Step out of the ordinary when it comes to the awesome tourist activities you can enjoy in Puerto Vallarta and explore beyond Banderas Bay. It’s not just about beach sun and marvellous margaritas! There is so much more to be discovered in and around Puerto Vallarta. Here are some of our favourite hidden jewels off the beaten track near Puerto Vallarta
Tehuamixtle and Mayto
Located one hour and forty-five minutes from downtown Puerto Vallarta on the Costa Alegre corridor, the beaches of Tehuamixtle (also known as Tehua, pronounced Tewaah) and Mayto offer a wonderful day trip. If you like mixing with the locals and love seafood, the small cove of Tehuamixtle (also known as La playita de amor [Little beach of love]) is a must visit. Upon arrival, you can sit under an enormous palapa and eat fresh oysters that were pulled out of the ocean that lays right in front of you and enjoy fabulous views of a never-ending beach and rocky cliffs. Enjoy a bucket of beer with salsa Mexicana and then a swim in the ocean below to cool you off and enjoy the locals. You might see some pelicans plunging when the fishermen come in.
Just minutes north of Tehuamixtle is the majestic beach of Mayto. There are 2 to 3 small and modest hotels that are available for lodging or a meal. This open ocean and coral sand is unlike anything you have ever seen. The beach appears to stretch out forever. Note this beach has an undertow and is not recommended for swimming.
Cajon de Peñas
Cajon de Peñas lake is located two and a half hours south of Puerto Vallarta. This is a fresh water fishing haven with an abundance of bass tilapia and langostino [crawfish]. For those who like to birdwatch, there are a variety of species native to the Sierra Madre. There are some modest guest houses so you can spend the day or the weekend. Life is slow and quiet at Cajón de Peñas, which is what most people who visit there are seeking.
San Sebastián del Oeste is a charming small town nestled in the Sierra Madres just an hour away from Puerto Vallarta inland. It was awarded “Pueblo Mágico” [Magical Town] status by the Mexican Tourism Board. During colonial times, San Sebastian was a prosperous mining center and nowadays it offers a wonderful get away to those who live in or are visiting Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara. The climate is a fresh alternative to the humid weather of Banderas Bay. People love to take the drive to San Sebastian that is so far yet so near and feel the cold air. Visit an old hacienda, coffee plantation and next to the beautiful cathedral take a look at pre-Hispanic historical pieces.
The small town of El Tuito is located only 45 minutes from downtown Vallarta and is a hub-gateway to the beaches of Mayto, Tehuamixtle and Yelapa. This sleepy town and its charming people enjoy great weather year round due to its altitude and location. Don’t be surprised if you run into children rehearsing Mexican folkloric dancing on the plaza or young kids on their horses dancing through town. There is always someone or something fun to witness at El Tuito. Enjoy a lovely stroll. If you want to try authentic Mexican food, there are a few modest restaurants on the main plaza to enjoy chicken tostadas and cold fruit water (Agua Fresca).
With all budgets these destinations are accessible. Rent a car, take the bus, hitch a ride and always remember keep your heart open to the Mexican people who will always say “Mi Casa es su Casa” [My home is your home].