Learn when is the best time to visit Puerto Vallarta for weather, affordable rates, crowds, and more.
Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico’s top beach destinations, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a lively city on Mexico’s Pacific coast, with charming cobblestone streets, beautiful architecture, and incredible scenery. From Vallarta, you can enjoy snorkeling excursions, hike through lush jungles along the coast, lounge at chic beach clubs, and dance the night away in countless nightclubs.
And while there are fun adventures to be had at any time of year, you may wonder when is best to visit to get the most out of your experience.
Spoiler alert: In my opinion, early November is the best time to visit Puerto Vallarta to experience the best weather and lower prices. While tourism will be ramping up, there will still be fewer people in the city at this time than if you wait until the peak season hits in late November.
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When is the Best Time to Visit Puerto Vallarta?
The ideal time to travel to Puerto Vallarta ultimately depends on your priorities. Is perfect weather the most important factor of your trip? Would you prefer to save some money by visiting outside of the peak season when the crowds are thinner? Or, maybe the purpose of your trip is tied to an attraction like whale watching or great surfing conditions? Getting clear on your priorities will help you determine the best time to visit the city.
When to visit Puerto Vallarta for the best weather
For perfect weather, visit Puerto Vallarta during the winter months. From November through April, you can count on warm days and low precipitation. During this time, you’ll experience the lowest humidity levels and the most comfortable climate.
Of course, the idyllic weather draws crowds, and these months coincide with the high season. Prepare yourself for high occupancy rates, busy beaches, and higher prices if you visit during this time of year.
What is the cheapest time to go to Puerto Vallarta?
The low season will inevitably be the cheapest time to visit Puerto Vallarta. The low season coincides with Puerto Vallarta’s rainy season: June through October. While you may have to compromise a bit on weather, facing higher temperatures and an increased possibility of precipitation may be a small price to pay to take advantage of lower prices and fewer tourists.
You’ll find great deals on hotels and airfare during these months, and the Airbnb scene will be less competitive, especially for those looking to secure an extended stay. If you’re backpacking through Mexico or visiting the country as a digital nomad, you’ll have a much easier time finding cheap accommodation during the summer months.
When to visit Puerto Vallarta to beat the crowds?
If you’re hoping to beat the crowds in Puerto Vallarta, the rainy season (aka, the low season from June through October) is the best time to visit. Many travelers avoid these months due to the high heat and humidity they bring. In the same way, many Puerto Vallarta expats opt to travel home to visit loved ones at this time of year. This results in more vacancies throughout the city and fewer crowds at the beaches.
However, one thing to keep in mind is that these months also coincide with hurricane season. While it’s rare for a hurricane to make landfall in Puerto Vallarta, it’s good to be aware of the possibility.
When to visit Puerto Vallarta for whale watching
Puerto Vallarta’s prime whale watching season is December through early April, which coincides with peak tourist season. If you hope to see breaching humpbacks, this is the best time to be in Puerto Vallarta.
During the late winter to early spring, hundreds of adult whales flock to Banderas Bay to mate and give birth, leading to lots of intriguing whale activity for visitors to witness! Humpback whales are known for their tendency to put on a show, so a whale-watching tour is sure to be a highlight if you visit at this time of year!
What is the best time to go to Puerto Vallarta to surf?
If you’re interested in surfing, the best time to visit Puerto Vallarta is between December and March. This is when the conditions are the most reliable. However, if you’re a beginner surfer and are okay with smaller waves, there are opportunities to surf all year long. The swell may be less consistent, but good waves are still to be found throughout the rest of the year, especially if you have a flexible schedule.
If you’re planning your whole trip around surfing, visit in the winter. If you hope to take a lesson during your vacation, you can do it anytime! I took a surf lesson with Vallarta Surf Tours on my last trip to Puerto Vallarta, and it was a ton of fun. Reach out to them for board rentals, surf tips, and lessons!
Best time to go to Puerto Vallarta for sea turtles
August through December is the sea turtle season in Puerto Vallarta. Thousands of turtles return to Banderas Bay each year to lay eggs on the beaches near Puerto Vallarta. Turtles may lay anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred eggs, but statistics show that only one turtle from each nest will survive to adulthood.
