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23 Top Puerto Vallarta Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

Man in puerto vallerta sunset
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Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations. You won’t be disappointed by the glistening Pacific Ocean and stunning sandy beaches in this Mexican paradise.

Renowned for incredible snorkeling, scuba diving, and adventure activities, you’ll never be lacking in things to do in Puerto Vallarta.

Check out our comprehensive packing list which will help you decide what to wear in Puerto Vallarta, what NOT to bring, and other FAQs.

puerto vallarta beach
The beaches in Puerto Vallarta are so dreamy.
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What to Pack for Puerto Vallarta – 23 Essentials

  • 1. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    I can never recommend packing this item enough, I bring mine on every trip. A microfiber, quick dry travel towel is great for day trips from Puerto Vallarta, as it easily compresses to toss into your daypack and dries quickly for when you’re on the go. If you’re staying at a resort, this towel is also much more convenient to carry around than the giant, heavy towels from the hotel that take forever to dry.

    Quick-Dry Travel Towel

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  • 2. Deodorant Wipes

    Unlikely but incredibly useful items to pack for your trip to Puerto Vallarta are deodorant wipes. Use them to refresh after a long day of exploring in the hot sun, or if you’re feeling sweaty, sticky or sandy and don’t have time for a shower. These wipes are easy to throw in your purse or daypack and are great on sensitive skin!

    Deodorant Wipes

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  • 3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    Mexico ranks as the most affected country for cybersecurity attacks in Latin America. As the threat of ransomware, malware, data breaches, and identity theft grows worldwide – the scale for Mexico in particular has been staggering. Public Wi-Fi networks are not safe. I experienced this first-hand when my credit card number was stolen at an Airbnb that I thought was trustworthy.

    A VPN is essential to create an anonymous connection that is not vulnerable to hackers and creepy onlookers (who can otherwise monitor your online activity!) In addition to this, a good VPN like NordVPN will also ensure that you can access websites from your home country that may be censored or blocked in Mexico (like Netflix, YouTube, PayPal, and more). We never travel without our VPN and recommend you do the same.

    Virtual Private Network (VPN)

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  • 4. Neck Wallet

    A neck wallet is perfect for protecting your valuables from pickpockets and petty theft while traveling in Mexico. Large enough to hold your phone, passport, keys, and money, you can easily tuck this handy neck wallet under your clothes to keep your belongings secure, organized, and easily accessible when you need them.

    Available on with an exclusive 15% discount using the coupon code “HERO”.

    neck wallet

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  • 5. Swimsuit Cover-Up

    A cute swimsuit cover-up is a must for any beach destination, and Puerto Vallarta is no exception. Throw it on over your suit on the way to the pool and use it to walk into a restaurant or cafe once you’re done at the beach. We love this one because it’s stylish, lightweight, and inexpensive.

    Swimsuit Cover-Up

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  • 6. Travel Insurance for Puerto Vallarta

    There is a reason travel insurance is mandated in so many places – to ensure tourists aren’t paying massive international bills out-of-pocket that can easily be covered by insurance.

    Keep in mind that your domestic coverage will not follow you over the border, and you’ll want travel-specific insurance for common issues like baggage loss, delays, theft, cancelation, evacuations, or medical expenses.

    We recommend Faye Travel Insurance because they make the claims process so easy and as the first 100% digital provider, you can get reimbursed through their mobile app. It’s like having a whole support team in your pocket that’s available 24/7, and it’s very affordable compared to the total cost of your trip. Not to mention – if you end up needing it, the cost pays for itself.

    Travel Insurance for Puerto Vallarta

    Get a quote in less than 60 seconds with Faye ➜

  • 7. Waterproof Phone Pouch

    Whether you’re going for a swim or spending the day kayaking, you’ll want to make sure your phone is safe and usable with a waterproof phone pouch. This one is made by a woman-owned company and designed in Hawaii! Their design allows you to take sharp photos and videos underwater and fits just about any smartphone – Androids and iPhones alike. Be sure to attach the pouch to a floating wrist strap. It will keep your phone afloat instead of being lost to the ocean floor in case you lose hold of it even for a second!

