Whether you are in the mood for beach or mountains, Puerto Vallarta has an endless number of things to do and places to explore. Both locals and visitors can find interesting towns and places to visit that will make the best day trip. If you want to get out of town and visit these cool places, you can rent a car or take public transportation like a bus or taxi. Find out what’s in store for you when you’re in the mood for a day trip from Puerto Vallarta.


The beautiful bay view from Bucerias gives you a peek to Punta Mita and down south to Puerto Vallarta. This town which is about 20 minutes north of the Puerto Vallarta airport, boasts a small beach and a fun open-air market that is open daily. The open-air market is the ideal place to buy souvenirs, handicrafts, nice Mexican glassware and art, or even a beach hat or a sunscreen if you forgot to bring some with you. There are many restaurants lining the beach. Most restaurants offer seafood delicacies and delicious, casual Mexican cuisine. If you are looking for live music, get to El Chiverio on the weekends so you can kick back with a cocktail while listening to local musicians. Horseback riding on the beach is another unique activity here. Horses and their handlers can be seen every day as they walk up and down the beach offering rides at reasonable prices. A treat for adults and children alike!

Punta Mita

This small town is the preferred vacation spot for many celebrities and wealthy individuals. If you’re in the mood to potentially mingle with the rich and famous, head north to the small town of Punta Mita. It is home to some of the most luxurious hotels and villas in the area.

Although the town itself is small, it has several excellent restaurants in a row along the water. Try Rosa Mexicana or Si Senor for authentic and elegant Mexican cuisine. Paddle-boarding is a common activity on the beach. Some prefer to rent local lanchas which are small boats that take them to the islands of Las Marietas. Have you experienced whale-watching? Punta Mita offers this enticing experience during the months of December to March. Viewing the humpback whales up close will guarantee you a sort of spiritual awakening when you visit Punta Mita at this time of the year.

San Pancho

A smaller town just north of Sayulita is the town of San Francisco or more commonly known as San Pancho. Its beach has tides that can be strong at times, but it is an ideal place for relaxation due to its wide, sandy beach. The town also has several art galleries and restaurants on the beach. You can enjoy a delightful meal while enjoying the beach views here. There is also a lovely lagoon where all sorts of birds enjoy the refreshing water right along the beach.

San Sebastian

If you want to take a break from Puerto Vallarta’s heat and humidity, San Sebastian offers a great alternative. When you head inland for about 1 ½ hours, you can reach quaint mountain town of San Sebastian. A home to only 500 inhabitants, this small town has remained largely unchanged in the last hundred years. One exciting thing to do here includes enjoying its Mexican ice cream known as helado. It is available in town and you can enjoy this delicious treat while you relax on the lovely gazebo located in the town’s charming central plaza. There are also upscale meal choices. The exquisite Villa Nopal offers a true French countryside experience in the heart of San Sebastian. You will feel being transported to France with the beautiful gardens and flowers that bloom all year round. It is a lovely setting to enjoy a delicious meal in style. Never miss out on its French Soup which is authentically French and undoubtedly satisfying. You can explore San Sebastian by renting an ATV or you can simply walk the cobblestone streets as the town can be easily explored on foot.


One of the best small towns that you can easily visit in a day is Sayulita. Away from Puerto Vallarta, it has a laid back atmosphere and at the same time a hippie feel, ideal for a relaxed, carefree day. Its center plaza is surrounded by restaurants and artisans selling different fares. Colorful papel picado banners make a beautiful backdrop along the line of shops and restaurants in town. If you’re looking to savor a sumptuous breakfast, try Chocobanana. It is the local favorite and located just off the main plaza. You can also swim in Playa Los Muertos which is past the Villa Amor Hotel and steps from the local graveyard. You might not find a lot of restaurants here but there are local vendors selling a cold beer or coconut to satisfy your thirst. If you can stay through the evening, the best al pastor tacos around is found at Tacos Ivan. The hot salsa has a big kick, so you might want to go easy on the salsa. Sometimes, parking is difficult in Sayulita. Once you find a spot, you can walk through the town on foot because everything is only 5 or 10-minute walk away.

There is so much to see and do in Puerto Vallarta, and there are more places to explore when you get out of town. These beautiful and charming towns are great choices for the best day trips from Puerto Vallarta. You can travel there by car or by taking the local transportation. You can experience more fun and more meaningful trips as you check out these towns. Visit all of these towns now!

Categories:Puerto Vallarta

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