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Looking for Puerto Vallarta events? Let me help! I’ve been living in Puerto Vallarta for three years and love attending events, so I’ve been to most of them! In this guide, I’m sharing the best festivals and events in Puerto Vallarta to check out for an unforgettable vacation.
Puerto Vallarta has been one of Mexico’s top travel destinations for decades. Its charming combination of lazy beach days and electric nightlife keeps people returning year after year.
To make your visit there even better, combine it with one of these upcoming Puerto Vallarta events.
The city of Puerto Vallarta, and the people in it, are renowned for celebrating life and – well, just about anything as an excuse for a fiesta! This gives the region a vibrantly busy yearly schedule of events you can take advantage of.
Here are the best Puerto Vallarta upcoming events and festivals to check out this year.
Top Puerto Vallarta Events in 2023 and 2024
These events are listed from January to December, not by quality.
1. Año Nuevo (New Year’s Eve)
Dates: December 31 annually
Those looking for a unique way to celebrate New Year’s Eve should certainly have Puerto Vallarta on their radar.
The city’s buzzing nightlife comes alive during Año Nuevo, and there are parties in all the main bars on the strip.
Many people like to gather on the Malecon to watch the impressive fireworks displays as all the large hotels and resorts compete to put on the most extravagant show.
But, even better, if you have a hotel with a balcony or rooftop space – there is no better way to welcome the New Year than with a cold glass of bubbles in your hand!
Whether you are planning your trip to attend one of these events or happen to stumble across them, they are a fantastic way to meet the thriving and welcoming community of Puerto Vallarta. I can’t wait to spend my first new years in Puerto Vallarta to end off 2023!
2. Vallarta Cup Race Series
Dates: Month of January
The Vallarta Cup Race is a series of Saturday races hosted by The Vallarta Yacht Club to celebrate local sailing talent. The race is between the 3 Marinas in the area and is quite the spectacle for sailing enthusiasts.
Novices can also participate in several activities alongside the race, such as classes for beginners to learn the art of sailing along the coast of the Bahia de Banderas.
While visiting the Marina, you may also inquire about potential boat trips you can take on your visit, such as the stunning Isla Marietas.
You may find yourself out on the sea – whale watching, wakeboarding, or snorkeling before you know it!
3. Vallarta Bird & Nature Festival
February 23rd-25th, 2024
For those nature enthusiasts, don’t miss the Vallarta Bird and Nature festival.
The Jalisco and Nayarit regions are famed for their incredible untouched jungles, teeming with life.
Puerto Vallarta’s botanical gardens host a yearly celebration of the diversity of the area’s wildlife. The gardens are Located just 30 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta in the nature-rich jungle of Cabo Corrientes. It’s one of my favorite places to go to destress and connect with nature.
The event’s mission is to spark awareness of the fragility of the ecosystem and encourage people to conserve the precious natural spaces of Mexico.
This is a truly worthy cause to support and a wonderful celebration for those who want to learn more about Mexican wildlife.
4. Semana Santa
Dates: March 24th-30th, 2024
Semana Santa, which means Holy Week in Spanish, is the week preceding Easter and the busiest vacation period for Puerto Vallarta, as many Mexicans come there for their holiday.
During Semana Santa, the entire city turns into one giant party, and you’ll find the Malecon blocked with people from one end to another.
If you want to get a taste of the best Puerto Vallarta nightlife, come during Semana Santa! Just make sure to book your hotel ahead, as they fill up fast. If you don’t like crowds – avoid coming during this week. It marks the end of high season and becomes much chiller afterward.
5. May Cultural Festival in Puerto Vallarta Mexico
Dates: Month of May
May Cultural Festival is held annually by the local government in Jalisco to celebrate their rich local heritage.
They celebrate the “Festival Cultural de Mayo” with events and activities throughout the month.
Important local painters, musicians, and actors participate in various community events such as concerts, exhibitions, film screenings, dance performances, and food tastings
There are often many events spanning the entire state of Jalisco, so be sure to ask about upcoming exhibits in some of the smaller towns in the region, which could make a fantastic day trip.
6. Puerto Vallarta Restaurant Week
Dates: 2024 dates not annouced yet, in 2023, it was held from May 15 – June 10
Another one for the foodies, Puerto Vallarta restaurant week is the best time to check out the city’s growing restaurant scene at a steep discount.
