Experience Your Favorite Mexico Destinations Like A Local

Unlock the secrets of Mexico’s most beloved destinations and experience them like a local. Beyond the pristine beaches lies a world of vibrant culture and authentic experiences waiting to be discovered. If you yearn to delve deeper into the local way of life and gain a true appreciation for Mexico’s diverse heritage, this article is your ultimate guide. Join us on a journey to explore hidden gems, savor traditional cuisine, connect with friendly locals, and embrace the enchanting traditions that make Mexico a captivating destination for the culturally curious traveler. Get ready to step off the beaten path and embark on an unforgettable adventure like no other. 

Puerto Vallarta 

Enjoy Mexican Cuisine on the Malecon

Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful, bustling resort city. If you want to experience it like a local, first and foremost, indulge in exquisite Mexican cuisine. Puerto Vallarta offers an abundance of local restaurants and food stalls where you can savor authentic dishes, but the best ones can be found downtown on the Malecon, the beachfront boardwalk, just a short 15-minute drive (2.8 miles) from Villa del Palmar Puerto Vallarta. Along this 12-block, mile-long esplanade, you can treat yourself to street food like tacos, tortas, and elotes, or visit the many seafood restaurants for fresh ceviche and grilled fish. Don’t miss out on regional specialties such as birria or pozole. If you’re overwhelmed by the options, engage with locals and ask for their recommendations. 

Explore the Mercado Municipal Rio Cuale

Immerse yourself in the heart of Puerto Vallarta by exploring the vibrant Mercado Municipal Rio Cuale, where the essence of the city comes to life. Established in 1979, this bustling market is a treasure trove of sights, scents, and tastes. Stroll through the colorful aisles filled with fresh produce, aromatic spices, and handmade crafts. Engage in friendly banter and practice your Spanish with the vendors and mingle with the locals, as you soak up the lively atmosphere. As you navigate the market, you’ll not only find the ingredients that inspire the mouthwatering dishes you’ve savored but also the chance to connect with the beating heart of everyday Mexican life. From unique souvenirs to artisanal crafts, this market is a haven for discovering one of a kind treasures that beautifully reflect the local culture. 

Riviera Nayarit 

Explore Nayarit’s Petroglyphs 

While not Mayan ruins, the Altavista Petroglyphs in Riviera Nayarit hold their own historical significance. Nestled among the scenic mountains of the Riviera Nayarit, Altavista is a hidden gem awaiting discovery. Located along Las Piletas Creek, near the majestic El Copo volcano, this captivating site is approximately an hour’s drive (42 miles) from Villa del Palmar Flamingos. Prepare for a picturesque journey as you wind your way through the mountains, immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the region. Altavista’s secluded location adds to its allure, offering a tranquil and off-the-beaten-path experience for those seeking a deeper connection with the area’s remarkable landscape. Embark on a hike that follows the river, revealing picturesque rock pools perfect for a refreshing swim. This tour is ideal for those interested in Mexico’s rich cultural heritage. As you trek through the forest, you’ll uncover the sacred site of the Tecoxquines, an ancient tribe that left intricate images on the volcanic rock along the Las Piletas river. These petroglyphs hold symbolic meanings, offering glimpses into the lives of indigenous communities. The hike culminates at a series of stunning pools where you can relax and take a dip in the cool river. Beyond the cultural history, you’ll be surrounded by a lush tropical forest canopy, allowing your knowledgeable naturalist guide to share insights about the local flora and fauna. While it is possible to visit the petroglyphs independently, we recommend booking a tour to enhance your understanding of the area’s history and natural wonders. 

Learn About Cacao 

Step into the fascinating world of chocolate at Planeta Cacao, a cacao garden located just a short 8-minute drive (2.3 miles) from Villa del Palmar Flamingos. This enchanting destination is dedicated to promoting the rich history of cacao on the Pacific coast of Mexico, offering an educational and immersive experience. During your visit, you’ll delve into the significance of chocolate in pre-Columbian times, witness the cultivation process firsthand, and gain insights into the meticulous preparation of this delectable treat. At Planeta Cacao, you’ll discover the intriguing history of cacao and chocolate globally, explore the cultural uses of the cacao tree, and delve into the ethnohistorical data of cacao in the Bay of Banderas region, where it has been cultivated for over a thousand years. Learn about the nutritional benefits of this superfood and participate in an artisan chocolate workshop that showcases the entire process, from cultivation and harvesting to fermentation, drying, and grinding of the precious cacao seed. As you wander through the garden, you’ll encounter an exhibition area featuring antique utensils, enjoy cocoa-based drinks, marvel at the traditional mud kitchen, and peruse the chocolate store offering a variety of homemade products. To make your visit even more memorable, engage in the chocolate workshop, a two-hour session filled with creativity and hands-on learning. Delight your taste buds with cacao beverages and master the art of crafting handmade chocolate. Make sure to include Planeta Cacao in your itinerary during your next stay at Villa del Palmar Flamingos, as it promises to be an enriching and delicious experience that will deepen your appreciation for the world of chocolate. 


