13 Best Things To Do In Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

things to do in nuevo vallarta mexico
| 8 min read

Nestled between the tranquil Pacific Ocean and the Sierra de Vallejo mountains is Nuevo Vallarta, one of the most visited and exclusive beach destinations in Mexico. Nuevo Vallarta is a planned luxury residential-resort community, 25 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta on the Rivera Nayarit in the center of Banderas Bay. Nuevo Vallarta is not a city or a village, but a Mexican destination vacation resort featuring modern accommodations and attractions. The resort spans a three-mile-long (five-kilometer-long) white, sandy beach and has a 300 slip marina with navigable canals, and for that reason, is sometimes referred to as Little Venice on the Mexican Pacific coast. Besides world-class golf courses and restaurants, you’ll find plenty of top-notch accommodations in Mexico, from Airbnb Luxe apartments to the best beach houses. This is a very modern and exclusive destination due to its luxurious ambiance and its unique natural setting. Read on to learn about the best things to do in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico.

1. Aquaventuras Waterpark and Dolphin Discovery

Source: Photo by user Christian Frausto... used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Don’t know what to do in Nuevo Vallarta with your kids? Check out Aquaventuras Waterpark. This place provides family fun complete with 10 water slides, a lazy river ride, and a large swimming pool. There is also a zip line and climbing wall for out of water fun. Dolphin Discovery, located inside Aquaventuras Waterpark, gives visitors a chance to swim with dolphins and sea lions by offering different encounters and swimming packages. There is a Dolphin Encounter, Dolphin Swim Adventure, and the Sea Lion Discovery. Aquaventuras Waterpark has free parking, an information center, lounge chairs for relaxing, lockers for your belongings, inner tubes for water slides and swimming pools, bathrooms, showers, and dressing rooms. They also have restaurant services and a boutique.

Aquaventuras Waterpark and Dolphin Discovery

Opening Hours Sunday-Saturday 11:00 am-5:00 pm

Address: Carretera Tepic Km 155 Bahía de Banderas 63732 Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, Mexico

Website: Aquaventuras Waterpark and Dolphin Discovery

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2. Bucerias Art Walk

Bucerias Street
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gkullberg used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Bucerias is a small tranquil city on the north shore of Banderas Bay, about 6 miles (9.6 km) from Puerto Vallarta. The city is home to one of the most unique art walks in the area: “Bringing Art to the Streets”. Unlike the hustle and bustle of Puerto Vallarta, the slow pace of Bucerias is more conducive for the many creative artists that now take up residence in town to display their talents. The local artists are known for inviting you into their private studios, often in their homes, sitting with clients while enjoying a refreshment. The Bucerias Art Walk takes place along four blocks of Av. L. Cardenas which is home to art galleries, fine jewelry stores and gourmet restaurants. Take a stroll down Lazaro Cardenas starting at the Bucerias Art Walk Plaza (62 Lazaro Cardenas, corner of Galeana) and enjoy the variety of galleries and meet some of the artists.

Bucerias Art Walk

Opening Hours Every Thursday of the month 7-9 pm (High Season - Nov-April)

Address: Calle Lázaro Cárdenas 62,63732 Bucerias, Nay., Mexico

Website: Bucerias Art Walk

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3. Vallarta Adventures

Source: Photo by user Tom Hart used under CC BY 2.0

Vallarta Adventures is Puerto Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta’s premier tour and activity operator. They offer a wide selection of adventure-based tours and excursions for people of all ages. Some of the excursions they offer are dolphin and sea lion programs, luxury yacht and snorkel, island discovery, extreme zip line adventure, sailing and scuba diving, sea safari, off-road adventure, surfing safari, whale watching, and snorkeling.

One the more popular adventures is Rhythms of the Night, their award winning dinner show. Participants cruise from Banderas Bay to the isolated cove of Las Caletas. Once on shore, diners follow a torch-lit trail past re-enactments of ancient rituals and customs before candlelight dining under the stars on beach side tables.

Vallarta Adventures

Address: Las Palmas 39, Nuevo Vallarta, 63732 Nuevo Vallarta, Nay., Mexico

Website: Vallarta Adventures

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4. Ada Sailing

Puerto Vallarta and sailboat 1
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Stan Shebs used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Ada Sailing is a family business that offers sailing excursions in Banderas Bay. They have two boats, Ada, a ketch sailboat, and Bruna, a handcraft launch. Ada has a spacious sundeck, shaded areas and restrooms and does VIP or Classic sailing trips. The VIP 5-Star Service Sail is their number one tour. Ada also does sunset sail, and sunset dinner cruises. Bruna travels faster and includes more attractions such as whale watching (in season), and a Marietas Island trip. Other tours include snorkeling and beach play (snorkeling gear is provided), and the South Bay Experience.

