Explore Authentic Mexico by Car on Your Next Trip to Puerto Vallarta

by on October 11, 2011

Puerto Vallarta in Mexico is a resort city that is popular as a wedding destination and is also popular for honeymoons, family vacations and for adventure trips. Puerto Vallarta has also become a top retirement destination. This resort city, situated along the Banderas Bay on the Pacific coast, boasts a scenery and culture that offers beauty and color at every turn.

Puerto Vallarta Sunset Photo provided by Corey Harmon

Not only does Puerto Vallarta have great aesthetics, but there’s also beaches, fine dining, festivals and plenty to see in the city. Puerto Vallarta is also an ideal location for heading out of the city to explore the surrounding villages, mountains and coastline. One of the best ways to experience the area is behind the wheel of a Used BMW or similar car. Visitors and residents should make sure they visit these five top places of interest.

Mountain Villages, Historic Carvings and Beautiful Scenery are All Just a Short Drive from Puerto Vallarta

El Tuito is a mountain village that is only an hour drive south from Puerto Vallarta. In addition to enjoying the wonderful dining opportunities in the village and wandering around the center visiting craft shops, the route south is lovely too.

The journey south passes by remote fishing villages and along a beautiful river valley, before arriving in El Tuito, and gives the visitor a taste of real Mexico. Once this far, visitors may choose to continue further south and explore the much less frequently visited parts of the Cabo Corrientes, the southernmost part of Banderas Bay.

Outside of El Tuito are some amazing large rocks with carvings that date back centuries. These carvings were made as a means of communication between the indigenous people and their gods, as well as a way of praying for improved weather and stronger harvests. On a drive around this part of El Tuito, there are other groups of these remarkable stones to see, similar groups of stones also exist north of Puerto Vallarta.

Driving Around Puerto Vallarta Provides a Gateway to Traditional Mexican Life and Spectacular Views

Puerto Vallarta Jungle
Photo provided by Corey Harmon

Many ranching communities exist in the region surrounding Puerto Vallarta and El Pitillal is a town that acts as a gateway to these ranches. El Pitillal is a much more authentically Mexican town than Puerto Vallarta, and the market there should not be missed.

Heading up into the pine-covered mountains will lead you to the historic village of San Sebastián del Oeste. The drive is along a winding mountain road, climbing higher and higher, with increasingly spectacular views, until you come to a remote village nestled at the top of the Sierra Madre Mountains.

This remote village is a charming place to meet local people, eat authentic food and watch amazing sunsets. The church is ornately decorated, dating from the 1800s. There is a museum in the hacienda that shows the history of colonial Mexico and there are plenty of lovely, genuine Mexican handicrafts and foods to enjoy here.

Puerto Vallarta’s Botanical Gardens are a Must See if Exploring by Car

Puerto Vallarta’s botanical gardens are south of the city, about half an hour away from the center of the city by car. The gardens, have a beautiful array of orchids, bromeliads, palms, fern glades and an assortment of butterflies and hummingbirds flying around that will surely impress you. The journey from Puerto Vallarta heads along the stunning coastline before turning into the mountains and passing through a jungle landscape where the gardens are located.

Vallarta Botanical Gardens Butterfly Photo provided by Picken

When you plan your next visit to Puerto Vallarta, try renting a car to get beyond the traditional tourist destinations, and experience authentic Mexican culture, remarkable scenery and a little bit of history.

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