2019 Puerto Vallarta Events Calendar
Visiting Puerto Vallarta means immersing yourself in the sights, sounds and tastes of Mexico! But this area’s ambiance, natural beauty and cultural richness aren’t all there is to experience. Mexico has a long list of fascinating and fun holidays you can celebrate with us, along with sporting events, festivals and annual events for every interest.
When you’re planning your Puerto Vallarta vacation, this calendar can help you decide when you want to visit to get everything you want out of your getaway!
DECEMBER – MID-MARCH
The best time for whale watching in Puerto Vallarta is December through mid-March, when the migrating Humpback whales come to Banderas Bay to calve. There, these fascinating gentle giants begin teaching their young to hunt and breach – and our eco-tours give you a front row seat.
January 1 – New Year’s Day (Año Nuevo)
This national holiday is celebrated widely with fireworks and other special events you won’t want to miss! A stroll along El Malecon bay is the perfect way to welcome in the new year in Mexico.
January 6 – Three Kings Day (Día de Reyes)
This traditional Mexican holiday of gift giving is a wonderful day to nibble rosca de reyesand drink warm chocolate. Why not bring a special toy or book to donate to one of the many toy drives?
February 5 – Constitution Day
This national holiday is celebrated throughout Mexico with parades, picnics, fairs and festivals, concerts and boisterous street celebrations.
February 14 – Friendship Day (El Día del Amor y la Amistad)
Here in Mexico, love and friendship are both celebrated on this special day! Restaurants and live music venues are usually fully booked well in advance of El Día del Amor y la Amistad – so plan accordingly.
All month long – Banderas Bay Regattas
Puerto Vallarta’s beautiful Banderas Bay fills with sails each year between late February and March as sailors from all over the world converge on these calm waters to test their skills.
The First Tuesday – Carnaval Day
Many people plan their Puerto Vallarta vacations around this colorful celebration where incredible floats, elaborate masks and awe-inspiring stilt walkers take over the streets. 30,000 residents and tourists gather each year to enjoy the spectacle!
Semana Santa and Pascua
Puerto Vallarta sees its largest influx of vacationers during the pre-Easter Holy Week/spring break, as many families from around Mexico visit to enjoy the area’s beaches and natural beauty. Expect more crowds!
April 30 – Día del Niño (Children’s Day)
This isn’t an official national holiday but schools, malls, restaurants, parks and toy stores all hold special celebrations (and sales) so if your Puerto Vallarta vacation overlaps this holiday and you’re traveling with kids, look for opportunities to join the party!
All month long – May Cultural Festival (Festival Cultural de Mayo)
This annual celebration is actually an entire month of events and activities designed to highlight the contribution of artists, painters, musicians and actors. If you love Mexican art and culture, plan your visit in May!
All month long – Fiestas de Mayo (May Fiestas)
Experience the traditional fairs of Mexico in the charming neighborhood of El Pitillal! There you’ll find all of the games and attractions you could wish for plus livestock exhibits, entertainment and delicious foods and drinks throughout the month.
Dates vary – Puerto Vallarta International Sports Classic
This annual series of sporting events draws thousands of competitors and spectators from all around the world!
May 5 – Cinco de Mayo
This national holiday commemorates the Battle of Puebla (not Mexican independence) and isn’t that big of a deal in Puerto Vallarta. That said, bars and restaurants that cater to tourists may be packed.
May 10 – Mother’s Day (Día de la Madre)
Mothers are revered here in Mexico, so if your Puerto Vallarta vacation overlaps Día de la Madre you may find that there is more traffic and fewer restaurants taking reservations.
May 31 – Puerto Vallarta Anniversary Day
With cultural and sporting events, live music performances and a beautiful firework display over Banderas Bay, Puerto Vallarta’s anniversary celebration is a lot of fun!
MAY – DECEMBER
Puerto Vallarta created a community-wide preservation program that includes educational projects that debut from May through December, turtle release ceremonies and nighttime sea turtle tours, along with the annual creation of protected nurseries for turtle eggs. The area’s coastline is one of the most important breeding grounds for multiple species of sea turtle, and the preservation program ensures that sea turtles will thrive for years to come.
