The Journey Begins: From the Heart of Jalisco to the Shores of Bandaras Bay
Located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, Puerto Vallarta is known for its stunning beaches, cultural scenes, and breathtaking natural beauty. Whether you're looking for a relaxing beach vacation or an exciting adventure getaway, Puerto Vallarta has something to offer.
But before you can soak up the sun and enjoy all that this city has to offer, you first need to get there. Luckily, Guadalajara serves as the main transportation hub for reaching Puerto Vallarta. If you are traveling from international destinations or other areas in Mexico, then check out our article on how to travel to Puerto Vallarta.
As one of the largest cities in Mexico and located just 215 kilometers away from Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara provides several options for traveling between the two cities. There are several reasons why travelers choose Guadalajara as their starting point when traveling to Puerto Vallarta.
For one thing, it is a bustling city that is the heart of Mexican culture with plenty of attractions and dining options to explore before making your way over to the coast. Additionally, since it is located relatively close to Puerto Vallarta in comparison with other major Mexican cities like Mexico City or Monterrey, it provides an ideal launching point for anyone who wants to experience both destinations during their trip.
Get to know more about Puerto Vallarta and the top attractions and best places to stay with our city guide.
Transportation options from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta
Taking a bus from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta is one of the most convenient and affordable transportation options. There are several bus companies that operate on this route, including ETN and Primera Plus. Buses run frequently throughout the day, with departures as early as 6 am and as late as 11 pm.
The journey typically takes around 5 hours, but this can vary based on traffic conditions and the specific route taken by the bus company. Expect to pay around $30-40 USD for a one-way ticket.
Renting a car gives you more flexibility when it comes to your travel schedule. You can choose when to leave Guadalajara and how many stops you want to make along the scenic route.
However, there are also some disadvantages to consider. Driving in Mexico can be challenging if you're not used to it, especially in urban areas where traffic is heavy and road signs may not be clear.
Additionally, parking in Puerto Vallarta can be difficult during peak tourist season. If you decide that renting a car is the best option for your trip, you can find my article on the best place to rent a car in Guadalajara.
Flying into Puerto Vallarta
Traveling between the Jaliscan cities of Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta is made easy and efficient by flying. Various domestic airlines offer regular flights along this route, which makes it the perfect getaway.
Non-stop flights can be booked from Guadalajara International Airport (GDL) to Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR) with carriers such as Aeromexico, Volaris, and VivaAerobus.
The flight usually takes around 45 minutes, making it a convenient option for those who want to explore Puerto Vallarta's stunning beaches and captivating attractions.
With frequent departures and competitive fares, flying from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta is easy and budget friendly. You can get a roundtrip ticket for as little as $80 USD per person.
The Drive to Puerto Vallarta
When driving from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta, you have a few different route options to choose from. The most commonly used route is taking Highway 15 and then Highway 200. This route (towards Compostela) is the shortest and will typically take you around 4-5 hours, depending on traffic conditions.
There is construction of a new highway between the 2 cities and half of it is open now, which is exciting! The drive is now sub 4 hours and once the new road is finished it will be below 3 hours.
If you're looking for a more scenic route, you can also consider taking Highway 70 towards Mascota. This route will take you through the mountains and provide breathtaking views of the Sierra Madre Occidental. However, please keep in mind that this route is more challenging due to the winding roads and may take a bit longer, around 6-7 hours to reach Puerto Vallarta.
Another scenic option is to take Highway 15 and then exit towards Tequila. This route will take you through the town of Tequila, famous for its production of Mexico's national drink. It's a great opportunity to stop and visit one of the tequila distilleries if you have the time. Afterward, you can continue on Highway 200 towards Puerto Vallarta, enjoying both the scenic countryside and coastal views.
When to Visit Puerto Vallarta from Guadalajara
If you're planning to travel from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta, it's essential to know the best time of the year for your trip. The weather patterns in both cities are quite different, and choosing the right time could have a significant impact on your experience.
Weather Conditions in Both Cities Throughout the Year
The climate in Guadalajara is known for being dry and warm throughout most of the year. Summers are hot and humid between May and September, with temperatures ranging from 21°C to 33°C (70°F to 91°F).
Winters are milder, with average temperatures ranging between 25°C and 30°C (77°F-86°F). In contrast, Puerto Vallarta's climate is more tropical due to its coastal location.
The city experiences humid and hot summers between June and October with average temperatures ranging from 26°C to 32°C (79°F-90°F). Winter months between December and February tend to be less humid but still warm with temperatures averaging around 25°C (77°F).
Peak Season vs Low Season for Tourism in Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta has two tourism seasons: peak season which falls between November through April, and low season during May through October. Peak season attracts a lot of tourists due to the mild winter weather conditions. Expect crowded beaches, higher accommodation prices, long lines at popular attractions, and more lively nightlife during this time.
In contrast, low season is less busy but still has its advantages such as fewer crowds leading up quieter beaches, lower accommodation prices as well as smaller crowds at popular attractions. However there may be rainy days or even tropical storms during this period.
Recommended Months for Visiting Based on Personal Preferences
There isn't necessarily a "bad" time to visit Puerto Vallarta, as it all depends on your personal preferences and what you're looking to experience during your trip. If you want to avoid peak season crowds and save some money, traveling in the low season is a good option.
Puerto Vallarta is a vibrant and exciting destination that is a little underrated but is filled with Mexico's rich culture and natural beauty. Whether you're looking for a peaceful escape or an adventure-filled getaway, this city really has it all.
When traveling from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta, there are several options available, including buses, car rentals, and flights. Each mode of transportation has its pros and cons, so make sure to consider your budget and travel preferences when choosing the best option for you.
Overall, traveling from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta is an easy and enjoyable experience that should not be missed. So pack your bags and get ready for a sun-filled adventure! You can read more here on the top things to do in Puerto Vallarta.
I consider myself a world-travelling nomad and a foodie at heart. Born in Germany and raised in East Tennessee, my passion for exploration has taken me all over the planet - exploring unfamiliar lands and cultures is what truly inspires my soul!
I live outside of Doha and consider myself an inside expert on all things Qatar. I love exploring all the country has to offer and look forward to giving you valuable insights of where I call home!