How to Travel to Puerto Vallarta: Your Vacation Guide
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November 29, 2023
5 min read
You’ve heard of this fantastic destination that offers sun, sand, and adventure, but how do you get there? Puerto Vallarta sits right in the Bay of Bandaras on the Pacific coast of Mexico, this city is known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and rich culture. Whether you prefer to unwind on the beach or explore hidden waterfalls in the jungle, there is a little bit of something for everyone in Puerto Vallarta.
Plan for Relaxation
While Puerto Vallarta is a fantastic travel destination, it's important to plan and prepare before embarking on your journey. This can help ensure that everything goes smoothly and you have a stress-free vacation.
Some important things to consider include finding affordable flights and accommodations, packing appropriately for the weather and activities you plan on doing while there, as well as familiarizing yourself with local customs and transportation options. By taking some time to do your research beforehand, you'll be able to make the most of your trip to Puerto Vallarta.
There's so much to see in Bandaras Bay, check out our Puerto Vallarta guide for the go-to spots and things to do.
Choosing the Best Time to Travel
Weather in Puerto Vallarta
If you're planning a trip to Puerto Vallarta, one of the most important factors to consider is the weather. Puerto Vallarta has a tropical climate, which means that it's generally warm and humid all year round.
The average temperature ranges from 70°F (21°C) to 90°F (32°C), depending on the time of year. The rainy season in Puerto Vallarta runs from June through October, with September and October being the wettest months.
During this time, you can expect daily rain showers and high humidity levels. However, there are also advantages to traveling during this time - the vegetation is lush and green, there are fewer tourists, and prices for accommodations tend to be lower. Plus the waterfalls are amazing during this time.
Peak tourist season vs off-season travel
If you're cool with packed beaches and spending a bit more cash, but love dry weather, then hitting up Puerto Vallarta during peak season could be the way to go. This runs from November to April and boasts warm temperatures without much rain. Traveling during off-season can have some significant benefits as well.
You'll find lower prices on flights and accommodations, less-crowded beaches and attractions, and more opportunities for personalized experiences with locals.
Ultimately, choosing the best time to travel to Puerto Vallarta will depend on your budget, preferences for crowds or solitude or your ability to tolerate humidity as well as your appetite for outdoor adventures during your vacation in this stunning Mexican spot.
Finding Affordable Flights to Puerto Vallarta
Tips for finding cheap flights online
Getting the best deal on a flight to Puerto Vallarta requires a little bit of research and flexibility. Here are some tips to help you find the cheapest flights available:
Use search engines like Google Flights, Kayak or Skyscanner which aggregate prices from different airlines and provide options for flexible travel dates.
Be flexible with your travel dates. Traveling mid-week can often save you money.
Sign up for email alerts from airlines and travel websites to receive notifications about special deals or sales.
Consider budget airlines such as Volaris or Interjet which offer lower fares but may have stricter baggage restrictions and fewer amenities compared to larger carriers.
Non-Stop Flights from the USA
Several airlines from the United States provide service to Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR), offering both non-stop and connecting flights. Here are some of the major American airlines that serve PVR, along with information on their non-stop routes:
American Airlines: American Airlines offers non-stop flights to Puerto Vallarta from various cities, including Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Phoenix (PHX). These routes provide convenient options for travelers looking for direct access to Puerto Vallarta's beautiful beaches.
Delta Air Lines: Delta Air Lines operates non-stop flights from a few select cities in the United States to Puerto Vallarta. While specific routes and schedules may vary, Delta offers non-stop service from cities such as Atlanta (ATL) and Los Angeles (LAX) to PVR.
United Airlines: United Airlines provides non-stop flights to Puerto Vallarta from several U.S. cities, including Houston (IAH) and Chicago (ORD). These direct routes allow passengers to reach Puerto Vallarta efficiently and comfortably.
Southwest Airlines: While Southwest Airlines primarily operates domestic flights within the United States, they offer non-stop service from select cities like Houston (HOU) and Los Angeles (LAX) to Puerto Vallarta.
Non-Stop Flights from Mexico
Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR) is served by multiple domestic Mexican airline companies that offer a variety of routes, both direct and connecting, from several cities across Mexico. Below you will find a list of some of the major Mexican airlines that provide service to PVR, as well as details regarding their direct flight options.
Aeroméxico: Aeroméxico, Mexico's flagship airline, offers non-stop flights to Puerto Vallarta from cities such as Mexico City (MEX) and Guadalajara (GDL). These routes provide convenient options for domestic travelers looking to visit Puerto Vallarta's beautiful beaches and attractions.