During the three weeks, some of the top restaurants in Puerto Vallarta offer innovative three-course menus, with three options available for each course at a reduced price.
During restaurant week in 2023, I got to finally try out Cafe Des Artists and Le Kliff, two of the most beautiful restaurants in town.
For just $30, I got an amazing three-course meal at each! If you’re visiting in June, don’t miss out on restaurant week. Be sure to ask for the restaurant week menu when you go to the restaurant, as they may just give you the regular one.
Stay tuned for what restaurants will be participating in 2024.
7. Punta Mita Surfing Competition
Dates: 2024 dates not yet annouced, 2023 took place from April 22-29th
Punta Mita hosts a yearly longboard competition – Mexi Log Fest. This week-long event is located on the beautifully secluded beach around 30 minutes North of Puerto Vallarta – one of the best places to surf near the city.
The competition is a great way to spend a relaxed day in the sun and watch some of the world’s most talented surfers compete to pull off the best tricks.
There are also plenty of other activities on the day, including yoga classes, sound baths, kid’s surf clinics, delicious food, surf films, and live music.
8. Puerto Vallarta Gay Pride
Dates: May 22-29, 2024
Puerto Vallarta is well known among the LGBTQ community as one of Mexico’s leading areas in the fight for equality. The city has a thriving gay district in La Zona Romántica, which has a week-long pride week celebration towards the end of May with many parties hosted at the various bars.
This includes the week-long pride celebration at Mantamar Beach Club on the famed Los Muertos gay beach.
The Top Bar typically hosts The Pink Dinner on opening night with fireworks, a four-course dinner, a live DJ, and the “Pride Vanguard Award” presented by the Vallarta Pride Committee.
My favorite part of pride is watching the annual parade; it’s such a fun atmosphere. It ends in the Romantic Zone, where there’s a block party with live DJs all night. I’ve been going for the last two years, and I always meet so many amazing people.
Whether you are gay or straight, it’s an unforgettable experience to celebrate pride in such a diverse and welcoming community.
9. Anniversary of Puerto Vallarta
Date: May 31st annually
In 2024, Puerto Vallarta will be celebrating 106 years as a Municipality and 56 as a City.
This anniversary traces back to May 31, 1918, when the Jalisco State Congress issued the decree elevating the then Las Peñas county to the category of municipality, subsequently changing its name to Puerto Vallarta.
Fifty years later, the destination had well-established infrastructure and air and land connections, earning the designation of the City of Puerto Vallarta.
The celebrations encapsulate the vibrant culture and history of Puerto Vallarta, featuring a series of cultural and sporting events as well as free concerts in the city’s most iconic locations. The festivities usually culminate with the cutting of a large anniversary cake and a dazzling fireworks display.
In 2023 they had free concerts on the Malecon, which were very crowded. I ended up going back to my house to watch the fireworks from the rooftop, which was much more enjoyable!
10. Puerto Vallarta Mango Festival
Date: 2024 not yet announced. In 2023, it was on July 15th.
In 2023, Puerto Vallarta celebrated the 5th annual mango festival! It’s a delightful celebration held at Lázaro Cárdenas Park, where a wide variety of dishes made with mango are featured.
There will also be awards for the best dish, drink, and dessert made with mango. The entrance is free, and it’s a must-visit if you’re visiting Puerto Vallarta during July.
Alongside the festival, 18 Puerto Vallarta restaurants will offer various dishes, desserts, and drinks made from mangos. in 2023, The participating restaurants donated profits from these dishes to raise funds for the construction of a house of culture on land donated by the ejido in Ixtapa.
This collaboration adds a noble cause to the gastronomic celebration, making it an event that resonates with the generous spirit of Puerto Vallarta’s rich culture. I haven’t had a chance to attend yet, but am looking forward to going and eating all the mangos in 2024.
11. Mexican Independence Day
Dates: September 15-16 annually
Mexican Independence day, otherwise known as Grito de Dolores (Cry for Independence), is a national celebration of Mexico’s victory over Spanish rule that ended in 1810.
The citywide festivities in Puerto Vallarta are an impressive 2-day party where traditional displays of Mexican culture invite locals and travelers to celebrate together.
Expect to see how Mexicans like to throw a street party – with blaring trumpets, parades, games, and various local cuisine from street vendors.
On the evening of the 15th, the mayor delivers a speech called The Proclamation of Independence, followed by an impressive fireworks display. This is a fiesta you don’t want to miss!
