For many of us a trip to the Yucatan is a must, but have you considered the delicious West coast of Mexico? We’ve partnered with family traveler Erin Bender of Explore With Erin as she shares her 3 favorite things to do in Puerto Vallarta.

On Mexico’s Pacific coast is the delectable Puerto Vallarta, home to beaches, adorable marine life and some of the best food in the country. And when you have a combination like that, it’s easy to see why Puerto Vallarta is the 2017 hot spot. So once you book your flights and accommodation, what are the three top things you’ll want to book in next?

Puerto Vallarta dancer

Photo: Josh Bender – Travel With Bender

Las Marietas Snorkeling Tour

About an hour boat ride west into the Pacific Ocean is a series of small islands that are only accessible by an authorised tour company. You can hop aboard a catamaran and head out to find secret caves, white sand beaches and snorkel in warm water filled with tropical fish. You’ll even find one of the top 10 beaches in the world amongst these islands.

Tip: Known as the Hidden Beach or Lovers Cove, this top beach is only reachable during low tide, so do take that into account when booking your tour time.

The snorkeling portion of the tour is the highlight. You will swim through caves, falling in love with brightly coloured coral, tropical fish and perhaps even catch a glimpse of the rare blue-footed booby bird.

Puerto Vallarta snorkelling tour

Photo: Josh Bender – Travel With Bender

Back on board, snacks and drinks are served to fill the empty spots in your stomach after all that glorious swimming. You will also find opportunities to kayak or stand-up paddle board. It’s the perfect family-friendly activity and an incredible way to spend your time in Riviera Nayarit.

Eat Mexican Food 

After all that exhaustive snorkeling, you are going to want food. And Mexican food is a party in your mouth. Whether you are looking to take a Vallarta food tour or just hoping to find your own delicious restaurants, Puerto Vallarta will not disappoint.

A food tour is a great way to taste authentic flavors without the hassle of trial and error. If you are not as keen to try as much Mexican food as possible, then simply head to a few great restaurants for your favourite taco.

You’ll find phenomenal restaurants in the majority of luxury all-inclusive resorts around town or head to Sayulita for fabulous beachside food at Don Pedro’s. While you’re there, take a small wander to the Sayulita Wine Shop to sample local Mexican wine and spirits.

Puerto Vallarta wine tasting

Photo: Josh Bender – Travel With Bender

And don’t be afraid of food trucks. Although a 75 cent taco may seem too good to be true, more often than not they are mouth-wateringly delicious. Tip: The Pork Carnitas is my favorite.

Have a Puerto Vallarta Sea Lion Adventure 

Vallarta Adventures is home to many rescued marine life and plays a major focus on educating people on the importance of protecting our sea life.

At the same time, you can share a wet kiss and a slippery hug with a slick sea lion. Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to get nose to nose with dolphins and learn their unique physiology?

Puerto Vallarta dolphin education

Photo: Josh Bender – Travel With Bender

Getting up close and personal with rescued wildlife will ignite a fire of passion within you for marine life and teach your kids valuable lessons.

Also, keep your eyes wide open while walking around the park, many a lazy iguana lies basking in the hot Mexican sun for you to gawk at.

Don’t stop there! The list goes on and on, so check out more things to do in Puerto Vallarta! But whatever activities you end up booking on your Mexican adventure, please make sure you leave time for relaxation at your resort. You’re going to need it!

Erin Bender is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity. For more information on the Travelocity Gnomads visit

Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.

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