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Wondering about the Marina in Puerto Vallarta? You’re in the right place! I live in Puerto Vallarta and visit Marina Vallarta often- it’s one of the prettiest neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta to walk around and dine in.
In this guide to Marina Vallarta, we’ll cover everything you need to know about living and visiting in this up-scale neighborhood, including the best places to eat, sleep, and play.
Marina Vallarta Things to Do
As you might expect, the top things to do in Marina Vallarta here revolve around boats.
1. Take a stroll on the Marina Boardwalk
Take a leisurely stroll along the marina’s boardwalk to admire the luxurious yachts and boats. The path is lined with boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants, making it a perfect place for an evening walk.
The sight of luxury yachts and sailboats gracefully anchored along the docks creates a beautiful ambiance that attracts both locals and tourists.
As you step onto the boardwalk, you’ll get breathtaking views of yachts against the backdrop of Banderas Bay, making it a popular spot for leisurely walks and photo opportunities.
2. Thursday night market
The Thursday Night Market is a must-visit event in Marina Vallarta, taking place every Thursday evening during the high season near the marina boardwalk.
From 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM, this lively market comes alive with a vibrant atmosphere, attracting locals and tourists. Here, visitors can immerse themselves in a delightful shopping and dining experience. It’s one of my favorite markets in Puerto Vallarta!
Local vendors and artisans set up colorful stalls, offering an array of authentic Mexican crafts, artwork, clothing, jewelry, and souvenirs. It’s a fantastic opportunity to support local businesses while finding unique gifts to take home.
Numerous food stalls present mouthwatering Mexican delicacies, street food favorites, and international cuisine. Whether you’re craving tacos, empanadas, churros, or fresh fruit juices, there’s something to please every palate.
3. Whale-watching tours
Many tours depart from the Marina, including the popular whale watching tours during the migration season. Every year, humpback whales migrate to Banderas Bay to begin their mating season and give birth.
The whales are so famous that a statue of them greets you upon entering the Marina!
Seeing these majestic creatures up close and personal is an unforgettable experience. You can also expect to see many dolphins on a tour.
4. Catamaran Trips
One of the most fun things you can do in Puerto Vallarta is rent a private boat. There are tons of options to choose from depending on your group size and budget. All of these tours leave from the Marina:
🌅 Take a sunset cruise along Banderas Bay with cocktails and cheese as you watch the sun dip into the Pacific Ocean.
🌊 Take a jet ski ride over the waves of Los Muertos and the village of Mismaloya.
We rented the Chica Loca party boat for a double birthday bash for 50 friends, and it was the best day ever. Check out what the boat tour looks like in the video below.
5. Marina Vallarta Golf Course
Of course, hitting the links is also a popular pastime here.
The Marina Vallarta Golf Club is one of the best golf courses in Puerto Vallarta. It’s a gorgeous course with views of the bay and the Sierra Madre Mountains.
Playing at such a nice course will set you back $142 during prime time (7 AM to noon). Twilight rates range from $114 to $65, including the use of a golf cart. Click here if you’d like to book a tee time.
6. Hit up Tau beach club
Marina Vallarta is home to one of Puerto Vallarta’s best beach clubs.
Tau Beach Club is a high-end beach club with a pool by the ocean, sun loungers, Bali beach beds, showers, lockers, and a pool concierge.
You can get a day pass here for 1700 pesos (85 USD) which includes 800 MXN credit to use on cold drinks or from their fabulous lunch and dinner menu with elevated Mexican fare.
Other than that, there isn’t a ton to do here. After a boat tour or a round of golf, the best thing to do is simply stroll the pleasant boardwalk admiring the boats and looking for a place to eat and drink.
There’s also a famous crocodile that lives in the Marina Pier, so be sure to look out for him while walking around.
Restaurants in Marina Vallarta
The Marina Vallarta Boardwalk is not just a feast for the eyes but also for the taste buds.
Marina Vallarta offers an impressive array of dining options for a small area, ranging from fine dining restaurants to casual eateries. Many restaurants have waterfront views, creating a lovely ambiance for your dining experience. It’s home to some of the best Puerto Vallarta restaurants for seafood!
Here’s a curated list of some of the best places to eat, drink, and be merry:
- Coffee Cup: the perfect place to start your day with a coffee and breakfast
- Bacha’s: I got excited and thought it said Sacha’s… anyways it’s good local food
- Victor’s Place: a local joint known for their excellent seafood options
- D’s Route 66 Diner: a little slice of classic Americana in the marina
- Los Alcatraces: highly-rated local restaurant with a great view
- Porto Bello: upscale Italian with wood oven pizza and more
- Barra Light: great salad shop for a light and quick lunch
- Chappy’s: a popular sports bar with a full menu
- Fajita Banana: tropical grill and sports bar
- Almacen: a fancy cocktail bar that also has excellent food
- La Cevicheria: no-frills spot for great ceviche and other seafood dishes
- Sonora Prime: high-class steakhouse
- Cerveceria Chapultepec: Mexican dive bar chain known for its cheap snacks and drinks
- Helados Thrifty: because who doesn’t love ice cream?