    Waterproof Phone Pouch

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  • 8. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    The weather in Puerto Vallarta can be unpredictable. Make sure you’re prepared for anything by packing a handy windproof travel umbrella like this one! It packs down small, so it’s easy to toss in your daypack or purse where you can access it whenever you need to.

    Windproof Travel Umbrella

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  • 9. Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

    The last thing you want to be worried about when you’re out and about in a new destination is your phone battery dying. A compact, portable charger is perfect for recharging your phone, camera, or any other device you might need. This one is small enough to comfortably fit in your purse or backpack so you’ll always have it with you when you need it.

    Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

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  • 10. Cooling Towel

    A cooling towel will help you stay comfortable even at the hottest times in Puerto Vallarta. Whether you’re walking around town or lounging on the beach, a cooling towel is the perfect way to stay fresh and escape the heat in Puerto Vallarta’s hot and humid weather. These cooling towels are chemical-free and get as low as 20-30 degrees below the outside air temperature as soon as you wet them.

    Cooling Towel

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  • 11. Sand-Resistant Beach Blanket

    An amazing item to bring to the beach is a sand-resistant beach blanket. With small weights on each corner, this blanket stays put and doesn’t get blown around in the breeze or covered in sand. Made from a lightweight and quick-drying material, this sand-resistant beach blanket folds up to be compact and easily tossed into a beach bag or daypack.

    Sand-Resistant Beach Blanket

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  • 12. Packing Cubes

    Packing cubes help you utilize every last ounce of free space in your bag. They make packing, unpacking, and repacking easier than ever and stay more organized than you thought possible. These awesome packing cubes come in a variety of bright colors and are accompanied by two separate bags for your shoes and another for your laundry.

    Packing Cubes

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  • 13. Activated Charcoal

    Bringing activated charcoal caps on your trip to Puerto Vallarta could end up being a godsend. If you eat or drink something that your stomach doesn’t agree with, you may end up spending days of your vacation with your head in the toilet. Use activated charcoal tablets to absorb and expel the toxins in your body and keep you healthy and safe during your entire trip.

    Activated Charcoal

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  • 14. TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

    You’re going to need a few luggage locks to keep the rest of your packing essentials safe while you’re in transit. I like these ones in particular because they come in a two-pack, are TSA-approved, and are super durable.

    TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

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  • 15. Beach Bag with Built-in Cooler

    A beach bag is essential for any trip to Puerto Vallarta. You’re bound to be bouncing from pool to beach, to pool again, and the right bag will ensure you always have everything you need. This bag is great because it comes with a built-in cooler in the bottom which is perfect for keeping your drinks and snacks cool on those hot, sunny days.

    Beach Bag with Built-in Cooler

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  • 16. Filtered Water Bottle

    The tap water in Mexico isn’t safe to drink, and buying single-use plastic water bottles is terrible for the environment. Do your part to reduce waste by bringing a reusable bottle like this one to stay hydrated. The built-in filter means you’ll never have to worry about getting sick from dirty water since it filters out all viruses and bacteria like E. Coli, salmonella, and hepatitis.

    Filtered Water Bottle

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  • 17. Gorgeous Outfit

    There’s no doubt that during your time spent in Puerto Vallarta, you’ll have at least one occasion to enjoy a nice dinner or a night out on the town. Take the opportunity to wear a gorgeous outfit, like this lightweight and sexy dress. Elegant enough for dinner and trendy enough for an evening out, it’s the perfect piece to show off your fresh sunkissed tan.

    Gorgeous Outfit

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  • 18. Affordable Underwater Camera

    Puerto Vallarta is renowned for snorkeling, scuba diving, ziplining, and a number of other action-packed activities. With the help of a durable underwater camera, you’ll be able to capture all your favorite travel moments that you can watch again and again. It’s compact and durable, which is perfect for any adventure, and a fraction of the price of a GoPro.

    Affordable Underwater Camera

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  • 19. Rash Guard

    Don’t forget to bring a long-sleeved swim rash guard with you on your trip to Puerto Vallarta. Great for protecting you from the sun both in and out of the water, this rash guard will keep you cool on hot days and will keep you warm if the water is a bit chilly. It’s also great to wear for water activities like surfing and paddle boarding, and it’s so comfortable you’ll forget you even have it on!

