Among the blue-green waters of Banderas Bay and the lush jungle of the Sierra Madre mountains sits Puerto Vallarta — or simply Vallarta, as locals call it — a historical town with the best of what the Mexican state of Jalisco can offer. Upon arrival at PVR airport, you’ll already feel the tropical allure, and it won’t take long to discover that, beyond beautiful beaches, the city boasts a thriving art scene, colourful traditions, and vibrant nightlife. The area is also famous for its time-honoured mariachi bands and delicious tequila. What else do you need for a perfect Mexican holiday? 🤷♀️ While in this Latin paradise, you’ll surely want to capture your experiences in the best way possible. So we’ll make your life easier (like that’s even possible in PV 😉) with a selection of the ten best places to take photos in Puerto Vallarta.
Photo: Diana in Puerto Vallarta for Flytographer. Robin and their family celebrate a birthday in Puerto Vallarta on the beach with a family photoshoot.
As if combining the best of two worlds, the Malecón is a busy boardwalk near downtown Puerto Vallarta that stretches along the majestic Banderas Bay — and it’s an absolute must-visit spot in your itinerary. It offers a variety of trendy restaurants, boutiques, and cafes that will fight for your attention with all the talented street artists, festivals and concerts bringing year-round energy along various points of the boardwalk. The myriad of food stalls is also part of the show, including many authentic taco and churro stands. It’s just like the Mexicans say, ‘Full stomach, happy heart!’ 🌮
Here, nature and art coexist. The Malecón is a very artsy spot, and you’ll find dozens of sculptures of various styles and sizes created by local and international artists. Los Arcos, a work by Martín Distancia, is a particularly Instagram-worthy spot on the promenade. Here’s a tip: if you want to learn the history and meanings behind the sculptures, the Malecon Sculpture Tour happens every Tuesday. It’s free, and there’s no need for a reservation for this sensational experience!
Photo: Diana in Puerto Vallarta for Flytographer. Christy and their family capture memories in Puerto Vallarta with a family photoshoot.
2. Old Town Puerto Vallarta
The Old Town of Puerto Vallarta is another spot you can’t miss. With much of its colonial beauty preserved or restored, these old cobblestone streets keep faithful to their heritage and exude culture and history. You’ll find more restaurants, souvenir shops, and art galleries here than anywhere else in the city, which makes it a great place to mingle with the warm and welcoming locals.
It’s quite easy to get lost while admiring the stunning architecture. There’s a great photo-op in every corner, from old churches in baroque style to colonial buildings and homes, all framed by flowering bougainvillea. A recent renovation project included instagrammable murals in many of the streets, and there are also picturesque multicoloured façades spread between the whitewashed buildings. This place is also known as Zona Romántica, meaning the Romantic Zone. Bars and nightclubs come to life at night and there is a diverse and inclusive vibe, with several LGBTQIA+ venues. 🏳️🌈
A night out in town is well worth it. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your special someone right here?
Photo: Jenn in Puerto Vallarta for Flytographer. Donald captures their Modern Headshot photoshoot in Puerto Vallarta.
3. Conchas Chinas
Popular with locals, this stunning playa is the definition of paradise. Even though it’s not far from the Old Town, Conchas Chinas beach is quieter than the other beaches around and still maintains a sense of seclusion. The rock formations protect the beach and form natural pools of calm, tropical waters, making it perfect for families with kids to swim or for anyone just wanting a relaxing day of floating on the water. 😌
The sea is crystal clear, so snorkeling here is a great idea. You’re sure to spot multicoloured schools of fish swimming near the surface. Wildlife is also abundant and easy to spot on the shore: crabs, mollusks, birds, and even small reptiles compose this stunning scenery, making it even more sublime. Thankfully, this is a certified Blue Flag beach, which means it meets high sustainable and ecological standards.
Photo: Jenn in Puerto Vallarta for Flytographer. Katherine and their partner capture memories at Conchas Chinas with a couple photoshoot.
