Not to miss places along Pacific coast of Mexico
I'm in Puerto Vallarta. I have a few months in Mexico, and I'd like to see as much of the best as I can. I'd like to stay close to the coast to start.
I would like to know which cities/towns are recommmend by travellers along the Pacific coast from PV heading south. Eventually, I'd like to turn inland and head to Mexico city before departing in the Yucatan/Cancun.
So this thread is about the Pacific coast. Which places should not be missed, and why?
I just left after spending an outstanding month in PV.
There is a lot to do in the immediate area. Have you done a "canopy tour"? Great fun! I've heard "Swimming with the Dolphins" in Nuevo Vallarta is a fun experience. We didn't care to spend the time or money, but worthwhile others say.
Have you walked the malecon from beginning to end? Beyond the north end is worthwhile too. You walk along the beach, toward Holiday Inn - & beyond if you like. Walk thru a hotel to catch a bus back into town.
Have you been in some of the big malls? In this area is the mall that includes Gigante Mkt. It's expanding, a neat place to visit, esp when it's hot out!
The mall has an escalator & movie theatre. (Highly recommend that you see "Pan's Labyrinth" from Spain, just released -- a wonderful tale!)
Have you taken a bus to the end of the line? Great way to see areas that you might not otherwise see, plus it's cheap. If not, try the bus to beyond Ixtapa to the end of the line. Nice little town (forget it's name tho!). Clean. We ate an ice cream, then got on the next bus toward PV.
The bus out to Punta de Mita is an interesting trip. Bucerias is in the same direction, as is Sayulita. The latter's reputation is of a wonderful place. Reputation is of being a good surfing spot but we weren't that impressed otherwise.
Our most eventful experience was back in 1994 or 95, when we took the bus to the end of the line & discovered Boca de Tomatlan before the village was was "found" by the masses. We've stayed at "Casa de Piedra" across the Tuito River, twice. In 2001, we met the couple who own Boca Divers, who have become very good friends. In the years since, we've seen them become quite prosperous. We've enjoyed scuba diving, snorkeling & kayaking with them & have recommended them to all our friends.
Plus, we have just bought (not time-share) a studio condo south of town, in Girasol Sur, that we are very pleased about. It's located between town & Mismaloya. Our lives have been greatly enhanced because we ventured to the end of the line!
The village of El Tuito is south of PV about an hr. It's a very old town, with an interesting cemetery, worthy of a visit. Get a taxi from town to a unique, open air restaurant called "Alta Mira". My next trip to PV I hope to get further south to the Melaque/Manzanillo area. If you go there, pls let me know how you liked it, ok?
Also, take the Primera Plus bus to Guadalajara, about 5 hrs. Try touring "Tequila" for some education about drinking the stuff. (In PV there are shops for that too.) While in Tequila you can tour newly-discovered ruins that are nearby. Guad. is the second largest city in Mexico & worth the trip. Take a bus to the Tlaquepaque area -- it's a great area w/lots to see, incl Lake Chapala about a hr out of town.
In the Cancun area you can tour Tulum (among many other Maya ruins). Cortez sailed past the then-thriving city in 1519 - the only Maya city on the ocean, by the way. To see much of the areas further from Cancun, you'll probably want to rent a car.
Well, maybe I have mentioned something you haven't visited as yet. I hope I've been helpful! Do let me know about the highlights of your trip, ok?!
Good luck & happy trails,
Adriana from Seattle
Just coming back from Mexico and had a great time on the Pacific coast. We stayed a few days in Chacala a lovely and very quiet little beach located in Nayarit approx 80km north of PV. Apparently the Michoacan coast south of PV is also very nice and wild but we didn't have time to get there.
A few places I would particularly recommand on your way back to the DF:
- Morelia, lovely colonial town
- Guanajuato, a very nice mining town built over an amazing tunnel network
- The Monarch Butterflies Sanctuary, where millions of butterflies from all over North America gather every winter. A really unique experience!
Que te vaya bien!
I am very partial to Puerto Vallarta having first set foot in 1979, a mere babe in arms, bless Mom for that stroller. The food is wonderful, the people kind and warm, the weather great [I love it hot] and the flora and fauna quite dry tropical. The botanical gardens are very beautiful and worth a bus trip south toward El Tuito. The culture is evident in dance, art, music, theater! Beach, sunning, strolling, hiking, horseback riding, dune buggy, canopy, whales in season, dolphins, fishing, folklorica, handicrafts. Come on down, give it a try!
San Francisco, CA./Puerto Vallarta, JAL.
"We had the dust of Mexico on our shoes and the love of Mexico in our hearts..."
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I recommended heading further south down the coast in the state of Oaxaca. There are so many things to see in do. I only had a few days when I went so I couldn't see everything the region has to offer. But I did go to Zippolite and Puerto Escondido on the coast and both places were awesome. Zippolite is a bit off the beaten track. The city of Oaxaca is also really cool and worth checking out. Also lots of ruins in the area.
If you are in Oaxaca the beach town of Mazunte is well worth the jaunt. Lots of great hammock and cabin hjostels on the beach and always has great atmosphere especially during Mexican travel holidays. The locals all know about it but few travelers make the trip.
The coast of Michoacan is fantastic collection of camping beaches:
I'll add more maps and route descriptions as time permits
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