    Rash Guard

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  • 20. Waterproof Dry Bag

    Protect your water-fearing devices like phones and cameras from an unexpected rainstorm or an accidental splash or drop in the water with a waterproof dry bag. These simple yet incredibly effective bags will keep your electronics, wallets, and anything precious to you safe from water damage. They even float if you fill the bag with air before closing. That way, in case the entire bag goes overboard, it will float and you can safely retrieve your belongings!

    Waterproof Dry Bag

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  • 21. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    All beach trips require a few extra toiletries like sunscreen, aloe (in case you forgot to reapply said sunscreen), and hair products to combat frizz. The best way to keep everything organized and contained in case of accidental spillage is with a clever hanging toiletry bag. My wife loves this one for its four super spacious zippered compartments that fit all of her self-care products, plus mine and the kids! It conveniently hangs up on any hook or pole so that it’s within reach but out of the way. It comes with us everywhere!

    Hanging Toiletry Bag

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  • 22. Mosquito-Repellent Bracelets

    Being the tropical destination that it is, be prepared to encounter mosquitoes in Puerto Vallarta and protect yourself from potential mosquito-borne diseases that are commonly found in the area, like Zika and Dengue. Cases are higher in the summer months, but it’s still wise to be cautious year-round by covering up in the evenings when mosquitoes are most active and using mosquito-repellent wristbands like these. Wear them around your ankles or wrists, and you’ll have hours of protection without having to constantly respray irritating, toxic fumes!

    Mosquito-Repellent Bracelets

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  • 23. Waterproof Shoes

    Puerto Vallarta and the surrounding area are full of exciting water excursions and day trips where you will be glad you brought waterproof shoes – think kayaking, paddle boarding, waterfall hiking, and visiting the tropical island of Yelapa! These shoes are our go-to because they fit comfortably but easily slip on/off. The soles have great traction to prevent accidental slips, and they drain nicely so your feet aren’t sloshing around in water with every step you take.

    Waterproof Shoes

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What to Wear in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico’s most popular destinations, and you’ll quickly understand why: the beaches are beautiful, the climate is perfect, and the food is out of this world. Not to mention that there is plenty of old Mexico charm mixed with all the modern amenities you could ever need. The general style in Puerto Vallarta is cool and composed. The hot, humid climate calls for lightweight, breathable fabrics, and you’ll fit in best in stylish yet casual outfits. Because Mexico is a predominantly Catholic country, you’re always best to dress on the conservative side (mind those hemlines!) to avoid drawing unwanted attention to yourself. In the dry season, the temperatures can be as low as 65 degrees Fahrenheit, so light layers are in order; a fleece or a light jacket will be sufficient

What should WOMEN wear in Puerto Vallarta? – (Click to expand)
Women in Mexico tend to wear stylish, yet conservative outfits; slacks and blouses, or dresses are the go-to attire, day to day. Mexican women often typically wear full makeup and high heels, which elevate their otherwise casual ensembles.

Visiting women will fit in best in sundresses or a blouse paired with a skirt or stylish shorts. Cutoffs and casual beach shorts are fine, but you will stand out more. The typical Mexican style is elevated-casual, so keep that in mind when planning your outfits. Heels are fitting for nights on the town, but day to day you’ll be most comfortable exploring the cobblestone streets in sneakers.

If you’re planning a night out, or a meal at a high-end restaurant, be sure to bring at least one dressy outfit — a dress with heels is ideal.

What should MEN wear in Puerto Vallarta? – (Click to expand)
Local men in Puerto Vallarta dress casual, but composed outfits; slacks and collared guayabera shirts are standard attire. Visiting men will feel most comfortable in lightweight, breathable fabrics. Stylish outfits will help you fit in best; think chinos and collared shirts, paired with comfortable, stylish sneakers.

If you’re planning to partake in many aquatic activities, a rashguard will help protect you from excessive sun exposure. Nightlife calls for dressier outfits; a pair of dark jeans or slacks paired with a button-down shirt will work perfectly.

