This blog may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy for more info.
Bucerias is a cute little town on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Its relaxed and beachy atmosphere makes it a fun place to spend a few days or a great day trip from nearby Puerto Vallarta. Bucerias is known for its incredible beaches, yummy food, outdoor markets, and art galleries.
While it’s a popular stop for tourists, once you’re here, you’ll want to make the most of your time. After visiting Bucerias myself (we actually lived there for a couple of months recently), I have some tips! Consider this a one-stop shop for ideas of some of what Bucerias has to offer.
Here I’ve put together a list of the 21 BEST things to do in Bucerias …. from art walks to seafood tacos or just spending time relaxing at the beach, there’s plenty to enjoy while you’re here.
- 1. Shop at the markets
- 2. Go horseback riding on the beach
- 3. Bucerias Art Walk
- 4. Eat the best seafood tacos at El Rincón de Ensenada
- 5. Day trip to Sayulita and San Pancho
- 6. Go on a bike and food tour
- 7. Go snorkeling at Coral Island
- 8. Go on an ATV tour
- 9. Day trip to Puerto Vallarta
- 10. Take a walk around the cute downtown streets
- 11. Relax at the beach
- 12. Cooking class
- 13. Play a round of golf
- 14. Visit Cervecería Bahia de Banderas Brewery
- 15. El Eden Botanical Garden
- 16. El Cora Crocodile Sanctuary
- 17. Visit the casino
- 18. Go whale watching
- 19. Day trip to Corral del Risco/Punta Mita
- 20. Go surfing at Playa La Lancha
- 21. Go to the La Cruz Market
Things to do in Bucerias, Mxeico
1. Shop at the markets
Bucerias is known for its colorful and vibrant markets, which are a must-see for travelers looking to experience the heart of this lovely Mexican town. With a variety of fresh foods, local artisan crafts, and traditional Mexican items, the markets are some of our favorite Bucerias attractions.
The people who work at the markets are eager for business, and it’s typical for them to call out and try to tempt you to purchase items at their booths. It’s fine to refuse, just be kind and say “No gracias” before continuing on your way. You may even want to practice your bartering skills if you see something that catches your eye!
Some of the markets happen on specific days of the week, while others are open every day throughout the high season from November through April, so if you want to hit them all, you’ll need to do a little planning.
The Bucerias Farmers Market is on Wednesdays from 9 am to 2 pm in the Chedraui (supermarket) parking lot. There are a variety of vendors, and you can purchase handmade jewelry, baked goods, produce, and art of all kinds. Some days you might even catch some live music!
On Sunday mornings, check out the bustling Bucerias Sunday Tianguis. This is far less touristy than some of the other markets and is a great place to experience Bucerias with the locals. You can pick up fresh fruit and veggies as well as inexpensive clothing, electronics, and other everyday supplies. It’s a fun way to spend a weekend morning!
The Bucerias Flea Market or Mercado de Bucerias is open daily and is located downtown. It includes dozens of stalls so you can shop until you drop! You’ll find all kinds of unique and colorful items here, from traditional Mexican clothing, fabrics, pottery, and art to fun and kitschy souvenirs to bring home.
2. Go horseback riding on the beach
On any given day in Bucerias, you can head to the beach for a fun horseback ride! What’s handy about this is you can make this a spur-of-the-moment activity. There’s no need to worry about booking ahead as you will see people walking up and down the beach throughout the day offering inexpensive rides. Just flag one of them down and you’re set! Just make sure you have some cash on you to pay.
Sunset is a particularly lovely time to enjoy a ride, as is early morning before the beaches get too crowded.
If you enjoy your ride and want to book a formal tour, there are guided tours that will take you through the jungle and mountains as well. A 30-minute horseback ride costs around $15 USD for 30 minutes, but you will have to negotiate.
