I just returned to Puerto Vallarta after spending a week on St. John, USVI with my family. While the beaches and geography of St. John are beautiful, for me something about our experience was missing. It took a few days to figure out what it was, but I finally realized that what was missing is a sense of local culture on the island. Yes, there are island natives living there and it was common to hear “Yah, Mon,” however, it was hard to get a true sense of what island living was all about. I certainly am not bashing St. John. The landscape, the beaches, and the water truly are stunning. But, it just reminded me what I love most about living in Mexico…the culture! If you like to experience and explore local customs as much as I do, here are some great tips about what to check out on your next trip to Mexico:
Puerto Vallarta: This is where I live so I am a bit biased, but to me Puerto Vallarta is one of the best resort destinations to check out the day to day Mexican lifestyle. There are art tours, food tours, and constant festivities for any and all reasons. Sunday nights downtown are a hot spot for the locals with dancing in the plaza followed by a stroll down the Malecon. There are fireworks every night (yes, EVERY night), but for big holidays, the fireworks shows are the best I have ever seen. The Mexican people truly celebrate life, and every Puerto Vallarta visitor will feel the hospitality and warm welcoming demeanor of the locals.
Cabo San Lucas: Be sure to visit San Jose del Cabo at some point during your trip. It’s close to the airport and about 30 minutes from downtown Cabo San Lucas. San Jose is a quaint area with art galleries and fantastic restaurants. Also, take a day trip to Todos Santos, about an hour from Cabo San Lucas. Todos Santos is a beautiful town full of picturesque colonial buildings and home to the Culture House Museum.
San Miguel de Allende: The historic center of San Miguel hasn’t changed much in the past 250 years, although these days the town has more of a bohemian feel to it. Its cultural and artistic reputation attracts visitors from all over the world. The culture of San Miguel been recognized in such publications as the New York Times travel section, Vogue magazine, and Smithsonian magazine. Don’t miss the Mercado de Artesanias to check out and purchase crafts from local artisans.
Riviera Maya: The Riviera Maya is known not only for its crystal blue waters, but also for its Mayan history and spectacular ruins. Explore Tulum and Xcaret to experience ancient Mayan ceremonial centers and archaeological sites to learn about the Mayan way of life.