Things to Do in Puerto Vallarta with Kids

March 16, 2015

Who wouldn’t want to take their kids to a destination named “World’s Friendliest City” by Conde Nast Traveler and “Best Holiday Destination in Mexico” by US Welcome to Puerto Vallarta.

Nestled between the emerald green of the Pacific and the looming Sierra Madre Mountains is Puerto Vallarta, seducing visitors with its colorful culture, friendly locals, and tropical appeal. In addition to the sun-drenched beaches, this Mexican seaside destination offers a myriad of dining experiences, soft and extreme adventure options, and eco-diversity.

And with temperatures which can run anywhere between 70℉ – 92℉ depending on the season, there almost isn’t a good time to enjoy the Puerto Vallarta beaches and activities.

1. Take a stroll on the malecón

puerto vallarta

The pedestrian-only walkway is the heart and soul of the city. The seaside footpath is filled with open-air colorful sculptures along the ocean side, shops, and eateries on the town side of the Esplanade, and the mountains as a distant scenic backdrop.  By day the malecón is buzzing with activity and later it’s a good place to view the stunning Pacific sunsets.  Be prepared to encounter the enticing aromas of local Mexican, Mediterranean, and Cuban cuisines, as well as pizza and American-type franchises for the younger palate. On weekends street performers provide merry entertainment.

2. Pirate cruise in Puerto Vallarta

puerto vallarta

All aboard the Marigalante for a day-long adventure on the high seas!  After serving a full breakfast, the pirate crew entertains with shows, singing, and swordfights. The shows are fun for the entire family, and the pirates actively encourage participation and “volunteer” some kids to take part in the shows and games.

puerto vallarta

The ship anchors at Majahuitas Beach for a 2-hour beach party, with a treasure hunt and tug of war for the kids, and snorkeling, snorkeling and banana boat rides for all.  After a grilled buffet lunch, the ship sets sail for the return to port with even more shows and entertainment. I had anticipated the pirate ship would be too kitschy, but to my delight, it was a boisterous good time for all ages.

3. Zipline in Puerto Vallarta

puerto vallarta

The Los Veranos canopy tour lays claim as the original eco-friendly zip-line adventure in Puerto Vallarta, boasting more than a decade of experience.  After a safety briefing and equipment fitting, children as young as six years old can participate in this adventure. The lush jungle course encompasses more than two miles of cable, zooming screaming tourists from tree to tree with views over the Orquideas River.  The longest stretch is more than a quarter of a mile long with a stunning birds-eye observation of the ravine below.  The property has a restaurant and an animal sanctuary with monkeys, a Burmese python to hold, or test your daring and let a furry tarantula crawl to across your face.

[read more: 10 Reasons to Take Your Family to Puerto Vallarta at The Momiverse]

You may also be interested in:

Exploring the Mexican Yucatan with Kids

Family Fun on Culebra, Puerto Rico

5 Sunny Mexican Beaches to Escape the Winter Blues

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Patti Morrow

Patti Morrow is a freelance travel writer and founder of the award-winning international blog Luggage and Lipstick and southern travel blog Gone to Carolinas. TripAdvisor called her one of “20 Baby Boomer Travel Bloggers Having More Fun Than Millennials.”  Patti is the author of the book “Girls Go Solo: Tips for Women Traveling Alone,” and has over 150 bylines in 40 print and online publications, including The Huffington Post, International Living Magazine, Washington Post Sunday Travel, Travel Girl, Travel Play Live Magazine, and Ladies Home Journal.  She has traveled six continents looking for fabulous places and adventure activities for her Baby Boomer (and Gen X!) tribe.


  1. Comment by Irene S Levine

    Irene S Levine Reply March 16, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    You sure make the case for this being a great family destination! Loved the photos and text~

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply March 17, 2015 at 10:04 am

      It was one of my kids’ favorite vacations!

  2. Comment by A Cook Not Mad (Nat)

    A Cook Not Mad (Nat) Reply March 18, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    There’s definitely something for everyone which makes it perfect for families.

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply March 18, 2015 at 11:06 pm

      So much diversity and variety — no two days are the same!

  3. Comment by Ursula Maxwell-Lewis (@YouTravel)

    Ursula Maxwell-Lewis (@YouTravel) Reply March 20, 2015 at 4:05 am

    It’s quite a while since I explored PVR. You reminded me it’s time to return! 🙂

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply March 20, 2015 at 7:03 am

      I always enjoy returning to Puerto Vallarta, Ursula!

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