Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port: Piers, Getting Around and What’s Nearby

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Situated in a prime location along the Mexican Riviera, the Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port is one of the most popular ports of call along Mexico’s stunning Pacific coast.

Combining modern port facilities with a perfect blend of natural beauty and exciting culture, Puerto Vallarta welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world every single year.

If your upcoming cruise itinerary involves stopping at this exciting port of call, this guide is here to help you get the most out of your visit. From insightful details about the port itself to recommendations for things to do in the surrounding area, you will learn everything you need to know.

Puerto Vallart Port Location

Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port, also known as the Marina Vallarta Maritime and Cruise Terminal, is conveniently located just over three miles north of downtown Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. This popular beach resort city is on the western coast of Mexico in the state of Jalisco. 

The city and its port happen to be at the same latitude as Hawaii, which explains why they are so well known for year-round sunshine and pleasant weather. In addition to the weather, the location is also ideal for cruise ships sailing along the Pacific coastline.

Aerial View of Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port
Aerial View of Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port (Photo Credit: Paco Espinoza)

The city wraps around Bahia de Banderas (Banderas Bay in English), which, at nearly 3,000 feet of depth, happens to be one of the deepest bays in the world. This is ideal for large vessels, including some of the world’s largest cruise ships. It also explains why Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port is located right in such a prime middle location along the city’s coastline.

Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port Address:

If you are driving yourself to the cruise port, either from a hotel, resort, or the airport, it can be found by searching the following:  48333, H. Escuela Naval Militar 9, Área Militar de Vallarta, 48333 Puerto Vallarta, Jal., Mexico 

Getting from the Airport to the Port

If you are flying into Puerto Vallarta, you’re in luck! The cruise port is just shy of 4 miles south of the Licenciado Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR). This convenient location makes it easy to board cruise ships at the port, which is also their embarkation point. 

Plenty of cabs are waiting at taxi pick-up points at PVR’s arrivals terminal. Most offer a flat rate to and from the cruise port. Even if you have to pay the meter rate, taxi fares are still very affordable, with most being charged between $5 and $10.

While rideshare services, notably Uber, operate in Puerto Vallarta, we recommend taking a cab. Most cab drivers speak English and will already be waiting for you in the taxi pick-up zone. To save money, always line up for one of the yellow taxis rather than dealing with drivers offering rides inside the airport.

Puerto Vallarta International Airport
Puerto Vallarta International Airport (Photo Credit: 1000Photography)

Some of the main cruise lines also offer shuttle services directly from the airport, but you will have to check ahead of time for availability and booking details. 

If you are planning to spend a few days in Puerto Vallarta before boarding your cruise, plenty of car rental companies operate out of the airport. Some even have vehicle drop-off locations just outside the cruise port. 

Directions from the Airport:

  • Head west on Airport Access Rd, then merge onto Fransico Medina Ascencio (Hwy 200). Turn right onto H. Escuela Naval Mlitar. Here, you will find Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port. 

Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port Description and Facilities

Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port consists of four cruise ship piers, which are labeled as cruise docks. Cruise Dock 1 is the primary cruise ship pier, and it is where you will find the main cruise terminal and other essential facilities, like a tourist information center. 

After Cruise Dock 1, Cruise Docks 2, 3, and 4 are used in ascending order, with Cruise Dock 2 being the second largest and so on.

Cruise Ship Docked in Puerto Vallarta
Cruise Ship Docked in Puerto Vallarta (Photo Credit: Alonso Reyes Diaz)

Remember that facilities are limited at the lesser-used docks, although Cruise Dock 1 is just a short walk from any of the other three, so you can easily access the main terminal and its information booths. It is worth noting that Cruise Dock 4 is too small for a full-sized cruise ship, so very few of the cruise lines are assigned to it.

The terminal at Cruise Dock 1 also has information desks for several of the major cruise lines that operate out of the port. The terminal is relatively large and has a unique circular design

If you arrive early, this air-conditioned building is an excellent place to kill time. It also has several souvenir and convenience stores, so you can grab snacks and do some last-minute shopping while waiting to board.

Puerto Vallarta Dockside with Coaches
Puerto Vallarta Dockside with Coaches (Photo Credit: Ceri Breeze)

Unfortunately, the port does not offer public Wi-Fi; however, there is a McDonald’s in the Galerias Vallarta Shopping Mall, as well as a Walmart and Sam’s Club located directly across from the port.

