We have been loving our time in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Even though it’s quite the tourist town, there are so many things to do here. One of the things we’ve enjoyed doing is taking Puerto Vallarta tours around the city. We’ve done cooking classes, Puerto Vallarta boat tours, swimming with wild dolphins, and even did a bit of exploring on our own too.
Puerto Vallarta is full of colonial charm, but it also possesses a laid back beach attitude. It’s a good mix of historical and modern elements. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by our time here in Puerto Vallarta. When I first came to Puerto Vallarta, I was half expecting to encounter a party town. But instead, I found a city with plenty of culture and activities to experience for kids and adults.
This post was updated on May 23, 2020.
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Why visit Puerto Vallarta
The city of Puerto Vallarta sees over 3 million tourists each year. For a city that only has around 200,000 residents, that means a large chunk of its economy is dedicated solely to tourists activities. In fact, over 50% of the city’s population works in tourism, either in hotels, restaurants or companies offering Puerto Vallarta tours.
Tourism is big business here in Puerto Vallarta. There are so many things to do in the city. You can read more about Puerto Vallarta in the Lonely Planet Mexico guide book.
For families searching for things to do on their Puerto Vallarta vacations, it’s easy to just go with the first result on their online search. Trip Advisor will give you hundreds of results for Puerto Vallarta tours and activities. And Google will give you just as many. But not all activities and tours are alike.
For example, some of the dolphin experiences available have you swimming with captive dolphins rather than wild dolphins. And some of the Puerto Vallarta boat tours are large group tours rather than private ones.
If you really want to travel ethically and make the most out of your Puerto Vallarta vacations, it’s important to read through the descriptions of the tours. Take some time to do a little research on the companies that are offering tours and activities.
Read more about all the fun activities you can do with kids in Jalisco state here.
What to look for in your Puerto Vallarta boat tours
When we were looking for things to do in Puerto Vallarta, we knew we wanted to take some Puerto Vallarta boat tours. The area around Puerto Vallarta is gorgeous, and it’s worth it for families to do some day trips from Puerto Vallarta during their visit.
We were recently hosted by a company called La Vida Bella Private Boat Tours, which offers private Puerto Vallarta tours to families and visitors to the city. They met many of our selection criteria for Puerto Vallarta tour companies. We were really glad we chose them.
Here’s the tour we took, which you can book for your own family: Private Boat Tour to Yelapa
If you’re planning a visit to Puerto Vallarta, here’s how you can find the right Puerto Vallarta tours for your family.
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1. Selection of offerings
One of the first things to consider when choosing a tour company is the selection of offerings that the company provides. You may not always find a one-size-fits-all company. And that’s okay.
Take a look at the Puerto Vallarta tours that the company offers, and see if it suits your preferences. We liked the selection offered by La Vida Bella Tours. You can take your pick from dolphin encounters, snorkeling, whale watching, and other day trips from Puerto Vallarta.
2. Family owned vs. corporation
Another consideration when picking the tour companies for your Puerto Vallarta vacations is the size of the company. There are plenty of large corporations that offer Puerto Vallarta tours. But there are also a lot of small family-owned companies as well.
We enjoyed La Vida Bella Tours because they are family-owned. Owner, Fernando, has been offering private Puerto Vallarta boat tours through his company for five years. He prefers keeping his tours small as it gives him a chance to get to know his clients better. We really appreciated that personal touch!
3. Level of knowledge
One of the things that makes travel enjoyable is the opportunity to learn something new. When you’re doing Puerto Vallarta tours, you want to make sure your guide is knowledgeable.
We loved our tour with La Vida Bella Tours because Fernando, is just so knowledgeable about the area. As I mentioned already, Fernando has been leading day trips from Puerto Vallarta with La Vida Bella Tours for the last five years. Prior to that, he was working for a company offering Puerto Vallarta boat tours and activities for over twenty years. So he knows the area quite well.
4. Family-friendliness during your tour
As someone who travels with kids, the family-friendliness of a tour or activity is very important. We want our Puerto Vallarta vacations to be just as enjoyable for the kids as they are for the grown-ups.
When you’re picking your tour or activity, think about whether your kids will find it enjoyable. Doing a tequila tasting (which is quite popular here in Puerto Vallarta), may be fun for the adults. But it might not be much fun for the young ones. Try and pick something that everyone in the family can enjoy.
5. Pricing and affordability for our Puerto Vallarta boat tours
The final thing to consider is the price. Is the activity something that is affordable, yet still good quality? Due to the high volumes of tourists that come to Puerto Vallarta, many of the tours can be a bit on the pricey end. At the same time, you don’t want to go with the cheapest tour available, because they may be more prone to cut corners.
When choosing what company to go with, you have to find the magic price point that’s going to give you the best possible tour at an affordable rate. While the Puerto Vallarta boat tours and activities offered by La Vida Bella Tours are on the higher end of the affordability scale, we felt it was great value for your money. The tours last 6-8 hours, and can accommodate up to 8 people.
Planning a vacation with your family? Take a look at my vacation planning posts here.
Why families will love taking private Puerto Vallarta boat tours with La Vida Bella Tours
We really enjoyed our time with La Vida Bella Tours. Their selection of day trips from Puerto Vallarta really offers visitors a chance to explore the area in different ways. We wish we could have had more time to do more tours with them!
If you have time on your trip to Puerto Vallarta, considering booking this tour as well: South Shore Private Sightseeing Cruise
One of the biggest things we liked about La Vida Bella Tours was the flexibility of the private tours. With a group tour, you’re limited to the schedule of the group. But with a private tour, you can adjust your schedule a lot easier. During our tour (we did the Yelapa Tour), we had a chance to do some kayaking, beach play, and hiking. We didn’t feel rushed. But we also felt like there were more than enough things to do to keep ourselves and our kids entertained.
We also loved the personalized experience we had with Fernando. He offered each of us drinks and snacks to have while we were in the boat, and during our tour, made sure that we were enjoying ourselves, first and foremost. We really appreciated that attention to detail and quality of service.
Getting the most out of your Puerto Vallarta vacations
For any family planning to take some Puerto Vallarta vacations in the near future, doing one of the Puerto Vallarta tours is a must.
You don’t necessarily have to go with the exact company we went with, but seriously recommend them. La Vida Bella Tours is a great company, and they offer some fun private Puerto Vallarta boat tours for your family.
Have you had a chance to experience Puerto Vallarta boat tours? Share them with me in the comments.
Visiting Puerto Vallarta as part of a bigger family travel adventure? Use my ebook, Hey Kids, Let’s Go Travel! as a resource for tools, advice, and action steps for planning your trip.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. My family and I received a complimentary boat tour from La Vida Bella Private Boat Tours in exchange for a blog post. However, the views expressed in this post are completely my own.
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Great tips on doing tours in Puerto Vallarta! My family loves doing boat tours when we travel, such a great way to learn about the city and take in the views that everyone can enjoy!
We completely agree. In Puerto Vallarta, the boat tours are kind of like sea safaris, so we were able to see some marine life too!
This private boat tour sounds incredible! I think it would be ideal for our family if we visited! I would definitely look them up!
Yes, it was absolutely incredible. It was perfect for families!
Puerto Vallarta is such a great family vacation spot. I agree that the colonial charm really sets it apart. Love the tips on picking a dolphin tour. We will have to try that on our next visit!
Thanks! We really fell in love with Puerto Vallarta.