3. Bucerias Art Walk
On Thursday evenings from 7-9 p.m., the Bucerias Art Walk is the place to be! Art galleries and boutiques across town open their doors to the public and serve tasty cocktails and snacks for locals and tourists looking for a fun and artsy night out on the town.
With more than 12 galleries and boutiques participating in the weekly event, there is something to delight every unique style and taste. The majority of the galleries are located along Lazaro Cardenas Street. This event runs during the high season from November through April. It’s the perfect place to support local artists and find a one-of-a-kind piece of art to take home with you.
4. Eat the best seafood tacos at El Rincón de Ensenada
After a sun-kissed day on the beaches of Bucerias, nothing tastes better than the perfect fish taco. Look no further than El Rinconcito de Ensenada for the most delicious and fresh fish tacos in Bucerias. Located about a block from the beach, this little taco shop is a hidden gem that you won’t want to miss.
There are all kinds of seafood items available, as well as a few chicken and beef choices, but the fish tacos are what really shine. The food is simple and traditional without skimping on flavor, and there is a nice garden seating area in the back. The prices are very reasonable, and you can get a good lunch for two for about 300 pesos or $15 USD.
5. Day trip to Sayulita and San Pancho
From Bucerias, it’s only a short distance to some of Mexico’s prettiest and most picturesque villages like Sayulita and San Pancho. Both are awesome choices if you’re looking for a fun day trip adventure.
San Pancho is an off-the-beaten-path town on the Pacific Coast of Riviera Nayarit. It is a calm and quiet little village that focuses on eco-friendly tourism. The beaches in San Pancho are pristine, and the town is full of beautiful murals perfect for taking lots of photos.
Enjoy some of the best things to do in San Pancho, such as delicious food, artisanal markets, exploring the streets, or even getting that perfect photo on the famous beach swing hanging from a palm tree on San Pancho Beach.
Sayulita is busier and more touristy than San Pancho but makes for an equally enjoyable day trip. It has major surf-town vibes and a very boho-chic aesthetic. Popular for hippie types and surf lovers, Sayulita is another location with lots to do including shopping, visiting pretty beaches, whale-watching tours, and eating delicious food like the famous cheese burrito at El Itacate.
Buses run daily between these locations, and it’s only about a 15-minute drive, so it’s easy enough to get to these places on your own, without spending a lot of money. Just make sure to check the bus schedule ahead of time. Both locations will have plenty of taxis available as well as another option.
If you’d like to skip the hassle of getting around on your own, you can book a tour like this one that offers a chance to visit both towns. For $65 USD, they will pick you up at your hotel and guide you through the best of Sayulita and San Pancho along with a two-hour SUP or surf excursion. The tour also includes lunch!
6. Go on a bike and food tour
The Bucerias Bike and Food Tour is a fun and active way to get acquainted with the city. It takes about three hours and includes sightseeing and dining around Bucerias for $75 USD.
The leisurely 6-mile (10 km) ride will pass by favorite local spots like coffee shops, juice bars, and tasty taco stands. Try and take mental notes so you can come back later! Your guide will point out the best spots and views of the Sierra Madre mountains and Mexican countryside. The tour includes the cost of beverages and food tastings.
The guides are full of knowledge (shout out to Pepe who is a well-known guide on this tour!) as they know the areas inside and out. You’ll learn a ton and definitely won’t get bored while exploring the streets.
7. Go snorkeling at Coral Island
A trip to Mexico wouldn’t be complete without a day of snorkeling! It’s one of the best things to do while you’re in Mexico, after all. If you’re a lover of the ocean, don’t miss out on a day trip to Coral Island. This tour takes a full day and includes everything you’ll need for a day of aquatic fun. Just pack your swimsuit and some sunscreen, and you’re good to go!
You’ll be picked up at your hotel and taken by boat to Coral Island’s stunning white sand beaches with crystal clear waters and diverse marine life. Keep an eye out for humpback whales!
