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Are you dreaming of a warm Christmas? If so, spending Christmas in Puerto Vallarta Mexico is an excellent choice.

The holiday season is a very festive time in PV. It’s also quite busy and the peak travel season. Read on for a detailed guide to celebrating Christmas in Banderas Bay.

Christmas in Puerto Vallarta
A drone’s-eye-view of the Malecon. Image by Sasha Savinov

Why Puerto Vallarta for Christmas?

There’s a reason that taking a Puerto Vallarta Christmas vacation is so popular. Who wouldn’t want to spend the holidays with their toes in the sand instead of digging the car out of the snow?

Weather-wise, this is quite possibly the best time to be in PV. The rainy season is long gone and temperatures are pleasant day and night. It’s one of the best times to visit!

Visiting Puerto Vallarta in December means you can enjoy outdoor activities during the day without drowning in a sea of your own sweat. Whether you’re into hiking (try the Boca de Tomatlan to Las Animas trail) or just chilling on the beach, it’s a great time of year to be in PV.

Puerto Vallarta Malecon
Christmas in PV is a festive time. Image by Sasha Savinov

Visiting Puerto Vallarta for Christmas is also appealing because of the vast selection of accommodation, dining, and nightlife the city offers. Be sure to check out our guides to the best neighborhoods, hotels, and restaurants in PV.

Staying in a beachfront resort, enjoying rooftop cocktails at sunset, and feasting on fresh seafood sounds nice in late December, doesn’t it? It certainly takes some of the stress out of the Christmas season. If you’re a large group or family, consider renting a villa!

A Whale of a Time

Another perk of visiting PV this time of year is being able to see the majestic humpback whales up close. They migrate to the warm waters of Banderas Bay every December to mate and give birth.

While it’s possible to see the whales from the shore, it’s much better to go on a proper whale watching tour. Seeing these gentle giants breach is one of the most amazing things you can do in Puerto Vallarta.

whales in puerto vallarta
Whale watching tours are a must. Image by Sasha Savinov

After a few years of being in town between April and October, we finally got to experience whale season last year. On our boat tour, we saw several whales as well as dozens of dolphins.

While we didn’t see any of them breach, it was still an incredible experience. Be sure you add it to your list of things to do when visiting Puerto Vallarta at Christmas.

Christmas Traditions in PV

The Christmas spirit is alive and well in PV throughout the month of December. It starts with the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe between the 1st and the 12th, which is one of the best annual events to take part in.

Many people make a pilgrimage here to visit the church that’s named after the patroness of the Americas. During this time, there are colorful and vibrant processions to the church every night.

Puerto Vallarta church
The stunning church is the center of Puerto Vallarta. Image by Sasha Savinov

It all culminates with the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12th. There are parades, dance performances, and fireworks on this special day. The main square in front of the church is full of vendors, and it’s a very festive atmosphere.

A few days later, on the 16th, the tradition of posadas begins and lasts until Christmas Eve (December 24th). A posada is basically a recreation of the journey taken by Mary and Joseph on the evening when Jesus was born.

Each evening, costumed processions pass through the streets in search of shelter just as the couple did. They are turned away again and again until finally, one house lets them in where the fiesta begins.

As with any special occasion in Mexico, there are plenty of delicious snacks and drinks. Tamales and ponche (a Christmas punch) are the most popular. In addition, children get to smash open colorful piñatas full of fruit and candy.

Puerto Vallarta Christmas
Hanging in a gingerbread house. Image by Sasha Savinov

A relatively new tradition for Christmas in Puerto Vallarta is the decorating of little shelters along the Malecon by local businesses. It’s lots of fun strolling the famous oceanfront promenade to take them all in.

You can get a little taste of what to expect on the Malecon in this short video we put together. It includes some awesome drone shots to show you how the whole town lights up in the Christmas spirit.

Christas Eve Dinner

In Puerto Vallarta, it’s common for families to get together and have a big Christmas Eve dinner. This is a tourist town, though, so hotels and restaurants all over the city are still open.

Many places go all out with a special Christmas Eve menu. We had a wonderful dinner at La Palapa on Los Muertos Beach when we were in town for the holiday, and can highly recommend it.

Puerto Vallarta Christmas Dinner
An amazing Christmas Eve dinner. Image by Sasha Savinov

With it being such a busy time of year, it’s a good idea to make a reservation in advance. Places usually start advertising their Christmas menu a few weeks in advance, so you’ll want to start looking for those to choose the best one for your group.

Most restaurants offer a multi-course meal with a variety of options. You can find turkey with all the fixings if that’s what you’re into, or you can dig into some fresh seafood options like mahi mahi or jumbo shrimp.

If you’re a remote worker in Puerto Vallarta, ask around the community to see what nomad Christmas events are going on.

It’s likely that people will be getting together for Christmas parties throughout December! If you need to make something, pick up local ingredients at the Olas Atlas Farmers Market in Zona Romantica.

Tips for Visiting Puerto Vallarta for Christmas

Since this is such a popular time to visit PV, you’ll want to book your flights and accommodation well in advance. The week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s is the peak of the peak season here, so plan accordingly.

I’m in a bunch of Facebook groups for finding apartments in PV, and people seriously look for places over a year in advance for Christmas. It’s kind of a big deal…

Puerto Vallarta Malecon at night
Image by Sasha Savinov

Prices are definitely higher this time of year, but it’s worth it to spend Christmas in paradise! If you can stick around until the 31st, Puerto Vallarta sure is a fun place to ring in the New Year as well.

There’s lots going on for New Year’s Eve in PV, but we’ll get to that in another post!

If you have any questions, comments, or tips of your own to share about visiting Puerto Vallarta at Christmas, please let us know. And have yourself a Feliz Navidad!

christmas in puerto vallarta pin

Sasha is a teacher, writer, and video producer from Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from Michigan State (Go Green!) and has since lived in China, Indonesia, Mexico, and Colombia. Sasha and his wife Rachel run Grateful Gypsies, where they write about teaching ESL, digital nomad life, long-term travel, live music, and more.

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