Puerto Vallarta is an exciting place to be for New Year’s Eve with endless opportunities to fit anyone’s lifestyle and level of adventure. There is certainly too much to wrap up with 3 paragraphs and 4 restaurant recommendations.
Of course, New Year’s Eve dinner is a huge event and just as important to the evening as to where you will be at the stroke of midnight when you give that New Year’s Eve kiss to someone special, or not.
Some people choose a small gathering of friends and family and a home cooked meal with a special bottle of wine as their last dinner of the year, while others plan elaborate dinners at local restaurants in the tourist zone at an average cost of $130 USD per person. Then there is the almighty traditional taco or tamal for only $1 dollar while kicking it into high-gear Mexican style with a street party on the Malecón.
For those looking for an all-inclusive night of food and drinks and staying in one place for the evening, your options will include just about every “high profile” restaurant in Old Town offering packages between $100 – $200 USD per person, and some even more. Included in your all-inclusive night is a meal that ranges between three and five courses, a Champagne toast, and typically live music. These are certainly great options for people who just don’t feel comfortable in large crowded sidewalks and streets.
For those who want to experience everything that Puerto Vallarta offers for the New Year, you probably won’t be interested in choosing a package that confines you to only one experience. If you are a tourist in our area you won’t want to miss a traditional street party Mexican style, you can sit in a restaurant for New Year’s Day or anywhere in your hometown. You can only experience a real Mexican New Year’s Eve street party in Mexico and on the street.
Certainly start your evening around 9 PM on Olas Altas no matter where you choose to dine beforehand. Start with a cocktail or two in the Romantic Zone’s Olas Altas neighborhood-street, while it’s a tourist area on most nights, on New Year’s Eve the street closes and does well at giving visitors the traditional street party experience that can only be done in Mexican style.
Not to worry, you don’t need to be at a restaurant for an all-inclusive night to receive your musical entertainment; it’s free all along the streets during a Mexican street party. Dropping some money into someone’s hat is a nice gestor.
After you have had dinner you might want to consider beginning your night at a local hotspot bar. Try Garbo Piano Bar in the evening. Always a festive atmosphere and a mixed crowd popular with the locals and tourists alike. Or any lively bar in the Romantic Zone will be hopping on this night.
Continue up Olas Altas heading north but don’t push yourself or clock watch, stop for a dance in the middle of the street whenever you feel that urge, it’s a Mexican street party and that’s what we do. You will be able to catch the fireworks from anywhere so don’t try to run to a spot on the map at midnight; you will miss out on the enjoyment of a street party.
Continue north over the river’s bridge, take the time for a photo op with your New Year’s date. The small pier along the bridge is a great place to grab a romantic kiss, preferably with your date, but that’s your choice.
Coming off the bridge heading toward the Malecón the crowd of people will begin to increase and lines of food carts from tacos, tamales, frutas, elote, crepes, hot dogs, and more will be found, along with street vendors selling you all the New Year’s Eve paraphernalia you will need. Things that glow, things that make noise, and oversized glasses welcoming the new year, and fun hats will be your street wears. Stock up here.
Now just on the other side of the river from Old Town, you have a choice to make. This area will be crowded, but not nearly as crowded as the Malecón and Los Arcos areas. Here is a great place to see the fireworks and be in the middle of the street party energy. If you are feeling the crowd energy and want to really be in the midst of everything, continue your walk north towards the Los Arcos de Malecón. There is always something happening in the Los Arcos Theater and in the town square at Our Lady of Guadalupe.
You can continue even more north on the Malecón and ring in the New Year watching the fireworks from a high-energy nightclub.
The street party atmosphere of New Year’s Eve in Puerto Vallarta stretches from the most southern point of Old Town and northward to the Hotel Zone.
Anywhere along these zones will offer the most spectacular view of the fireworks at midnight over the Bay of Banderas. If you are anywhere along the bay on the Malecón, or anywhere else where the bay is visible, you will be able to enjoy the fireworks from Puerto Vallarta and experience the fireworks from other municipalities around the bay in the backdrop. But certainly, you will be able to catch the Puerto Vallarta fireworks from any location around the city.
Are kids part of your New Year’s Eve crew? Not a problem. Cut out the bar stops and start on the street party and work your way up to the Malecón all the same. These streets will be full of kid’s activities, including previous years of bouncy castles. Puerto Vallarta is a very family-friendly place for New Year’s.
Puerto Vallarta offers something for everyone, no matter what you choose you are sure to have a fun and safe time in our city while ringing in the New Year.
New Year’s Eve Traditions in Mexico
One thing you cannot forget is the Mexican traditions that you can take part in, like what color is your underwear?
You might notice a lot of yellow and red underwear displays popping up in some retail clothing stores around town as the new year approaches. Don’t worry, it’s not just a Puerto Vallarta underwear fetish, it’s actually a New Year’s Eve tradition in Mexico.
Those who choose to wear red underwear on New Year’s Eve are believed to have luck in love in the coming year, while those who wear yellow are believed to have luck with money in the coming year. But don’t pick out a yellow or red pair of underwear from the drawers; tradition is they must be worn for the first time on New Year’s Eve.
Make sure those underwear are not too tight, because at midnight you are expected to eat 12-grapes, each one for good luck during the next 12-months.
If you still don’t feel like underwear and grapes are going to be enough to bring you a good year, there are still plenty of other traditions.
Throwing a glass of water out towards the street represents the expelling of tears and worries for the next year. While you are throwing your water towards the road, grab a broom on the way out and sweep from your door to the street to drive negative energy away from your house in the new year.
There are always the traditional religious approaches to start off the New Year on the right foot, like attending a New Year’s Eve mass, praying the rosary, and lightening candles.