The tour also includes lunch, bottled water, a visit to Crab Island, and plenty of time to shop and walk around Guayabitos before returning to your hotel.
8. Go on an ATV tour
Adventurous types will love a wild ride on an ATV through the jungle of the Sierra Madres on the outskirts of Bucerias. This ATV tour is not for the faint of heart, as it will have you speeding along winding and sloping paths at high speeds. Experienced tour guides will point out various flora and fauna around the Riviera Nayarit, and you never know what wildlife you might see.
After an adventurous ride, cool off in the beautiful swimming pool and enjoy a meal at the onsite restaurant. The tour takes approximately two hours and costs $114 USD per couple.
9. Day trip to Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta is a bustling city with all kinds of attractions. Above all, it is an authentic Mexican port town, so it’s rich in history. On a day trip to Puerto Vallarta, you will feel like you’re experiencing coastal Mexico’s heart and soul.
Take a walk down the Malecon and enjoy some of the best sites, including the Danza de Los Voladores dancers. This gravity-defying feat involves five men dressed in traditional Mesoamerican clothing who climb an almost 100-foot (30 meters) pole for the performance. This traditional dance involves a rather obvious level of danger but is entertaining to watch!
One thing I LOVE about Puerto Vallarta is the food. You simply must head to at least one of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta to try the cuisine. There are so many to try, but the fish tacos at Maria Baja can’t be beat! There are so fresh, crispy, and delicious, it’s one of my favorite places to stop while I’m here.
The historic downtown Zona Romantica is worth a full day alone with romantic cobblestone streets, beautiful flowers hanging, and quintessential white buildings with terra-cotta tile roofs. It’s the perfect area to enjoy if you’re visiting Puerto Vallarta on a honeymoon or with a loved one – it is called the “Romantic Zone” for a reason. Enjoy world-class shopping, or simply wander around taking photos and feeling like you’ve stepped back in time.
Puerto Vallarta really is one of my favorite places to visit in Mexico, and those in Bucerias should take the chance to enjoy it!
Related Read: Planning on spending more time in Puerto Vallarta? Read about the best hotels and areas to stay in Puerto Vallarta!
10. Take a walk around the cute downtown streets
One of our favorite things to do in Bucerias is simply wandering around downtown. The colorful buildings and street art make for excellent photo ops, and the lively streets are full of vendors selling their goods. You’ll find the hustle and bustle of downtown both exhilarating and fun.
While you’re here, make sure to stop at one of my favorite streets for photos. Go right out front of El Café de Bucerías and strike a pose. It’s just beautiful, and I love to stop for a coffee and just soak up the scenery!
11. Relax at the beach
A trip to Bucerias wouldn’t be complete without at least one day of pure relaxation on the beautiful beaches. In fact, the beach in Bucerias is one of the absolute best beaches in all of Mexico!
Pack a beach bag with some snacks and that beachy vacation book you’ve been meaning to open and spend the day soaking up the sun and swimming in the ocean.
You can either sit on your own or head to one of the nearby restaurants that have tables on the sand. It can be hard to find shade if you go on your own, so I often suck it up and get a chair and umbrella at a restaurant.
A really famous place on the beach with excellent seafood is called The Fat Boy. They serve a wide range of food and often have live music. If you prefer something quieter, Mar y Sol Restaurant is also fantastic and known for the incredible local seafood, including delicious lobster.
12. Cooking class
Do you feel like you’ll never get tired of mouthwatering Mexican cuisine? Well, taking a cooking class is a great way to ensure that you can enjoy the delicious tastes of Mexico for years to come in your own kitchen.
The best place to do a cooking class in Bucerias is at My Mexican Kitchen. They offer a ton of different courses, including the Chef’s Choice, seafood, salsas, and appetizers. The cooking courses combine the influences of Mayan and Aztec cultures blended with Spanish cuisine to create the unique flavors of the region.
