Puerto Vallarta is famous for its dazzling beaches and nightlife, but there is so much more in the surrounding area, with a variety of activities to do in its mountains, virgin beaches, and colonial towns, not to mention some delicious food. These are the best day trips to take from Puerto Vallarta.
Yelapa and Majahuitas
Take a break from the noise and stress of urban life and hit Yelapa and Majahuitas. Majahuitas is a little-known beach to the south of Vallarta, with crystal green waters, white sands, and a calm and peaceful atmosphere, surrounded by dazzling vegetation. Part of the charm of this beach is that you can access it only by boat or catamaran. Spend a morning snorkeling and then make your way by boat to Yelapa, a fishing village a few minutes away. This picturesque village inspires artists; it is said to be Bob’s Dylan favorite place. Do some sightseeing in the town, visit the waterfalls, and in the afternoon go to the beach and admire the beautiful sunset.
A quiet beach that can only be reached by boat, Las Caletas has natural beauty and a calm atmosphere so you can disconnect from the world, but it also offers the possibility of doing some thrilling activities. Enjoy of a morning lying on a hamaca, drinking a piña colada, surrounded by the stunning views of the clear waters and the exuberant jungle. Some of the activities you can do here include watching the exotic fauna, diving, snorkeling among sea lions, paddle boarding, kayaking, and guided trekking. There are other attractions in the area: an aviary, an orchid, a deer sanctuary, and a spa at the top of a hill. If you have kids, they’ll love riding a donkey or crossing hanging bridges and zip lines.
A beautiful little Magical Village, Tequila is known for its charm and architecture, and was once inhabited by the Chichimecas and Otomíes peoples. The way to Tequila is through some vibrant agave fields. From the moment you arrive, you can feel the charm of this picturesque town full of colors with stone-paved streets and a traditional Mexican atmosphere. Take a walk around, have traditional artisanal ice cream, and take some pictures of the architecture of the churches. You can also take a tour in the tequila train and do some tequila tasting. Hit La Rojeña de José Cuervo, the oldest distillery in Mexico, discover the ancient process of making this drink, and sip some delicious margaritas. You’ll soon realize why this is called a Magical Village.
The Sierra Madre
Puerto Vallarta has so much more to offer than beaches and nightlife. The jungle gives you the opportunity to be in close contact with nature and admire the wildlife. If you are going to do it, the Sierra Madre is a good option. You can either hike it, and enjoy traditional food offered to tourists by local families, or take a guided tour. Vallarta Adventures is a good option; take the Offroad Adventure, an expedition to the Sierra Madre that includes crossing the jungle in jeeps and taking a guided nature hike. The trip includes a visit to a local family to have a typical meal, and ends up with some shots at beachside bar.
Jorullo Bridge is a hanging bridge, and not just any hanging bridge, but the longest in the world. You can cross it by walking or riding an off-road vehicle above the Cuale River. This is a new attraction in Puerto Vallarta, and it gives you the chance to enjoy of an amazing view of the river and the Sierra Madre mountains from a high vantage point. You can also visit the crystal waters of El Salto waterfall and delight in the local food at Los Coapinoles restaurant. The Mexican eco-tourism company Canopy River is a good choice for this trip.
Sayulita is a small town 55 minutes from Puerto Vallarta, with the atmosphere of an uncommercial little village – just like Puerto Vallarta itself once was. Its beach is a favorite spot for tourists coming from all over the world, which gives a touch of hippie surfer culture to the ambience. You can take some landscape photos in the tropical jungle, which is home to rattlesnakes, iguanas, badgers, wild boars, ocelots, deer, and turkeys, relax on the beach, or ride a horse by the seashore. Walk through the colorful streets of the town, buy some Mexican crafts, and check out the rustic furniture in downtown stores. In the afternoon, you can enjoy some delightful local food while overlooking the stunning sunset. If you’d like to stay the night here, there are cozy hotels, bungalows, and camping areas.
Talpa and Mascota
Mexico is not just about beaches and warm weather; it is rich in flora and fauna, with a wonderful fresh atmosphere, courtesy of the pine forests and mountains. Take a break from the beach and immerse yourself in the traditional life of the colonial towns of the Sierra Madre. In Mascota, you can appreciate the architecture and visit the Anthropology Museum. Don’t miss the Preciosa Sangre Church, which was built in 1900 but never finished because of the revolution. Talpa is rich in tradition and history, attracting artisans, travelers, and pilgrims. There are stunning views of the volcanoes and hills of the Esmeralda Valley. Vallarta Adventures offers a guided trip that includes interaction with local schools, visits to cheese stores and bakeries, and food cooked by local families.
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