Puerto Vallarta, among its colorful city streets, lush mountains, wide beaches and soft sand, hides plenty timeless traditions that make this city a treasure trove of discovery for any tourist. But between the beautiful day trips, unparalleled whale watching, and some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving around, Puerto Vallarta is also a festive city, where religious, civic, cultural and sporting events are regularly held.
The Puerto Vallarta Cultural Festival takes place annually, when the local government organizes events and activities all throughout the month of May. This is when important local, national and international artists participate in various concerts, events, and showcases all over the city.
December 1 through 12 brings about the annual “Guadalupe” processions. During these twelve days, celebrations take place in the downtown cathedral that bears the name of the patron saint of both Puerto Vallarta and Mexico. Guadalupe Day is celebrated on December 12th, and almost every business, hotel, restaurant, neighborhood and civic association make a procession to the church for a special mass they have devoted to the Virgin. For larger groups, these processions resemble a small parade, with folkloric dancers, floats, singing and even firework displays following their brief mass.
Of the most prominent sporting events, the National Sea Bass Fishing Tournament, which is held in nearby Sayulita in September, is arguably the most noteworthy. Elsewhere, there is a traditional Sailfish tournament held in November, a World Golf Championship in December, and a women’s tennis tournament in March.
Speaking of tradition, traditional cuisine cannot be overlooked in Puerto Vallarta. Here, you will find a variety of foods that has evolved over time and retains the unique flavor of this beautiful city.
One of the finest traditional dishes, often discovered by tourists on typical Puerto Vallarta tours, is “Birria”. Its main ingredient is goat or lamb, and it is cooked in a spicy sauce, infused with different spices, served with lime juice, onions and traditional tortillas.”Pozole”, on the other hand, has its own variation in the state of Jalisco. It is usually a stew of pork or chicken, seasoned with chile, corn burst, and is served with lettuce, radishes and toast.
Of all the local customs, however, a dish not even native to Puerto Vallarta, is most worth trying. “Tortas ahogadas” – which originates from Guadalajara – is made on a special bread called birote, and includes stuffed pork and chili sauce.
Puerto Vallarta is in a constant state of celebration. This is a city where tradition, history, culture, art, and cuisine intersects. So leave Cancun and Acapulco behind, and take the time to uncover Mexico in its rawest, most celebratory, form.