Ada Sailing

Address: Calle Marina Nacional 2755, Puerto Vallarta 48333, Mexico

Website: Ada Sailing

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5. Nuevo Vallarta Beach

Nuevo Vallarta
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user [Unknown] used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Nuevo Vallarta Beach is a three mile (5 km) beach on Banderas Bay on the Pacific Ocean and is considered one of the best beaches in Mexico. Lining the beach is exclusive hotels and villas which are part of the Nuevo Vallarta resort community. Once on the beach, you can walk along the beach all the way to the Ameca River that also divides Nayarit State from Jalisco State. The wide, sandy beach is good for long walks and swimming and a spectacular spot to see evening sunsets.

If you are not staying at the resort, there are three public access points to the beach. One is through a public access to the left of the Etc Beach Club. The second is at a beach club after the Marival Resort when going south, but there is a gate and parking lot and a charge to enter. Number three access is by Hotel Varadero on the southern tip of Nuevo Vallarta, and access is between two condos, Vela Vista and Ocean Vista. There are jet ski and paragliding rentals available here and lots of chairs to view the sunsets.

Nueva Vallarta Beach

Address: Nuevo Vallarta 63732, Mexico

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The following content is contributed by Trip101 writer, Celeste

6. Nuevo Vallarta Rivera Farmer's Market

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Nuevo Vallarta Rivera Farmer’s Market is less than a 10-minute walk from Paradise Plaza Shopping Center Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit. Visiting the shopping centre for food and groceries? You’ve got to walk over to this farmers’ market and shop through the stores - this is one of the best things to do in Nuevo Vallarta. Support the friendly vendors as they bring to you handicrafts, jewellery, and even clothing. You can also get some street food, different types of bread, cheeses, fruits, and vegetables. It’s a family-friendly bazaar that’s open seasonally from 9 am on Tuesdays only. For the latest news, you can follow them on Facebook or refer to their website for updates.

Nuevo Vallarta Rivera Farmer's Market

Address: Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, Mexico

Website: Nuevo Vallarta Rivera Farmer’s Market

Opening hours: Tue: 9am - 2pm (closed from Wed - Mon)

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7. Playa Bucerias

Source: Photo by Flickr user Raul G. used under CC BY 2.0

Think of Playa Bucerias as a town with authentic Mexican vibes and a golden sandy beach. It’s about a 20-minute drive from the city centre of Nuevo Vallarta. Slightly less crowded than other popular beaches, you can spend your day on the shore, enjoy the sea breeze, and swim or surf in the waters. You will also catch sight of a small flea market, boutique shops, and various eateries in the vicinity. We recommend getting your stomach filled at Sandrina’s Restaurant, a Mediterranean restaurant with vegan options. From the decorations to the ambience and the outdoor garden patio, you will be truly satisfied.

Playa Bucerias

Address: 63732 Bucerías, Nayarit, Mexico

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8. Paradise Plaza Shopping Center

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Encuentra el regalo perfecto en Paradise Plaza.

Posted by Paradise Plaza Shopping Center on Thursday, December 23, 2021

Just had an amazing golf session at El Tigre Club de Golf? Take a 10-minute ride from the golf course and get your shopping fix at Paradise Plaza Shopping Center. It is within a short walking distance from Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta and Paradise Village Hotel Nuevo Vallarta. This two-storey air-conditioned indoor mall has a play area for children right in front of the fast-food area. You can get your essential items from Sunset Market, which is located within the shopping mall. The supermarket also sells delicatessens, pastries, and a range of imported items from the US and Canada. You will also spot familiar brand names such as Starbucks, McDonald’s, Subway, and Domino’s Pizza on-site.

Paradise Plaza Shopping Center

Address: Paseo de los Cocoteros 85, Nuevo Vallarta, Nay., Mexico

Website: Paradise Plaza Shopping Center

Opening hours: 7am - 10pm (daily)

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9. Maizul

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

¡Deja de ir a los mismos lugares! Sal de la rutina Menú de promoción y Hora feliz de 1 - 6 X #restaurantes...

Posted by Maizul on Wednesday, April 7, 2021

A trip to Mexico should be accompanied by authentic Mexican food. If you agree with this sentiment, you need to drop by Maizul. This restaurant is a seven-minute drive from Paradise Plaza Shopping Center. Do note that the restaurant only opens at 1 pm, so you can either be there for lunch or dinner. They have a wide range of menu items including tacos, vegan lasagna, aguachile in Nayarit style, cochinita pibil in Yucatan style, chile relleno, and more! Complete the experience with their house cocktails. There’s also a kid’s menu available.


