A gem on the tourist map of Mexico, Puerto Vallarta is a resort town on the Pacific coast. What awaits you is pristine beaches, colorful culture, great food and drink and sunny days.
A cobblestone old town is full of history, yet the city is also modern and high-tech with all the luxuries you want for a vacation. This is a Mexican destination that ticks all the boxes when it comes to an epic vacation in the sun.
You might be wondering when the best time to visit Puerto Vallarta is.
The ideal time to visit Puerto Vallarta is during April, May, or June when the weather is nice and accommodation rates are affordable.
It doesn’t rain much in these prime months and it’s not too busy compared to other times of the year. Also, the Spring Break crowds have departed and the summer rainfall and Mexican vacation season haven’t started.
Generally December through to the end of June you can expect reasonable weather with hot days and warm nights. You can still swim, surf, snorkel and enjoy other water sports during these summery months.
February to the end of May are dry months with those blue-sky days every vacationer dreams of. There is little chance of rainfall and the temperatures are blissful all day long and into the evenings.
Avoid the month of August when the most rainfall is recorded. That is the month that usually sees almost 10 inches of rain. The months with the least rainfall in Vallarta are March, April and May.
July to October is the rainy season in Puerto Vallarta and you can expect frequent rain showers most days. They might be brief and light or major thunderstorms with dramatic lightning displays.
If you want to go whale watching, the best time to visit Puerto Vallarta is from December to March. Humpback whales come to the area to mate and are especially active from mid-December to mid-March.
You can see babies from January onwards, with more frequent sightings in February and March as they become confident sea explorers. A whale-watching tour is an exciting experience and your chance to get up close and personal to these majestic creatures.
We recommend booking a morning tour when the ocean is usually calmer than later in the day.
Snorkeling is popular in Puerto Vallarta and all parts of Mexico that are by the ocean. You can snorkel and dive all year round but the best conditions with clear visibility are normally in June through October.
But later in the year and into February, you have a higher chance of spotting manta rays and whale sharks.
In November through May, visibility can be limited due to plankton blooms, but on the plus side, this attracts manta rays to the surface, which is good for snorkelers.
Some divers go from December through February in the hope of seeing migrating whale sharks.
The week before Easter is Holy Week and it’s a really busy time for Mexican holidaymakers, with rooms being expensive and hard to come by unless you book far in advance. For most international travelers it is not the best time to visit Puerto Vallarta.
Go from December through March if you are all about the jungle experience because the cool days and clear skies make the rainforest a lovely place to be.
Locals will discourage visitors from hitting the jungle from July through September, when mosquitoes are everywhere due to the summer rains.
Mosquitos in Mexica can carry various diseases, including chikungunya, so no matter what time of year you visit, always protect your skin with insect repellant or long shirts and pants when you are in the jungle or other rural areas.
The Season Summary
The peak season from December through to the middle of April is the busiest time for tourism in Puerto Vallarta. The wonderful weather draws in the crowds of tourists who love the hot temperatures and sunny days.
You might get an odd overcast day or a little rainfall, but in general, the weather is wonderful. When the weather cools down, the humpback whales arrive and fishing is bountiful.
Surf conditions peak and you can catch some great waves. In the new year, the students arrive to celebrate Spring break making March and April a pumping time in Puerto Vallarta.
The Holy Week and Easter are busy again, with many people having time off work to travel and relax.
The low season arrives in April and the scene in Puerto Vallarta is much quieter than the high season. Prices drop and you can snag some great bargains on room rates, flights and other services.
If you like hot and humid weather and don’t mind a little rain, this time of year is great for you. The bonus is no crowds. There are still tourists around, but you can have many places to yourself, including quiet beaches.
Although the surf conditions are not good, you can still swim and enjoy other water sports. The visibility for snorkeling and diving is excellent and you can see an abundance of sea life.
In the middle, you have shoulder season that falls in May and June, then October and November. You can expect good weather and a decent mix of sunny, rainy and cloudy days. It’s hot and the weather is generally good.
Room rates are not too high and if you shop around, you can find some good deals until mid-November, when they jump up ahead of high season.
Any time of the year you visit Puerto Vallarta, you can enjoy the bright culture, wonderful food and warm hospitality of the Mexican locals. From the fancy marina area to the busy hotel zone to the romantic Centro zone, you can find heaps to see and do.
When it’s time to stop for a rest, you can find a local restaurant serving up traditional food like tacos and quesadillas or be more adventurous and try Chiles en nogada or Frijoles Charros. If you are a foodie, you should book a food tour soon after arriving in Puerto Vallarta.
It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and discover your go-to favorite dishes to enjoy every day of your vacation. At nighttime, Puerto Vallarta comes alive and there is lots of entertainment to enjoy.
A sunset cruise, show or nice restaurant can kick off a night of drinking and dancing. Tequila has to be tried at least a few times during your stay. The next day you can head to Playa las Gemelas for some sun.
An oceanfront promenade is also a beautiful place for a stroll early in the morning or around sunset. The 1.5 km stretch of the scenic boardwalk is lined with shops, restaurants, cafes and bars do you can do some shopping and indulge in a margarita during your walk.
Sometimes you can see performers as you wander around the Malecon area too.
Don’t miss the sweetness of The Choco Museum, which is free to visit. You can learn how chocolate is made and about the history of chocolate making.
They also have classes so you can learn how to make your own chocolate, truffles and traditional mole sauce.
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