Despite its tropical setting, Mexico’s Pacific Coast radiates traditional Christmas character. Throughout December, you’ll find brightly decorated streets, festive scenes and restaurants serving up the finest seasonal cuisine. Add Puerto Vallarta, in the state of Jalisco and Riviera Nayarit, in the state of Nayarit, with its pristine beaches, crystal waters and cheerful events, and you get two unmissable Christmas destinations.
A Colourful Christmas Month
In Puerto Vallarta, the run-up to Christmas starts 1 December with the Guadalupe processions. Bearing the name of Puerto Vallarta and Mexico’s patron saint, this 12-day series of parades is a sight to behold. Expect floats, folk dancers, great music and fireworks to kick off the month with a bang.
12 December marks the Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe, an important religious and social holiday. Hundreds of people gather in Puerto Vallarta’s central plaza to enjoy the region’s specialties along with a fireworks display. You can also head to Quimixto, a small south shore community, where a “flotilla” of decorative fishing boats illuminates the coast.
During Christmas Week, 16–24 December, everyone celebrates with gatherings called posadas, re-enacting Mary and Joseph’s search for a place to stay in Bethlehem. Then, on Christmas Day, there’s a big party full of festive dishes, piñatas and Mexican Christmas traditions.
Sun, Sand and Sea Adventures
On top of the celebrations, beach bums will be glad to hear that Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit have 250 miles of coastline, as well as an average water temperature of 23°C in December.
December is also one of the best times for whale watching as migrating humpback whales flock to Banderas Bay to give birth. Eco-tours provide the chance to learn about these incredible creatures and see them up close.
If you like to hit the waves, drop by Sayulita in the Riviera Nayarit, a tranquil fishing village that draws surfers from all corners of the world. The Surf Classic is an annual surf event in December that is popular with both locals and international surfers. Bucerías is another great option to catch a wave and wind for those Kitesurfing adrenaline lovers.
Not forgetting Christmas gifts! The stalls in Riviera Nayarit are full of the native Huichol’s colourful crafts. These beautiful souvenirs make for unusual presents for your loved ones, bringing a touch of Mexico at Christmas time.
New Year’s Eve
In Mexico, the end of the year is celebrated with fiestas in clubs, hotels and restaurants. Live music rings out through the night and parties last well into the morning.
So, if you want a break from the dark and cold in the UK but still want all the festive spirit and colourful traditions, Mexico’s Pacific Coast is the place to go. And if you can’t make it this time, there’s always next year.
Celebrating the season? Book a direct TUI flight to Puerto Vallarta International Airport from London Gatwick and Manchester, or via AeroMexico to Mexico City from London Heathrow.