A view of the city of Puerto Vallarta with the pier and the beach in the foreground

Things to do in  Jalisco

A microcosm of Mexico

The state of Jalisco stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the mountains of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. With its vibrant biodiversity, its dreamy historic cities, and a backing track of mariachi music, Jalisco is a favorite for adventurers. The list of things to do is endless: Spend a day sampling tequila at one of the many distilleries (Jalisco claims to be the birthplace of the famous liquor), explore the mountains and valleys on horseback, and dance the night away in a bustling town square.

Top 15 attractions in Jalisco

Marietas Islands (Islas Marietas)

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The small, uninhabited Marietas Islands (Islas Marietas) are located in the Bay of Banderas off Mexico's Pacific coast. Making up a UNESCO-listed biosphere reserve, the islands are famous for their abundance of flora and fauna. It's a great place to visit if you want to trade the crowds of the beach resort scene for some natural delights.More

Banderas Bay (Bahia de Banderas)

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Located near Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific coast, Banderas Bay (Bahía de Banderas) is famous for its 42-mile (68-kilometer) stretch of picturesque coast. Jungle, sandy beaches, and rich aquatic life define this area, which is ideal for watersports and land adventures alike.More

Los Arcos National Marine Park

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At Los Arcos National Marine Park in Puerto Vallarta there are islands to visit, reefs to dive, tunnels to swim through, and caves to explore, providing plenty of the arches that give Los Arcos (the Arches) its name. This protected area is famous for its abundant wildlife, both above and below the ocean’s surface, and is a popular snorkeling spot.More

El Malecon

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Like most boardwalks, Puerto Vallarta’s promenade, known as El Malecon, is dotted with sightseeing opportunities, cafes, shops, galleries, and performers. Overlooking the Bay of Banderas, the mile-long stretch offers scenic views during the day. And in the evening, the waterfront nightclubs and discos open their doors to party-seeking locals and visitors.More

Amatitan

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Amatitán—a prolific tequila-producing town just outside Guadalajara—often goes overlooked in favor of nearby Tequila. However, this charming destination is a key stop on Jalisco’s famous Tequila Trail, one which travelers hoping to fully explore the UNESCO-listed Tequila Country shouldn’t miss. As well as picture-perfect agave fields, Amatitán is also home to several high-profile distilleries, such as Casa Herradura.More

Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe)

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Towering over the skyline of downtown, flanked by kitschy souvenir stores, and fronted by a charming, colorful plaza, the pink-hued Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a highlight of Old Town Vallarta. Laboriously constructed over a period of several decades in the early 20th century, the neo-baroque church is best known for its emblematic and intricate bell tower, and is the city’s most important Catholic attraction.More

Marina Vallarta

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Recognizable for its entranceway whale sculpture, Marina Vallarta serves as a self-contained counterpoint to the sprawl of downtown Puerto Vallarta. Although technically a resort and residential development—complete with shopping centers and an 18-hole golf course—most visitors come to stroll the length of the yacht-lined boardwalk, dine at the surrounding restaurants, and browse the weekly craft market.More

Guadalajara Cathedral

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The atypical architecture of Guadalajara’s stunning 16th-century cathedral—formally known as the Basílica de la Asunción de Nuestra Señora de la Santísima Virgen María—looms large over the city’s historic center. Built predominantly in the Spanish Renaissance style, with several stained-glass windows, the most emblematic features of all are the two yellow, neo-Gothic spires which sit atop the building.More

Jose Cuervo Distillery (Fábrica La Rojeña)

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Head to the Jose Cuervo Distillery (Fábrica La Rojeña), and discover one of Mexico’s most famous traditional drinks. From the agave to the bottle, learn about the process of making (and tasting) tequila. A popular attraction in a tiny town, the terracotta-colored distillery is busy but accommodating, and the shop is the place to stock up on factory-priced tequila.More

Guachimontones

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Ancient structures can be found throughout the country, but the tiered, circular pyramids of Guachimontones (meaning “place of the gods”) stand as one of the most important prehistoric settlements of western Mexico. An easy day trip from Guadalajara, this UNESCO World Heritage Site isn’t as well-known as others, yet it’s a unique place that transports you back in time.More

Degollado Theater (Teatro Degollado)

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Designed by architect Jacobo Gálvez during Mexico’s theatrical heyday, the neoclassical Degollado Theater (Teatro Degollado) remains one of downtown Guadalajara’s most popular concert halls, tourist attractions, and landmarks. While the facade is fronted by a marble relief of Apollo and the nine muses—as well as 16 magisterial Corinthian columns—the gilded interior is even more opulent.More

Nuevo Vallarta

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The 13,045-foot (3,976-meter) Acatenango volcano towers over the colonial city of Antigua. While many travelers opt for the more-gentle ascent of the Pacaya Volcano, this twin-peaked volcano offers incredible views of its nearest volcanic neighbor, Fuego, which regularly spits out plumes of gas, ash, and hot lava.More

