Cruises to Puerto Vallarta

1,087 Reviews
Puerto Vallarta (Photo:Diego Grandi/Shutterstock)

About Cruising to Puerto Vallarta

Once a small fishing community, Puerto Vallarta has emerged as one of Mexico's most popular destinations. With cobblestoned streets that climb straight up to the jungle, the town was largely unknown to the rest of the world until Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor embarked on a love affair while filming "Night of the Iguana" in 1963.

Now, the colonial "old town" is a favorite of history buffs, photographers and bargain hunters, while areas such as Marina Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta attract beachgoers, boaters and those looking for all-inclusive resorts. The southern coastal areas of Mismaloya, Yelapa and Las Animas Quimixto are scenic wonders of coves and gullies, ideal for snorkeling; the latter two are reachable only by boat.

Because of its warm waters, the Bay of Banderas is a breeding ground for hundreds of humpback whales during the winter months (as well as expat Americans and Canadians). Pacific dolphins can be seen year-round, jumping alongside the bow wake of the many cruise ships that call in Puerto Vallarta. Many tour operators offer eco-tours and photo safaris to take advantage of the abundance of marine life in the region; jungle tours, horseback treks and visits to tequila factories are some of the other excursions offered.

But for those who choose to just wander around the city during a day in port, Puerto Vallarta offers a rich, rewarding experience. The downtown area is crowded with shops, restaurants and lots of traffic. The main street along the water, the malecon, has a seawall walkway that is flat and easily negotiable by wheelchair-bound visitors and those with difficulty walking and is notable for the many sculptures that line the path. The streets a few blocks off of the main throughway, though, are steep and cobblestoned; wear comfortable shoes.

  • More about Puerto Vallarta

  • Why Cruise to Puerto Vallarta?

  • Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port Facilities?

Loading...

We found you 157 cruises

Loading...
Loading...
Cruise Critic Favorite
Nieuw Amsterdam
Nieuw Amsterdam

13 Night
Mexican Riviera & Pacific Coast

964 Reviews
Leaving:
Cruise Line:
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Fare Insight
Zaandam
Zaandam Cabins

7 Night
Mexican Riviera

560 Reviews
Leaving:
Cruise Line:
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Fare Insight
Koningsdam
Koningsdam docked alonside in San Diego. (Photo: Holland America Line)

10 Night
Mexican Riviera & Sea Of Cortez

872 Reviews
Leaving:
Cruise Line:
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Fare Insight
Norwegian Jade
Norwegian Jade

7 Night
Mexican Riviera - San Diego

2,046 Reviews
Leaving:
Cruise Line:
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Fare Insight
Sponsored

Need First-Time Cruise Tips?

  • Help Choose Your Perfect Cruiseline
  • Find a Printable Cruise Packing List
  • Expert Ship Reviews, Itineraries & Destination Guides
  • Get Special Cruise Deals, Expert Advice, Insider Tips & More!

Nachi Cocom Beach Club

11 Night
Mexican Riviera & Sea Of Cortez

560 Reviews
Leaving:
Cruise Line:
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Fare Insight

11 Night
Mexico Cruise

1,976 Reviews
Leaving:
Cruise Line:
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Fare Insight

16 Night
Panama Canal

1,202 Reviews
Leaving:
Cruise Line:
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Fare Insight

21 Night
Panama Canal

1,202 Reviews
Leaving:
Cruise Line:
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Fare Insight

15 Night
Repo - Panama Canal

1,416 Reviews
Leaving:
Cruise Line:
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Fare Insight

10 Night
Mexican Riviera Cruise

1,605 Reviews
Leaving:
Cruise Line:
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Fare Insight

7 Night
Cabo, Vallarta & Mazatlan

2,293 Reviews
Leaving:
Cruise Line:
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Fare Insight

15 Night
Panama Canal Eastbound Cruise

2,483 Reviews
Leaving:
Cruise Line:
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Fare Insight
Cruise Critic Favorite

20 Night
Transcanal Cruise

1,021 Reviews
Leaving:
Cruise Line:
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Fare Insight

21 Night
Repo - Panama Canal

431 Reviews
Leaving:
Cruise Line:
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Fare Insight

51 Night
South America Cruise

733 Reviews
Leaving:
Cruise Line:
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Fare Insight

More about Puerto Vallarta

Why Cruise to Puerto Vallarta?

Pros:

This artsy Mexican port is full of vendors who are happy to haggle if you ask for a lower price

Cons:

Many shops sell similar items, and vendors can be pushy if you don't seem interested in their wares

Bottom Line:

Venture farther afield for local flavor; Yelapa is a favorite destination

Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port Facilities?

Ships dock at the Marina Vallarta Maritime Terminal, about 3 miles north of downtown. The terminal has ATMs, shops, a currency exchange and kiosks for tours.

There are several restaurants and bodegas near where the ships dock for those who want a final margarita before setting sail. You'll also find a small craft market to pick up those last-minute souvenirs. Hotels with bars and restaurants overlook the marina and the water, offering lovely spots to sit and watch the sunset (if your ship leaves after dark) or the sailboats coming back to the marina. Depending on which dock your ship uses, the Plaza Iguana Marina Resort, Flamingo Vallarta, or Vista Club Playa de Oro are all within reasonable walking distance.