All options are less than a 10-minute walk from Puerto Vallarta Cruise Terminal, and they offer free Wi-Fi and air conditioning. There are also several hotels in the area, many of which have public Wi-Fi in their lobbies.

Read Also: Mazatlan Cruise Port – Everything You Need to Know

Bathrooms are dotted throughout the port and are well-maintained. Regarding accessibility, the terminal building is wheelchair-friendly, and those with mobility needs can navigate the rest of the port. 

Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port Parking

The port maintains its own parking lot just beyond the main entrance gate. There is an hourly rate of $1 for the first 10 hours, then it switches to an $11 daily maximum rate.

View Across to the Port (Photo Credit: Sumerdita_Dphots)

If you need to park for just a few hours and want to save money, you can also park at the shopping mall or the huge parking lot shared by Walmart and Sam’s Club. Both lots are free and just a short walk from the port; however, you cannot park overnight in either lot. 

Cruise Lines and Terminals

Puerto Vallarta serves as a homeport and popular port of call for many cruise lines, including the following: 

  • Dock 1: Primarily used by Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean
  • Dock 2: Used by Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruise Line 

Other cruise lines that operate out of the port include Celebrity Cruises, Holland America and Disney Cruise Line.

Resort Day Passes

If you are looking to spend an afternoon relaxing and indulging, several nearby resorts offer day passes to cruise passengers. While each resort’s policy differs, most include access to amenities like pools, privately owned beaches, and restaurants.

RIU Palace Pacifico
RIU Palace Pacifico (Photo Credit: Nick Lamb)

Prices typically range from $89.00 per adult, plus a deposit, to $49.00 for children. Some of the more expensive resorts in the area, like RIU Palace Pacifico, can be more expensive, so it’s a good idea to do your research beforehand. 

Still, when you consider that day passes grant guests all-inclusive access, so your food, drinks, and Wi-Fi are covered, they actually offer great value! 

Seasonal Weather Conditions in Puerto Vallarta

Although Puerto Vallarta is known for its pleasant, tropical climate, it is still helpful to know how to pack for each season: 

Summer (June to August)

Expect hot and humid conditions, with average daytime temperatures between 80° and 95°F. The summer is also the wettest season, so be prepared for occasional showers, especially in July. Wear light, breathable clothing, and consider an umbrella to explore the city. 

Fall (September to November)

Fall is also considered the region’s rainy season, so you can expect showers and occasional storms. Humidity is also high; temperatures can range between 75° and 90°F. 

Winter (December to February)

Even during the winter, temperatures range between 70° and 85°F. You can also expect plenty of sunshine, with milder evenings. Wear light clothing, but make sure you pack sun protection. Far too many visitors forget to use sunscreen during the winter months and end up with painful burns. 

Spring (March to May)

Temperatures increase a bit to between 75° and 90°F. Humidity levels also rise, but there is far less rainfall. You shouldn’t need a waterproof jacket or umbrella, but it’s still a good idea to pack breathable, quick-dry clothing.

Worth Reading: When is the Best Time to Cruise the Mexican Riviera?

Nearby Amenities and Attractions

Since the Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port is situated right on the edge of the city itself, there are a variety of amenities and attractions within walking distance or a short cab ride.

The pier of the dead and Boardwalk in Puerto Vallarta
The pier of the dead and Boardwalk in Puerto Vallarta (Photo Credit: Donatas Grikenas)

American Chain Stores

If you need to pick anything up, either before or during your cruise, Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port’s proximity to Walmart and Sam’s Club is really helpful. Less than one mile from the port entrance, these stores are a great place to stock up on essentials like sunscreen, snacks, and beverages. Just like their American-based counterparts, both stores take all major credit cards, US dollars, and Mexican Pesos. 

Malecon Boardwalk

This scenic boardwalk stretches along the waterfront near the cruise port. The 12-block boardwalk dates back to the 1930s, and it is dotted with souvenir shops and stalls, vibrant street art, and plenty of restaurants serving up the local cuisine.

Boardwalk of Puerto Vallarta
Boardwalk of Puerto Vallarta (Photo Credit: Albeerto Lopeez)

It also follows Playa Camarones Beach, so you can head down if you feel like relaxing in the sun and sand.

Pirate Ship Vallarta

Located almost adjacent to the WalMart, you can find the departure point for a classic wooden pirate ship, which offers tours of the coastline and bay. If you’re limited on time, this family-friendly activity only takes a few hours. 