Several sea turtle protection organizations in the region are working to preserve nests and protect them from predators and human disruption. If you’re keen to witness sea turtle hatching season, you can participate in a sea turtle release program to learn more about a sea turtle’s life cycle and help baby turtles reach the ocean safely!
Puerto Vallarta Weather & Climate
Puerto Vallarta has a tropical climate, meaning it’s warm and humid all year long! The average daily temperature in Puerto Vallarta ranges from around 62 °F to 90 °F (16 °C to 32 °C).
December through April bring Puerto Vallarta’s most ideal weather conditions, which is why these months are also the most popular among tourists. The average daily high temperature during this time ranges from around 80°F (27°C) to 85°F (29°C), with low humidity and very little rainfall. This period is ideal for outdoor activities such as swimming, sunbathing, and water sports, and the area is at its liveliest, with numerous festivals and events taking place.
April is the driest month in Puerto Vallarta, with clear skies and little to no chance of precipitation.
The weather in Puerto Vallarta between May and November brings increased chances of rain and the threat of hurricanes in the region. Average daytime temperatures during this time range from 85°F (29°C) to 90°F (32°C), with high humidity and occasional heavy rain.
June is officially the start of the rainy season, which lasts until October, with August being the wettest month of the year. July, August, and September are the hottest months in Puerto Vallarta.
Although there are increased chances of rain and storms during this time, the area is also quieter and more affordable, making it an attractive time to visit for budget-conscious travelers. The rainy season also brings lush greenery to the area and is a good time for nature lovers to explore the surrounding forests and waterfalls.
From June through October, tropical storms and hurricanes are possible in Puerto Vallarta. It’s rare for these storms to make landfall, but it’s possible, so it’s worth monitoring any storms if you visit during these months. The NOAA website is the best place to see the region’s storm updates.
November is Puerto Vallarta’s shoulder month (and one of the best times to visit). The average daily temperature during November is 77°F (25°C). The days are hot with moderate humidity. You can expect cool evenings, with average lows of 69°F (25°C). Precipitation and humidity are low during November, and tourism doesn’t quite pick up until after American Thanksgiving. There are still vacancies and flight deals to be found at this time of year!
Ocean Temperatures in Puerto Vallarta
If you’re planning to take part in many water activities in Puerto Vallarta, it’s worth noting that water temperatures fluctuate throughout the year.
The summer months in Puerto Vallarta bring the warmest water, with the average temperature ranging from 82 – 85 °F (27 – 29 °C) between June and August.
The water temperature is slightly cooler in the winter and spring, with March typically bringing the lowest temperature at 75 °F (23 °C). Even though this is a significant drop, it’s still a very swimmable temperature, making Puerto Vallarta a great beach destination all year long.
Puerto Vallarta Seasons
There are really only two seasons in Puerto Vallarta: dry season and wet season. Here’s what to know about each season so you can decide when is best for you to travel to Puerto Vallarta.
High Season / Dry Season
Puerto Vallarta’s peak season extends from December through April. The high season kicks off at the very end of November, after American Thanksgiving, and continues until after Semana Santa (Easter), a major holiday in Mexico. After Easter, the spring breakers and Mexican vacationers dissipate, and the city settles down.
During the peak tourist season, Puerto Vallarta is bustling with visitors, and the prices for hotels, restaurants, and attractions tend to be at their highest. If you’re traveling during this time, book your accommodations well in advance, as they may fill up quickly. Additionally, you may experience long lines at popular tourist attractions and face crowded beaches.
Low Season / Wet Season
Puerto Vallarta’s low season coincides with the rainy season, which spans from May through October.
In the past, there was a big difference in the crowd levels between the high and low seasons, but Puerto Vallarta is a popular expat haven and digital nomad destination, so the city remains active all year long. But, while the low season is busier than it used to be, the consistent activity in the city means that there is always something to do. Plus, flights and hotel rates still tend to be lower at this time of year.
