Culture + Style

The Best of Both Vallartas: How to Enjoy a “Night on the Towns” in Puerto and Nuevo Vallarta

Staying in Nuevo Vallarta, but want to check out the downtown core, too? Or thinking about planning a trip to PV and curious about what’s happening across the river? Look no further. Enjoy a night out on the towns with these tips.

vallarta nightlife
Find the romance after dark. (Photo: Getty Images)

TRY SOMETHING NEW IN NUEVO VALLARTA

Nuevo Vallarta is a planned resort and golfing community, on the other side of the airport that serves the region. Because of this, it may not seem to have the same happening nightlife that Puerto Vallarta has, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck after a game of golf or a day at Aquaventuras Park with the kids.

Cervecería Chapultepec

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Keep it fresh with seafood from Cervecería Chapultepec. (Photo; Getty Images)

If you are craving simple local food and beer, check out this gastropub, serving fish tacos and other delightful tapas, plus burgers and po’boys, micheladas, clamatos, and several different types of mojitos.

Luna Lounge

When you’re looking to take in a show, check out Luna Lounge Bucerías, a bar and cabaret north of Nuevo Vallarta on the way to Punta Mita. Offerings include musical tributes, drag shows, specialty dinner menus, and a VIP gold club with preferred seating and champagne lounge.

Tintoque and Benitto’s

These aren’t technically in Nuevo Vallarta, but given their proximity to the airport by Marina Vallarta, they are closer to NV resorts than they are to downtown. Tintoque is a casual bar and restaurant offering a modern take on local classic foods, and cocktails based around traditional fermented drinks like raicilla, la tuba, and tejuino.

Benitto’s Paninoteca is open a few hours later, until 2am, and in addition to their extensive menu of panini, salads, and soups, you’ll find a selection of martinis as well as coffee and desserts to finish off an evening out. Live music will perk you up before heading downtown to party the rest of the night away.

OLD FAVORITES AND FRESH FINDS IN PUERTO VALLARTA

With so much history, and such a vibrant scene, it might feel impossible to choose how to enjoy your evenings in downtown Vallarta. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

The Boardwalk / El Malécon, Vallarta’s “Romantic Zone”

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Take a stroll along El Malécon. (Photo: Getty Images)

This stretch of walking street along the beach is dubbed the “romantic zone” and includes a number of different bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. Head to Mándala if you are looking for an all-inclusive party spot where drinks are included in the cover fee. At La Vaquita, you’ll find more drinks, dancing, and some high-flying acrobatic entertainment to keep you busy late into the night. A wet t-shirt contest is not out of the question.

La Ingrata

Not far from the boardwalk, the rooftop of this pub is popular with a younger crowd for its thumping techno beats. Downstairs you’ll often find live music, and the bar stocks some excellent mezcal.

Wild Rides at Andale’s

Andale’s has been around for decades—35 years to be exact—and they are somewhat of an institution in Puerto Vallarta. When people tell you to go for the donkey rides, this is not a euphemism. You will find a donkey hanging out just outside the bar, and for a reasonable tip, you can take a ride. The crowd here trends a bit older than a place like Mándala, but don’t let that fool you. Things can get just as wacky and wild here!

This is, of course, just the beginning. There are dozens of restaurants, bars, and clubs to choose from once you are in Puerto Vallarta and ready to explore.