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Wondering how to get to Guadalajara from Puerto Vallarta or vise versa? This guide will compare all the ways to get from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara, whether you’re driving, flying, or taking public transport.
How far is Guadalajara from Puerto Vallarta?
Guadalajara is approximately 209 miles or 336 km from Puerto Vallarta.
Essentially you have three options for getting from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta: fly, take the bus, or drive. Each come with their own advantages and disadvantages, which I’ll go through in this post.
Frlying from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara
The quickest way to get to Puerto Vallarta from Guadalajara is by flying via one of Mexico’s regional airlines:
It’s a direct flight that takes just 45 minutes, and prices range from 32-48 USD each way depending on the day you are flying and how far you book in advance. To find the cheapest flight, search on Google flights and compare the options.
While the actual time in the air is quick, when you factor in that you have to show up at the airport at least an hour in advance and time to disembark your plane and collect your bag after, it may end up taking you closer to three hours. Driving takes about five hours, so it’s not a huge difference.
The other thing to consider is the time it takes you to get from the airport to the city center. Puerto Vallarta’s airport is just a 15-minute drive to downtown and even closer to some hotels on the beach, but Guadalajara’s center is much further.
It’s about 20km/12 miles to the center from the airport, but traffic here is notoriously awful, so it may take you up to an hour to reach.
Driving to Puerto Vallarta from Guadalajara
One of the most enjoyable ways to get from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara is a road trip! Renting a car is relatively cheap in Mexico and can be a safe and enjoyable way to see more of the country.
Is it safe to drive from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta?
Yes! I drove from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara with some friends in 2021, and we had no issues. It was a fantastic road trip and gave us the flexibility to stop and see more places, like the beautiful beach towns of Bucerias and Sayulita.
There are also many pueblos magicos in Jalisco that you can visit along the way. My top recommendation is Tequila, the birthplace of the famous Mexican drink. There, you can take tours of Tequila factories and wander through the agave fields and historic town.
There are two main routes you can take from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara.
The first is the toll freeway (highway 200/15) which heads up the coast through the state of Nayarit before heading back into Jalisco.
The freeway is the faster route and a good option if you want to visit some of the beach towns along the coast and Tequila. On the downside, you’ll pay about 650 pesos in tolls (30 USD).
The other route is the old highway (544/70) through Mascota and San Sebastian del Oeste. The road is slow and curvy but has spectacular mountain scenery. There are three pueblos magicos to see along the way, so this is a good route if you want to turn it into a fun road trip!
Bus from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta
One of the most affordable ways to get from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta is by taking the local bus. You don’t have to book in advance unless it’s a public holiday; you can just show up at the terminal as busses leave almost every hour.
There are several bus stations in Guadalajara, but the best place to catch a bus to Puerto Vallarta are the two terminals in Zapopon, on Avenida Vallarta and Avenida Aviación. There, you can find busses departing regularly for PV.
I’ve taken busses several times in Mexico, and they are always clean, roomy, and have bathrooms onboard.
Shared transport: BlaBla Car
Another cheap option for getting between the two cities is joining a BlaBla car. It’s a ride-sharing service that connects you with other people already driving from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta and have a spare seat in their car.
It’s not guaranteed that you’ll find a ride for when you need it, but it can be a good option if you have some flexibility in your travel plans.
If money is not a concern for you or you are splitting with a group, then one of the most relaxing ways to get between the two is organizing a private transfer.
This way, you don’t have to worry about driving but don’t have to deal with the bus. Instead, you can simply sit back and enjoy the scenery in the comfort of a private ride!
What to do in Puerto Vallarta
After arriving in Puerto Vallarta, you may be wondering what to do! PV is an amazing city with many exciting activities. If you’re coming from Guadalajara, the first thing you’ll probably want to do is head to the beach.
PV is a hub for outdoor adventure and specifically water-based activities. You can rent a jet ski and explore the coastline, go snorkeling or diving to see marine life, or spend the afternoon relaxing in one of the beautiful waterfalls.
To compliment your time in Puerto Vallarta, choose from one of these fabulous boutique hotels.
What to do in Guadalajara
Guadalajara is a great weekend city break. As the capital of Jalisco and the second-largest city in Mexico, there’s a lot going on here.
The best way to start your trip in Guadalajara is with a walk through the Historical Centre. Here you’ll find beautiful cathedrals, tree-lined plazas, and bustling markets. If you want to get acquainted with the city’s history, there’s also a free walking tour you can join.
Guadalajara has one of the best food scenes in Mexico. In fact, it was named by Eater as one of the top food cities for 2022! It’s famed for taquerias, fondas, and street food, as well as Jalisco’s agave spirits from nearby Tequila.
Speaking of Tequila, Guadalajara is also known for its lively nightlife and party scene. Be sure to spend one night exploring Avenida Chapultepec, which is a trendy street full of restaurants, bars, and clubs.