Nuevo Vallarta Travel Tips - Activities, Where to Stay & Eat
Nuevo Vallarta Mexico (near Puerto Vallarta)
Nuevo Vallarta has become our second home in recent years. Being from Minnesota, we definitely need a warm spot to visit in winter months. We love the Nuevo Vallarta area for many reasons, but first and foremost, is that the people in the area are extremely friendly and treat you like family. Surrounded by the lush, tropical Sierra Madre mountains, Nuevo Vallarta offers miles of white sand beach along Banderas Bay. If you choose a hotel or condo on Flamingos Beach which runs from Paradise Village all the way up to Bucerias, you won't be disappointed as you dig your toes into the soft sand. World class restaurants abound and there is no shortage of activities to suit just about anyone's taste.
Looking for recommendations about where to stay? Check out this hub about Villa La Estancia, the newest resort on Flamingos Beach in Nuevo Vallarta!
Nuevo Vallarta Resources
- Villa La Estancia Condo Rental
Beachfront 2BD/3BA condominium for rent
- Frommer's Vallarta
Guidebook information on Puerto & Nuevo Vallarta
- Bucerias Information
Anything & everything about Bucerias
- Wiki Puerto Vallarta
Great Puerto Vallarta information source
- Beach Wedding Favors
Find all the supplies and favors that you need for a fantastic beach wedding!
Nuevo Vallarta Travel Books
I find Fodor's travel guides to have the best information arranged in a way that I can really use it. However, many of my travel buddies like the other books listed as well. The renegade guide is great if you are planning to move or live in Mexico for an extended period of time. Neuvo Vallarta is only 10 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta so you can enjoy all the activities in these travel guides.
Location & Weather
Nuevo Vallarta is just 15 minutes north of the Puerto Vallarta airport on the Pacific coast of Mexico. It sits on Flamingos Beach along Banderas Bay (one of the largest bays in Mexico running from Punta Mita on the north side to Cape Corrientes on the south) and is surrounded by the Sierra Madre mountains. The backdrop is breathtaking.
The prime location means that temperatures only fluctuate between 80 and 90 degrees year round. In the winter, it cools off in the evenings and humidity is normally in the 50 to 60% range. During the summer months, it often rains in the afternoons and humidity can be high and averages about 80% on most days. The weather is quite predictable in the Nuevo Vallarta area, unlike Cancun and other Mexican resort areas on the Caribbean side. In addition, hurricanes are nearly unheard of because the mountains and bay protect Nuevo and Puerto Vallarta.
Villa La Estancia Condo - Nuevo Vallarta - One of the BEST places to stay in Nuevo Vallarta!
Beautiful condo close to the ocean!
Nuevo Vallarta Activities
My top 10 picks (in no particular order) for activities that should be on your 'must do' list. There is a little something for everyone - young or old, rich or poor, couch potato or adventurer. Enjoy!
- Horse Back Riding on Flamingos Beach - Just north of the new Villa La Estancia development and south of Bucerias, there is a stretch of beach in front of the turtle sanctuary where one of the local vaqueros (cowboys) has horses that you can ride on the beach. His schedule is somewhat sporadic, but should you have a chance to go for a ride, hop on and enjoy!
- Whale Watching in Banderas Bay - From mid-December through March, the humpback whales migrate to Banderas Bay. Many companies offer whale watching tours, but my favorites are the 1/2 day afternoon tours from Vallarta Adventures & Pegaso Tours. In the afternoon, the weather is usually warm and both of these tours are quite affordable (around $55). Beware that parking at Marina Vallarta is often overcrowded and difficult at the lot once afternoon arrives. You may need to park on a nearby street or lot so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to park and get to the boat for your whale watching adventure. NOTE - if you don't want to go whale watching on a boat, bring along your binoculars. You can see whales from shore - just look for the boats and plumes of white water that the whales spew from their blow holes to find them.
- Sport Fishing For Black Marlin & Sailfish in the Pacific - The ultimate sport fishing experience is chartering a boat from either Master Baiter's or Charter Dreams for a 10 hour expedition to the abundant waters just outside Banderas Bay on the Pacific. Note that the charters are VERY expensive costing upwards of $1000 for 4 people to fish for the day.
- Golfing at El Tigre - Within walking distance or short taxi ride to many of the major resorts and condo developments in Nuevo Vallarta, El Tigre is a world class golf course that is a must for golf enthusiasts. It is sometimes referred to as one of the most difficult golf courses in Mexico, but we've found that it is still fun for amateurs.
- Surfing in Sayulita - About 30 minutes north of Nuevo Vallarta is the authentic Mexican beach and fishing village of Sayulita. The beach is known for its gentle surf and rolling waves that are perfect for beginning surfers. Several local companies have surf boards for rent and offer reasonably priced lessons. Just walk along the beach sidewalk and you'll see plenty of rentals available.
- Zip Line Canopy Tour - Get a unique look at the rain forest and flora surrounding Nuevo and Puerto Vallarta by taking a zip line canopy tour with one of the local operators such as Vallarta Adventures. A tour guide will lead you around from platform to platform as you zip down metal cables while being harnessed in. An activity for the truly adventurous!
- ATV - Dune Buggy Tour - Explore the hills and beaches around Nuevo or Puerto Vallarta in ATV or dune buggies. These tours are for the adventurous at heart and if you mind dirt, this isn't the tour for you. In the wetter summer months, exploring the hills is even more fun in the mud and deep puddles. Be sure to wear clothes that can get dirty!
- Walking the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta (PV) - Take an afternoon or evening stroll along the boardwalk in Puerto Vallarta where you can see sand sculptures, permanent statues, exceptional views of PV and Banderas Bay, great shops and fabulous people. On certain days of the week, you can see the Papantla Flyers who climb the tall metal pole and perform a death defying head first spiral to the ground. Also don't miss the symbolic arches at the South end of the malecon and the historic Our Lady of Guadalupe church.
- Watching the Sunset over Banderas Bay - Nuevo Vallarta has some of the best sunsets in the world and Flamingos Beach is a great place to sit back and enjoy the breathtaking view as the sun sets on the horizon. Depending on the time of year, the sun will set either over the water or the mountains at the North end of the bay. We've seen a wide range of colors from pinks to red, orange and purple. Gorgeous!
- Visiting Bucerias - Whether you want to kick back in a lounge chair at the beach and have them bring you a bucket of beers or you want to barter with the locals in the market place for a prized souvenir, Bucerias is our top choice for visiting an authentic Mexican town. The people are ridiculously friendly in this little town at the north end of Flamingos beach. The action centers around the local square where the historic church takes center stage. Bucerias abounds with delicious restaurants too!
Nuevo Vallarta Beach Weddings
Flamingos Beach in Nuevo Vallarta is one of the most popular places for beach weddings. Take a walk at sunset on Friday or Saturday evening and you are likely to see at least one couple getting married in front of one of the many resorts on the beach. And if you just happen to be on vacation for Valentine's Day, then you are guaranteed to see a beautiful bride and groom exchanging their vows. I snapped the photo to the right on February 14th, 2009. It was a perfect evening for a wedding!
P.S. Don't forget to buy your sweetie a romantic Valentine gift to celebrate the special day as well.
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