With ingredients like xocoatl (chocolate) and xitomatl (tomatoes), My Mexican Kitchen will teach you to create unforgettable Mexican dishes that will impress your family and friends when you return home.
Learning new skills can be some of the most joyful and enriching travel experiences and certainly one of the best things to do in Bucerias.
13. Play a round of golf
Sporty types can enjoy a fun-filled day at Flamingos Golf, one of the region’s most beautiful golf courses.
The par 72 championship course includes lightly sloping terrain with Bermuda grass and 43 bunkers and nine water hazards. It also includes opportunities to play the newly popular sport Footgolf (think soccer and golf combined!) along with amenities like a clubhouse, pro shop, and snack bar.
Unfortunately, playing golf at Flamingos isn’t cheap, and 18 holes will set you back 2,800 pesos or $139 USD. To make your golfing experience a little more budget-friendly, check out the driving range or golf later in the day with the twilight nine holes special for only $67 USD. They also rent clubs for as little as $40 USD. Flamingos Golf is open from Monday to Sunday, 7 am to 7 pm.
14. Visit Cervecería Bahia de Banderas Brewery
Craft beer lovers will fall in love with Bahia de Banderas Brewery. The brainchild of the brewery is a Bucerias native who fell in love with craft beer and brewery culture while living in Colorado on a work visa. This hip location offers IPAs, Golden Ales, Stouts, Blondes, and Pale Ales – all of which are super tasty.
Try them all, and while you’re at it, check out some of their tasty menu items like sliders and shrimp tacos. On the weekends you might even catch some live music!
I will warn you that this place gets busy and it can be hard to get a table on weekends. So, arrive early and enjoy those delicious craft beers all night!
Cervecería Bahia de Banderas Brewery is open every day except Tuesday and Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Related Read: Love craft beer? Make sure you head to some of the amazing restaurants in Puerto Vallarta serving top-notch craft beer and yummy food.
15. El Eden Botanical Garden
El Eden Botanical Garden is truly a paradise. The gardens here are actually a nursery where tropical plants are grown and sold. What’s great is that it’s completely free to wander around! It’s the perfect place to seek some solitude in nature and enjoy the various plants and flowers native to the area. Although located not far from the center of town, you’ll feel as though you’re in the middle of the jungle.
The garden features walking paths and HUGE palm trees. You could honestly spend a couple of hours here wandering around and soaking up views of all the plants. The best part is, this isn’t a very popular activity in Bucerias, so you’ll likely enjoy the place without the crowds. The garden is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, until 2 p.m. on Saturdays, and closed on Sundays.
16. El Cora Crocodile Sanctuary
El Cora Crocodile Sanctuary can be found deep in the mangrove forest of the El Quelele Estuary, around 20 minutes from Bucerias. It’s a crocodile sanctuary used not only for guided tours but also for research.
The guided tours of the property are offered every 20 minutes and last approximately one hour. You’ll walk a one-mile (2 km) trail of the sanctuary and spot lots of crocodiles along the way. There are also other animals onsite, and you can even hold a baby crocodile in your hands! The tour is perfect for families or nature lovers and allows visitors to get up close and personal with the magnificent crocodiles.
Tours at El Cora cost 250 pesos ($12 USD) per adult, but you can visit without a guide for 150 pesos ($7 USD). With that said, the extra $5 USD for the guided tour is 100% worth it. It’s best to visit the sanctuary in the morning before the crowds arrive, and they are open every day except Monday from 10 am to 5 pm.
The area is managed by the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, and biologists and veterinarians lead the tours. They may even let you help feed the crocodiles, depending on when you arrive.
17. Visit the casino
Try your luck at the Incanto Casino! Here you can play classic card games like poker and craps or try out a few of the 300 slot machines. You may win big (or lose like I often do!), but it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon or a late night since it’s open until 2 a.m. every day.
Even if you don’t leave with the big bucks, Incanto still offers a nice opportunity to switch out your swimsuit with a sparkly outfit and enjoy the glitz and glam of a state-of-the-art casino and its tasty buffet.
