In October, I traveled to Bucerias (a 30-minute drive north of Puerto Vallarta), Mexico, with my husband, daughter and husband’s parents. I’m a big fan of multigenerational travel as our extended family lives in Scotland, so we only see them once or twice a year. When they do come to visit, we find ourselves trying to return home from work at a decent hour, planning what to cook for dinner and thinking about weekend activities. Taking a trip together allows us all to relax, spend time catching up and hanging out, and enjoying the benefits of built-in babysitting!
Bucerias is a charming, low-key fishing town set on eight miles of gorgeous sandy beaches, which are frequented by locals on the weekend. The charming town center provides a great flea market, local art galleries, great restaurants and friendly locals. Bucerias has seen a lot of property development, with resorts and vacation homes still under construction—go now while it still holds its charm!
Casa Bella Vista, the house we rented, was gorgeous—we really wanted to pick it up and take it home with us! It was an airy three-bedroom house with a swimming pool, offering great views over the town and out to the Bay of Banderas, and situated only two blocks from the beach. The maid came a couple of times while we were there, and although there was an option to hire a chef, we decided to stock up at the nearby Mega (supermarket) or local mini mart and also try the local restaurants.
Our 2-year-old loved the swimming pool, but we did manage to extract her and the rest of the family for a few day trips. Hopping on the local AMT bus, we ventured into Puerto Vallarta and explored the old town and the Malecón boardwalk, noted for its metal statues and sand sculptures.
We also organized a couple of day trips through Vallarta Adventures. We took a family trip to Yelapa, a little village of less than a thousand people, which can only be reached by boat. The trip included a hike to the Cola de Caballo waterfall, time to relax on the sandy beaches, then snorkeling at Majahuitas cove on the way home. The next day, my husband and I left our wee one with her grandparents and embarked on an outdoor adventure in the heart of the Sierra Madre Mountains—move over James Bond! This was a thrill ride from start to finish—a speedboat trip to a secluded beach, followed by an off-road truck expedition, then a mule ride, followed by a series of zip lines through the jungle canopy, rappelling down waterfalls and plunging into pools. It was so much fun and I was most impressed with the professionalism and safety protocol of the guides.
In the evenings, we explored the restaurants of Bucerias, which were excellent. Close to our house were several expat-run restaurants including Mark’s Bar and Grill (Asian/Mediterranean), Sandrinas (Greek/Mexican), Espressions (British!), and Rissos (Italian). We also enjoyed Famar (Mexican with fantastic margaritas) and authentic restaurants on the beach near the town square.
We would definitely return to Bucerias. In fact, on our last day I discovered an art gallery where you could sign up for a mosaic workshop and learn to break tile, which I’d love to do with my daughter.
If you consider a trip to Bucerias, here are some points worth noting:
1. October is the rainy season—it rained a few times in the evening, and it was quite humid.
2. People will try to sell you timeshares as soon as you get off the plane. Don’t be fooled by the promise of free trips.
3. Take bug spray—you’re next to the rainforest!