If you’re traveling to Puerto Vallarta anytime in the future, take some time to check out these nearby towns, which offer beautiful scenery and a taste of authentic Mexico.
The first town to visit is San Sebastian, located one hour and ten minutes from Puerto Vallarta. The town is located near the Sierra Madre mountain range and is a designated Magical Town, which means it has preserved its traditional culture and history to this day.
Steeped in history and overflowing with nature on all sides, this beautiful town is a great place for photography lovers. The Haravéri Botanical Garden, which preserves a cloud forest, is another magical place for outdoor lovers to enjoy here. Travelers can also enjoy coffee tours, go horseback riding or take ATVs along the local hillsides.
El Tuito is another colonial town located near the Sierra Madre mountains. This town is just 45 minutes from Puerto Vallarta, and its higher altitude makes it cooler and less humid.
El Tuito, the name coming from the Nahuatl word that means “beautiful small valley,” offers picturesque cobblestone streets and adobe buildings. Its main plaza is a perfect place to try out some Spanish with the locals who like to relax there.
Foodies can enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine in El Tuito, with handmade corn tortillas and the town’s specialty, panela cheese, as well as the region’s favored agave drink, raicilla.
Another magical place that offers plenty of both outdoor and cultural activities is Mascota. While the word “mascota” means “pet” in Spanish, this town’s name derives from the local native language’s word for “place of deer and snakes.”
Located an hour and a half away, this beautiful town has the Juanacatlan Lagoon, El Molcajete Volcano, El Rincón de Ixcatan and El Malpaís petrified fields within close proximity, so you can easily spend half a day exploring the natural wonders before returning to Mascota to sample its local fruits and visit its museums.
Our last special town is Talpa de Allende, a historic town two hours away from Puerto Vallarta, nestled 4,000 feet above sea level in the Sierra Madre mountains. This historic town is known as a religious center because of its four different festivals which occur annually, drawing in hundreds of thousands of pilgrims that visit the town’s statue of the Virgin Mary, “La Chaparrita,” which is said to have healing powers.
Talpa de Allende is a great place to wander and soak in the sights, and a visit to the local market is a great way to sample local dishes and collect souvenirs. For outdoor lovers, the town’s Maple Forest makes for great hiking.
Puerto Vallarta is an amazing old town with activities galore. But there’s also much more to explore outside of the city. When enjoying your trip, don’t be shy about traveling off the beaten path. Once you do, you’ll get to explore another side of Mexico not seen by most travelers.