Though precipitation is likely from May through October, rain rarely lasts for more than a couple of hours. In fact, it’s usually concentrated to heavy afternoon showers, leaving the rest of the day warm and sunny. If you’re considering a visit during this time of year, you’re still liable to enjoy plenty of sunny days.
Events in Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta is known for its lively and vibrant culture, and there are plenty of festivals, traditions, and events to enjoy throughout the year. Here are some of the events that you might consider including on your travel itinerary.
Vinoma Fest 2023 (March 8-12) – This wine festival features over 40 wineries and ten different restaurants from throughout Mexico. Events include tastings, wine pairings, lectures, panels, and more.
DamaJuana Raicilla Festival (March 17-19) – Raicillia is a distilled spirit made from agave plants (just like Tequila and Mezcal) that has been produced in Jalisco for hundreds of years. This festival brings producers from throughout Jalisco and incorporates music, tastings, and lectures to help participants learn about Raicilla.
Semana Santa / Holy Week (April 7-10, 2023) – Semana Santa is one of the biggest holidays in Mexico. Most of the country has two full weeks of vacation, so this is the prime time for Mexican family vacations. Many Mexican tourists flock to the beaches to enjoy the sunshine during Semana Santa. If you visit at this time of year, expect high occupancy rates, busy beaches, and a lively and fun atmosphere. If crowds aren’t your thing, consider avoiding Puerto Vallarta during the Easter holiday.
Puerto Vallarta Lesbian Pride (May 22-19) – Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico’s most LGBTQ+ friendly cities, and this Pride event is just one of many to experience in late May. There are parties, excursions, and all kinds of other fun activities to participate in over these days.
Al Calor del Mariachi Summerfest (June 27-July 1) – If you’re curious about mariachi culture, this festival is the perfect opportunity to learn more. Throughout the festival, you can catch performances and workshops and view exhibitions relating to everything from folkloric dance to cuisine, art, and beyond.
Dia de Muertos (Oct 31 – Nov 2) – The official dates of Dia de Muertos are October 31 to November 2nd, but you can likely view the decorations and art associated with this holiday for days before and after the official holiday. Expect to find gorgeous ofrendas displayed along the Malecón in the weeks preceding the holiday.
For more info on local events in Vallarta, visit this page.
Additional Tips & Considerations for Visiting Puerto Vallarta
The perfect time to visit Puerto Vallarta depends on your travel preferences and budget, but these tips are applicable all year round.
Take bug repellent
Puerto Vallarta’s jungle setting makes it an ideal habitat for insects. Protect yourself by packing a trustworthy bug repellent. You can buy it when you get there, but it’s easier to bring your favorite brand from home. I’m a big fan of this one, which protected me from all kinds of critters on a hiking trip in the tropical jungles of Costa Rica.
Protect yourself from the sun
Even if it’s overcast, sunburn is a possibility in Puerto Vallarta. Pack waterproof sunscreen for your face and body. Opt for reef-safe sunscreen, as it’s free of toxins that leech into the water and harm the local ecosystems. It’s thought to be better for humans, too. I use this one from Raw Elements for my body, and this La Roche Posay sunscreen is my favorite brand to use on my face.
Don’t forget travel insurance
Travel insurance is essential any time you travel. I love SafetyWing because their policies are extremely affordable. They specialize in policies for long-term travelers, making them a great fit for Mexico’s generous 180-day tourist visa. Click here to learn more.
FAQs About Visiting Puerto Vallarta
What is the best month to visit Puerto Vallarta?
If you ask me, the best time to visit Puerto Vallarta is in November. Precipitation and humidity are quite low, but the main tourist season doesn’t pick up until after American Thanksgiving, meaning you have three glorious weeks to enjoy excellent weather with fewer tourists and favorable prices.
What is the worst time to visit Puerto Vallarta?
There isn’t really a bad time to visit Puerto Vallarta. Determining the best time for you to visit has to do with what your priorities are. If you’d rather have perfect weather than fewer crowds, the high season in the winter is an ideal time to go to Puerto Vallarta. But if you’re more concerned with sticking to a budget, perhaps the shoulder season makes more sense.
Think through what is most important to you on your Puerto Vallarta trip and plan accordingly!
Continue Planning Your Trip!
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