The jungle-clad Sierra Madre mountains stretch along Mexico’s western coast from Santa Cruz to Arizona. In this wilderness escape you can trek through the forest, discover off-the-beaten-path villages, and experience outdoor adventures such as ziplining and rappelling.
Puerto Vallarta, where the mountains separate the coast from inland Guadalajara, is a common jumping-off point for Sierra Madre tours. Excursions to the Sierra Madres offer varied opportunities for exploration, whether you want to hike, zipline, raft the river, speed through jungle paths on an ATV or mountain bike, or explore hidden villages and cultural sites. Longer combination tours allow you to experience multiple activities in one day, and some tours visit Puerto Vallarta’s beaches en route to the mountains. Private tours are available for a personalized experience.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Sierra Madre mountains are an ideal destination for nature and adventure lovers.
- Remember to bring sun protection, water, and comfortable shoes suitable for walking on rough terrain.
- For rafting and ATV tours, it’s a good idea to wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
How to Get There
The town of Puerto Vallarta lies on Mexico’s western coast and is bordered by the Sierra Madre jungle. Licenciado Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport is located roughly 15 minutes by road from downtown Puerto Vallarta. Most Sierra Madre tours include transportation into the mountains, while independent travelers get there by taxi or rental car.
When to Get There
The area is most crowded between January and March, when whale watching off the coast of Puerto Vallarta is at its best. Visit between April and June for mild weather and fewer crowds.
What to Do in Puerto Vallarta
Swim and snorkel in the Marietas Islands, go sailing on Banderas Bay, take surf lessons in nearby Sayulita and Punta Mita, or look for humpback whales and dolphins. When you’ve had your fill of water sports, experience Puerto Vallarta’s food and drink culture on a tequila tasting or food walking tour, during which you can sample fresh seafood, tacos, and other regional specialties.