18. Go whale watching
Whale watching can be an unforgettable experience, and the Bucerias area of Mexico is a fantastic place to see the magnificent giants. Whale watching is actually one of the tours to do in Puerto Vallarta and typically leaves from the Marina Vallarta, about 30 minutes from Bucerias.
Tours run from December through March when the whales are in the Bay of Banderas. You may also get lucky (like we did!) and spot whales while you’re sitting on the wall of the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta.
On this specific tour, you’ll get to head out and spot humpback whales while learning a ton from your expert marine biologist guide. The tours include a guide, a boat ride, and an onboard lunch with nonalcoholic beverages. The tour should last around 4 hours, but the memories will last a lifetime! The tour is under $100 USD per person. It departs from Marina Vallarta, so you’ll need to get yourself from Bucerias to the departure point.
19. Day trip to Corral del Risco/Punta Mita
For gnarly waves and awesome eats, take a day trip to the nearby village of Corral del Risco (Punta de Mita.) The bigger surf here attracts wave chasers from around the area. It’s a small town of around 2,000 people but features some awesome restaurants to enjoy after a day of catching waves.
I recommend going to Restaurante El Coral for some food with a spectacular ocean view. If looking at the water has you itching to get out on it, they rent boards here to go surfing as well. Also, if you decide to swim or surf, be careful, the area here is filled with coral, so it can cut your feet.
From Bucerias, you can easily get the local bus to Corral del Risco. Just head to one of the bus stops in town and look for a bus heading toward Punta Mita. They all stop here and turn around back to Bucerias. It’ll take about 30 minutes to drive to Punta Mita from Bucerias, but expect the bus to take about 1 hour with stops.
Related Read: Love planning day trips while in Mexico? There are so many great places close to Puerto Vallarta you can easily get to (and back) in the same day.
20. Go surfing at Playa La Lancha
Don’t get me wrong, the surf at Punta Mita is good, but nothing quite like Playa La Lancha.
Playa La Lancha is off the beaten path, and it remains one of the area’s best-kept secrets for surf enthusiasts. Situated on the northern shore of the Bay of Banderas, it gets some of the biggest waves in the area. The waves are long and typically not crowded, so it’s a good place to practice!
If you don’t have a surfboard, you can rent one at the nearby WildMex Surf School and Adventure Center before heading to pristine white sand beaches. Beginners can opt for surf lessons from WildMex for $85 USD for a group lesson with up to four people or $125 USD for a private lesson. Lessons are offered three times a day with morning and afternoon times available. Just be aware that the waves here are often too rough for swimming.
Playa La Lancha is located 20 minutes from Bucerias and you can easily get there by bus or taxi/uber.
21. Go to the La Cruz Market
On Sundays, the La Cruz Farmer’s Market is the place to be! The market started in 2010 and is still going strong today! It is held on Sundays from November through April beginning at 9 am and closing around 2 pm.
Peruse the booths of hundreds of vendors selling local art, handmade goods, as well as delectable food and beverages. It’s truly one of the most amazing open-air markets in Mexico.
Prices at the La Cruz Market are certainly not as cheap as your typical Mexican market. However, the goods sold here are of much better quality and often made by local artists. Personally, I come for the food which is located at the end of the marina. There is also live music, and it’s just a fun way to spend the day.
You can either get the bus to the La Cruz Market or take an Uber relatively cheaply. If you want to take the bus, catch any bus heading to Punta Mita and tell the driver you are going to the La Cruz Market. It should only take around 15 minutes to get to the market from Bucerias.
The market is free to attend, but do bring some money as I doubt you’ll be able to leave empty-handed. Cash is a good idea too since not all vendors accept cards.
Best Restaurants in Bucerias, Mexico
Armando’s Place – This small family-run restaurant serves delicious Mediterranean and Mexican cuisine! I love the Paella there, and their beautiful courtyard is perfect for a romantic dinner.
