It’s easy to find fun family activities in Puerto Vallarta. Mexico is a place that values family highly, and it is common to see Mom and Dad and several children settling in for a day on the beach, and they will be there until sunset.
If a beach day is on your agenda, there are several beaches to choose from and each one has a different vibe. The beaches are kept very clean and the sand, while not fine and white, is more grainy but good for sand castles.
Los Muertos Beach is the busiest and the most family friendly. The waves can be tricky but smaller kids tend to spend their time in the shallows or on the sand, building things. There are plenty of opportunities for food — vendors with fresh fruit, candy, shrimp and oysters, pass by regularly. You can commandeer an umbrella and lounge chairs for the price of a drink or a snack. And there are many casual and affordable places on the beach for a family meal, like Langoustino’s or The Blue Shrimp.
Another beach, with a quieter vibe, is Conchas Chinas, with several small sandy bays, lots of rocks with crabs and critters to chase, and fewer people. Stop in at the Lindomar for a beachside lunch.
Most of the hotels in the hotel district have excellent beaches.
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If you keep your eyes sharp, a walk through the markets along the Cuale River will reveal an iguana, sunning on a tree branch or lazing in the shade. And sometimes there’s a donkey on the main street.
When the beach gets old, take the kids to the zoo. The Puerto Vallarta Zoo is a great experience, where you can feed the animals and even cuddle a lion cub.
If water still holds allure, head for the Aquaventuras Park Vallarta, to swim with dolphins, zip-line and try out the waterslides.
Older kids might enjoy a zip line or jungle canopy tour with Vallarta Adventures. There are several boat cruises, both half and full day, but beware. Some of these, though advertised as kid-friendly, are actually very adult adventures. I took my little ones on what I thought would be a water adventure cruise but it turned out to be a booze boat party. The ‘all you can drink’ open bar is attractive to some, but leads to a different kind of cruise than you want for you children.
Horseback riding, through the jungle or along the beach, is also a great activity for kids and adults.