Hotels in Marina Vallarta
The neighborhood boasts a variety of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences.
From luxury resorts to boutique hotels, you’ll find a place to stay that meets your needs. Many accommodations provide easy access to the marina and other nearby attractions.
Velas Vallarta Suite Resort is located on ten acres of beautiful coastline, with private access to the beach and ocean. It’s the perfect place for a family vacation, with a well-equipped kids club, nightly entertainment, and a luxury spa to unwind.
Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa offers everything you need for a fantastic vacation with its beachfront location, renovated infinity pool, and fabulous on-site restaurants. Plus, you’ll earn Marriott Reward points for staying here to use on your next vacation!
Living in Marina Vallarta
Marina Vallarta is the first neighborhood as you head south from the airport. It’s right across from the runway and just off the main highway, but it feels worlds apart.
This upscale residential community emerged in the 1980s when Puerto Vallarta became a popular alternative to Cancun and Acapulco.
With a new wave of snowbirds coming to Banderas Bay to escape the harsh winters up north, a new luxury neighborhood was created.
In addition to the many resorts and condos, there’s an 18-hole golf course and 450 boat slips.
It’s fun to visit the Marina to walk around and gawk at the impressive luxury yachts and sailboats parked there.
It should be noted that there isn’t really a public beach in the Marina. The beach here is only accessible via the luxury condos and resorts that line it, so this isn’t the place you go for a day on la playa.
Marina Vallarta is definitely a little bubble of suburbia in PV. It’s sparkling clean, quiet, and peaceful.
For those who find local neighborhoods to be a bit too noisy and chaotic, this is a popular choice. The expat crowd here is a bit older, with many families and retirees calling the Marina home.
One big reason why this neighborhood is so popular with families is that it’s home to the American School of Puerto Vallarta.
The school offers a bilingual education to students from kindergarten through 12th grade and is one of the top schools in the city.
In a way, Marina Vallarta is a sort of “Mexico Lite.” You’re very much in Mexico – and there are plenty of places to eat tacos and drink tequila – but it’s secluded and cut off from the rest of the city.
Digital nomads and younger expats may find this area a bit boring and white-washed, myself included.
While Marina Vallarta isn’t exactly my type of neighborhood, plenty of people live there who love it. If you’re looking for some peace and quiet (if that’s even possible in Mexico) and a safe place for your kids, then the Marina is for you.
Of course, I would probably enjoy the Marina more if I had a boat. If you’re fortunate enough to have one and need a place to park it, this is a pretty fantastic option. Maybe someday I’ll pull my luxury yacht up there…
FAQ: Puerto Vallarta Marina
Is the marina in Puerto Vallarta worth visiting?
Yes, the marina in Puerto Vallarta, especially Marina Vallarta, is worth visiting. It offers a beautiful setting with luxury yachts, charming shops, gourmet restaurants, and a lively atmosphere.
Does Puerto Vallarta have a marina?
Yes, Puerto Vallarta has several marinas, with Marina Vallarta being one of the most popular ones.
Which part of Puerto Vallarta is the best?
The best part of Puerto Vallarta depends on individual preferences. Marina Vallarta, the Romantic Zone, and the Hotel Zone are popular areas offering unique experiences.
Can you swim in Marina Vallarta?
While Marina Vallarta offers beautiful waterfront views, it’s not ideal for swimming due to its marina setting. However, you can find nearby beaches suitable for swimming.
What is the safest part of Puerto Vallarta to stay in?
Puerto Vallarta is generally safe, but the Hotel Zone, Marina Vallarta, and the Romantic Zone are considered safe areas for tourists to stay.
What is the best area to walk around in Puerto Vallarta?
The Marina Vallarta Boardwalk and the Malecón (downtown boardwalk) are excellent areas for leisurely walks, each offering unique charm.
Can I walk to the beach from Puerto Vallarta cruise port?
Yes, you can walk to nearby beaches from the Puerto Vallarta cruise port.
How far is Marina Vallarta from the airport?
Marina Vallarta is approximately 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from Puerto Vallarta’s international airport. You can drive there in about 5 minutes by car, making it a conveniently short journey for travelers.
Where is Marina Vallarta?
Marina Vallarta is situated in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, along the coastline of Banderas Bay. It is conveniently located just a short drive from Puerto Vallarta’s international airport and is easily accessible from various parts of the city.
Is Marina Vallarta safe?
Yes, Marina Vallarta is considered one of the safest neighborhoods for tourists and visitors in Puerto Vallarta.
Final thoughts: Marina Puerto Vallarta
With its stunning waterfront views, luxury yachts, and sailboats, the Marina in Puerto Vallarta creates an atmosphere of tranquility and elegance.
The boardwalk’s charming shops, boutiques, and art galleries offer a great shopping experience, while the diverse array of restaurants and cafés provide a great place to dine by the sea.
Whether you’re seeking a romantic evening, a family outing, or a stroll, the Marina Vallarta Boardwalk is a must-visit on your Puerto Vallarta itinerary.