Packing for the Seasons in Puerto Vallarta

Dry Season – November, December, January February, March, April & May

​Puerto Vallarta’s dry season just so happens to be the most popular season for tourists. Stretching from November to May, during this time of year the daytime temperature averages about 80 degrees, while the nights are more brisk, averaging around 65 degrees. If you visit during this time of year, pack light layers to keep you warm after the sun goes down. The weather in Puerto Vallarta is idyllic, and there’s no doubt you’ll be spending plenty of time in the sun. Pack plenty of sunscreen, and a swimsuit coverup to protect your skin from overexposure.

Wet Season – June, July, August, September & October

Puerto Vallarta’s wet season, which ranges from June to
October, means higher humidity, higher temperatures, and, of course, more precipitation. However, the rain is generally concentrated into heavy showers, rather than days on end of rain. Pack lightweight clothing during this time of year to keep you feeling fresh in the humidity; linen or synthetic, quick-drying fabrics will be most comfortable. Bring an umbrella or rain shell to keep you dry in the event of a thunderstorm.

How to dress correctly for the activity in Puerto Vallarta – (Click to expand)

Aquatic Activities – ​One of Puerto Vallarta’s main attractions is undoubtedly the ocean. You can go whale watching, snorkeling, kayaking, or just chill out on the beach. Any activity that takes place on the water is a recipe for sunburn. Always pack sunscreen, polarized sunglasses, and wear a rashguard if you’re in the water for an extended period. Take your water bottle to avoid dehydration.

Shopping – ​Whether you’re browsing one of Puerto Vallarta’s street markets, a high-end shopping center, or poking around in boutiques along the malecón, you’ll need to wear comfortable shoes. Walking around all day on pavement is taxing for your feet, so wear shoes with plenty of padding and arch support. Additionally, crossbody purse is ideal for women, as you can wear it in front of your body in crowded spaces to deter pickpockets. A dress or shorts and t-shirt is a cool and comfortable option for wandering around in the sun
for hours on end.

Nightlife – ​Puerto Vallarta’s nightclubs call for slightly elevated ensembles. Men will need to
wear jeans or slacks along with a button-down shirt, and formal shoes. Women should plan
to wear a dress and heels, or formal shoes. It can be chilly at night, particularly in the dry
season, so take a light jacket just in case.

What NOT to Bring to Puerto Vallarta

  • 1.Flashy jewelry

    ​It typically isn’t wise to bring excessive jewelry when traveling. Wearing a lot of jewelry only makes you stand out as a target for thieves. Wouldn’t it be a shame to lose a prized piece while on vacation? Leave your jewels safe at home and settle for wearing something more understated.

  • 2.A regular towel

    ​It can be tempting to bring your favorite fluffy towel with you — especially if you have space in your luggage, but it’s just not worth the effort. Because the air is so humid in Puerto Vallarta, a traditional towel will likely never dry, which will make it uncomfortable to use, and even more uncomfortable to pack in your luggage again when you head home. Skip it in favor of a microfiber towel.

  • 3.Heavy clothing

    J​ust like your towel, heavy cotton clothing just won’t ever feel dry in Vallarta’s humidity. Jeans are okay in the dry season, as long as they aren’t too tight, but skip cotton sweatshirts or sweatpants, and bring something lighter instead. You’ll just end up feeling sweaty and uncomfortable otherwise.

  • 4.Boots

    Boots are tempting airport attire because they’re so easy to slip on and off, but they are overkill for Vallarta. They’re going to be far too hot and heavy to wear in the humidity, and they’ll just take up valuable space in your luggage. Skip them and bring sneakers instead.

  • 5.Books

    Books are bulky and susceptible to moisture damage, so it’s best to skip them when visiting Puerto Vallarta. A Kindle offers hundreds of titles at your fingertips and takes up far less space. Additionally, Kindle titles are usually less expensive to buy than a traditional paperback!

