When most people think of Mexico, they don’t think of road trips. The belief is that Mexico isn’t safe; that you shouldn’t travel off the beaten path; that you must stay in the tourist areas; that a road trip would be, well, dangerous.
Well folks, guess again.
Puerto Vallarta is ranked one of Mexico’s safest cities, and with the countries almost 2 million square kilometers (that’s 3 times the size of Texas!), you can imagine just how far the road can take you.
So, where do you start?
1. Plan you itinerary
First you need to decide what type of road trip experience you are looking for.
Are you interested in the laid back, authentic, small fishing villages of Tehuamixtle?
Or the now booming surfing town of Sayulita?
What about heading inland to check out the craziness of the big city, Guadalajara?
Or how about a quick bus ride & a boat trip to the quaint little town of Yelapa?
Whatever type of experience you choose, the many destinations in Mexico are sure to leave you wanting more.
2. Choose your transportation
The best thing about taking a trip of the beaten path is – you have choices! Because Mexico is safe, you can choose to go by bus, rental car, private tour or even an off road vehicle!
Travel by bus:
Despite their reputation, the buses in Mexico are actually very safe and reliable.
Costing only 7.50 pesos (~$.40 USD), you can get almost anywhere you want to go with this local style method of transportation.
Rent a car:
There are many reputable rental car agencies here in Puerto Vallarta.
Renting a vehicle will give you the freedom to travel where you want to go & the time to do it.
Private tours can be a really exciting way to experience what Mexico has to offer.
The benefits range from the having a local guide & translator to not worrying about driving so you can focus on taking those spectacular travel photos.
My favorite local tour company is Mexitravels.
Off Road Vehicles:
This is a fun way to experience Mexico but isn’t the best way to travel long distances.
You won’t be able to bring all of your stuff nor will your entire family fit on one vehicle, but if you’re ready to rough it, then this is the way to go.
3. Packing Guide for your trip
So, now you know where you want to go & how you’re going to get there, but I bet you are asking “What should I bring?!”
Depending on the length of your trip & your transportation choice, here is a quick check-list of everything you need to bring with you on your road trip around the Pacific Coast of Mexico:
- Lots of water
- Bathing Suits
- Passport (you’d be surprised where you’ll need this)
- Underwater camera
- Change of clothes
- Light sweater
- Hiking bag
- Flash light
- First aid kit
- Hand sanitizer
- Lip balm
- Hair brush/ties
- Paper maps
- Local currency (at least $2000 pesos)
- Road side emergency kit
- Notebook, Pen/Pencil
- Bug repellent
- Toilet paper
- Picnic Blanket
- Plastic/Garbage bags
- Flip flops
- Hiking shoes
Things to Consider:
Here in Mexico, travel distance is a lot different from your familiar experiences in the US or Canada.
200 kilometers is a short trip if you are driving on a freeway, but here in Mexico there are dirt roads, cobble stone streets, pot holes & many deviations.
You run the risk of getting deterred & distressed without seeing everything you wanted if you pack too long an itinerary into a short time.
Here’s a suggestion: take it easy.
Now that you have your tentative itinerary planned, don’t be stuck on it. Take your time & enjoy the sights, talk to the locals & experience the many road-side munchies along the way.
If you don’t make it to your destination, consider booking a hotel or Airbnb in the area. Start your trip again early the next day.
Remember, you’re on Mexican time now. There is no rush.
So, sit back, relax, & take in all you’re about to see.
There is no better way to experience Mexico than on the road.