Choose Bucerias over downtown Puerto Vallarta (PV) and Nuevo Vallarta for several reasons:

  • PV tends to be a busy, bustling sort of a place. In the winter month high season, PV has the look and feel of  spring break. This may appeal to you, but  it may be too busy and noisy.
  • Nuevo Vallarta, north of PV, consists mainly of a number of gated community type condo developments and a number of large hotel resorts.  It has a Marina. It also has a modern American style shopping mall where the prices higher than most anywhere else. It lackes the authentic feel of  Mexico.. you might as well be in Miami or San Diego.
  • You can use Bucerias as a base for exploring the Riviera Nayarit locations like Sayulita, Punta Mita, San Francisco as well as travelling into Puerto Vallarta easily. All of these places (perhaps with the exception of San Francisco) are accessible very easily by buses which are cheap and frequent.

Bucerias, further north of Nuevo, combined the slower traditional Mexican pace with a great long beach and a lively small town where all amenities are within walking distance. It offers a chance to explore more of the real Mexico by travelling by bus to Puerto Vallarta or Sayulita, visiting an authentic Mexican market on Sundays. The town is a bit on the scruffy side (by North American standards)... but is safe and relatively quiet. The tourist population here is primarily an older crowd (older families, retirees, lots of Canadians).

The centre of town is a small plaza where the locals congregate during the day and after work.  There is a row of taxis and a well populated taxi stand at the entrance to El Centro (also at Decameron, near Karen's Place & Terralta) and stores that cater mostly to local residents. There are a number of street vendor food stands and some tiny fast food vendors. There are several Huichol artists in the plaza who sell their art there.

The beach is accessible from an open block and several cross streets that end at the beach. It is common for locals and tourists alike to enjoy the sun and beautiful bay and mountain views from the beach or the beachfront palapas of the beach restaurants. The beach is long and uninterrupted to the south towards Nuevo Vallarta, which makes it an increasingly popular spot for kitesurfing.

On a winday Sunday you can see up to 30 people performing stunts in and above the water. The relative calm waters of of Banderas Bay make it an excellent place to take kite surfing lessons. You might walk into Jamison Smith, an IKO Level 2 Senior Certified International Kiteboarding Instructor teaching his students. The kiteboarding season is from February until May, watch for local competitions, it is a lot of fun to watch.

Going north, after Bucerias and towards La Cruz it gets more rocky. The water is very shallow till a long way out and the waves are minimal and the water gets a little more muddy. All in all, Bucerias is a great beach for kids to play on and for all to swim. In the mornings, the sand on the beach shines with golden specks.  There is a row of beachfront restaurants stretching a few blocks north of the plaza on the beach. Most serve standard mexican fare with tequila and beer. You'll enjoy any of them simply for the view and the experience.  If someone from the general beachfront restaurants seems too friendly and chatty, beware. They are really timeshare sharks ready to ruin your meal (but only at 2 in all of Bucerias).  There is often fresh seafood and shellfish to enjoy. Just be ready to deal with beach vendors on a regular basis but some of them have interesting items to show. At the end of that street is a very fancy Italian restaurant called Mezzogiorno and at the end of the street features tourist shops.

One block back from the beach, there are several restaurants worth mentioning - El Brujo is great for seafood, Mar y Sol for Red Snapper, or Breakers for Sunday live entertainment. There is a french creperie which serves delicious crepes and quiches and a fantastic and quirky tapas restaurant (Tapas del Mundo) right next door.  Another block up, the laterals off the main highway are populated with street vendors, vegetable stalls and commercial services.

The large, busy, local flea market just off the main plaza on the south features the usual tourist stuff. Going south through the flea market gauntlet and over a foot bridge takes you to the residential side of Bucerias. There are a number of good quality restaurants and artesan boutiques as you walk south to the Decameron resort complex. Some of the restaurants are La Quinta di Francesco (Italian Restaurant), Mark's, Karen's, Rosa Restaurante Mexicano, Encore, Sweet Things, Adriatico, Sandrina's, Luna Luna, Claudios and the Red Apple. The many boutiques throw their doors open for an art walk Thursday's during the high season.

Bucerias is a great place for a more laid back vacation or a day trip from PV or NV. There is a very complete website where you can learn  more about Bucerias