Somewhere between the beautiful-but-cookiecutter time share resorts of Nuevo Vallarta and the quaint-but-touristy streets of Sayulita, lies Bucerias, Mexico. Bucerias is quaint, charming, and clean, but less crowded than its neighbors to the north and south. It’s beachside, it’s beautiful, and they actually have tacos.
Many have actually likened Bucerias to what Puerto Vallarta was some 50 years ago. That’s because it was a rural and undeveloped fishing village that was difficult to access until the mid 1950’s, when the government developed a better road system that gave locals a way out and foreigners a better way in. Although Bucerias had many visitors prior to the building of the road, most of these visitors were foreigners looking to hunt whales and dive for pearls. The improved road system paved the way (literally) for real tourism and hotel development in Bucerias.
It was the earlier exploitation of pearls, however, that led to Bucerias receiving its name. Diving became a defining enterprise in the small town and it was decided to name the town accordingly. Bucerias literally stems from buceo, which in Spanish, means to dive.
Since the building of a better road system, tourism in Bucerias has greatly developed. Many foreigners even prefer Bucerias to other destinations in the area because of the laid back lifestyle and small-town feel. A quick walk through the streets of Bucerias will give you a good understanding of its appeal. It’s not always as picture-perfect as Sayulita, but it more than makes up for it with its charm, clean beaches, and friendly locals.
While in Bucerias we visited their wonderful open-air market and picked up some great souvenirs for ourselves and for friends. I would definitely recommend visiting markets in smaller towns or at least away from the hotel zone to ensure you get better pricing. The same bracelets I saw at our hotel in nearby Nuevo Vallarta, we found at this market for 1/3 the price (without haggling!).
Aside from the market, Bucerias also has a wonderful beach that is generally low on waves and low on people; perfect for relaxing and getting away from the crowds. If you decide to spend the good part of a day here, I’ve also provided some great dining options below:
Where to Eat:
BREAKFAST // Karen’s – This beachside hotspot is popular throughout the day, but the Mexican-American cuisine, I feel, fits best at breakfast. Plenty of options, ranging from Huevos Rancheros to Eggs Benedict.
LUNCH // Los Pericos – Guac, chips, and all the fresh seafood your heart desires. This incredible spot is not beachfront, but it makes up for it with fantastic service and yummy margaritas.
DINNER // MezzoGiorno – Although I’m generally a champion for eating local cuisine at your destination, Mezzogiorno’s beachfront restaurant is can’t miss. Delicious Italian food + bottle of wine + sand under your feet = pure bliss.
Overall, Bucerias is small, but friendly. It doesn’t have as many options for activities as some of the larger mega-resort towns, but it’s peaceful and you’ll definitely get some relaxation in. If you’re looking for good prices and a good piece of beach to yourself, it won’t disappoint.