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Wondering what to pack for Puerto Vallarta? Let me help you! I live in Puerto Vallarta and know exactly what you should bring on your trip to ensure a comfortable trip.
Welcoming millions of tourists every year, Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico’s top beach destinations.
The city has a warm, tropical climate year-round with ample opportunities for outdoor recreation – so you’ll want to have the right clothes for Puerto Vallarta to take advantage of all the things you can do here.
This Puerto Vallarta packing list will help you plan what to wear, as well as accessories that will make your trip more enjoyable.
What to wear in Puerto Vallarta
The general style of what to wear to Puerto Vallarta is stylish yet casual outfits.
The hot, humid climate calls for lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton, linen, or light synthetics that allow air circulation and help keep you cool. Pack shorts, t-shirts, and tank tops for casual daytime activities and sightseeing.
Sundresses and maxi dresses are perfect for the tropical vibe of Puerto Vallarta. They are comfortable, feminine, and versatile, making them suitable for daytime exploring or evening dinners. Choose breathable fabrics and vibrant colors or floral prints to embrace the vibrant atmosphere of the city.
With stunning beaches along the coastline, swimwear is a must-pack item for Puerto Vallarta. Bring your favorite swimsuits, bikinis, or trunks, and take full advantage of the crystal-clear waters. Consider packing a cover-up or sarong for quick transitions from the beach to nearby restaurants or bars.
Exploring Puerto Vallarta often involves walking along cobblestone streets and uneven terrain, so comfortable footwear is crucial. Opt for lightweight sandals or sneakers that provide support and allow your feet to breathe.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of what to pack for Puerto Vallarta.
Swimwear for Puerto Vallarta
Pack at least two bathing suits to wear at the many beach clubs and pools. If you’re visiting for a week, I’d take at least two so you can alternate between them while the other one dries. There are also some cute shops to buy swimwear here!
Swim cover-up. A perfect item for any beach destination!
After hitting up a beach club or pool, throw it on over your swimsuit, and you’ll be ready to walk into a restaurant without changing.
Rashguard. If you want to check out some of the awesome surf spots around Puerto Vallarta, bring a rash guard, as the Pacific Ocean water can be chilly. They are also excellent at protecting you from the sun!
Puerto Vallarta Clothing and Shoes
- Pack one or two pairs of athletic shorts for activities like ziplining and ATV tours.
- A pair of lightweight, breathable shorts like linen. You’ll appreciate this in the hot weather!
- A pair of denim shorts to pair with a nice tank top. This makes for a nice look while sightseeing around the city.
Pack comfortable shorts and tank tops to wear outside, along with a suitable pair of shoes. These are also useful if you want to go to the gym or run on the beach!
You’ll want to pack T-shirts and plenty of tank tops to stay comfortable walking around in the heat.
These lightweight tees are made of quick-drying polyester and are perfect for hiking and outdoor adventures.
During the winter (December to March), temperatures can be cooler at night, so you may want to bring a lightweight sweater (and for the plane). In the summer, you won’t need any layers at night.
While Puerto Vallarta is known for its warm weather, evenings can occasionally be cooler, especially during winter. Pack a light jacket, sweater, or shawl to stay comfortable when temperatures drop slightly.
You won’t need it for the summer months, but a rain jacket and umbrella can be helpful then (resorts will provide umbrellas). I love this packable rain jacket that takes up minimal space in my bag.
I basically live in sundresses here. They are so comfortable to wear in hot climates but still look great for photos – dresses make for perfect Puerto Vallarta outfits.
Puerto Vallarta is known for its nightlife, so there will likely be a few nights you want to dress up and hit the bars in town. For evening outings, opt for casual yet stylish attire.
Men can wear lightweight trousers or khakis paired with a button-down shirt, while women can choose a sundress or a nice top paired with comfortable bottoms.
If you are staying in one of the all-inclusive hotels, they may have a dress code for restaurants at the resort.
Here’s more information on what to pack for all-inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta.
Pants and leggings
You probably won’t be wanting to wear pants here (I gave up pants years ago), but a pair of leggings can be useful for wearing on the plane.
Pack sandals or comfortable walking shoes for exploring the city. It often involves walking along cobblestone streets and uneven terrain, so comfortable footwear is crucial.
I love Havianas, perfect for the beach and walking around town.
Wearing flip-flops at bars is perfectly acceptable here, but you may want to bring a pair of nicer sandals if you plan to go to fine dining restaurants.
There are some beautiful hiking trails to check out in Puerto Vallarta, but the trails can be pretty rocky, so bring sturdy closed toe-shoes if you plan to hike or go ziplining.
Water shoes. If your feet are sensitive, these can be helpful. When accessing the ocean in some places, you may find rocky beaches along the coast. I also found them very helpful while hiking to Palo Maria.
Sunhat. The sun is intense here, so you’ll want something to protect your head. A wide-brimmed hat or cap is best for that. Plus, they look so cute in photos!
