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Puerto Vallarta Side Trips You Can Take by Bus or Car

May 30, 2018

About two hours east of Puerto Vallarta, 4,500 feet above sea level in the heart of the Sierra Madre Mountains, San Sebastian's cool climate and historic appeal make it one of Mexico's last great getaways.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Looking for an adventure that won't take you too far out of Puerto Vallarta but still give you the feel of having a vacation? Here are four suggestions of destinations you can reach by bus or car. Aside from the usual trips to places like Sayulita and San Pancho, there are wonderful gems along the coast and inland that aren't far and don't take long to reach.

Punta Pérula, in our opinion, is one of the best beaches on the coastline. On Highway 200, that takes us from Puerto Vallarta to Manzanillo, Punta Pérula is located in the Chamela Bay in Pérula, Jalisco. There aren't many places to stay here but it's a well kept secret so shouldn't be crowded. A quick walkabout and a small handful of questions will guide you to one of the small hotels or B&B's that seem to sprout up as time goes by. The beach is pristine and a good comb for five miles or so, with the kind of seclusion not found in the above mentioned destinations. We own jars full of sea glass with many pretty pieces discovered at Punta Pérula.

Santa María del Oro is a small pueblo north of Tepic boasting a beautiful crater lake. That said, the lake is the main attraction of Santa María del Oro. The water, thought to be bottomless as with most crater lakes, is clear, clean and a perfect temperature for swimming. Cafés, restaurants, bungalows and campsites dot the shoreline. Fish tacos are not to be missed and we have nothing but raves for food served here. Santa María del Oro is close enough to Vallarta to make it a day trip, but we wholeheartedly recommend an overnight stay to experience the unspoiled atmosphere.

San Sebastián del Oeste was once a large and thriving mining village in the mountains about two hours east of Puerto Vallarta. Hundreds of years ago San Sebastián was a major source for gold, silver and lead but now it's most popular exports are coffee and agave. There are several places to stay, including the Hacienda Jalisco, a usually quiet and romantic place where we dished on heavenly chile rellenos. A good walking tour around the settlement is full of history and fable for those interested in the culture.

Mayto (pronounced My-Toe), a couple short hours south of Puerto Vallarta is a well known nesting ground for turtles. A government program, established to protect and guarantee safe passage to the sea for the Olive-Ridley turtle, involves official biologists, as well as volunteers from all over the world. While chatting with the workers, late at night on the beach as they carry their torches in search of nests, we were informed that turtle egg poaching is a criminal offense in Mexico. Take the time to discover this beautiful haven for both turtles and tourists alike.

Safe travels and remember to not drive at night.

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