Puerto Vallarta is a haven for all types of travelers, and due to its location is more than just a beach destination. With so much to explore in its surroundings, go farther and make your trip even more interesting with emblematic nearby towns rich in history, alluring architecture, friendly people, traditional cuisine, all embraced by impressive mountain landscapes. Make some time on your schedule for this getaway.
You’ll be amazed by all the cultural diversity that you’ll find.
San Sebastian is a hidden gem located an hour and ten minutes from Puerto Vallarta, at the foot of the Sierra Madre mountain range. You can easily tell you are leaving the beach as soon as you notice how the temperature drops. This beautiful and traditional place is a Magical Town filled with history and enchantment. You’ll feel as if you’re traveling back in time.
Walking around its colorful streets surrounded by nature is a great way to start you day. Then, sit at one of the cafés in the main plaza and enjoy local delights. Be sure to try Raicilla, a distilled spirit locally produced in almost every town in the mountains.
But if you’re in for a bit more adventure, go horseback riding, take a coffee tour, or rent an ATV and visit El Cerro de La Bufa, a hill on the outskirts of town where you can enjoy a majestic view of the mountains. Also, Haravéri Botanical Garden, the second national garden that protects cloud forest, is a must-see in San Sebastian.
El Tuito, is an authentic colonial village embraced by the Sierra Madre mountain range, just 45 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta. Its name derives from the nahuatl language meaning “beautiful small valley”. Due to it being 2,500 feet (762m) above sea level, the temperature is cooler and less humid than in Puerto Vallarta.
Walk along its cobblestone streets and make sure to take lots of pictures outside its old adobe buildings full of historic charm. Afterwards, visit the main square, where the locals gather to sit, relax, and talk.
If you want to savor authentic Mexican food, El Tuito has restaurants with great Mexican food with fresh corn handmade tortillas. The town is also known for its delicious dairy products, such as Panela cheese, and the famous Raicilla.
But if you’re already missing the beach, the pristine beaches of Mayto and Tehuamixtle are just 40 minutes away, and well worth visiting.
Mascota is another magical place where you will travel back in time. Its name means place of deer and snakes. It is located north of Puerto Vallarta, and hour and a half away. It is a beautiful, picturesque town with a couple of interesting museums, a church by its main square, shops with local delights and delicious restaurants. Make sure to try their sweets and biscuits made with regional fruits.
Mascota has plenty of places to visit nearby, such as the Corrinchis Dam, the Juanacatlan Lagoon, the village of Yerbabuena, El Molcajete Volcano, El Maipais petrified fields, and El Rincon de Ixcatan waterfall. You can start early and visit some of them on the same day, or plan a day for hiking, fishing, mountain biking, or horseback riding, and enjoy the stunning natural sceneries.
Talpa de Allende is approximately over 2 hours from Puerto Vallarta. The town was founded in 1599 at 4000 feet (1200m) above sea level, embraced by the majestic mountains of the Sierra Madre. The town revolves around its church, Nuestra Señora del Rosario, a large 18th-Century European-style basilica. Every year, on four different festivities, this church receives hundreds of thousands of pilgrims that visit Talpa’s tiny Virgin statue, also known as “La Chaparrita”, which they believe has healing powers.
Wandering through the streets of Talpa is the best way to enjoy the town and its quiet, picturesque streets. Make sure to visit the local market to savor authentic Mexican dishes. The statue of Christ the King at the top of the hill is worth visiting to enjoy a gorgeous view of the valley and the town. And if you’re into serious hiking, the Maple Forest on the outskirts of Talpa is a must.