Las Animas is a beach on the south side of the bay that most guides will tell you "can only be accessed by sea". Take a bus to Boca de Tomatlan in the morning time and you may be able to catch the cheap water taxi over (off-peak hours are ridiculously expensive - 550 pesos per person). There is another way, however! You can hike around the coast, up and down treacherous masonry steps and past posh villas and burned out structures. One local warned of scorpions, snakes, ticks, and other dangers, and some of the climbs are indeed quite dangerous, so be warned! Personally, I am not an experienced hiker by any means, and I didn't have much of a trouble with the trail, but YMMV.
To get to Boca, head to the southside bus area in PV. The fare should be around 5 pesos. From the stop in Boca, head down the hill to the beach in front of town. To gain access to the path, cross the river in Boca and start up the steps that hug the coastline to the right (on the western side of town). There were cardboard sheets set up here so the locals could change into swim gear and such. The first stage of the path passes through many hillside properties, some of which are very beautiful. Construction is going on in some lots, a few are abandoned it seems, and some lots are still wild. At the very end of the row of dwelling places, it becomes easy to lose the path. I had to hike through a property and follow a switchback up to find the trail again, but after that it is smooth sailing (even though the path gets very rough in parts, you cannot lose it). You will come across some deserted beaches and abandoned resorts in your travel. Expect the walk to take about an hour or more, and be sure to budget for the trip back (either for water taxi fees or remaining daylight).
Last note: some might consider this a dangerous trip, so again - be warned. Additionally, it is possible that access to this trail may be impeded by the ongoing construction, so you may wish to ask a local to find out if the route is still open. Enjoy!
Add my vote to others' suggestions to visit Bucerias. Small town with a market "square' that has some good shopping at better prices than downtown Vallarta. Arrived by taxi for $11 from Paradise Village in Nuevo around 9 am.
Spent the morning browsing through the various stalls, all vendors will bargain, be prepared to offer about 1/2 the price of what they're asking. If you don't like the price being offered, walk away , but have no fear, most of the items can be found at the others stalls.
Had a very nice lunch at a restaurant on the beach in the big orange building-you can't miss it.
Horseback rides on the beach were being offered. All in all an enjoyable way to spend the morning.
Add my vote to the many others' who have suggested Bucerias as a nearby town to visit.
Took a taxi from Paradise Village in Nuevo Vallarta for approx. $11 to Bucerias. Had an enjoyable day browsing through the various stalls for souveniers, had a good lunch at a restaurant on the beach-large orange building, you can't miss it. Also saw horseback riding right on the beach offered here.
Prices are cheaper here than downtown Puerto Vallarta. Offer 1/2 the price of what seller is asking, everyone bargains here. We arrived here about 9 am & everything was open
Although the Decameron is a little farther from Puerto Vallarta than most resorts, it has other things to offer. These other things are the small towns of Bucerias and Punta De Mita. Actually while wandering around Bucerias I quickly figured out it's not so small. The town is easily accessible by walking along the beach or street. This will take you about 15 or 20 minutes to do. If you don't feel like walking you can take the taxi there for 30 pesos. Once there you can choose to do a lot of things. You can visit the church, go to restaurants, experience the local market, and much more. I did go into Puerto Vallarta and found the prices to be much cheaper in Bucerias. The locals here are so nice and willing to help you with anything. We met a nice man who planned a snorkling trip for us at Punta De Mita(you can access this by bus). If you do plan to walk to Bucerias I suggest you walk along the beach if you can't handle the heat very well. The street gets very hot, and there's usually no breeze. If you walk along the beach however you can dip your feet in the water and you get the nice cool breeze from the Ocean. I suggest that if you can handle the heat, do take the street path once...it's beautiful as well. All in all, Bucerias is a cute little town with super nice locals and good deals to be found. As for Punta De Mita, there's not a whole bunch to do here but it is a very beautiful place with great seafood to be had. The Ocean in Punta De Mita is also very beautiful and calm.
Vallarta Adventures Sierra Madre Tour
I went on the Sierra Madre tour through Vallarta Adventures. It cost 72 US dollars. You go by Mercedes Benz all terrain vehicle in to the Jungle. Then we went to two villages where we got to see how people really live and taste some homemade tacos. We then went on to Monterry beach and a giant barbeque. WOW!!! Great food!!!
We had tequilla and cervasa on the way back...excellent!!!!