Volaris: Volaris is a low-cost carrier that operates non-stop flights to Puerto Vallarta from several Mexican cities, including Mexico City (MEX), Tijuana (TIJ), Monterrey (MTY), and Guadalajara (GDL). Volaris provides affordable options for travelers seeking direct access to Puerto Vallarta.
Interjet: Interjet offers non-stop flights from cities like Mexico City (MEX) and Guadalajara (GDL) to Puerto Vallarta. Interjet's routes provide additional choices for travelers looking for convenient connections to Puerto Vallarta from major Mexican cities.
VivaAerobus: VivaAerobus is a low-cost airline that offers non-stop flights from cities such as Mexico City (MEX) and Monterrey (MTY) to Puerto Vallarta. With competitive fares, VivaAerobus provides budget-friendly options for travelers exploring Puerto Vallarta.
Just a heads up, these airlines might switch up their flight schedules and routes, and could even add more cities for direct flights. So, it's a good idea to double-check with the airlines to see if you can fly straight to Puerto Vallarta from wherever you're starting in Mexico.
Getting to Puerto Vallarta by Bus
Puerto Vallarta is easily accessible from different parts of Mexico thanks to its well-established bus network. Taking a bus is a commonly preferred mode of transportation that offers convenience and comfort. A number of bus companies operate across Mexico and provide dependable services to Puerto Vallarta. If you're wondering how to reach this bustling city by bus, read on for an overview of how to travel from major cities in Mexico to Puerto Vallarta.
Mexico City: From Mexico City, you can find direct bus services to Puerto Vallarta. The journey typically takes around 10-12 hours, depending on the specific service and stops along the way. Bus companies such as ETN, Primera Plus, and Autovías offer regular departures from Mexico City's major bus terminals, such as Terminal Central del Norte or Terminal Poniente.
Guadalajara: Guadalajara, is a major city close to Puerto Vallarta, offers frequent bus connections. Several bus companies, including Primera Plus, ETN, and Vallarta Plus, operate services between the two cities. The travel time is approximately 4-5 hours, depending on traffic and the specific service chosen. Buses depart from Guadalajara's Central Camionera (Bus Station) and arrive at Puerto Vallarta's Central Camionera as well.
Monterrey: While the distance from Monterrey to Puerto Vallarta is significant, direct bus services are available. The journey can take around 15-18 hours, depending on the specific service and any stops along the way. Bus companies like Omnibus de México and ETN offer routes between Monterrey and Puerto Vallarta.
Tijuana: If you're starting your journey from Tijuana, you can take a long-distance bus to Puerto Vallarta. The travel time is considerable, usually ranging from 25 to 30 hours, depending on the specific service and any stops. Bus companies like TAP, Elite, and Pacifico offer connections between Tijuana and Puerto Vallarta.
Packing for Your Trip to Puerto Vallarta
Essential items to bring for a beach vacation
Packing for a beach vacation can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be. Besides your usual travel essentials like passport and wallet, you'll need swimsuits, beach towels, sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, covers, and flip flops. You may want to throw in a waterproof bag as well, especially if you plan on taking water taxis to the secluded beaches.
Make sure to pack enough clothes for the length of your stay. Don't forget a power bank to keep your phone charged while you explore the area.
Clothing recommendations based on weather and activities
Puerto Vallarta is hot and humid all year round. Lightweight fabrics like cotton, modal, or linen are recommended to keep cool. For water activities like swimming or snorkeling, bring quick-drying clothing that won't weigh you down when wet. Also, you may want to invest in some water shoes for riding around with the water taxis and for the beaches that are a little rocky.
If you plan on hiking or exploring outside of the city, pack comfortable shoes and clothes suitable for the terrain. Don't forget a light jacket or sweater as evenings can get cooler with the ocean breeze.
Don't pack too much! Leave some space in your luggage for souvenirs and gifts from Puerto Vallarta's markets and shops. You know everyone will be disappointed if you don’t bring them something back, or is that just my family?
If you're looking for a stunning vacation spot packed with fun things to do, Puerto Vallarta is where it's at. To really make the most of your trip, just remember a few key pointers - like timing your visit to match the weather and snagging some sweet flight deals. Once you're there, you can soak up some rays while sipping on margaritas by the shore, or dig into the city's amazing cuisine and culture.
And if you're feeling adventurous, there are tons of cool activities nearby - like hiking trails and ziplines- that'll keep you busy for days. Trust us, Puerto Vallarta won't disappoint!