Cruise Ship Port of Call Profile: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

One of the old-school cruise ship ports of call (it was the last stop on the final episode of the Love Boat, for anyone who remembers back that far or who’s watched the show in re-runs), Puerto Vallarta is popular for sun, sand, and shopping, as well as a variety of outdoor adventures, natural features, and cultural attractions.

Where is Puerto Vallarta?

Puerto Vallarta is a popular Mexican port of call on the Pacific Coast. Indigenous people thrived here for more than 2,000 years. The first Spanish conquistadors and missionaries arrived in the 16th century. Where fishing and the busy port at the foot of the Sierras were once the primary economic drivers, today, tourism is a big part of the local economy, and has been since the 1960s. The 1963 film Night of the Iguana starring Ava Gardner and Richard Burton was filmed in Mismaloya, just south of Puerto Vallarta, and really put the city on the map.

What’s it Like There?

Local residents enjoy a warm and tropical climate with high temperatures in the mid-80 to low-90s and low temperatures in the high-60s to low-70s. The area can see significant rainfall during the months of July-September.

Which Cruise Lines Go There?

Once called the Friendliest City in the World, Puerto Vallarta is still a hugely popular cruise ship destination for many travelers, as well as American snowbirds and Mexicans from all over the country. Up to three ships can be accommodated at once. Most cruise ships that visit Puerto Vallarta depart from Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, and trips are usually anywhere from 3-11 days in length. Cruise lines that dock in Puerto Vallarta include Carnival, Norwegian, Disney, and Princess.

Popular Cruise Ship Excursions in Puerto Vallarta

Visitors to Puerto Vallarta often rave about the beautiful beaches and local markets. Most cruise ship passengers book their excursions in advance, although it’s common for excursion booking desks on board the cruise ship to also offer booking services. Among the most popular experiences are:

  • The Sierra Madre Occidental: Tour the beautiful mountains by horseback or hiking. Guides offer insight into the natural and cultural history of the region while visitors get an up-close view usually enjoyed only by locals.
  • The Malecon: This beachside promenade is world-famous. Take a stroll or a bike ride and stop at local restaurants, bars, and shops for light refreshments and locally-made souvenirs.
  • Food and distillery tours: Spend a few hours dining on authentic local dishes that include tacos, ceviche and mahi-mahi. Many tours also include visits to tequila distilleries, and some offer samples to guests of age.
  • Seaside tours: See the coastline by boat, coupled with snorkeling, dolphin spotting, and swimming.
  • To learn more about Puerto Vallarta, visit the city’s tourism website at Happy sailing!

    Puerto Vallarta beach

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