Explore the Underground Cenotes 

Venture beyond the popular beaches of Cancun and discover the mesmerizing underground cenotes. These natural sinkholes are scattered throughout the Yucatan Peninsula and offer a unique opportunity for snorkeling, swimming, and even diving. Immerse yourself in the mystical beauty of these freshwater caves, adorned with stalactites and filled with crystal-clear turquoise waters. Ask Member Services or your pre-arrival agent for tour recommendations. 

Visit the Coba Heritage Site

Explore the captivating Coba Ruins for an adventurous journey into the ancient Maya civilization. Rent a bicycle and traverse the sprawling archaeological site, uncovering the unique design and purpose of this remarkable settlement. Cobá, meaning ‘waters stirred by the wind,’ is nestled amidst two large lagoons, adding to its mystical allure. Once considered a forgotten piece of Mayan history, Coba now offers a glimpse into the past. Stroll along the shaded sacbe (white roads), marvel at the three settlements showcasing Maya architecture, and discover the two ball courts. Don’t miss the highlight of your visit -viewing the towering Nohoch Mul pyramid, standing 42 meters tall. Engage with knowledgeable local guides who will enrich your experience with intriguing insights into the Maya civilization. A visit to the Coba Ruins is a fascinating journey into the ancient roots of Cancun, located just a 2.5-hour drive (90 miles) from Villa del Palmar Cancun. Ask your Member Services or Pre-Arrival agent for help booking a tour. 

Los Cabos 

Desert ATV AdventureLeave the coastal landscapes behind and embark on an adrenaline-pumping ATV adventure through the captivating desert terrain of Los Cabos. Ride along dusty trails, navigate through rugged canyons, and witness the breathtaking beauty of the Baja California Peninsula’s arid landscapes. Feel the adrenaline surge as you navigate the twists and turns of the off-road terrain, forging an intimate connection with nature along the way. Marvel at the sight of towering cacti, some aged over a century, dotting the desert expanse. This off-road escapade promises the thrill of an exhilarating ride. Ask our dedicated Member Services or concierge team for expert tour recommendations. 

Sunset Horseback Riding on the Beach

Experience the magic of Los Cabos’ sunsets on a romantic horseback riding excursion along the pristine beaches. Explore the serene coastal trails as the sun casts its golden hues over the shimmering waters of the Pacific Ocean. Feel the gentle breeze on your face and create lasting memories as you witness the stunning natural beauty of the region at twilight. Ask our dedicated Member Services or concierge team for expert tour recommendations. 

Islands of Loreto 

Island Hopping

To truly experience the Islands of Loreto like a local, you must immerse yourself in the local culture and natural beauty of the region. Embark on an exciting island-hopping adventure to explore the breathtaking islands surrounding Loreto. Whether you hire a local boat or join a guided tour, you’ll have the opportunity to visit enchanting destinations like Isla Coronado and Isla del Carmen. There are many eco-friendly tour companies. Ask your Member Services or Pre-arrival agent which tours they recommend. Discover hidden beaches, dive into crystal-clear waters, and gain a deeper understanding of the islands’ ecology from knowledgeable local guides.  

Visit the San Javier Mission San Javier Mission Loreto Baja California

Take a journey into the past by visiting the historic San Javier Mission, officially named Misión San Francisco Xavier de Viggé-Biaundó. The mission was built around 1699 and is one of the best-preserved missions in Baja. It is approximately an hour’s drive (45 miles) from Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto. The scenic drive will take you through mountains and canyons and the mission itself is nestled amidst the rugged Sierra de la Giganta mountains. Upon reaching the mission, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views and a glimpse into the rich cultural and religious history of the region. Admire the well-preserved architecture and soak in the peaceful ambiance of this remote and sacred place. 

These off the beaten path activities offer a chance to go beyond the tourist hotspots and delve into the authentic and lesser-known aspects of our resort destinations. Food, culture, art, history, life-changing encounters, these are just some of the things you can expect to encounter in your adventures around Mexico. Be open to the magnificent people and the jewels of experiences that these places have to offer and you will gain priceless memories you’ll remember forever. 


  • I liked too learn about less frequented sites like the cacao tour and petroglyphs in Puerta Vallarta I also liked the information about Loreto. I’ve been to both areas several times yet these new adventures I’d like to try the next time I am there. Thank you very much. I hope the resorts have information at their travel area so I can take advantage of these opportunities.

    • Hi Pat,

      Thank you for reading our blog and sharing your comments. We hope you enjoy your new adventures and share with us your experiences!

      Best Regards,

      Club Marketing


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