12. Mexican Días Los Muertos (Day of the Dead Puerto Vallarta)
Dates: Nov 1-2, 2023
Mexican Day of the Dead is a beautiful Mexican tradition where families gather to remember friends and family who have passed away. They create shrines and light candles, and have a night of reflection.
As celebrations begin at midnight on November 1st, these shrines can be seen dotted along Puerto Vallarta’s Malecón.
The week-long festivities include folkloric ballets, mariachis, and Catrinas (painted skeleton mask) contests.
Although this festival has a mournful theme, you will quickly discover this colorful display of Mexican culture is, in fact, a celebration of life through acknowledging the dead.
While places like Mexico City and Oaxaca City have much larger celebrations, Puerto Vallarta’s Day of the Dead celebration is unique. In 2023, they broke the record for the tallest-standing catrina, which was very impressive to see.
13. International Gourmet Food Festival
Dates: November 9th-19th, 2023
Each year the International Gourmet Food Festival comes to Puerto Vallarta and attracts chefs from all over the region, and the world, to unite in one of Mexico’s biggest culinary events of the year.
Guests will enjoy numerous exciting activities, including a sit-down tasting experience, masterclasses with Michelin-star chefs, and food and wine pairings.
This Puerto Vallarta food festival is a great place to get inside knowledge and recommendations for restaurants and specialty dishes to try during the rest of your stay so you can have the most authentic culinary experience possible. This is a must-visit for the foodies out there!
14. Puerto Vallarta International Fishing Tournament
Dates: 2023 dates not yet announced, the 66th annual event took place in 2022 from November 9th-12th
Did you know Puerto Vallarta has some of the best sport fishing in Mexico? If you’re a fan of the spot, don’t miss this event that brings together the best fishermen from all over the world.
The International Marlin and Sailfish Fishing Tournament takes place in November when hundreds gather in Puerto Vallarta to fish for sailfish, marlin, wahoo, and dorado in the Bay of Banderas.
15. Puerto Vallarta Festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Dates: Dec 1-12 annually
Our Lady of Guadalupe (Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe) is Mexico’s most iconic religious image and shares its name with Puerto Vallarta’s main church.
This festival is a significant religious celebration for the locals, but it is a fascinating display of Mexican ceremonies, whether you are religious or not.
Festivities begin in December with processions through the Old Town to the city’s main church. The groups represent schools, neighborhoods, businesses, and civic associations.
They are often joined by folkloric dancers, musicians, parade floats, and pyrotechnics as they wind their way through the narrow streets of the Old Town.
On December 12th, activities culminate in a street party with live music, parades, and a taste of the local Mexican cuisine. It’s one of the best ways to celebrate Christmas in Puerto Vallarta with the locals!
16. Humpback whale migration
Not an official event, but if you’re a nature lover, time your trip to Puerto Vallarta to coincide with the whale-watching season from December to March.
Thousands of humpback whales make their way to the warm waters of Mexico to breed, and the Bay of Banderas becomes one of the best places to watch them.
There are many whale-watching tours you can join for a closer look or just keep your eyes while on the shore. It’s one of my favorite things about living in Puerto Vallarta, I never get tired of watching them.
17. Turtle Season
July to December
Another one for wildlife lovers – if you’re visiting Puerto Vallarta from July to December, don’t miss the chance to take part in a baby sea turtle release.
The Bay of Banderas has a community-wide conservation program with several protected nurseries for turtle eggs.
They plan turtle release ceremonies during the season at participating hotel beaches and turtle camps. And as a tourist, you can take part in one.
Check this Facebook group to find turtle-release events in Puerto Vallarta. While July to December is the most common time to see them, you can other times of the year. I took part in a sea turtle release in February which was magical!
Final thoughts: Puerto Vallarta events
Puerto Vallarta’s calendar is full of vibrant festivals, cultural celebrations, and unforgettable events that capture the spirit and traditions of this enchanting coastal city.
Whether you’re a lover of food, art, music, or sports, there’s an event that will resonate with your interests. Timing your visit with one of these annual festivities not only enhances your experience but also provides a unique opportunity to connect with the local community.
From whale watching in December to the meaningful Anniversary of Puerto Vallarta, each event offers a taste of the rich cultural tapestry that makes Puerto Vallarta a must-visit destination.