If you are a solo traveler looking for the perfect destination to explore on your own, Puerto Vallarta, an amazing coastal city on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, is one of the best places to visit with no shortage of activities to keep you entertained. From amazing places to snorkel, to day trips to quaint towns around the area, to tequila tasting, shopping, and everything in between, you will have plenty to keep you busy and you’ll be surrounded by so many friendly people that you will not even notice you are traveling alone.
Traveling and exploring a new city by yourself can be a great way to reconnect with yourself, catch up on what your own wants and needs are, and satisfy your inner being without having to pander to the whims of a group. While group travel with friends can be an amazing and exciting experience, sometimes having a little alone time can do you a world of good and can open the door to the most enriching experiences ever.
When you are a solo traveler, you travel under your terms and times. You have the option to do whatever you feel like that day and connect with people you usually won’t in your daily routine. The experience of you spending time with you encourages you to grow and see your strengths as a person.
One of the best destinations to experience as a solo traveler is Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. This jewel is one of the best beach towns in Mexico and it offers infinite options for solo activities that you can experience while immersed in one of the most diverse ecosystems in Mexico. Whether you are looking for adventure activities, a culinary experience or to party until the sun comes up, this destination has something for everyone!
This post will give you some ideas of what activities to do as a solo traveler while visiting such an incredible Mexican destination!
Chill on the Beach
Puerto Vallarta is full of amazing beaches that will take your breath away. This destination is one of the widest and deepest bays in the world. There’s plenty of beaches to visit with different water activities to keep you entertained. Some of the most popular ones are Los Muertos Beach and Playa Las Gemelas.
Los Muertos Beach is probably the most popular and best-known beach in this destination. It is a popular destination amongst families, locals, and tourists. It is a lively place with great places to drink and eat – the perfect spot for making new friends.
Getting here is easy: The first section of the beach is in the Romantic Zone (Old Vallarta) and it is called Olas Altas Beach. The second section of this place goes south of Venustiano Carranza and it is called Los Muertos Beach. The easiest way to get here is by walking south along the Malecon.
Another favorite beach is Playa Las Gemelas. It is a pair of twin beaches located south of Puerto Vallarta’s downtown area. Even though it is fairly small, it offers blue-green pristine waters, soft sand, and a relaxing spot away from the crowds. You won’t find vendors on the beach apart from the occasional pineapple seller, so we recommend that you bring your own drinks, snacks, and a towel. It is a great place for swimming, practicing snorkeling, or just relaxing on the beach while reading a good book.
When visiting the beach don’t forget to bring your sunscreen, sun hat, sunglasses, and drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.
Visit Basilio Badillo
This street located in the Zona Romántica (Romantic Zone) of Puerto Vallarta is where the old and the new essences of the city collide. It is a very vibrant area adorned with flowers and papel picado, making it a great spot for taking selfies. Basilio Badillo begins at the beachfront of Los Muertos Beach and then crosses to Old Vallarta.
If you are looking for some retail therapy, this place is full of boutiques and stores where you can get anything from traditional Mexican garments to accessories, jewelry, and handicrafts. Another option for spending the day here is to visit the different art galleries, cafes, and bakeries with a great selection of pastries to indulge your palate with, perfect for having a date with oneself.
If you want to educate yourself about tequila, the Agave Room on Calle Basilio Badillo 212 B, offers tastings with 4 styles of tequila, raicilla, and mezcal, which are paired with delicious appetizers.
When it is dinner time, you will find several restaurants and bars dotted along the street. Nacho Daddy located at 287 Basilio Badillo is a popular spot to hang out where you are sure to have a great meal while meeting new people.
Before the night ends, go to Act2PV, a great place where you can enjoy a good night while listening to music by local musicians and get to know expats or people who are solo travelers as well.
Go to Zona Romántica
Puerto Vallarta’s Zona Romántica is also known as Viejo Vallarta and it is located south of downtown. It is one of the busiest parts of the city where you can find several cafes, bars, shops and restaurants. This is a must when visiting this destination – this is the heart and soul of the city.
This is a traditional Mexican pueblo-like design. The older buildings take you back in time and welcome you to a different era where everything was simpler set against newer buildings and some of the best restaurants in the area. Kaiser Maximilian is in the heart of the Romantic Zone on Olas Altas 380-B. This Austrian Bistro will make you feel like you are a solo traveler in Europe with a fine selection of dishes that incorporate the traditional elements of Austrian cuisine fused with local ingredients.
On Saturdays during high season (November to April) Olas Altas Farmers Market at Lázaro Cárdenas Park is the place to be between 9:00 am and 2:00 pm. You will find there a friendly atmosphere and tons of market stalls selling anything from homegrown organic products to handmade crafts and fresh locally made food ranging from vegan dishes to samosas, empanadas, bagels and bread, meat dishes, and more.
This is a great option if you want to experience a more traditional perspective of Puerto Vallarta and its culture and buy some great souvenirs to take home with you as keepsakes while you’re at it.
Get Out of the City, Visit San Pancho
If you need a break from the city, visit San Pancho, Nayarit. This laidback town is a one-hour drive from Puerto Vallarta; you can either rent a car or take a bus from Puerto Vallarta’s airport. The vibe of this town is perfect for solo travelers. You can hang out at the beach, go to vegan restaurants, or just drink a coffee downtown while meeting new people.
The great thing about this town is that you can meet backpackers from different parts of the world that enjoy the vibe and create new friendships. Amar Café is a great spot to hang out, and people-watch with great coffee and food! Also, the staff is very friendly and welcoming.
San Pancho is also considered one of the best beaches for surfing. It is great for intermediate or advanced surfers, and there are places to rent a surfboard on the main road, a few steps from the beach.
However, if you are a beginner who is looking to learn how to surf, this is not the best beach to learn. Sayulita has gentler waves and is a better location for those new to surfing. Lunazul Surf School & Shop in Sayulita is a reputable company which offers surf lessons for beginners with professional bilingual instructors.
Take a Tour to Marietas Islands
If you are looking to visit Islas Marietas or Hidden Beach, you can find several tour providers that can take you to this amazing place. Vallarta Adventures is one of the most reputable companies in the area. They offer the Islas Marietas Eco Discovery tour, which departs from Marina Vallarta or Nuevo Vallarta.
The tour lasts 7 hours and starts with a boat ride to Islas Marietas where you will have the opportunity to swim and snorkel. This is a great opportunity to explore the beautiful underwater world and encounter vibrant tropical fish. Once back onboard you will enjoy an open bar and deli-style lunch before going to Majahuitas Island, a secluded beach, where you can kayak, paddle board, relax on the beach, and swim before traveling back to the marina by boat.
Whatever you decide to do during your trip, it will be a solo traveler adventure that you will never forget.