A very excellent adventure..
An intruiging look at Mexico outside of tourist traps etc..
take the local buses to smaller towns nearby, such as pitillal. they act as suburbs of puerto vallarta but have many charms of their own, including less hectic main squares and stunningly beautiful churches.
If you can get to the North Beach it is definitely worth the trip. You will find lots of white powdery sand, great body surfing waves and a little restaurant where you can get something to eat and a Corona or two !!! If your thing is riding a horse on the beach, that is also available at the North Beach.
I went on a two and a half hour ride through the jungle, up and down the mountainside. That was amazing!! I'm not sure what the cost was exactly, but it was with Rancho Palma Real....which is about 20 mins northeast of PV I believe. Halfway through the ride, you stop at an incredible waterfall and you can take a swim to cool off. Beautiful scenery!!
I don't remember exactly what the cost was and unfortunately can't recall the name of the ranch that organized this ride, but it was in a small town northeast of PV. For more info, you can check out http://www.virtualvallarta.com/vallarta/activities/horseriding.html.
The best little town we went too, compared to the prices in Puerto Vallarta, the stuff in Bucerias was practically free!! Necklaces for 20 paso's compared to 100+ in town!! A must see village, its not to big or crowded, if your hungry a safe place to eat lunch is a restaurant right on the beach , forget what its called but its a big orange building you can't miss it!
Nuevo Vallarta is on the north shore of Banderas Bay, 15 miles north of Puerto Vallarta and just a mile or two from the small village of Bucerias. Bucerias is a wonderful village with some great beach-side restaurants and bars and open markets. After out all-inclusive food and watered down drinks (not the highlight of resort living) we were delighted by the fresh fish ceviche and incredible margaritas sold at the beach cafes for next to nothing.
Take a bus from Vallarta southward to Boca de Tomatlán. You have to get off the bus there, descend into the tiny settlement, and buy a return boat ride ticket to Yelapa. Go there in the morning so you can spend the day at Yelapa, with a return at 4pm is just the right amount of time. Yelapa as a community apparently only got running water and electricity just a few years ago. You can take a hike with a group through the community to see a waterfall. I loved the beach there, it was a wonderful afternoon. You can sit down to a meal and drink there too if you like. Nice beach chairs to enjoy the sun.
Take a bus up to the town of Bucerías, get off for a stroll around this town, there is a street market of souvenirs, and the town is still pleasant as it is growing with ex-pats settling there. The beach is long and wonderful to walk down. If you plan to walk the distance, be sure to bring a bunch of water bottles with you if you're hotel is not along here, there are few places to purchase even water. The beach, waves, sun, and view is nice. Some vacationers I met said at times if you look out into the Bay you can see whales/dolphins jump. I might have seen it once. There are restaurants and so forth along the beach by the town of Bucerias.
Bucerias- it is a town about 45 by bus North went of Puerto Vallarta, It is something new to see if you want to go somewhere thats not too far away, In bucerias there is shopping, Swimming, scuba diving, Parasailing and more....
A nice place to stop for Lunch is a Resturant called ' Capri ' you eat right on the beach!
When I go to Mexico, I try to find restaurants that specialize in cooking odd animals. Well, there is only one place in all of Vallarta that I have found that does this sort of thing.
To get there from Puerto Vallarta/Neuvo Vallarta you will need to take the same road that you would in order to get to The Four Seasons Hotel. The restaurant is located almost at the very end of the same road past the hotel and will be on your right hand side.
The food that I have eaten there is; rattle snake, armadillo, raccoon and mountain lion, and any of the assorted animals that can be found in the mountains of Vallarta.
They have other food there (traditional Mexican) and truth be told the wild game that they cook is actually done under the table. They could get into a little trouble if the proper authorities found out.
A problem that you might run into is that when you go they might not have what it is you are looking for. I suggest that you go there in the morning or a day before and tell them what it is you are looking to eat.
The prices are super cheap compared to what it would cost to order the same animal meat here in the states ($50 pesos).
As cool as Vallarta is, not to much is produced there outside of fruit/veggies and food products.
However there is a really interesting factory about 45 minutes outside of Vallarta that aids in the reproduction and sales of Tilapia.
It is actually a really cool place to go and see a fish hatchery. I had never seen one before and stayed a few hours watching the goings on there.
the propietario there is named
Sr. Jose A. Guerrero Barraza.