UV sunglasses to shield your eyes from the bright Mexican sun.
- Sunscreen and after sun. If you’re swimming or snorkeling in the ocean, use a reef-safe sunscreen to protect the coral reefs (key ingredients to avoid are Oxybenzone and Octinoxate).
- Insect repellant. Mosquitos can be annoying here, especially if you’re visiting during the rainy season when there’s a risk of dengue fever.
- Basic First Aid Kit: Include band-aids, pain relievers, antiseptic ointment, and any other personal medications or items you may need.
- If you’re not used to traveling abroad, a helpful product is activated charcoal for stomach issues!
- Electrolytes as it’s easy to get dehydrated here under the sun.
If you require prescription medications, ensure you bring an adequate supply for the duration of your trip.
However, Puerto Vallarta is known for its liberal pharmacies, where you can pretty much get anything you want without a prescription (and it’s a lot cheaper than the U.S.)
Make sure to stay up-to-date on any vaccines recommended by CDC.
Don’t forget your toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and other personal care items. You can get these at pharmacies and Walmart, but they are just as much, if not more, than in the U.S.
Here are some additional items to consider to complete your list of what to pack for Puerto Vallarta.
Beach towel. One of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta is to spend time on the beautiful beaches, but you’ll want a light beach towel to lay on to keep the sand away.
This beach towel is an excellent option as it’s lightweight and folds up compact so that it can be easily tossed into your beach bag.
Snorkel and mask for exploring the underwater world in Puerto Vallarta. If you’re joining a snorkeling tour, these will be provided to you, but it can be nice to have your own if you want to go snorkeling at the beach.
Beach Bag. Another beach essential, this item will carry everything you need to the beach, plus it comes with a built-in cooler in the bottom, perfect for keeping your drinks cool under the sun!
Waterproof phone case. There are tons of water activities and boat trips in Puerto Vallarta. This waterproof phone case is key for keeping your phone safe while capturing memories.
A waterproof bag can also be helpful for taking more items than just your phone. These are perfect for day trips out on a yacht or snorkeling adventure, so you don’t have to worry if it gets splashed.
Grayl water bottle. The tap water in Mexico isn’t safe to drink, but instead of using multiple plastic bottles, you can invest in a lifestraw water bottle, and you’ll be able to drink tap water safely.
I love traveling with a travel journal to document my trip.
Cash is king in Mexico. The currency used is Mexican Pesos (MXN) which you can get from any ATM here.
Some places accept USD, but I recommend paying for goods and services in pesos; otherwise, you’ll get a lousy exchange rate back.
An extra debit card and credit card in case yours get lost (getting one sent to Mexico is a nightmare).
When taking money out of the ATM, make sure to take your card at the end of the transaction. If you don’t, the machine may eat your card. This happened to me at HSBC!
A small coin purse for keeping your cash handy. They sell these at the local markets in Puerto Vallarta, so this can be a great souvenir to pick up if you don’t have one already!
A camera to take home memories. Phone cameras are fantastic these days, but I always travel with my Sony Aa7ii to capture wildlife.
Underwater camera. Puerto Vallarta is home to some fantastic snorkeling and diving spots, so bring an underwater camera to capture the memories! I use and love GoPro.
Your phone and an extra charger. Did you know that a phone charger is the most commonly forgotten item for travelers? Pack an extra one, just in case!
Tip: Download offline maps from Google Maps on your phone before leaving so you can still get directions even if you’re offline!
Puerto Vallarta uses a Type A and Type B power outlet (same as Canada and the U.S.), so bring a suitable adapter if necessary. I always travel with this converter because it has four USB slots for charging multiple electronics at the same time.
Portable phone charger. There’s nothing worse than your phone dying while you’re out! Be sure to take a compact, portable charger for recharging your phone, camera, or any other device you might need.
This one is small enough to comfortably fit in your purse or backpack, so you’ll always have it with you when you need it!
Waterproof kindle for catching up with your favorite book on the beach.
A laptop if you’re working remotely in Puerto Vallarta. There are some great co-working spaces and cafes here!
One electronic item I never travel without is my VPN.
Essentially, you risk hackers stealing your data, like credit card numbers or saved passwords, whenever you connect to public WiFi on your phone or laptop.
A good VPN will protect your information from being hacked. I use and love NordVPN.
As a bonus, it also means you can still watch U.S. Netflix and other streaming services abroad!
To stay connected, get an eSIM for Mexico so you have data on your phone (I use Airalo). You can also purchase a physical SIM card at any OXXO here.
Tip: Use packing cubes to organize the types of clothes in your luggage. These are a lifesaver for keeping you sane while packing and saving space since they compress the clothing.
Travel insurance for Puerto Vallarta
One thing you don’t want to leave home without is a good travel insurance policy.
Not only does this protect you from unexpected medical expenses, but it can also cover personal liability and theft of personal belongings.
HAVE YOU GOT TRAVEL INSURANCE YET?