  • 6.Excessive Cash

    Banks and ATMs are plentiful in Mexico, so there’s really no need ever to carry a substantial amount cash. Doing so only makes you a target for theft (it’s not likely, but it does happen). Most large stores in Mexico accept credit or debit cards at this point, so you’ll be fine without large quantities of cash. Take a little bit, and withdraw more as needed

What NOT to wear? – (Click to expand)

Heavy cotton clothes are not a good idea for Puerto Vallarta. Stick to lightweight, breathable fabrics that will wick sweat and keep you feeling fresh in the heat and humidity. However, you should also take care not to wear anything that is too revealing. Mexico is very much a Catholic country, and revealing clothing offends some and draws unwanted attention from others. Err on the conservative side when packing.

FAQs about Traveling in Puerto Vallarta

  • 1. What are some of the points of interest?

    The “Elizabeth Taylor house,” now a boutique hotel called Casa Kimberly, is a famous landmark in Puerto Vallarta. The actress purchased the property with Richard Burton after the pair filmed The Night of the Iguana in Vallarta during the 1960s. The beautiful home is a favorite spot for a photo op.

    The malecón, Puerto Vallarta’s oceanfront boardwalk is a must-visit destination. Browse the numerous boutique shops, stop for ice cream, as you enjoy the beautiful sea views. You can even catch a performance of the voladores de Papantla, an ancient Mesoamerican dance ritual that is performed along the malecón.

    The Los Arcos marine area, while not precisely in Puerto Vallarta, is a popular destination for tourists. It features arch-shaped rock formations and can be accessed on a snorkeling or sailing tour. Discover colorful fish as you snorkel amongst the arches.

  • 2. Do you need a visa to visit Puerto Vallarta?

    American and Canadian citizens do not need a visa to visit Puerto Vallarta. When you arrive in Mexico, you will receive a stamp in your passport granting you permission to stay in Mexico for up to 180 days. If you’re visiting Mexico from another country, check the visa requirements before leaving for Mexico to ensure your paperwork is in order.

  • 3. Do I need to tip?

    In restaurants in Mexico, it is standard to tip 10-20% of the bill. Always check the bill to ensure that the gratuity was not included in the total (this isn’t legal, but it does happen from time to time). It is also commonly expected that you will tip bellhops, tour guides, bartenders, and cleaning staff in the hotel. The amount you tip these individuals is entirely left to your discretion. It is not standard to tip taxi drivers in Mexico.

  • 4. Do I need to speak Spanish to visit Puerto Vallarta?

    While it’s always best if you know at least a few words of the native language in any country you visit, Spanish is not essential in Puerto Vallarta. Because it is such a popular tourist destination, the vast majority of the population (at least those in public-facing jobs) will speak some level of English. You will be able to find your way just fine in this city, even if you don’t speak a word of Spanish. That said, it is a nice gesture if you can exchange at least a couple of basic pleasantries in Spanish.

  • 5. What is the food like in Puerto Vallarta?

    Puerto Vallarta is home to some of Mexico’s most delicious food. You will find plenty of the classic Mexican dishes that you know and love; tamales, enchiladas, and of course tacos. However, you’ll be missing out if you don’t try some seafood as well. Ceviche, lobster, and fish tacos are all plentiful (and not to be missed) in Puerto Vallarta.

  • 6. What is the best time of year to visit?

    While the dry season, November through May, is the best time to visit when it comes to weather, it’s also the busiest season. The shoulder season is a fantastic time to visit, either October, or June, because the weather will still be ideal, and the crowds will have diminished slightly. August is the rainiest month of the year, so plan your trip accordingly.

  • 7. Are there any great day trips from Puerto Vallarta?

    Puerto Vallarta is the biggest city on its section of coastline, but it is bordered by small, sleepy beach towns on either side, which you can reach easily within an hour or two. Sayulita lies to the north of Puerto Vallarta and is renowned as a surf town, but really is overall a laid-back beach town with a bohemian vibe, perfect for soaking up the Mexican sun at a slower pace. It is easy to access Sayulita by bus or rental car, in about an hour from Puerto Vallarta. To the south lies the peaceful, unassuming town of Yelapa, which is accessible only by
    water taxi. If you’re really looking to chill out, this is the ideal spot to escape the crowds