CALENDAR OF EVENTS & FESTIVALS
PUERTO VALLARTA IS KNOWING AS THE FESTIVAL AND SPECIAL EVENTS CAPITAL OF MEXICO, FROM CULTURAL AND RELIGIOUS FESTIVALS, TO INTERNATIONAL SPORTS TOURNAMENTS, AND THE HIGHLY ACCLAIMED INTERNATIONAL GOURMET FESTIVAL, THERE IS A SPECIAL EVENT THAT'S SURE TO APPEAL TO EVERY TRAVELER, EVERY SEASON OF THE YEAR HERE. FOLLOWING IS A MONTHLY GUIDE TO SOME OF PUERTO VALLARTA'S MOST POPULAR EVENTS:
¤ WHALE WATCHING SEASON.
The whale watching season is in full swing every year from December to April. Humpback whales migrate to the area to breed, and you can watch the whales play in the calm waters of the bay. As many as 300 whales have been sighted during one season here. The humpback is the species that breaches most frequently, up to once every 40 seconds for several minutes making them easier to spot. According to marine biologists, the leaps may be for courtship, a challenge or a display of strength.
¤ NATIONAL CHARRO CHAMPIONSHIP.
Witness the elegance and originality of Mexican horsemanship. Charros are Mexico's version of cowboys and the National Charro Championship provides the opportunity to see them in full splendor with men dressed in typical outfits and the ladies showing off their "Adelita" dressed.
¤ WINE FEST.
This annual festival â€“ held over several days â€“ includes wine tasting, seminars, and special menus at many participating restaurants and hotels.
¤ MARINA DEL REY- PUERTO VALLARTA REGATTA.
Held every odd-numbered year, 50 California race boats bring in 500 sailors into Banderas Bay. The race begins at the San Diego Yacht Club and ends with a lavish awards ceremony in Puerto Vallarta.
¤ NAUTICAL FESTIVAL AND BANDERAS BAY REGATTA.
Puerto Vallarta's privileged location on Banderas Bay sets the stage for an entire month of nautical festivities throughout March. Many arts and musical events accompany the main nautical events along with a fishing tournament. All proceeds raised from the festival are donated to non-profit organizations that work towards the preservation of the ecology of Banderas Bay and to charitable organizations that contribute to improving the quality of life of children who live in the Banderas Bay area.
¤ LATIN AMERICA PUERTO VALLARTA BOAT SHOW.
Gathering together marine equipment, yachts, power boats and related exhibits, you'll also enjoy nautical demonstrations such as search-and-rescue simulations.
¤ NATIVE ARTS FESTIVAL.
The Huichol artisans descend from their surrounding Sierra Madre mountain communities with beaded paintings, sculptures, live music demonstrations and ceremonies held over two-week period.
¤ SURFING CHAMPIONSHIP.
Now an annual event staged at a remote beach on the southern tip of the bay, surfers camp out for a weekend of competition and fun in the sun.
¤ PUERTO VALLARTA'S BIRTHDAY.
Puerto Vallarta's birthday is celebrated with great fanfare on the 31st of May with a grand parade, free concerts along the malecon and many other festivities. Don't miss the impressive fireworks display in the town's main square.
¤ RESTAURANT WEEK.
Puerto Vallarta is a home to some of Mexico's finest restaurants serving everything from regional Mexican cuisine to creative contemporary Mexican fare and the most varied international options. You can sample some of the city's best cuisine during the last two weeks of May when Puerto Vallarta's most renowned restaurants offer special three-course prix-fixe sampling menus with discounts reaching up to 50% off regular a la carte prices.
¤ SEA TURTLE SEAS BEGINGS.
Participate in the protection and conservation of an endangered species â€“ the Olive Ridley sea turtle. From June to November thousands of sea turtles come to lay their eggs on the beaches of Puerto Vallarta. Hotels in Puerto Vallarta hold a Sea Turtle Program where they gather the turtle eggs from the shore and take them for incubation still in their nests to best preserve natural conditions.
¤ SEA TURTLE RELEASE.
By the end of August once the hatchlings are born and ready to be released into their natural habitat, the various hotels invite their guests to aid in the release of the new born baby turtle on the beaches so they find their way into the ocean.
¤ DAY OF THE CHARRO.
This traditional celebration of rodeo performers takes place around Mexico on September 14. In Puerto Vallarta, the day is celebrated with a parade beginning at 10 a.m. in the Romantic Zone followed by a charreada (rodeo) demonstration. Special dinner/dance events take place in the evening.
¤ MEXICO'S INDEPENDENCE DAY.
Puerto Vallarta's main square and Malecon come alive late night on September 15 with the traditional cry for independence led by Puerto Vallarta's mayor. Live outdoor music shows as well as spectacular fireworks displays follow, giving way to a full night of festivities before the Independence Day holiday.
¤ INTERNATIONAL GOURMET FESTIVAL.
In November of every year, Puerto Vallarta reigns as Mexico's capital of culinary arts with the annual International Gourmet Festival. This ten-day celebration is a true feast for the sense featuring guest chefs from around the world. You can indulge in special tasting menus, participate in cooking classes and wine and tequila tasting.
¤ SAILFISH AND MARLIN TOURNAMENT.
The abundant marine life in the waters of Banderas Bay are known by fishing experts to offer some of the best deep sea sports fishing in the world. The annual Sailfish and Marlin Tournament held every November for over fifty years, brings together some of the most avid sports fishermen from Mexico, the U.S. and abroad. Some of the wide varieties of fish that can be caught in the area include marlin, sailfish, snapper, yellowfin tuna, rooster fish and dorado (mahi mahi).
¤ HALF MARATHON.
Puerto Vallarta's athletic run and half marathon have now become an annual tradition. Held in the month of November when the town comes alive with numerous festivals and sports tournaments, the 5-mile athletic run and 13-mile half marathon not only provide participants with a great competitive sports spirit but the race's routing also offers beautiful glimpses of Banderas Bay.
¤ VALLARTA GOLF CUP.
In addition to having hosted two PGA championship golf tournaments since 2004, Puerto Vallarta is also home to the annual Vallarta Golf Cup held in November. The three-day event is held at the world class Jack Nicklaus and El Tigre golf courses. Amateur golfers from Mexico, the U.S., and Canada compete for cash prizes and the Swing Vallarta trophy, the tournament's top prize.
¤ VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE PROCESSIONS.
Like all of Mexico, Puerto Vallarta comes alive with colorful processions in honor of Mexico's patron saints, the Virgin of Guadalupe. Puerto Vallarta's church, a town landmark with its elaborate crown and located across from the main square, is dedicated to her. The twelve-day long celebrations include traditional floats and pre-Hispanic Aztec dancers, chating and praying. The celebrations end with an impressive fireworks display.
¤ PUERTO VALLARTA FILM FESTIVAL.
Puerto Vallarta became famous with the Hollywood set when The Night of the Iguana was filmed in Mismaloya, on the southern shore of Puerto Vallarta. Today, the city continues its cinematic tradition by hosting the annual Puerto Vallarta Film Festival of the Americans. Held in early December, the festival features contemporary full-length films and documentaries with an ecological theme.
¤ NEW YEAR'S EVE AT THE MALECON.
A very special fiesta is organized on Puerto Vallarta's Malecon every New Year's Eve where everyone gets together to ring in a special New Year. From the old part town and Los Muertos beach to Los Arcos and Olas Altas, revelers party till the early hours of the morning to the rhythm of live bands and spectacular fireworks displays.