There are an abundance of exciting activities and adventures that residents and visitors can enjoy in Puerto Vallarta. However, if you want to leave the town for a quick getaway, you will find that there are several towns and things to see and do close by. If you want to escape and go exploring, you can either take public transportation such as the bus or a taxicab and Uber, or you can rent a car and drive yourself. Depending on the mood that you have that day, you can head to the beach or inland to explore the mountains. Below are just a few of the top places you can go to when you are in the mood for a day trip adventure near Puerto Vallarta.
Sayulita is a small town that is ideal for a day trip if you are wanting a relaxed and carefree day, as it is laid back and quaint. Sometimes, it can be difficult to find a place to park if you have rented a car, but when you do find a parking space you can tour the town with ease as everything that this town has to offer is within a ten minute walk. The center plaza in Sayulita is completely surrounded by artisans and restaurants, along with banners of vibrant papel picado swinging in the breeze, which makes for a beautiful backdrop as you stroll Sayulita’s streets exploring boutiques, restaurants, ice cream shops and bars. The Chocobanana is the place to eat breakfast as locals and visitors frequent this restaurant, and it is situated just off the main plaza so finding it won’t be hard. If you are wanting to relax or go swimming, then you just need to walk up the hill past the Villa Amor Hotel until you see Playa Los Muertos, which is near the cemetery. You won’t find any restaurants there, but quite often there are locals that sell coconut water and even cold beers to quench your thirst. Back in town, a great place to eat authentic Mexican tacos is the evening are Tacos Ivan. Tacos Ivan makes the best al pastor tacos in town. Be careful if you’re not used to hot salsa, because their salsa is delicious, but very spicy.
San Pancho, Mexico
A much smaller town just north of Sayulita is San Francisco, which is commonly referred to as San Pancho. The wide and open beach at San Pancho is very beautiful, which is perfect for anyone that is wanting to relax on the beach. If you want to swim, be aware that the tides are strong and fierce at this beach as it is located on the open Pacific Ocean and not within the calmer Banderas Bay. If you get hungry while you are on the beach, you won’t have to leave the beach to eat as there are several restaurants on the beach along with art galleries that are worth a visit. You can enjoy lunch and look at the beautiful scenery while you are enjoying your meal. There is also a lagoon, which is close to the beach, and you can enjoy bird watching and other wildlife that inhabits the lagoon.
Punta Mita, Mexico
Punta Mita is another small town, but this small town is has the most luxurious hotels and villa than in any other towns close to Puerto Vallarta. Punta Mita is about 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, and Punta Mita is where many wealthy people and celebrities choose to spend their vacations. Although this town is very small, there are several restaurants that you will find by the waters. If you are at the beach, you can go paddle boarding and you can rent a small boat (also known as lanchas) to jet over to see the Las Marietas Islands. This area is perfect for whale watching, but this only happens during the months of December through March. During these months, you will be able to see the humpback whales up close, and it is an experience that you will never forget.
Approximately twenty minutes north of Puerto Vallarta Airport is Bucerias, which is a small and casual beach town. One of the features of this town is the open air market that is open every day of the week. At the open air market, you can purchase handicrafts, glassware, art, and a variety of Mexican souvenirs. The open air market also sells sunscreen, sunglasses, and beach hats and coverups if you happen to have forgotten yours. Along the beach there are numerous restaurants. Most of the restaurants specialize in fresh seafood or authentic Mexican cuisine. At the El Chiverio, there is live music on the weekends. Want to try something different? You can go on a horse ride on the beach for an affordable fee as there are horses and their handlers available on the beach every day. Bucerias has a view of the Banderas Bay and that is absolutely beautiful, and you can even catch a glimpse of downtown Puerto Vallarta in the distance.
San Sebastian, Mexico
If the heat and humidity become unbearable for you, then you can go to San Sebastian, which is approximately 1 ½ hours inland from Puerto Vallarta. San Sebastian is a quaint and charming small town that has only 500 residents. One of the best features of this small town is the town hasn’t changed much in over one hundred years. When you are ready to explore this town you can do it on foot walking on the cobblestone streets, or to get around more quickly you can rent an ATV. There is a beautiful gazebo in the central plaza that’s a perfect place to enjoy Mexican ice cream, which is known as helado. Villa Nopal is the place to go if you want to dine at a French restaurant that has an upscale menu and spectacular views. Flowers and gardens are always in bloom year round, which makes Villa Nogal the perfect location to enjoy your meal. Villa Nopal also has the best French Onion soup, so you want to make sure you order it. Even though Puerto Vallarta has many things to see and do, it’s always nice to get away and explore the other smaller towns that are near. Each of these fun towns to visit near Puerto Vallarta have their own unique charm and beauty, which is why they make a great reason to visit these towns.