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Non touristy town within 3 hours drive of Puerto Vallarta

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Ballarat, Australia
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Non touristy town within 3 hours drive of Puerto Vallarta

Hi all

I'm in Puerto Vallarta for a month and am looking for a fairly quiet town within 2 hours drive of here to base myself for the next 4 or 5 months. I am looking for somewhere which doesn't have a lot of English speakers, because I want to work on my spanish and get more of an "immersion" experience. I have spent the past 5 months in El Salvador, so I'm used to living in places which don't have many English speakers.

Ideally I'd like to find a pleasant town, with a warm to hot climate, where I could rent a basic, back-packer style room. The size of the town doesn't bother me and I don't care if I am by the beach. San Sebastián sounded interesting, but it's at a high altitude and I want to be somewhere warm.

At the moment I'm also looking at Tepic, Santa Maria del Oro (outside Tepic) and Chacala (although Chacala might be a bit too touristy??). If anyone has any other suggestions I would love to hear them!

Thanks!

Emma

San Miguel de...
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1. Re: Non touristy town within 3 hours drive of Puerto Vallarta

I have merely passed through San Sebastián in a car and it does look nice, although it does also get lots of daytrippers from the Vallarta area. I don't think the altitude would be a problem weather-wise and would offer welcome respite from the heat and humidity on the coast in the summer months. I am sure a web search would tun up average temperatures year round. I live at a much higher altitude and the weather is near perfect!

Edited: 9:36 am, April 28, 2014
Puerto Vallarta...
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2. Re: Non touristy town within 3 hours drive of Puerto Vallarta

Hi Emma: Welcome to the Forum!

The non-touristy, non-English speaking part is easy. Most of the surrounding towns and villages, especially those inland from Vallarta fit the bill there. Many suggestions available.

The hard part is knowing how to find that PLUS interesting and pleasant. 5 months is a long time to spend in a place. Do you plan to study, or volunteer, travel around? Not meaning to be personal. Even Tepic, while a city, is mostly administrative offices and people doing ordinary things that might be a tad boring for 5 months if you didn't have a role of some sort.

Please post back and best of luck.

PS. In view of London's comments, I wouldn't rule out a colonial city such as San Miguel or Guadalajara (even closer). You can always take sidetrips. We spend considerable time in Canada, but if we didn't we would have an apartment in Guadalajara in addition to what we have in the Vallarta area.

Edited: 9:50 am, April 28, 2014
Nanaimo, BC
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3. Re: Non touristy town within 3 hours drive of Puerto Vallarta

While RV'ing several years ago, there were a few places that we saw that may meet your criteria. You mention Chacala, but when I was there a few years ago, it had a lot of tourists but a lot of Mexicans as well. There are several places where you can stay, though.

Other places on the coast that seem more Mexican, is the town of Las Varas, although it is fairly large, did not have that touristy feel, good shopping, inland. It is a nice town.

Other places we have noted in our travels are north of PV as well: Zacualpan (but do not know if there are places to stay there) and possibility San Blas which has accommodation that may be suitable for you.

Another place we visited but cannot locate it on the map is Naranja Beach, a very small Mexican town on the coast. I cannot remember where it is, but it's on the coast, possibility around Perula, which is south of PV and perhaps someone on the board knows about it.

Also south of PV is the small Mexican town of Tomatlan, which we found very interesting to visit.

Of course you can goggle all of these.

Hope this helps.

Ballarat, Australia
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4. Re: Non touristy town within 3 hours drive of Puerto Vallarta

Hello again

Thanks to you all for these great responses - i will check them all out! In response to the póster who asked for some more personal info - I have a chronic illness which means i have to rest almost all the time and I am not able to do tourist activities or work. This is why I am just looking for a quiet, pleasant town or village, where I can practice my spanish.

I just spent 5 months in a small town in El Salvador where I did pretty much nothing - i studied a bit of spanish and twice a week taught a class in meditation and stress-management in spanish At a local community centre. So, I'm just looking for a town like this - somewhere warm and peaceful with a few opportunities for interactions with locals. (I forgot to mention that I also need somewhere with an ATM, or one in a nearby town).

Thanks again everyone!

Seattle
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5. Re: Non touristy town within 3 hours drive of Puerto Vallarta

Melanque or Barra de Navidad?

Puerto Vallarta...
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6. Re: Non touristy town within 3 hours drive of Puerto Vallarta

El Tuito would fit, only one hour from Vallarta, some English speakers but as a second language. Definitely quiet and very few tourists, maybe one small group a day for a very short time. Finding accommodation might be a bit of a chore, but I'm sure could be arranged.

Regular bus service to PV and even one bus a day to Mayto Beach and Tehuamixtle

Puerto Vallarta
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7. Re: Non touristy town within 3 hours drive of Puerto Vallarta

Santa Maria del Oro is GORGEOUS! One fo my favorite little places in Mexico. The problem is, there is not much there so getting groceries etc. may be a bit of a pain- you'll need a car.

I do not suggest Tomatlan- it is not the friendliest town and they've had a bit of drug issues and theft. I've been there twice on the way to Melaque and we were warned about Tomatlan from the Feds we met in Melaque and the bus driver who told my husband to go to the bathroom with me and guard the door.

My grandpa in law is from Las Varas- that may be an option- about 2 hours from Vallarta (North) and close to Chacala. The people are friendly and they have everything you need in town..plus there are rentals. Chacala is not touristy in the summer...it's pretty much mainly Mexicans esp on the weekend with a fre extranjeros thrown in.

If I was going to stay somewhere for 5 months- I'd pick Mascota. It's just big enough and just small enough. Most people speak only Spanish but a few speak English and would be willing to practice. There is a nice coffee shop near the main square which is lovely. I think there is also a small yoga studio-or at least there was. The area is beautiful and fairly temperate... warm to hot during the day, cooler at night. Higher elevation but not too cold even in the winter.

Edmonton, Canada
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8. Re: Non touristy town within 3 hours drive of Puerto Vallarta

The Santa Maria del Oro in Nayarit, or Jalisco? Google Maps tells me there's one in each state. I'm guessing you mean Nayarit, as the Jalisco one is some distance from PV.

I'm always researching my next trip, even if I don't have tickets in hand. Thanks!

EDIT: Whoops, never mind. I see the OP already mentioned which one. :)

Edited: 3:03 pm, April 28, 2014
Puerto Vallarta...
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9. Re: Non touristy town within 3 hours drive of Puerto Vallarta

Two villages fit your requirements perfectly. 1) Melaque and 2) Punta Perula

Toronto
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10. Re: Non touristy town within 3 hours drive of Puerto Vallarta

Emma

Congrats on your travels and explorations. Since you are planning an additional 4-5 month stay, you might want to escape the upcoming summer humidity and escape into the highlands. If so, consider the small town of Mazamitla-- like Puerto Vallarta, also in the state of Jalisco. It is just west (below) of Lake Chapala. Mazamitla is an upscale vacation escape for (eco tours, mountain scenery, citrus fruit, greenhouse and agricultural cultivation) Guadalajarans.

Patzcuaro, Michoacan -- it is on a large lake and is about 3 hours south of Guadalajara, Jalisco (i.e. 4+3=a full days bus travel from Puerto Vallarta). The area is scenic and well known for its abundant and competent artisans (guitar makers, pottery, quarried sculpture, woven garments, musicians).

I just returned from two weeks in the area. The temperature was comfortable, daily highs of 22-24 degrees C and lows of 12-14 degrees C. Both towns are "Pueblos Magico", very little English speaking present, safe, and 4000 - 6000 feet above sea level.

jt

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