For those who just can't get enough of U.S.-style shopping, there are both a Walmart and a Sam's Club directly across the main boulevard from the ship docking areas, about a 10-minute walk away. (Try Wal-Mart for Mexican snacks and drinks -- seriously.) Tequilas and Kahlua are definitely better priced there than in the duty-free liquor stores in town or near the ships.

Good to Know?

As you walk through the streets, some vendors may offer you free tequila tastings if you come inside. Be warned that unless it's an official liquor store, you might be subject to an annoying timeshare presentation in exchange for a few sips. Not worth it.

And it gets hot and humid in Puerto Vallarta, especially in the summer, so dress accordingly for your day in town.

Getting Around?

By Foot: The central areas of downtown Puerto Vallarta are a few miles away, so a taxi, bus or rideshare is recommended unless you are exploring close to the cruise terminal. There is a lot of traffic in this area, so if you're looking to walk around, we recommend finding a transfer closer to El Centro or the malecon, and strolling from there.

By Taxi: Taxis are plentiful and line up around the docks as passengers begin coming ashore. They are regulated, but have no meters, and the prices aren't posted. Negotiate before you get in; a trip to town in a taxi from the Marina Vallarta area should cost no more than 80 to 100 pesos (about $7) The yellow taxis, located outside of the port gates, are less expensive than those of the drivers walking around inside; the latter drive Federal Zone cabs, which cost more.

By Bus: Buses in Puerto Vallarta are great fun and very reasonably priced at 7.50 pesos (less than a dollar) for a trip. They can be found on the main road into the city (Avenue Francisco Medina Ascencio) and make several stops along the Hotel Zone before arriving in the center of Puerto Vallarta.

By Car: Rental cars are plentiful and quite reasonable, especially the ubiquitous VW Beetles. Be sure to check before you make a rental arrangement whether your insurance will cover you while driving in Mexico; many companies do not. An easy alternative is Uber -- the rideshare service is available throughout Puerto Vallarta.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The peso is the currency used in Mexico. Almost all shops, vendors and taxis take U.S. dollars, but that can raise the cost of your purchase. It's important to note that the symbol for pesos is the same as the symbol for dollars ($), so pay close attention to how items are priced. ATMs are available everywhere.

Language?

Spanish is the official language of Mexico, but almost everyone associated with the tourism industry in Puerto Vallarta speaks English.


Puerto Vallarta Cruise Reviews
Now, when it comes to excursions, we never book on board...too expensive. We either book in advance or simply get off the ship and talk to one of the many people at the docks. On this stop in Puerto Vallarta, we goRead More
User Avatar
Brprod1
Puerto Vallarta has changed a lot through the years and there's a lot of construction. It looks like they're working hard to improve. Our cab drivers were both very polite, though. There's no air conditioning unless Read More
User Avatar
tnsdean
Puerto Vallarta is an excellent port. No tendering is needed; you just walk off the ship. The cruise terminal is across the street from Walmart/Sam's Club and a Galleria shopping mall. It is also right next to - 10-mRead More
User Avatar
oceanpalace
I loved this port and I booked an excursion through Princess Cruise Lines. A boat ride to Yelapa, horseback riding, a hike to a water fall which many of the "old" people could not do which set us back time wise, a bRead More
User Avatar
Fun in the Florida Sun

Related Cruises

Cruises to Virgin Gorda

Cruises to Virgin Gorda

77 Reviews
Cruises to Newport

Cruises to Newport

261 Reviews
Cruises to Montreal

Cruises to Montreal

94 Reviews
Cruises to Amsterdam

Cruises to Amsterdam

1,061 Reviews
Cruises to Nice

Cruises to Nice

147 Reviews
Cruises to Gdansk (Warsaw)

Cruises to Gdansk (Warsaw)

120 Reviews
Cruises to St. Vincent

Cruises to St. Vincent

136 Reviews
Cruises to Safaga

Cruises to Safaga

59 Reviews
Cruises to Budapest

Cruises to Budapest

522 Reviews
Cruises to Rangiroa

Cruises to Rangiroa

30 Reviews
Cruises to Labadee

Cruises to Labadee

2,139 Reviews
Cruises to Muscat

Cruises to Muscat

184 Reviews
Cruises to Catania

Cruises to Catania

64 Reviews
Cruises to Positano (Amalfi)

Cruises to Positano (Amalfi)

87 Reviews
Cruises to Buzios

Cruises to Buzios

27 Reviews
Cruises to Picton

Cruises to Picton

165 Reviews
Cruises to Trapani

Cruises to Trapani

27 Reviews
Cruises to Cinque Terre

Cruises to Cinque Terre

355 Reviews
Cruises to Speyer

Cruises to Speyer

48 Reviews
Cruises to Mohacs

Cruises to Mohacs

1 Review

Get special cruise deals, expert advice, insider tips and more.By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

© 1995—2024, The Independent Traveler, Inc.