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PV as a point of "departure".

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posts: 333
reviews: 7
PV as a point of "departure".

I own a propery in Mexico. I usually fly into PV inorder to drive to my casa. PV is a great vacation site -- but, let me encourage the adventurous among us to venture away from the AI resorts, the hotels, and timeshares and into the countryside.

Mexico is a great country to explore. Visit the small towns, go to a local rodeo, participate in the many national festivities. The good people in the state of Jalisco vacation as families, share their joy, experience the openess.

Have an adventure. Life is more than a "perfect" resort, beach, or restaurant.


posts: 382
reviews: 1
21. Re: PV as a point of "departure".

Wasn't Fidei Comiso a revolutionary leader? :-)

posts: 333
reviews: 7
22. Re: PV as a point of "departure".

careyeroslib, I had not intended on making La Manzanilla del Mar my first post on towns in the area -- but, I think it works well as a response to your previous post.

La Manz is a small fishing village approx 3 hours driving time south of PV. It is at the south end of a 4 mile long beach. The north end is Boca de Iguana (where a new ocean front 6 room boutique hotel (Chantli Mare) recently opened. I ate there and toured the rooms in December shortly after they opened. Nice place, very good food.

Backing onto the beach between LM & BdI is a fresh water lagoon (mangrove swamp) that is a protected wildlife area and is home to 300+ crocodiles, birds, etc.

A friend and I (his first visit to Mexico) were having lunch at a beachfront restaurant next to where the swamp empties into the ocean. About 50 feet away, basking in the sun, under the wooden pedestrian bridge was a solitary crocodile. Perhaps, 18 feet long. My guest was convinced that the crocodile was not real -- that it was an animatronic figure. I suggested that the only way he could prove his assumption correct was that he pick up a nearby stick and poke the "robot". He declined.

The waiter told us that during the rainy season. The mangrove swamp overflows and several crocodiles swim out under the pedestrian bridge and end up in the bay. After the run off is finished, the local fishermen head out, lasso the croc's, and return them to the lagoon.

I think a bit of historical perspective is necessary -- so that one can differentiate between the "animatronics" and the reality. Between what is "manufactured" for the tourist industry and the reality for the good people of Mexico.


Puerto Vallarta...
posts: 10,781
reviews: 57
23. Re: PV as a point of "departure".

Good post jt.

We also like driving around exploring.

My only point is/was that not all small towns, driving trips, whatever are all that exciting for visitors.. (They could be great places to live but not very interesting to visit because it´s just everyday people doing their everyday things). What you described sounds interesting and worth going to.

I love going to the Charreadas (Mexican rodeos) because they are fun. They make a great destiination and getting there gives people a chance to see life outside where tourists often exclusively go.

Martinez, California
Destination Expert
for Sacramento, Puerto Vallarta
posts: 8,961
reviews: 103
24. Re: PV as a point of "departure".

jt --- You made me laugh as we went to La Tovara (outside San Blas) a few years ago and I could have sworn some of those crocs in the canals were fake. They also have a crocodile preserve there and those were definitely not fake. But, when they are just sitting out there sunning themselves and there is a boat going by in the canals, they look like sculptures.

Also, I think you're right, Libby, in that when I've traveled through villages, I'm generally going with Mexican friends and people whose Spanish is better than mine so we frequently have someone to visit there or we can talk to the locals. We went up into the mountains to a natural healer in a tiny Jalisco village once, as my friend was having trouble with her foot. That was fascinating. Took us all day to go a few miles and have roaming cattle in front of us, just to get to this healer. He did good work though.

It might be somewhat awkward or boring for a group of gringo tourists to show up in some of the communities and not be able to speak Spanish or enjoy whatever they found. Kinda reminds me of the condo I rented back in 2010 on a remote calle in Puerto Vallarta. The residents thought I was pretty weird --- a gringa up there all alone. Nobody in that area spoke English and there were some fairly nefarious characters on the calle. Thus, not all jaunts into non-touristy areas are positive. Potential wanderers need to know that also --- keep the common-sense antenna working when traveling the backroads.

Puerto Vallarta...
posts: 10,781
reviews: 57
25. Re: PV as a point of "departure".

Hi Marly. Good post.

Your average Mexican town is like your average town everywhere. There ain´t nothin´to see really, unless you live there, are from there (have family) or business there. Even old folks sitting on the doorstep will look at you as you pass and think "Hmm....Do I know you?"

Anyway, if you ever pass through Higuera Blanca (between Punta Mita and Sayulita), say you are "amigos de Betsy" or, if you really want to be cool say "amigos de Sabino". ( Sabino is the current democratically elected, but also, self-styled kingpin, in charge of building permits). Betsy (actually spelled Betzy) has a snack bar open every day in the late afternoon for hamburgers, enchilladas, etc. My point is not to promote Betzy, but you need an "in" with these small towns or you will drive by and see wondering vacant faces. If you go to Higuera, say "Dondé está la loncheria de Betzy" Where is Betsy´s place? Only open in the late afternoon/early evening, but every day.