Zona Romantica

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Puerto Vallarta's Romantic Zone (Zona Romantica)—also called the Old Town, South Side, or Old Vallarta—sits away from the hotel zone and just steps from Los Muertos Beach. With artisan shops, streetside taco stands, and lively cantinas, this area of winding cobblestone streets maintains a more traditional, laid-back feel than the rest of the city.More

Hospicio Cabañas

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Home to some of Mexico’s most impressive José Clemente Orozco murals, the 19th-century Hospicio Cabañas Cultural Institute (Instituto Cultural Cabañas) is a former orphanage-turned-arts center. This UNESCO-recognized building is also notable for its imposing neoclassical architecture, among the best of its kind in Mexico.More

Boca de Tomatlán

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Swap the crowds of Puerto Vallarta for laidback Boca de Tomatlán, a quiet fishing village towards the south of Banderas Bay. Enjoy Boca de Tomatlán’s scenic and secluded stretch of shoreline—which is set against the picturesque backdrop of the Sierra Madre mountains—before using this coastal town as a jumping-off point to explore nearby beaches only accessible by boat.More

Top activities in Jalisco

Alma, by Rhythms of the night
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Alma, by Rhythms of the night

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Luxury Yacht & Snorkeling
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Luxury Yacht & Snorkeling

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Puerto Vallarta, Luxury Sunset Sailing
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Outdoor Zip line Adventure
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Outdoor Zip line Adventure

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Yelapa & Majahuitas Tour
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Yelapa & Majahuitas Tour

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Luxury Sailing

Luxury Sailing

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Jet Ski Safari in Puerto Vallarta

Jet Ski Safari in Puerto Vallarta

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Las Caletas Beach Hideaway
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Las Caletas Beach Hideaway

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Tequila Day Trip from Guadalajara with Jose Cuervo Express Train
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All about Jalisco

When to visit

For those who want to spend every minute outdoors, visit from December to April when the weather is dry and mild. It's the perfect time to take a surfing class or discover the historic architecture of Guadalajara. From June to October, there tends to be fewer visitors and more rain, but there’s still plenty to do. November's Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is when the deceased are remembered and celebrated with parades, festivals, and delicious foods.

Getting around

If you plan to visit multiple parts of Jalisco, renting a car gives you the flexibility to explore at your own pace. The major cities of Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara have plenty of rental companies, as well as good public transit systems. Bus schedules tend to be fairly informal, but don’t be afraid to ask a local where the nearest bus stop is. Otherwise, taxis are common and affordable—just be sure to agree on a price before getting in.

Traveler tips

Mariachi music is said to have originated in Jalisco, and the bold style is a draw for locals and tourists alike. In Guadalajara, make like the locals and head to the Plaza de los Mariachis to be serenaded under the stars. The historic plaza is lined with bars, making it a popular evening destination. Brush up on your mariachi knowledge—bands can be paid for specific requests—and keep an eye on your bag.

Local Currency
Mexican Peso (MX$)
Time Zone
CST (UTC -6)
Country Code
+52
Language(s)
Spanish
Attractions
42
Tours
970
Reviews
42,541
EN
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People Also Ask

What is Jalisco best known for?

Jalisco is known for mariachi bands and tequila—both of which are said to have originated in the province. It’s also known for the diversity of its nature. You can swim in the Pacific, hike through the tropical evergreens, and spot countless tropical birds.

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Does Jalisco have a beach?

Yes, the province borders the Pacific Ocean and has long stretches of beach. Puerto Vallarta is one of the more famous beach towns, but head south to Boca de Iguanas Beach for calm waters and a quieter environment.

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Is Guadalajara worth visiting?

Yes, the capital of Jalisco is the perfect place to wander and discover Mexico's culture. Its colonial buildings are sided by shady parks, and sites like the Spanish Renaissance-style Guadalajara Cathedral are unmissable. For keepsakes, check out San Juan de Dios Market, the largest indoor market in Latin America.

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What is the regional dish of Jalisco?

Birria, a braised goat stew, is one of the most popular dishes in Jalisco. It’s spiced with ginger, cumin, and oregano, and served alongside beans and tortillas. Warm and comforting, birria is Jalisco in a bowl.

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Is all tequila made in Jalisco?

Similar to Champagne in France, tequila production is carefully regulated. Jalisco is one of the five regions authorized to produce tequila, alongside specific municipalities in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas. Tequila must also be made from 100 percent blue agave, or it doesn’t earn the name.

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How do locals drink tequila?

How locals drink tequila depends on the type. Blanco tequila is aged briefly and typically used in cocktails. Reposado is aged for at least two months, giving it a smoother flavor in cocktails. Añejo is aged for at least a year and should be served neat and sipped slowly.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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