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Sometimes, the best things in life are free, and what makes Puerto Vallarta one of the top destinations is the number of free activities for the family. Adding some of these free activities to do on vacation into your schedule leaves you room in your budget to splurge on tours and shopping, and these free things to do in Puerto Vallarta still show off the best of the city. Without skimping on excitement, you can have the adventure of a lifetime with your loved ones in a land filled with beauty.

Participate in a Sea Turtle Release


For most travelers, the baby sea turtle releases at Campamento Tortuguero Boca de Tomates are the best free events in the bay. When you hike along the beach to their campsite by the airport, you’ll learn more about the olive ridley sea turtles who nest on the west coast of Mexico before releasing a baby sea turtle into the water. These free events happen at sunset, and the group regularly posts on their Facebook page when babies are ready to be released. To encourage conservation, the releases are free events, but a small donation helps the team preserve this endangered species. 

Relax on the Puerto Vallarta Beaches

Splashing in the waves, building sandcastles, and tossing a frisbee are some of the classic free activities to do on vacation at the beach. There’s a wide variety of Puerto Vallarta beaches to explore, from the secluded shores to the south to the popular downtown spots and surfing villages in the north. As you enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the sea, don’t forget to apply sunblock every few hours and to hydrate with water.

Chase Waterfalls


Hiking is one of the most adventurous free activities to do on vacation, and in Puerto Vallarta, the most scenic hikes wind along Puerto Vallarta beaches and rivers to hidden waterfalls. While some travelers opt for guided Puerto Vallarta activities and tours, most locations are public and free to enter. South of the city, the Palo Maria river leads you to a beautiful waterfall, and from the beaches at Colomitos, Quimixto, and Yelapa, you can hike inland to more waterfalls. These Puerto Vallarta activities are both good workouts and opportunities to escape to the peacefulness of nature, and with snacks and games along the way, hiking can be one of the best free activities for the family. 

Explore Iconic Downtown Locations

Downtown is a traveler’s dream with historic landmarks and jungle oases, and exploring the Malecon and cobblestones streets is one of the many free activities in Puerto Vallarta. Along the Malecon, you’ll see lifesize statues, the Papantla Flying Men, the iconic crowned cathedral, and local markets. Window shopping as you go or stopping in a shop for tequila samples are some of the free things to do in Puerto Vallarta you can enjoy along the way. Take a stop at the Rio Cuale and wander under the bridge to the jungle island to escape the heat and noise of the city. 


Take a Salsa Class

Live Cuban music flows out of La Bodeguita del Medio into the Malecon every night as salsa dancers shake and shimmy on the floor. While you can always join in on the fun, taking one of the free classes earlier in the evening will help you move smoothly to the rhythm. Stopping in for a free class is one of the Puerto Vallarta activities that will add a touch of culture to your vacation.

Join the Vallarta Art Walk

Every Wednesday from 6-10pm, the doors of the finest galleries in town swing open for the Vallarta Art Walk. This is one of the best free activities in Puerto Vallarta, and since the works range from folkloric art to abstract designs, wandering through the galleries is one of the free things to do in Puerto Vallarta that showcases the diversity of Mexican culture. 

These free activities in Puerto Vallarta show off the culture and nature that make this a destination travelers return to again and again. With the variety to choose from, there’s something every traveler can fall in love with, and adding in free activities for the family helps you save up for your next trip to Puerto Vallarta.

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