Like most boardwalks, Puerto Vallarta’s promenade, known as El Malecon, is dotted with sightseeing opportunities, cafes, shops, galleries, and performers. Overlooking the Bay of Banderas, the mile-long stretch offers scenic views during the day. And in the evening, the waterfront nightclubs and discos open their doors to party-seeking locals and visitors.
Beginning at the Hotel Rosita, El Malecon spans the length of a mile (1.6 kilometers) along Puerto Vallarta’s beachfront, ending at the four giant stone arches of the Los Arcos Amphitheater. Many citywide tours of Puerto Vallarta include a visit to El Malecon. Visitors can also explore the promenade and its array of offerings by foot, bike, or Segway on various tours designed around sightseeing, eating, and drinking experiences. In addition to the shops, restaurants, and bars, sea-inspired statues pop up along the boardwalk, providing plenty of photo ops. When reaching the end of El Malecon, head a couple blocks east to the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe—the Renaissance-style structure is a favorite city landmark and worth a stop.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Wear comfortable shoes for biking and walking.
- The promenade is especially busy during summer nights.
- Free Wi-Fi is available along the boardwalk.
- The local nightlife scene starts up around 10pm.
How to Get There
El Malecon runs along Los Muertos beach and is about a 30-minute walk from central Puerto Vallarta.The nearest major airport is the Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport, which is located four miles (6.4 kilometers) north of downtown Puerto Vallarta.
When to Get There
Between April and June is considered the best time to visit Puerto Vallarta, right before the city reaches the hot summer months and when the temperatures are about 85°F (30°C). As for peak sightseeing times, tourists and locals head out to see migrating humpback whales in Banderas Bay from December to roughly mid-March. And from May to December, visitors can take part in turtle liberation ceremonies at participating hotels during the sea turtle preservation season.
Dining Along the El Malecon
A stroll along El Malecon allows visitors to sample a variety of local dishes and street food, from tacos to grilled corn to tejuino, a popular fermented iced drink made from the same corn dough as tortillas. As for cocktails, margaritas, mezcal, and craft beers are the go-to drinks when in this Mexican city.