Puerto Vallarta has an endless amount of activities and things to do for locals and visitors alike. However, there are several interesting towns and places to visit that are good day trips if you want to get out of town. You can rent a car or take public transportation via bus or taxi/uber to visit these cool towns. Whether you’re in the mood for beach or mountains, here are some top choices you should check out if you’re in the mood for a day trip from PV.
One of the best small towns you can easily visit in a day from Puerto Vallarta is Sayulita. It’s laid back vibe and hippie feel will appeal to those looking for a relaxed, carefree day away. Parking is sometimes difficult in this small town, but once you find a spot you can walk the town on foot as everything is only a 5-10 minute walk away. The center plaza is surrounded by restaurants and artisans selling their fares, and the colorful papel picado. is a beautiful backdrop to the wide array of shops and restaurants in town. If you’re in the mood for a delicious breakfast, Chocobanana just off the main plaza is a local favorite. If you want to swim, walk past Villa Amor Hotel and check out Playa Los Muertos just past the local graveyard. There are no restaurants, but locals are sometimes around to sell you a cold beer or coconut water to quench your thirst. If you end up staying through the evening, check out Tacos Ivan for some of the best al pastor tacos around. Go easy on the hot salsa, it carries a big kick!
Just north of Sayulita is an even smaller town of San Francisco also known as San Pancho. It boasts a beautiful wide beach that is great for relaxing, but be careful as the tides can be stronger here. There are several art galleries in town and restaurants on the beach so you can take in the beautiful view while you enjoy lunch. San Pancho also boasts a lovely lagoon right by the beach where you can see all sorts of local birds enjoying the fresh water. \
If you’re in the mood to potentially mingle with the rich and famous, head north to the small town of Punta Mita which is home to some of the most luxurious hotels and villas in the area. Many celebrities and wealthy individuals choose Punta Mita as their preferred vacation spot. The town itself is quite small and has a handful of restaurants in a row along the water. The beach itself is a great area to try paddle boarding and you can also rent local lanchas, or boats to take to you the islands of Las Marietas. Depending on the time of year, it is a great chance to go whale watching if you happen to be visiting between the months of December and March. There is something spiritual about seeing the humpback whales up close, and you are practically guaranteed a sighting if you visit during these key months.
Around 20 minutes north of the Puerto Vallarta airport is the small beach town of Bucerias. Some of its highlights include a fun open air market that is open every day. You can find local handicrafts, souvenirs and even nice Mexican glassware and art. It’s also a great spot to pick out a beach hat or sunscreen if you forgot to bring some with you. The beach is lined with many restaurants, mostly specializing in seafood or casual Mexican cuisine. On the week-ends, live music can be found at El Chiverio in the afternoons. An unique activity in Bucerias if that you can ride horseback on the beach. Every day, horses and their handlers walk up and down the beach offering rides at reasonable rates. The beautiful bay view from Bucerias gives you a glimpse up to Punta Mita and down south to Puerto Vallarta.
If you find the Puerto Vallarta heat and humidity a bit extreme, cool off by heading inland about 1 1/2 hours to the explore the quaint town of San Sebastian. With a population of only around 500 inhabitants, this small town gem has remained largely the same in the last hundred years. You can rent an ATV to explore or simply walk the cobblestone streets as the town is easily explored on foot. It’s central plaza has a lovely gazebo that is great spot to enjoy Mexican ice cream known as helado. If you want a more upscale meal, don’t miss the exquisite Villa Nopal which will make you feel as if you’ve been transported to the French countryside. With beautiful gardens and flowers in bloom year round, it is a lovely setting for a delicious meal in style. Don’t miss the French Onion soup which is both authentically French and satisfying.
Puerto Vallarta has so much to see and do, but sometimes it is nice to get out of town and explore smaller towns. The charm and beauty of these towns make them great choices for day trips from Puerto Vallarta. Whether you go by car or take local transportation, these are all great ideas for fun day trips from PV. Try to check them all out when you have time!