The Bahamas vs. Puerto Vallarta

Choosing between the Bahamas and Puerto Vallarta is an incredibly tough decision. After all, both places have beautiful beaches, fun outdoor activities, and outstanding hotels that appeal to travelers of all kinds. 

But if you look closer, you’ll realize that these two destinations are actually very different from one another. And it’s crucial for you, as a traveler, to know these distinctions to help you make the right choice for your beach vacation.

Which is Better? The Bahamas or Puerto Vallarta?

Although they may be miles apart, the Bahamas and Puerto Vallarta are two popular destinations for those craving sun and sand. If you want to spend a laid-back vacation swimming, sunbathing, and island-hopping, book your trip to the Bahamas (if you can afford it, that is!). But if you crave adventure, stunning natural landscapes, and bustling city life, Puerto Vallarta may be the better choice. 

But the setting is only one thing to consider. To help you choose where to go, I’ll be sharing all the insights about what to expect when visiting Mexico or the Bahamas.

Location and Weather

When deciding between the Bahamas and Puerto Vallarta, you first need to decide if you want to be on the Pacific coast or the Atlantic. 

The Bahamas is a country and a chain of 3,000 or so islands in the Caribbean (North Atlantic Ocean). It has a subtropical climate with warm and sunny weather year-round. The average temperature in the summer is in the high 80s or low 90s, while the weather is still pleasant in the mid-70s during the winter. 

If you do decide to visit the islands, I recommend going from December to May, which is the best time to visit the Bahamas. June to November is hurricane season, which increases the risk of torrential storms and heavy rains. 

Puerto Vallarta, on the other hand, is a city in Mexico near the Pacific Ocean. Like the Bahamas, it also has a subtropical climate with summer temperatures in the high 80s/low 90s and winter temperatures in the mid-70s.

While hurricanes aren’t a big threat here, PV does have a wet season from June to October. Rain showers don’t last all day (they tend to be in the late afternoon or evening), but they can be heavy and impact how much time you can spend outside.


If you plan to spend time by the water, it’s important to note that the beaches in Mexico and the Bahamas are very different from each other. 

Like most places in the Caribbean, the Bahamas is famous for its pristine white sand beaches. Kissed by the gentle waves of crystal clear waters, Bahamian beaches are suitable for swimming, snorkeling, and water sports. 

However, beaches in the Bahamas are just as varied as the number of islands and cayes in the country. Cable Beach in Nassau is one of the most popular, although I also recommend going to Pig Beach (Big Major Cay) or Pink Sand Beach (Harbour Island) if you want to experience something more unique! 

The beaches in PV tend to be more rugged and wild. But there are still some idyllic places if you want to enjoy a day out on the water, like Playa Camarones, Playa Conchas Chinas, and Playa Flamingos.

Although most of the coastline is rocky, the setting is gorgeous thanks to the lush rainforest and jagged peaks of the Sierra Madre Mountains. However, it’s important to pay attention to the weather and ocean report, as the waters may be too dangerous during certain times of the year.

Activities and Attractions

When it comes to fun, both the Bahamas and PV have an abundance of activities for you to enjoy. From thrilling adventures to cultural attractions, it’s practically impossible to get bored.

For example, here are a few of the best activities that you can do in PV:

  • Scuba Dive Los Arcos
  • Watch the sunset from the Malecon
  • Hike Up to Mirador de la Cruz
  • Take a walking tour or food tour in Zona Romantico
  • Visit the Church Of Our Lady Of Guadalupe
  • Zipline the Superman – the longest zipline in Mexico!
  • Whale watching from December to March
  • Golfing at the Vista Vallara Golf Club

And if you go to the Bahamas, here are a couple of things you won’t want to miss during your visit:

  • Swim with real pigs on Pig Beach
  • Explore the caves at Lucayan National Par
  • Scuba Dive the Andros Barrier Reef
  • Go island hopping on a boat trip
  • Shop at the Nassau Straw Market
  • Enjoy a day at the parks at Atlantis Paradise Island
  • Take an ATV tour through historical Nassau


As both places are popular tourist destinations, it’s no surprise that there are a seemingly endless number of accommodation options for travelers. From luxurious all-inclusive resorts to boutique beachfront cottages, there are so many types of places to suit your budget and travel style.

