then lead up to a mountain lookout point with views of the ocean and town below. Along the way, friendly guides offer information about the historic village, native plants and wildlife. 

11

Take a Day Trip to Yelapa

When you need a change of scenery, consider a day trip outside Puerto Vallarta’s city limits to the picturesque coves of Yelapa and Majahuitas. Mingle with friendly locals, swim in a cascading waterfall or set up a hammock for the day, as stepping on this tropical paradise feels like you’ve stepped back in time. Explore the rural Mexican village on a day trip with Vallarta Adventures, where you’ll have the chance to snorkel and kayak, and if you’re lucky, spot dolphins or a whale in winter. You can also hire a water taxi at the marina, then take the 45-minute journey to a captivating destination that’s only accessible by boat.

12

Join a Whale-Watching Tour

Courtesy of Wanetta Ayers

If families time their visit to Puerto Vallarta right, they can witness majestic humpback whales in Banderas Bay on a whale watching tour from December until mid-February or March. The humpbacks migrate in winter from the Arctic to breed and rear their young in the sheltered coasts of the bay, and it’s possible to get a glimpse of these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat. Make memories with the family as you tick this item off your bucket list and marvel at the sight of whales swimming and breaching in the wild. 

13

Stay at a Kid-Approved Beach Resort

Courtesy of Velas Resorts

While Puerto Vallarta offers plenty of inviting beachfront accommodation, choosing the right hotel that everyone in the family will love makes or breaks your vacation experience. Avoid the party crowds at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, where sparkling pools, beachfront access and daily kids activities like cooking classes and arts and crafts appeal to families or enjoy the all-inclusive perks and kiddy pools at Marival Residences Luxury Resort. For easy access to gentle ocean waves, stay at Sunset Plaza Beach Resort & Spa, or head to Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa for budget-friendly accommodations, a game room, movie nights and sand castle competitions. 

Special Deals Delivered to Your Inbox!

Join the newsletter for great deals, current news and inspiring stories on all things beach.