June 1 – Navy Day (Día de la Marina)
This celebration honors the memory of those who sailed out in the ship “Tabasco” in Veracruz – the first Mexican merchant ship – along with all sailors who’ve lost their lives on the sea. Captains lay wreaths of flowers in the waters of Banderas Bay in a ceremony that is followed by sailing competitions, parties, fireworks and general revelry.
September 14 – Charro Day
If you love Mexican cowboys, make sure your Puerto Vallarta vacation overlaps with this fascinating cultural celebration! Beginning at 10 a.m., Charros parade through the streets in their elaborately decorated jackets, pants and sombreros on horses equally decked out. There are traditional displays of roping and bullfighting plus plenty of good food and dancing.
September 15/16 – Independence Eve & Mexican Independence Day (Fiestas Patrias)
This holiday is actually celebrated throughout the month, with the famous Independence Eve celebrations on the 15th. That’s when you’ll hear cries of “Viva Mexico” followed by an amazing firework display, music and dancing, an abundance of food and a general atmosphere of revelry. The festivities continue the next day, with more fireworks, parades and even more partying.
Begins in October – Art Walk
This cultural event starts at the end of October and runs until the end of May. Dozens of Puerto Vallarta art galleries stay open late, attracting visitors with a free drink, beautiful classical and contemporary art and the promise of scintillating conversation.
October 31 – Halloween
Halloween celebrations in Puerto Vallarta are similar to those in the United States, but the costumes tend to be both more elaborate and more ghoulish. Costume contents are serious business here, with venues offering up cash prizes in the thousands.
Dates vary – Puerto Vallarta Art Festival (Festival de las Artes)
Art lovers will fall in love with Puerto Vallarta’s cultural scene in this month-long celebration of art that includes gallery shows, theater performances and other cultural events – all of which are free.
Dates vary – Festival Gourmet Internacional de Puerto Vallarta
This 10-day-long celebration of gourmet food showcases the culinary skills of local chefs and guest chefs from around the globe. If you love to cook, plan your vacation around this festival and look for cooking classes, wine tastings and other opportunities to savor the foods of the region.
November 1 – All Souls’ Day (Día de Todos Santos)
This somber prelude to the Day of the Dead honors the souls of children who have passed on. You’ll see beautiful altar exhibitions throughout Puerto Vallarta.
November 2 – Day of the Dead (Día de Los Muertos)
Thanks to movies and TV, more people know about the graveside vigils featuring food and drink laid out on bright altars for departed ancestors that are the heart of this celebration. In Puerto Vallarta, the “Death Is Alive” procession is a fun parade with mariachi bands, stilt walkers, people on horseback and in costume.
November 20 – Mexican Revolution Anniversary
Yet another parade through the center of town marks the celebration of the Revolution of 1910-1917!
Mid-November – International Fishing Tournament Marlin & Sailfish
Hundreds of anglers from around the world come to Puerto Vallarta in November to fish in Banderas Bay for sailfish, marlin, wahoo and dorado in one of the most prestigious international fishing tournaments on Mexico’s west coast.
Dates vary – The Surf Classic in Sayulita
Sayulita nayarit is famous for its surfing and it is wonderfully close to Puerto Vallarta, which means there’s no reason you can’t go to this annual event that draws surfers from all over the world.
December 1-12 – “Guadalupe” Processions
This 12-day series of processions bears the name of the patron saint of both Puerto Vallarta and of Mexico and is a sight to behold, with folk dancers, floats, beautiful singing and even fireworks.
December 12 – Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe (Día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe)
An important religious and social holiday, Día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is the culmination of the aforementioned processions. People gather in the central plaza to enjoy local specialties and fireworks and, in the small south shore community of Quimixto, a “flotilla” of decorative fishing boats that makes its way down the shoreline.
December 16 to December 24 – Christmas Week
Throughout Puerto Vallarta, everyone celebrates the birth of Christ with gatherings called “posadas,” where people re-enact Joseph and Mary’s search for a place to stay in Bethlehem. Processions travel to designated homes to ask for lodging in song, and the party begins when the host throws open the door.
December 31 – New Year’s Eve
In Mexico, the end of the year is celebrated with fiestas big and small in clubs, hotels and restaurants. Live music is everywhere and parties routinely last into the morning.
Of course, there are other, less widely celebrated holidays in Mexico, as well as theater performances, concerts, art shows, sporting events and more all year round.