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Small Towns to Visit Near Nuevo Vallarta

DESTINATION | Published on 10/02/2022
Optimizada sayulita mexico magic town near nuevo vallarta and puerto vallarta

Riviera Nayarit covers nearly 200 miles of golden Mexican coastline, and it’s dotted with small towns to visit that have warm hospitality and vibrant cultures. For most travelers, Nuevo Vallarta is their destination for exploring these charming places since they’re all within a hour drive, and while there’s plenty to do right near your resort, spending the afternoon exploring a Magic Town is one of the best things to do in Nuevo Vallarta. As you explore these towns near near Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta, you’ll discover local art work, artisan markets, and delicious seafood.


Exploring the bike path is one of the most popular things to do in Nuevo Vallarta, and when you head north on it, you’ll discover a secret path that connects the city with Bucerias. This small town has a central plaza surrounded by a church, market booths, and a long stretch of shoreline. Its Thursday night art market and gourmet restaurants makes it one of the best small towns to visit for an evening out. Rather than taking whole day trips from Nuevo Vallarta, you can easily bike, walk, or catch a taxi over here for breakfast or a drink on the beach.


Sayulita is one of the Magic Towns in Mexico. Pueblo Magica is a title given by the Mexican government to towns that maintain their cultural traditions and ways of life. The streets of Sayulita are covered in local art and lined by boutiques and restaurants, and at every corner, you’ll find more charming places to check out. In this Magic Town, the pace is slow, and after exploring the town, head to the beach where surfers gather to catch waves. Coming up here for a surf lesson is one of the most exciting things to do in Nuevo Vallarta, and with transportation options ranging from the public bus to private taxis, it’s one of the easy day trips from Nuevo Vallarta.

San Pancho

Just up the road from Sayulita is another Magic Town: San Francisco, or as the locals call it, San Pancho. While Sayulita has become a more popular destination, the streets of San Pancho still feel quiet and calm. While it doesn’t have as many businesses as Sayulita, its streets are less crowded, and with art galleries and boutique shops, it’s just as culturally vibrant and unique as any of the other Magic Towns in Mexico. Sample the delicious fish tacos and order an icy margarita while burying your toes in the warm sand.

La Cruz

Just a 30-minutes drive away, La Cruz is an easy option for day trips from Nuevo Vallarta, and its main attraction is the large Sunday farmers market that winds its way along the docks in the La Cruz marina where you’ll find everything from freshly baked bread to delicate handmade jewelry. Throughout the week, it’s one of the main small towns to visit for fresh seafood, and by the docks, local fishermen sell crab, octopus, shrimp, and fish. Whether you’re heading out on a boat or shopping locally-made goods, La Cruz is one of the unique towns near Puerto Vallarta for a day trip.

These charming places and towns near Puerto Vallarta are easy to reach when you stay in Nuevo Vallarta, and the coast of Riviera Nayarit even includes two of the most vibrant Magic Towns in Mexico. Whether you pop over to Bucerias for dinner or spend the day out in San Pancho, you’ll be immersed in the local culture.

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