Puerto Vallarta in the state of Jalisco is one of the most popular destinations in Mexico, and for good reason. Beautiful beaches, plenty of activities to discover, and a lively nightlife. (Combined with excellent cuisine, how could we go wrong?!)
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My first visit was at an all-inclusive resort. I loved it! This time, I wanted to take the experience further and live like a local. My boyfriend and I rented a small studio with a nice balcony overlooking the tropical forest less than ten blocks from the beach Los Muertos at the traditional Villa del Mar. The plan was to spend four months in paradise! Beers in the sun, with both feet in the hot sand.
You’ll probably ask me why we went in the summer, when the weather in North America is optimal, or why for so long. Well, the “timing” was just perfect! After investing two years in our business Artiztiko, we really needed a long stay to relax. A break was necessary to recharge our energies and we thought there was nothing better than doing it in the wild nature.
Colomitos Cabo Corrientes Jalisco
One of my “rules” when traveling is to witness every sunrise and sunset throughout our stay.
We researched the best places to have a good view of the sunset and discovered the smallest beach in Mexico, located 1000 meters (5 minutes by boat taxi) west of Boca de Tomatlán (17 km from the main square of Puerto Vallarta). Playa Colomitos is a very small beach of clear sand and emerald water. It is surrounded by rocks and a small stream and waterfalls that snake out of the lush tropical jungle.
There are two ways to get to the beach and cove. The easiest and recommended way is by sea in one of the local “pangas”, which depart from the Boca de Tomatlán pier (they charge a few dollars per person for the trip).
Of course, we are those who were also there to exercise. So we walked, ah! I can confirm that upon our return to Canada, we were in great shape and had lost that little layer of fat accumulated during all those cold northern winters. So we did this hike through the jungle. Ups and downs of 45 minutes. If you ever go, a picnic and some good cold beers are well-deserved once you reach your destination.
Hiking in the Las Animas jungle
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What you’ll do:
Departure from the historic downtown pier
Public bus to the fishing village
Start of the hike
Visit to the hidden waterfall (seasonal) and the hidden beach.
End of the hike in Las Animas
Option to buy food and drinks at the restaurant
Return by water taxi – option to pay extra for direct trips to Vallarta.
- This hike is moderately difficult and can be physically demanding, with stairs, rocks, and beaches to overcome.
Transportation by bus and boat
Photography (10 per group)
Eating vegan in Mexico
These photos perfectly represent the delicious Mexican-style meals we had the chance to prepare for ourselves in our apartment in the heart of Puerto Vallarta, one of the hottest places in Mexico in the middle of summer. As you can imagine, we didn’t spend all of our time eating out during our four-month stay, even though it’s not expensive, vacation bills can add up quickly. Nevertheless, we still went out to eat at least twice a week.
Le Pinche Vegan, a superb restaurant on a street parallel to the malecon. I ordered this huge vegan burger, a true delight! A black bean patty served with homemade cashew cheese and a ton of guacamole. The “avant-garde” owners had just opened and really hoped that veganism would catch on in Mexico.
Another one of my favorite restaurants is Planeta Vegetariano, a buffet-style restaurant that serves lunch, dinner, and supper. With a menu that varies each day of the week, it’s a good excuse to go there often. Especially for their excellent jalapeño poppers, a real treat!
The Raspado, my inevitable afternoon treat. Patiently waiting for “the old man” to arrive at the central plaza with his cart. The ringing bell announcing his presence brought me great joy. The Mexican raspado is made of crushed ice, served with syrupy fruit pieces of all kinds. Mango, guava, plum and simmered for hours. Garnished with condensed milk to make it special. If you want it vegan, simply omit the milk, but it’s still delicious, sweet, and refreshing.
Its beaches and lush nature
Many enjoy the pleasures of swimming in Puerto Vallarta at Playa Los Muertos, my favorite. However, for more tranquility, others stay away from it.
From Playa Los Muertos, a range of water taxis can take you to the Marietas Islands or to Yelapa, a charming fishing village only accessible by sea.
Punta Negra beach, 30 minutes south of downtown Puerto Vallarta and about fifteen minutes from the historic district, is popular, as are Boca de Tomatlán and Mismaloya.
Wild nature and its resplendent flora thrive in the streets of Puerto Vallarta. Each day is an opportunity to discover its beautiful hidden streets and alleys.
Sayulita in the Banderas Bay, south of Nayarit
About 1.5 hours by bus from Puerto Vallarta is the village of Sayulita with a stunning view of the sunset and palm trees. The good life on the beach. If you’re looking for great food and a great beach, this is the place to stay and enjoy your vacation. It’s quiet and less crowded, just like the rest of Sayulita, and I hope it stays that way.
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Visit to the colorful town of Sayulita and the hippie market (example of activity)
Tour duration: 5 hours
Type of visit: hippie market, shopping, observation, photography, colorful Instagram-worthy cities.
What you will do:
- Explore the hippie market
- Local shops and hidden street art
- Visit to the cemetery
- Los Muertos Beach
- Photos and more photos!
- Lunch and drinks available for purchase
What is provided:
- Full transportation International
Reputation for its art
Art lovers will be delighted to come across many galleries and shops selling traditional Mexican art along the way. Galeria Dante is a good example, with hundreds of works by artists from around the world, including Marc Galipeau, a Quebecois painter who has been exhibiting permanently for a few years now.
“Art serves to guide humanity, to inspire everyday life, to make us laugh and reflect or feel.”
Nicolas Bourriaud. Art critic
Its nightlife atmosphere
Vallarta’s nightlife atmosphere is described as an euphoric mixture of the resounding sounds of nightclubs and the sounds of drums, flutes, and guitars, acrobats and street musicians. An idyllic setting, with a setting sun on the horizon of the infinite Pacific Ocean.
En espagnol: Los bares y discotecas son conocidos por ser el lugar para tener una experiencia de entretenimiento memorable con amigos.
This is how we ended every evening, with a walk by the sea to enjoy the last moments of the day.
I would end this article by saying that if there is one thing I love about Mexico, it is the freedom to create. The lack of structure gives ample space for people’s initiative.
Colorful and surreal villages that are full of shops, excellent restaurants, and endearing characters. The creativity and humor displayed by the locals are truly inspiring. Vallarta and all of Mexico have pleasant surprises for visitors.
A big thanks to Tradicional Villa del Mar for hosting us and allowing us to discover the region.