4. Punta Mita
This beautiful enclave, roughly an hour away from Puerto Vallarta, is regularly voted one of Mexico’s best places to visit. You’ll understand why when you stroll along the lengthy shoreline of aquamarine sea waters and pristine white sand – it’s an instant mood-booster!
Glamorous locals and international jet setters alike choose this spot to make it their private Shangri-la. Punta Mita is home to countless luxurious resorts, villas, and golf courses, and it’s also known for being one of the most exclusive communities in Mexico. But if you ask us, the real glamour lies in its nature, in the open vistas of the Pacific Ocean, and the absolutely breathtaking sunsets. 🌅
We can’t forget to mention the baby turtles! 🐢 Punta Mita is where thousands of female turtles lay their eggs and hatch. And every year in summer, local biologists partner with the resorts to help the baby turtles make their way toward the sea.
Photo: Jenn in Puerto Vallarta for Flytographer. Anh and their partner celebrate their babymoon in Puerto Vallarta with a maternity photoshoot at Punta Mita.
5. Sayulita Beach
Located in Sayulita, a small hippie-chic fishing village in Nayarit State, Sayulita Beach is only 30 minutes away from Punta Mita and less than one hour away from Puerto Vallarta. Surfer mystics say that the beach was created by wave gods more than five thousand years ago. This place is known worldwide for its excellent surf conditions — suitable for beginners and pros. 🏄
It’s not only the waves that attract people to this gorgeous beach. Sayulita Beach is also a great spot to chill on the sand while feeling the energy of the waves lapping the shore, and there are various bars and restaurants around where you can grab a drink or have some delicious seafood for lunch.
Sayulita is a great day trip option from Puerto Vallarta, but if you want to stay the night, the party scene can be pretty lively, following the upbeat rhythms of Latin music — have we already mentioned margaritas? 🤔
Photo: Jenn in Sayulita for Flytographer. Deborah and their family capture memories in Sayulita with a family photoshoot on the beach.
6. Punta Negra & Playa Careyeros
Playa Careyeros in the Punta Negra community, close to Puerto Vallarta, is all you need if you’re looking for time off. There are barely any restaurants or vendors around, so this place really feels like a hidden beach — all you have is the natural scenery to keep you company. 🏝
This beach, composed of thin white sand and blue crystalline waters, will make you feel a million miles away from the rest of the world. Since there are almost no services around, it’s a good idea to bring everything you’ll need with you. Picnic on a calm Mexican beach in one of the best places to take photos in Puerto Vallarta? This sounds fa-bu-lous! 😍
Photo: Jenn in Puerto Vallarta for Flytographer. Brad and Garrett celebrate their anniversary in Puerto Vallarta with a couple photoshoot on the beach north of Playa Careyeros near Imanta Resorts.
7. Playa del Oro
Playa del Oro stretches alongside various boutique hotels, resorts, and clubs in a perfect location on the north side of Puerto Vallarta. It’s a great place to relax or take a long walk barefoot, feeling the soft sand and the salty breeze coming from the sea. If you’re looking for something a little more thrilling, there are plenty of water activities available, from kayaking to windsurfing and jet skiing. Whale-watching tours are also a fantastic experience available from mid-December to the end of March. Do note that this beach can get slightly crowded during the high season, from December to April. 🐋
Photo: Alejandra in Puerto Vallarta for Flytographer. Ashley and their partner celebrate their honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta with a couple photoshoot on the beach.
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8. Our Lady of Guadalupe
Right on the main square, this imposing and eclectic church dominates the skyline of Puerto Vallarta and is a true icon of the city. Its construction took many years to complete and thus developed to include many different styles. The main structure, for instance, is neoclassical, but the towers, built with exposed bricks, are of renaissance style. The interior is filled with rich decorations that include hand-carved columns. But the most impressive feature is the giant crown that tops the bell tower. No wonder why they call this church the crown of Puerto Vallarta. 👑
After admiring its hybrid architecture, grab a fruity popsicle from one of the passing vendors and sit on its frontal steps to people-watch and soak in the Mexican sunshine.
