With over 250 miles of crystal waters and shimmering shores, Puerto Vallarta & Riviera Nayarit offer no shortage of breathtaking beaches, no matter the time of year. Add in average temperatures of 23°C in December, and you have all the right ingredients for a bright season full of winter sun and Christmas cheer.
In southeast Puerto Vallarta at Boca de Tomatlan, where the white-sandy coast is rarely crowded, you’ll find the perfect place to get away from it all. In the south at Conchas Chinas, gentle tides and rich sea life are great for families with kids, and Garza Blanca, a slice of paradise set against the backdrop of the Sierra Madre Mountains, sets an idyllic scene with its powdery beach and lush jungle surroundings.
In Riviera Nayarit, you can’t go wrong with spending Christmas at the luxurious Nuevo Vallarta resort area, which offers pristine waters and golden sands just steps away from high-end hotels and restaurants. To the north, Bucerias offers a five-mile long shoreline with a calm surf, and Playa de Los Muertos in Sayulita, often referred to as the ‘crown jewel’ of Riviera Nayarit, is always a great choice for families thanks to its safe swimming beach.
Christmas in Puerto Vallarta: The Official Guide
Along with gorgeous beaches and a wealth of water-based activities to choose from, including swimming, snorkelling, sailing and scuba diving, whale watching is also a popular pastime this time of the year as the region’s biggest celebrities, Humpback Whales, head for the warm waters of Banderas Bay to breed and birth their young. Throughout Puerto Vallarta & Riviera Nayarit, whale watching tours provide excellent opportunities to see some of nature’s most beautiful sea creatures up close, and they also make a superb gift for the animal lovers in your family.
An Abundance of Christmas Spirit
Despite the tropical climate, you’ll never feel out of place celebrating the Christmas holidays in Puerto Vallarta & Riviera Nayarit. Visitors can expect all of the traditional Christmas ambiance, including an abundance of decorated streets, nativity scenes and restaurants serving up the finest seasonal cuisine, from tamales, a masa corn dough with a tasty filling which is then wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves and steamed in a large pot, to ponche con piquete, a warm tropical punch usually served with an alcohol ‘sting’.
The 1st–12th of December is marked by the Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe, which sets off a marathon of nightly parades and festivities throughout the region, showcasing Mexico’s religious devotion, vibrant culture and warm hospitality until Three Kings Day on 6th January.
From 16th–24th December, the streets of Puerto Vallarta & Riviera Nayarit are filled with the sights and sounds of ‘pastorelas’, or sheperds’ plays, and ‘posadas’, which sees families and children marching together in processions through the streets with lit candles to commemorate the story of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. The tradition ends on Christmas Day with a fiesta, the striking of piñatas and a ‘noche buena’ feast.
In Puerto Vallarta, celebrate with locals and visitors alike at the Malecón, the city’s half-mile long promenade, historic centre and waterfront. Or, join in on the merrymaking at Lazaro Cardenas Street, which brightly shines throughout the Christmas season with trees made from recyclable plastics.
In Riviera Nayarit, an eco-friendly Christmas in the culturally rich village of San Francisco, also known as ‘San Pancho’, is highly recommended. In particular, the Entre Amigos Community Center hosts a library, computer lab, gallery, cinema room, classrooms, sports and exercise spaces, recycling center and resale shop, as well as a full schedule of workshops, lectures, activities and more.