She is an excellent cook.

PS. Ok, if you see Sabino or Betzy you can say you are "Amigos de la familia Brown en Playa Careyeros"

Edited: 8:06 pm, March 10, 2013
posts: 333
reviews: 7
26. Re: PV as a point of "departure".

The population of Mexico is about 110 million. There are an estimated 1 million foreign nationals (gringos.gringas) living in Mexico year round. When I have friends from NOB visit, I explain to them that the ecomony here is much different from what they are used to.

This is an economy (outside the large cities) based on farming, fishing, and ranching. And, as Noel Coward opined "Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid day sun". People take a two hour siesta, walk home for their mid day meal (35 mile commutes thru rush hour traffic -and the time constraints superimposed by a manufacturing economy- don't exist).

Consequently, I forewarn my visitors, if they expect to be entertained or find anything interesting during the midday they will be disappointed and I'll be having a siesta myself so I won't be able to sympathize about their complaints.

Instead, after having a light meal in the late afternoon we will start walking towards the town square (jardin) planning to arrive about 8:00 pm. During the stroll to the jardin, we will greet several of the neighbours who have set up plastic tables and chairs in the street in front of their house and will be selling tacos and chatting to their neighbours passing by.

At the jardin there will be several hundred adults gathered chatting about the days events, their town , their kids. The town's gringos/gringas will be there doing the same. Kids will be playing soccer, an adhoc mariachi band might start up, the upcoming town festivities will be planned. It will continue until 11:00 pm when everyone heads home.

All this will have been missed by the touristas who thought it was a "boring" town when they drove through at 2:00 pm in the afternoon.


Puerto Vallarta...
posts: 10,781
reviews: 57
27. Re: PV as a point of "departure".

"At the jardin there will be several hundred adults gathered chatting about the days events, their town , their kids. The town's gringos/gringas will be there doing the same. Kids will be playing soccer, an adhoc mariachi band might start up, the upcoming town festivities will be planned. It will continue until 11:00 pm when everyone heads home"

Unless you know people or have nothing better to do than watch other people doing things, that doesn´t sound like much fun to me.

At the Krystal (Hotel Zone) every Saturday they have a Mexican Fiesta for their hotel guests which these days are almost exclusively Mexicans. They serve Mexican food but otherwise, just ordinary rock music and dancing. We sat with a man from some rural town who said, in Spanish, that he really hoped they would play Shania Twain :)

posts: 29,145
reviews: 12
28. Re: PV as a point of "departure".

My issue with the wording in the OP is that it implies if you don't leave Puerto Vallarta you are somehow not an "adventurous" person. I'm all for encouraging visitors to see other parts of Mexico, I just don't appreciate the slant that if we aren't doing that we're laying around drunk by the pool at an AI resort.

There's lots of different ways to vacation and travel. There are also time constraints for some of us who work a full-time job with limited vacation time. Believe me if I had a year off and no obligations there's nothing I'd love more than to go kicking around Mexico.


Bucerias, Mexico
Destination Expert
for Bucerias, Nuevo Vallarta, Guadalajara
posts: 3,232
reviews: 86
29. Re: PV as a point of "departure".

And for some people, hanging around a resort IS what they want to do. Who are we to tell them they're wrong?

posts: 333
reviews: 7
30. Re: PV as a point of "departure".

In December 2012, in the parking lot of the PV Botanical Gardents (about an hour south of PV -closed Mondays) I parked beside a young fellow, perhaps 30 years old who had just pulled in before us. He got off his motorcycle and we struck up a conversation.

He was from New Zealand and starting the fourth week of his six week vacation in Mexico. He had flown in Mexico City picked up his "spiffy" rental motorcycle and the rental shop had provided one of its employees to ride another motorcycle for two days, give him a tour and escort him to the perimeter of Mexico City. He had arranged to finish his holiday in Cancun where the motorcycle rental company would send a truck to pick up their motorcycle.

He was spending the night just north of Manazanillo and was pondering whether to continue south down the Coastal Hwy (200) or head inland towards Guadalajara. We swapped stories. Tecoman, I told him, was where he would have to make the decision. Two years before I had driven south Tecoman from Hwy 200 to Lazaro Cardenas. It is very scenic, lots of curves, narrow (no shoulders), but well paved road. There are numerous roads heading off to expansive and underused beaches. There are several beachfront "state" parks where right on the beach, under framed canopies overlaid with palm branches people pitched their pup tents. When I was there, it was populated by university age kids and how, I wished that I had had the wherewithal to have done something like that when I was going to university.

I mentioned that I had (foolishly) started the drive south from Tecoman with less than a full tank of gas and that the PEMEX stations on the route were nonexistent. Not to worry. Every small town has an "unofficial" reseller of gasoline. He goes to the nearest PEMEX fills up 45 gallon drums which he then resells. Just ask at any store and you will be directed to his "garage".

Alternatively, I told him, several years ago, I met a very interesting young couple from Canada, who had just spent two weeks volunteering at a orphanage at an intriguing small town just off the route inland towards Guadalajara.


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