Are you in or planning to visit Puerto Vallarta?
I’m sure you are soon to experience many activities in this burgeoning tourist destination. One of the understated beauties of Puerto Vallarta is that it is a hub for exploring nearby towns. So, if you are looking for a delightful day trip; I would suggest you seek El Tuito, Mayto, and Tehualmixtle (a.k.a Tehua).
El Tuito, Jalisco – “Beautiful Small Valley”
Drive 52km south of Puerto Vallarta – roughly a 90min drive and you will arrive in the quaint farming town of El Tuito. What can I say, this diamond is as rough as the cobblestone-road you will ride in on. However, that is its charm! The people, who embody the modern Vaquero (aka Cowboy) lifestyle, is what makes this place a gem.
Like most, if not all, Mexican towns the plaza is the heart. Here you will see the most activity, whether it is placed to eat; presentations and fiestas; or statues and murals commemorating important local figures and events.
As mentioned before, this is a cattle ranching town. So do not be surprised by the many fine purveyors of panela or jocoque – cheese similar to paneer and yogurt cheese respectively. They often travel to bigger markets like Puerto Vallarta’s Municipal Market of Colonia Emiliano Zapata to sell their wares. In fact, we learned of El Tuito while at this municipal market tour which is part of Gabby’s Restaurant cooking class.
Mayto, Jalisco – “Little beach of love” and Turtle Conservation
This drive is 90km (roughly 2hrs15min) south of Puerto Vallarta. If El Tuito is the appetizer, Mayto is the eye-catching main course. It is amazing!
Why? This place is secluded. The kind of place, not even local tourists visit, much less know about.
The trick? keep the roads unpaved and signs to a minimum. Literally, there is just a Hotel Mayto – a 10 or so room hotel – and a restaurant, both a stone’s throw from the sea. The 7km of beachside is an ecological reserve and turtle conservation – considered the largest and most important on Mexico’s pacific coast. You ought to come here for a weekend to be honest – especially if you are searching for a romantic couple’s retreat.
That said, this is still a great place to spend a few hours soaking up the sun, marking your territory on IG by capturing the perfect landscape photo, or taking a refreshing dip in the crystal blue! Just remember to pack your sunscreen and steer clear of the sand crabs.
Tehuamixtle, Jalisco – Seafood Feast
Last and certainly not least, Tehua Bay is 92km (roughly 2hrs30mins) south of PV. It is the reason why you are this far south and well worth the drive. This is true for two reasons: – Why Addison enjoyed it: A small fishing town known for its seafood. – Why Zahn enjoyed it: a rustic town with a helluva cliffside sunset. Tehuax is perfectly situated within a bay. This makes it a safe and enjoyable place for paddleboarding, kayaking, or swimming. There is also a sunken ship in which to go scuba diving!
We were fortunate and found a reliable private driver – Jose – Xplore with Chamaco
He was courteous and is a conscientious driver. The trip cost us 4,200 pesos (just under $200 US) and was an 8hr trip. There are several ways you can take this trip, some of which is much cheaper than our method, and it is worth mentioning that COVID-19 was in full effect so public transport was not felt to be a viable option:-
Driving Own Car or Rental Car
At ~1,200 Pesos ($52.00 US) renting a car is the best option.
However, it’s 90km of winding, often cliffside, two-lane road.
By far the least expensive option. The downside, of course, is the added trip-time. You will have to get to El Tuito – likely by bus – because there are no direct trips from Puerto Vallarta to Tehuax. You would then have to walk to Mayto (roughly 30mins).
The most expensive option and not without its benefits. The driver will likely be Bilingual which makes him/her a great guide, great for local knowledge of things to do and places worth seeing, and hassle-free driving experience. Not to mention a safer option than public transport in terms of COVID-19.