El Centro

EL Centro is considered to be Puerto Vallarta’s old town. Walking around this historic and colorful neighborhood is a great way to get a feel for the city’s culture. Make sure you bring a camera, as there are plenty of statues, street performers, and the iconic Church of Our Lady Guadalupe, which plainly showcases the influence of Spanish architecture and culture on the region. 

Playa de Los Muertos, also known as Dead Men’s Beach, is just a short distance from the port and is popular with locals and tourists. It is lined with plenty of restaurants, bars, and food stalls, so it’s a great place to have lunch and enjoy the beach.

Los Muertos Olas Altas beach
Los Muertos Olas Altas beach (Photo Credit: Kirk Fisher)

If you want a more relaxed atmosphere and something a little closer, Playa Camarones is a good option. Unfortunately, many beaches nearest the cruise port are partially owned by the resorts and hotels, so they are not fully open to the public. 

Either of the public beaches above can be reached via taxi or Uber for a small fee. We recommend asking about the fare before setting off so you’re not surprised by the cost. If you opt for a resort day pass, you’re much better off just using the beach attached to the resort. 

What to Do in Puerto Vallarta

Aerial View of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Aerial View of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (Photo Credit: Carlos O. Flores)

Head to Downtown

Walk around the cobblestone streets and explore the numerous restaurants, bars, and stores. You don’t need a plan to enjoy this lively part of town.

Visit the Vallarta Botanical Garden

Easily accessible by taxi, these well-maintained gardens showcase some of the lush vegetation this part of Mexico’s Pacific coast is famous for. There’s also a restaurant where you can enjoy a delicious lunch after you are done wandering.

Garden Chapel at the Vallarta Botanical Gardens
Garden Chapel at the Vallarta Botanical Gardens (Photo Credit: Ritu Manoj Jethani)

Try a Tequila Tasting

As is typically the case with most regions in Mexico, the people of Puerto Vallarta are very proud of their local tequilas. Plenty of bars, restaurants, and distilleries offer tasting menus, and you can even book a class to learn how to make some of the most iconic tequila-based cocktails authentically.

Go Golfing

Puerto Vallarta is home to seven unique golf courses, plus the weather allows visitors to enjoy a round any month of the year. Rent a set of clubs and check out these stunning links.

Watersports

There are plenty of excursion providers that help visitors enjoy the city’s watersport opportunities. From snorkeling to sailing lessons, thrill seekers and outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to do in the waters of Puerto Vallarta. 

Dining Near Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port

If you’re visiting Puerto Vallarta, you must try some local dishes. Fortunately, the city is teeming with restaurants cooking up all of the classics. Try the fish tacos, often made with fish freshly caught from the waters lining the city. Pescado Zarandeado is another local specialty that you should make an effort to try.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (Photo Credit: Aberu.Go / Shutterstock)

Cerveceria Chapultepec is only a few minutes walk from the cruise port. It offers fresh seafood, cold cervezas, and very reasonable prices. One of the best things to do is just wander and check out the menu boards outside the restaurants. When you see something you like, grab a seat on the patio! 

Shopping Near Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port

Plenty of stores offer recognizable designer brands in the shopping mall beside the cruise port, but Puerto Vallarta is better known for hand-made goods. The city’s talented artisans craft everything from jewelry to hand-painted clay tableware. There is even a year-round craft market within the cruise port, which can be found directly beside the terminal at Dock 1.

Local Shopping at Puerto Vallarta
Local Shopping at Puerto Vallarta (Photo Credit: Miss Nephew)

If you’re a fan of tequila or mezcal, make sure you pick up a souvenir bottle. It’s available at specialty stores throughout the city. Look for independently owned distilleries, as many have been in operation for decades and offer flavors and bottle designs that are difficult to find in the United States. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

How do you get from the cruise port to downtown Puerto Vallarta?

You can get from the port to the downtown area by taxi. There are plenty of taxis waiting outside of the port, and they offer affordable flat rates to the downtown core. 

Where do cruise ships come into Puerto Vallarta? 

Cruise ships enter Banderas Bay before docking at Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port. 

Can I take a cruise from Puerto Vallarta?   

Yes, Puerto Vallarta acts as a home port for several cruise lines, meaning you can choose to fly in and use the city as your embarkation point.

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