Puerto Vallarta has rapidly become one of the premier tourist attractions along the Mexico - Pacific coast. Delicious food, amazing beaches, and other activities make it a thriving cultural center along Banderas Bay, making it stand out from the hundreds of travel sites you can visit along the Pacific coast. But while there's always something happening in town, not everyone is looking for the same things for their stay in Puerto Vallarta - which means looking for the perfect time to visit.
So when is the best time to go to Puerto Vallarta? This really depends on what you want to see and do while you're in the city. Generally, there's always something to do each time of year - though you can divide the general flow of events and changes in the season every 3 months.
Puerto Vallarta's waters remain relatively calm throughout the year, but it's really the events inside the city and the temperature of the season that can really make a difference. If you're not sure about how these 2 factors can affect the ideal time for you to visit, here's a guide on how Puerto Vallarta changes throughout the year.
In terms of temperature, the first quarter of the year is when Puerto Vallarta's conditions are the most ideal. The average temperature around this time of the year is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes for cool evenings and very few days of rain. As some of the coolest months in the city, it makes the already spicy Mexican food far more appealing.
As the winter months start to close, it makes for some of the best viewing conditions for watching baby humpback whales, adult whale sharks, and other aquatic wildlife around the area. The sandy beaches are still relatively packed during this holiday season, though most tourists and locals prefer to retreat to the heated swimming pools closer to the city center.
However, all these ideal conditions mean that January to March isn’t the most affordable time in Puerto Vallarta. If you're traveling on a budget, average hotel rates are still extremely high compared to other seasons, with deals on flights being a close second. And while you'll still be able to enjoy the beach, other places in Mexico can be less chilly than the temperatures you'll face here.
The temperature starts to rise a little bit around April to June, though the season is still relatively mild. Most tourists in Puerto Vallarta have usually left by this point, so you're free to pick and choose any of the beautiful beaches along the beach town to spend the late afternoons. Given the length of Banderas Bay itself, it's highly likely that you'll find a beach to yourself that you can enjoy.
The slowly rising temperature also makes this one of the sweet spots where the waters around the beach are warm enough for extended swims, but not hot enough to limit your overall time in the water. Cooler water aside, it's also the best time for snorkeling, as a good part of the wildlife around the beach is out and about.
However, take care with timing your visit around these months since it can be easy to get off-guard by the sudden rise in temperature around June. Maximum temperatures around this quarter tend to hover around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which heralds the beginning of the dry season.
With an average temperature of around 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, July to September is when the summer months arrive in Puerto Vallarta. Warm water and warm weather mean that there aren't a lot of crowded beaches around - or even a lot of people at all. As a result of the heat, airlines, and accommodations alike usually drop their prices, making this quarter the cheapest time you can go to the city.
However, that doesn't mean that precipitation can't help cool things down. While Puerto Vallarta isn't really prone to hurricanes thanks to its location near the Sierra Madre mountain range, summer rain occasionally makes landfall here because of the nearby Pacific Ocean. If you don't mind the humidity and are traveling on a budget, these months may be fit for you.
That's not to say there isn't anything to do around Puerto Vallarta either - Mexican Independence Day (September 16) and other assorted celebrations around the area often means that there's always something new in town to look forward to. Even in the middle of the hottest month, you can expect the celebration to go on as usual when the sun goes down and until the first few rays peek over the horizon.
The last quarter of the year is when the summer months finally give way to cooler weather again, though the average temperature still hovers around 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the cool beaches of Banderas Bay and the reduced chance of rain make this some of the perfect times to go take on the many water activities around Puerto Vallarta.
It's also a month of celebration: the Festival Gourmet International is a brilliant showcase of Mexican food, while the Day of the Dead (or Dia de Muertos) is always a great draw for tourists and locals alike. Expect to encounter high traffic near the center of town, and look forward to the celebrations going late into the night.
Keep in mind that tourists generally start to arrive in the area around November, so make sure that your accommodations and your itinerary have already been planned in advance. Because of the sheer variety of things to do around the city, it's best that you already have something to follow once you get there so you make the most out of your time in the city.
One worry that tourists often have when visiting Puerto Vallarta at any time of the year is if the local infrastructure or facilities can accommodate their needs. While it's true that Puerto Vallarta is not as urbanized as its neighbors like Cancun or Guadalajara, the town has taken significant steps in the last few years to become more friendly to tourists.
The most obvious of these is the construction of the Puerto Vallarta international airport, which gives travelers easy direct flights and return flights not far from the city center. The city itself is also accessible via sea or land, as more highways and ports have also been opened along the coastline.
Public safety is also well-taken care of by the local government and police force. In fact, Puerto Vallarta's safety index is high compared to other similar tourist destinations or even some major US cities. The city's emergency and medical systems are also up-to-date and can serve locals and tourists alike, ensuring that any emergency can be immediately taken care of.
But perhaps the best argument for getting an extended stay in Puerto Vallarta (or going there anytime regardless of when it is in the year) is the sheer volume of sights, sounds, and experiences that you can see. Puerto Vallarta has attractions for everyone: from the nature lovers at Vallarta Botanical Gardens, the party people at the Malecon Boardwalk, and the shoppers at Isla Rio Cuale.
That's not even adding the dozens of hidden beaches, islands, and other stunning views and panoramic locations that you can find regardless of the season. The ultimate charm of Puerto Vallarta is in how it's one of Mexico's shining examples of tourism - that there's always something for you any time that you visit.
Picking the right time to go to Puerto Vallarta is more than just picking the best month - the season, ticket prices, and any celebrations happening in the city or the country can all affect the best time to go there. But being one of the best coastal destinations in Mexico does make it so that you can enjoy this Pacific coast retreat almost any time of year. Just make sure to plan your itinerary and match it with the ideal time to go to the city, and you should be in for a memorable vacation.
As experienced providers of luxury accommodations, Agave Villas has a unique understanding of the best times AND the best places to stay in Puerto Vallarta. We maintain an extensive network of properties, travel agents, and staff who are all well-acquainted with the area and are dedicated to making your stay as comfortable as possible. Whether it's looking for a place next to your favorite street party in town or a quiet retreat to enjoy the cooler evenings in the countryside, we can help you make your stay in Puerto Vallarta as great as it can be.
For more information about how we can make your stay in Puerto Vallarta better, contact us through our website today.