Don’t forget to protect your trip with HeyMondo travel insurance. Get peace of mind with:
- 24/7 worldwide assistance (including covid)
- Extended Stays
- Cover for non-refundable expenses
- Heymondo assistance app
When is the best time to visit Puerto Vallarta?
Puerto Vallarta experiences two primary seasons: the dry season (high season) and the wet season.
The dry season, which lasts from November to May, is characterized by clear skies, minimal rainfall, and lower humidity levels. This period is considered the peak tourist season due to the pleasant weather.
The wet season spans from June to October, bringing warmer temperatures, higher humidity, and increased chances of rain and tropical storms. Despite the rainfall, Puerto Vallarta can still be enjoyable during the wet season, with bursts of showers often followed by clear skies.
Rainfall in Puerto Vallarta is concentrated during the wet season, with July, August, and September receiving the highest amounts. During this time, you can expect short but intense downpours, usually in the late afternoon or evening. These showers contribute to the lush, green landscape that characterizes the region – it’s beautiful to watch it transform.
FAQ: Packing list for Puerto Vallarta
What should I pack to go to Puerto Vallarta?
When packing for Puerto Vallarta, essentials include lightweight and breathable clothing, swimwear, sun protection items (hat, sunscreen, sunglasses), comfortable footwear, travel documents, toiletries, and a camera or smartphone for capturing memorable moments.
Do you need a jacket in Puerto Vallarta?
While Puerto Vallarta generally has warm temperatures, it can get cooler in the evenings, particularly during the winter months. Packing a light jacket or sweater is advisable.
Do you need water shoes in Puerto Vallarta?
Water shoes are not a necessity in Puerto Vallarta, but they can be helpful for rocky beaches or if you plan to explore waterfall trails.
Do you need bug spray in Puerto Vallarta?
It’s recommended to bring and use insect repellent in Puerto Vallarta, especially during the wet season when mosquitoes can be more prevalent.
Can I use American money in Puerto Vallarta?
Yes, many places in Puerto Vallarta accept U.S. dollars. However, it’s advisable to have Mexican Pesos for smaller vendors, local markets, and public transportation.
Can you drink tap water in Puerto Vallarta?
Puerto Vallarta is one of the few places in Mexico where it is safe to drink tap water. However, It’s advisable to drink bottled or purified water in Puerto Vallarta to avoid the risk of stomach discomfort.
Should I bring dollars or pesos to Puerto Vallarta?
It’s recommended to bring Mexican Pesos to Puerto Vallarta for easier transactions and better exchange rates. However, U.S. dollars are widely accepted in tourist areas, hotels, and some establishments.
What is the dress code in Puerto Vallarta?
The Puerto Vallarta dress code is relaxed and casual, especially during the day. Dress comfortably in lightweight clothing, swimwear at the beach, and opt for smart-casual attire for evenings out.
What to wear in Puerto Vallarta in March?
March in Puerto Vallarta experiences warm temperatures and dry, pleasant weather. Pack lightweight and breathable clothing such as shorts, t-shirts, sundresses, and swimwear. Don’t forget sun protection items like a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
What to wear in Puerto Vallarta in November?
November in Puerto Vallarta marks the transition from the wet season to the dry season. Expect warm temperatures and lower chances of rainfall. Pack lightweight and breathable clothing such as shorts, t-shirts, sundresses, and swimwear. Consider bringing a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings.
Final thoughts: What to pack for Puerto Vallarta
With its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and tropical climate, Puerto Vallarta offers an incredible vacation experience. By following this list of things to pack for Puerto Vallarta, you’ll be well-prepared to embrace the beauty and charm of this Mexican paradise.
Remember to pack lightweight and breathable clothing suitable for warm weather, including sundresses, swimwear, and comfortable footwear.
Adapt your wardrobe to the tropical climate, and consider bringing a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings.
Don’t forget essential items like sunscreen, insect repellent, and personal medications. But don’t stress too much if you forget to pack something – there are plenty of shopping malls and even Walmart and Costco. Have a safe and enjoyable trip!
🇲🇽 Puerto Vallarta Quick Guide 🇲🇽
✈️ Airport – The Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR) airport is a 20-minute ride to the city center. You can book an airport transfer here.
🏩 Hotels – The best websites for booking hotels and resorts are Booking.com and Expedia, which search all properties to find you the best deals. For inspiration on where to stay, head to my ultimate guide to Puerto Vallarta hotels.
🚗 Getting around – Puerto Vallarta is easy to get around by walking and Uber, but renting a car is the best way to explore the surrounding areas. Discover Cars is the best website for finding deals, which searches International and local Mexican companies.
🌊 Things to do – Puerto Vallarta is a paradise for outdoor adventure! Some of the top things to do are whale watching, yacht trips, and ATV tours.
✔️ Don’t forget travel insurance! I use and love SafetyWing, which is insurance for remote workers. For shorter trips, I recommend HeyMondo – you can get 5% off by using that link.