If you are considering taking a vacation to Mexico, I recommend you visit Puerto Vallarta.
If it’s not already on your list of options, it should be.
Puerto Vallarta is one of the most popular, safest, friendliest, beautiful resort cities in Mexico.
I have been to several resort towns in Mexico, including Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, and Loreto. Puerto Vallarta still remains my absolute favorite. That’s why I chose to spend over 2 years of my life living there.
The beaches are amazing, the food is excellent, the town is traditional, and the service is excellent. Plus, you can actually have a very affordable vacation (and life) here.
Before you start planning your trip to Puerto Vallarta, be sure to read my Ultimate Guide first!
There are a lot of myths about Mexico, some might be true, but most are probably not true. I want to show you why I fell in love with this place, and what you can expect when you visit Puerto Vallarta.
5 Things to Expect When You Visit Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
1. Life is more casual here.
The lifestyle here is different, and you may notice this while visiting Puerto Vallarta even for the first time.
People are more casual, laid back, and relaxed.
They don’t seem to worry about things so much. They might even move a little slower than you are used to.
I consider it a little bit “hippie”. You might feel a little freer while visiting Puerto Vallarta. It’s a place you can let go and really have fun.
Accept it, let it flow, take it easy, and learn to move at a slower pace. You are on vacation anyways, so there’s no need to rush or be impatient. Embrace it and have fun!
2. The locals are super-friendly.
In 2015 Travel & Leisure named Puerto Vallarta one of the top 30 friendliest cities in the world and I can see why.
I made some really good friends while living in Puerto Vallarta, and some of those people will probably be life-long friends. I don’t think I would have been able to move there so easily if it wasn’t for some of those friends (number one being my husband), so I am very grateful for them!
Puerto Vallarta thrives on its tourism, so they want you to visit year after year. Most people will do whatever they can to make sure you are having a good time in their city. They have so much pride and love for Vallarta and are accepting of all visitors.
3. Street food is the best food.
Did anyone ever tell you that you shouldn’t eat any food outside of your resort?
This is totally crazy and ridiculous to me! This is the very first thing I do once I step off that plane in Vallarta- get some street tacos and a Michelada!
In all of my experiences, food from the street is the best, plus it’s so cheap!! This is an absolute MUST during a trip to Mexico.
Puerto Vallarta also has many high-quality, top-rated restaurants, and a wide variety of options. A lot of those options are directly on the beach where you can literally have your feet in the sand while eating, or even high up on the hills with the most amazing ocean view.
Definitely make sure you at least try some of Puerto Vallarta’s amazing street tacos and have dinner on the beach watching the sunset. I miss those days!
4. The water is safe for swimming. But it’s not turquoise.
When I used to sell vacation packages for a resort in Puerto Vallarta, this was one of the topics that came up frequently. Clients would ask me “How is the water?”
Well, the water is not turquoise like other areas of Mexico, but it is a pretty shade of blue. There are some beaches in Puerto Vallarta that have very clear spots that are a shade of turquoise but don’t go to Puerto Vallarta expecting to see something like the Caribbean.
The water is definitely safe for swimming though, unlike some beaches in Cabo and Cancun. Here you will rarely come across a “rough water” beach, or a beach that has severe drop-offs. None of the beaches I have ever swum at had any concerns at all.
Here’s how you can find 5 of my all-time favorite beaches in Puerto Vallarta.
5. Puerto Vallarta is a mecca for expats.
I shouldn’t really be surprised by this, but it does still amaze me that so many expats live in this city. I swear Puerto Vallarta must be the gold standard for Canadian folks looking to retire, or just escape from their brutal winters.
Many of those expats end up making a life in PV and just staying! A tourist visa is only valid for 6 months, but it’s totally possible to get a resident visa to extend your stay and make a life here! I did it, so could you!
If you are visiting Puerto Vallarta for the first time, you should definitely check out “Old Town”, or also called, the “Romantic Zone”. This is where you will find so many super chill bars and restaurants, many of them packed with Americans and Canadians. You might feel a little at home here and meet some new friends.
I hope this helped convince you to visit Puerto Vallarta! As I said, I LOVE this place, it is my second home and I can almost guarantee you will fall in love with it too.
For more information about visiting Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, you can head over to their Official Tourism Guide.
Is there anything that you would like to know more about? Let me know by commenting below! I love talking about Vallarta, so don’t be afraid to ask me anything!