Before you choose a hotel in the Bahamas, you’ll first have to decide on an island. Many travelers stay on New Providence Island, which is home to the capital city of Nassau. This island, along with Grand Bahama Island and Grand Exuma, is particularly known for its all-inclusive resorts. 

For a truly memorable vacation, you can also choose to stay at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island. This ocean-themed resort features its very own water park, golf course, casino, and marine habitat.

Puerto Vallarta also has a wide range of accommodation options to choose from. There are many all-inclusive resorts along the coast, as well as more budget-friendly hotels and hostels located in town and in the Romantic Zone.


The culinary scene in the Bahamas and Mexico is guaranteed to be a tasty adventure, regardless of whether you’re an adventurous foodie or a picky eater! 

Not surprisingly, Puerto Vallarta has lots of Mexican food. Tacos, tamales, pozole, and birria are especially popular in this region. Because of the city’s location by the ocean, there’s also a lot of fresh seafood like ceviche, red snapper, and shrimp. 

While Bahamian food may not be as well known as Mexican food, it’s a delightful discovery for those who enjoy fresh seafood and tropical flavors. Popular dishes use fish, shellfish, conch, chicken, and pork.

And if you’re craving the comforts of home, you should try the Bahamian Mac and Cheese, which is thicker and creamier compared to its US counterpart. 


Whether you prefer a sunset cocktail or a late-night dance party, nightlife is an important aspect for many travelers. And thankfully, there are lots of fun ways for you to spend your night in either the Bahamas or PV. 

Nassau is the party capital of the Bahamas, with tons of bars, live music venues, and nightclubs to choose from. The smaller islands and touristy areas can be quieter, although you’ll still find beach bars or places with live music where you can spend the evening.

PV has a very diverse nightlife scene, especially around the Malecon. Starting from sunset on, the promenade comes alive with street performers, vendors, and live music, while the nearby bars are popping with locals and tourists. 

So, to sum it up – both destinations have different types of bars and clubs. However, the Bahamas tends to be more laid-back, while PV has that exciting, energetic atmosphere of a vibrant city. 

Travel Costs

One of the biggest differences to consider when planning a trip to the Bahamas or Mexico is cost. And when it comes to expenses, there is one clear winner – Puerto Vallarta.

Mexico (including PV) is drastically cheaper than the Bahamas, which consistently ranks as one of the most expensive countries in the world to live in. If you go to the Bahamas, you can expect things to be as expensive or even more expensive than what you are used to in the States. 

So, if you’re trying to stick to a tight budget, Mexico will be financially better to visit.

To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, here is a breakdown of how much things cost in both places.


  • Mid-range hotel: $50 – $100 a night
  • Luxury hotel or all-inclusive: $200 – $400 a night
  • Meal at local restaurant: $5 – $10
  • High-end meal: $30 – $50
  • Cocktail: $5 – $10
  • Local beer: $2 – $4
  • Snorkeling Trip: $40 – $60
  • Zip Line Tour: $35 – $50
  • Food Tour: $40 – $60


  • Mid-range hotel: $150 – $250 a night
  • Luxury hotel or all-inclusive: $500+ a night
  • Meal at local restaurant: $10 – $20
  • High-end meal: $50 – $100
  • Cocktail: $10 – $15
  • Local beer: $4 – $6
  • Snorkeling Trip: $100 – $150
  • Pig Beach Tour: $150 – $200
  • Atlantis Day Pass: $190 (adults), $95 (child)

While both places make unforgettable vacation destinations, the choice of where to go ultimately depends on your travel preferences. If you want beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters for snorkeling and swimming, then go to the laid-back islands of the Bahamas. But if you prefer diverse landscapes and a rich cultural setting, PV might be the right place for you.