Photo: Flytographer in Puerto Vallarta. Kim and their partner capture memories on their honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta with a couple photoshoot at Our Lady of Guadalupe.
9. Playa Royale by Paradise Village in Nuevo Vallarta
Just north of Puerto Vallarta, nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra de Vallejo mountains, sits Nuevo Vallarta. This seaside resort with golf courses, marinas, and stunning beaches isone of the most visited destinations in Nayarit State.
After Cancun, this golden holiday spot has the second-highest number of hotels and resorts in the entire country. You’ll understand why once you get to the spacious local beaches where you can go swimming, paddleboarding, or jet skiing. For a bit of wildlife watching, you’re likely to spot dolphins jumping in the waters near the small islands of Las Marietas National Park or whales during migration season.
Tienes hambre? This area is also highly regarded for its wide offer of fantastic seafood restaurants. 🦐
Photo: Daniel in Nuevo Vallarta for Flytographer. María and their grandmother capture memories together in Nuevo Vallarta with a multigenerational family photoshoot.
10. Los Muertos Beach
Don’t get spooked by this beach’s unappealing name, 😱 which literally translates to the Beach of the Dead — but there’s nothing dead about it. In fact, it couldn’t be livelier! Los Muertos is the most famous beach in Puerto Vallarta, although since it’s equally popular among locals and visitors, and the starting point of many of the tours in the region, it is also perhaps the most crowded.
But it’s a great place if you enjoy the hustle and bustle or if you like everything at hand while you relax by the sea under a parasol. ⛱ Here, you’ll have a wealth of traditional vendors and fantastic food and drink options.
With a quirky design that makes it look like a sail in the wind, the Mirador, as the locals call it, is a beach pier that’s impossible to miss and a great place for your vacation photos. While in the area, you can also look for Puerto Vallarta’s original Seahorse Statue at Las Pilitas. It’s tough to think of a better way to experience the lively Mexican culture than to visit this beach full of energy and beautiful traditions.
Photo: Jenn in Puerto Vallarta for Flytographer. Jessica and their family capture memories in Puerto Vallarta with a family photoshoot at Punta Negra & Playa Careyeros.
Best places to take photos in Puerto Vallarta
There are plenty more busy, secluded, or family-friendly beaches to explore, such as Playa Colomitos, Boca de Tomatlan, and Mismaloya. So if you want to know more about what to do in Puerto Vallarta, check these local Puerto Vallarta tips from our customers. Or, if you’re travelling to other parts of the country, this Mexico travel guide can help you with some inspiration.
Wherever you go, our local Flytographers in Puerto Vallarta will help you make your trip all the more fun with a photo shoot you’ll remember forever. All you’ll need are your flip-flops, some sunblock, and a big smile on your face — you’re in México! 🇲🇽
“Jenn was responsive, flexible, fun, and overall amazing to work with. I would highly recommend Jenn for a shoot in Puerto Vallarta. She made the shoot easy and were able to help us with posing and having fun with it. We absolutely loved the pictures as well! Can’t wait to share with families and friends!!”
“Diana, our photographer and our photo session was nothing but amazing! The photo session turned out to be a surprise proposal, which was even more amazing. She gave us the gift of reliving one of my favorite moments. She makes being in front of a camera very comfortable and even natural and it shows in the final product. I am hoping to return to Puerto Vallarta and use her again, the session is exceeded everything I had hoped!”
“Jenn was fabulous! I knew that trying to capture family photos with a 2.5 year old and an 11 month old wasn’t going to be easy, but Jenn was so patient, kind and a true professional. She even arrived with some bubbles and little toys to keep our toddler engaged! We loved the evening playing in the sand and splashing in the waves and the photos are fabulous.”