Every day, there’s a new adventure to be discovered on vacations to Nuevo Vallarta, and with the variety of things to do each month, there’s always something to look forward to. As you start to plan your vacation, this guide to different things to do in Riviera Nayarit will help you choose when to go and what to do.
The start of the new year brings the highly anticipated arrival of whales to the coast of Mexico, and whale watching is one of the most popular things to do in Nuevo Vallarta for both locals and visitors. The whales only stay until the end of March, so don’t miss out on the chance to see these majestic creatures splashing and jumping in the sea.
Named after Saint Blaise, the city of San Blas is located at the northern tip of Riviera Nayarit, and the locals celebrate Saint Blaise’s feast at the beginning of February. If you’re interested in taking day trips from Nuevo Vallarta, this is a popular choice, and during the festivities, you’ll see traditional dances, parades, and boats decorated with flowers. The festival includes a blessing of the ocean to bring prosperity to local fishermen.
For many, Semana Santa (Holy week), or spring break, is the perfect time for vacations to Nuevo Vallarta, and with mild temperatures and clear skies, you can enjoy all the best things to do in Riviera Nayarit at sea and on land. For families, the break from school makes travel easy this time of year, and there’s a variety of things to do in Nuevo Vallarta that families of all ages will love.
Scuba diving is one of the most unique things to do in Riviera Nayarit, and with the arrival of spring and clear skies, April is a great time to discover the wonders of the sea while diving. Under the surface of the water, you can spot sea turtles, pufferfish, angelfish, and even manta rays in their natural habitats.
The fishing village of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle celebrates their patron saint at the beginning of May, turning the downtown into a festive carnival with food, games, and contests. The highlight of this celebration is the parade of brightly decorated fishermen’s boats carrying the Holy Cross. Visiting the festival is one of the easiest day trips from Nuevo Vallarta because La Cruz de Huanacaxtle is just 30 minutes north.
At the end of May and beginning of June, one of the best things to do in Nuevo Vallarta is to dine out during restaurant week. Over the course of two weeks, the area’s top restaurants create special menus to showcase their unique flavors and styles.
A Nuevo Vallarta what to do highlight is releasing baby sea turtles in the ocean, and beginning in July, olive ridley sea turtles return to the shores of Riviera Nayarit to lay their eggs. There are a few protected areas that facilitate releases, but if you’re strolling along the beach, you may just spot turtles laying eggs or newborns making their way to the water.
Located minutes to the north, Bucerias is one of the easiest options for day trips from Nuevo Vallarta, and you can even walk straight along the beach to get to this small town. In the fall, you might be able to spot bioluminescence in the waters off the shore of Bucerias. This magical fluorescent blue light is created by millions of microscopic organisms called dinoflagellates.
Celebrating patron saints and national holidays are some of the best things to do each month to experience the city like a local, and Independence Day is one of the most festive days of the year. It’s a time to dress up in traditional outfits, participate in reenactments, and cook Mexican favorites, like pozole, chiles en nogada, and tamales.
After the fall rains have cleared away, hiking is at the top of the Nuevo Vallarta what to do list. The rains breathe fresh life into the mountains, bringing forth verdant leaves and making the area a lush paradise. Hiking Monkey Mountain will take you into the jungle and up to incredible lookout points.
Dia de Muertos, Day of the Dead, is easily recognizable with its candlelit altars and festively decorated skulls, and getting to join in the festivities helps you learn more about the local culture and makes vacations to Nuevo Vallarta especially memorable. The Nuevo Vallarta what to do options for this holiday include checking out local displays and heading to nearby parades.
There are so many things to do each month in Riviera Nayarit but only one way to end it: Luces en la Bahia. One New Year’s Eve the sky is filled with fireworks, and as you stand on the beach, you can see them being shot off all around the bay, making the celebration a spectacular way to celebrate the past year and look forward to the next.