Address: 16 de Septiembre, 42 Nuevo Vallarta, 63732 Nuevo Vallarta, Nay., México

Website: Maizul

Opening hours: 1pm - 9pm (daily)

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10. Turtle Hatchery

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

This Nuevo Vallarta attraction is situated on the same shoreline of Playa Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta beach. You can see for yourself the releasing of turtles in the Turtle Hatchery. For a more structured experience, you can sign yourself up for a tour. There are tour agencies offering such tours dedicated to the harvesting, hatching, and releasing of baby sea turtles. Be part of the troop that searches the beaches for hidden eggs and know that they will be specially cared for in the nursery. Such tours usually run seasonally from August to January, so see if it coincides with your travelling plans.

Turtle Hatchery

Address: Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, Mexico

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11. Mini Zoologico

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Mini Zoologico is situated within the boundaries of El Tigre Club de Golf. As you would have already guessed from the name, it’s a small zoo. Do manage your expectations before going here. If you’ve had a golf session at El Tigre Club de Golf, then it would make perfect sense to swing by Mini Zoologico as well. You will be able to spot big cats like Bengal tigers and a crocodile. This makes a good place for children to observe the animals and a chance for adults to explain! If you’re travelling with kids, Mini Zoologico is worth a visit.

Mini Zoologico

Address: El Tigre Club de Golf, Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, Mexico

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12. Restaurante Coco Beach

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

After your golf sessions at El Tigre Club de Golf and animal visits at Mini Zoologico, you must be starving. Located a 10-minute drive away from the golf course, Restaurante Coco Beach is a seafood restaurant by the beach. It’s steps away from Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit hotel. Open from 8:30 am in the morning, it’s a good place to have an early lunch and some drinks after some fun at the beach. Or you can head here early to grab a beverage - you’re free to do what you like on your vacation, and nobody’s going to stop you from indulging in a few drinks!

Restaurante Coco Beach

Address: Paseo de los Cocoteros, Flamingos, 63732 Bucerías, Nay., Mexico

Opening hours: 8:30am - 7pm (daily)

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13. Biocean Wildlife Encounters

Parque Nacional Islas Marietas
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Christian Frausto... used under CC BY-SA 2.0

From your dolphin and sea lion discovery, carry on your animal adventures at Biocean Wildlife Encounters. You can view their tours online via their website or visit them on-site at their office. Their retail front is located in Paradise Plaza Shopping Center Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit. They have two types of wellness tours - one with whales and another at Islas Marietas National Park. The former is only available seasonally from December to March, while the latter is available year-round from Tuesday to Sunday. There is also a mangrove adventure tour if you prefer reptiles. You will set sail in comfortable boats or ships and depart in small groups accompanied by a professional crew and experienced biologists and guides who can converse in both English and Spanish. This is definitely one of the most fun things to do in Nuevo Vallarta.

Biocean Wildlife Encounters

Address: Paseo de los Cocoteros 85, Nuevo Vallarta, Nay., Mexico

Website: Biocean Wildlife Encounters

Opening hours: 8:30am - 6pm (daily)

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Nuevo Vallarta: a popular new Mexican resort destination

Villa Del Palmar Flamingos Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Michelle Maria used under CC BY 3.0

Nuevo Vallarta has become a popular destination due to its exclusive hotels, villas, restaurants, and golf courses. The hotels and resorts here are listed among the most exclusive and luxurious international beach destinations and the beach is considered one of the top beaches in Mexico. This destination also has the most exclusive restaurants of the Riviera Nayarit, most of which are located inside and outside of hotel complexes. It’s home to two of the most important marinas in the country: Nuevo Vallarta Marina and Paradise Village Marina. With its popular beach, exclusive hotels and villas, acclaimed restaurants, and recreational activities, this place is a one-stop vacation destination. Be sure to add some of these things to do in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico to your itinerary.

Frequently asked questions about the best things to do in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

  • What are the top attractions to visit in Nuevo Vallarta?

    This beach and resort destination boasts some top-notch attractions that are worth a visit, such as Dolphin Discovery Vallarta in Aquaventuras Park, Playa Bucerias, El Tigre Club de Golf and the attached Mini Zoologico, and Nueva Vallarta Beach.

  • What are the best outdoor activities in Nuevo Vallarta?

    Beaches abound in Nuevo Vallarta, so visitors to this luxurious part of Mexico can indulge in various water sports such as swimming, sailing, snorkeling, surfing, scuba diving, and more. You can also book a wellness tour with Biocean Wildlife Encounters for a chance to see some whales.

  • What are the most popular things to do with kids and family in Nuevo Vallarta?

    When in Nuevo Vallarta, some fun things to do with your whole family include spending a day at Dolphin Discovery Vallarta in Aquaventuras Park, shopping and sampling Mexican street food at Nuevo Vallarta Rivera Farmer’s Market, or heading to Mini Zoologico to say hello to the resident Bengal tigers.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Rebecca, an accomplished freelance writer with a decade of experience, has lent her pen to numerous local and regional publications, in addition to contributing to online travel platforms. Her...Read more

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