Restaurant Le Bistrot – If you love French cuisine, this is the place for you! All the meals are delicious but especially the peppercorn steak and boeuf bourguignon – a must for a fine dining experience.
Toscana Mia – Craving pizza? Well, Toscana Mia will blow your socks off. The pizzas are delicious here, but they also serve up homemade pasta and other Italian delights.
Delicias Mexicanas – For the best Mexican cuisine, you need to try Delicias Mexicanas. The prices are super affordable, and the family that runs the restaurant is so delighted every time I visit! This is one of the best cheap eats in Bucerias! Note: Delicias Mexicanas is only open during peak season.
Where to Stay in Bucerias
Now that you know some of what Bucerias has to offer, it’s time to figure out where to stay. If you can, you’re going to want to spend at least a few days here to really explore the town. While there are a lot of choices, a couple of places definitely top the list of our recommendations. No matter what your budget, there are some great options here!
For budget-conscious travelers, if you don’t mind the hostel life (it’s so much fun to meet people from all over the world!), Hostal Bucerias is a top choice. It’s only four blocks from the beach and close to coffee shops and restaurants. For a hotel right in the heart of Bucerias, stay at the Hotel Olas Altas Bucerias. It’s not only within walking distance to a lot of great restaurants and activities, it’s also only two minutes from the beach!
If you’re looking for something a little more private to feel like a home away from home, check out the Aventura Pacifico Boutique Hotel. The rooms here are larger and many have kitchens and patios. There’s also an outdoor swimming pool and a rooftop terrace overlooking the ocean to enjoy.
If you can spend a little more, treat yourself to a stay at Refugio del Mar Luxury Hotel Boutique Bucerias. The outdoor pool is INCREDIBLE and it’s super close to the beach. When you are relaxing in your room, there’s a ton of space and all units have a flat-screen TV and kitchen. You can even upgrade to a two-bedroom apartment if you have extra guests.
Renting a Car in Mexico
Undoubtedly, one of the best ways to get around Mexico is in a rental car.
I struggled to get around by bus and taxi for the longest time. But after renting a car in Mexico in 2019, I never looked back. It allowed me to explore the country without worrying about tours or taxis. It was why I fell in love with Mexico and eventually decided to live here periodically.
I refuse to use local services whenever I rent a car in Mexico. The truth is they sometimes can’t be trusted or come with hidden fees (or costly insurance that doesn’t make sense.) There are even rental car scams! So instead, I use Discover Cars, the company most experienced travelers or ex-pats in Mexico recommend.
The rates on Discover Cars are cheap, too, with the average rental costing around $25 USD per day. Full coverage insurance can be added for an extra $10 USD a day too.
Driving in Mexico also only requires a driver’s license using the Roman alphabet. If yours uses another like Japan and China, you simply need an international driving permit.
Insurance is required, but if you book with Discover Cars and get the full coverage, that’s all you need! Oh, and being over 18 is required, and if you’re over 25, your rental will be much cheaper!
Travel Insurance is more important than ever right now!
If you’re traveling during these uncertain times, be sure that you have travel insurance!
SafetyWing is our go-to insurance when we are going on longer trips. They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $42 USD per 4 weeks!) and even have coverage in case you get that dreaded c-word. The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!)
It’s safe to say that travel insurance has saved us thousands over the years!
Thanks for reading!
Bucerias is such a fun destination that’s close to Puerto Vallarta but isn’t always on the radar for a lot of travelers. I love the laidback vibe here along with all the fun activities in town or nearby.
It’s a place you can easily lose track of time while enjoying your stay in Mexico! If you’re in the middle of planning a trip here, check out more of our Mexico blogs including:
Things to do in Cancun, Mexico
Saturday 25th of March 2023
We were looking for our next place to explore for the winter and your article sold us! Thank you for the great information!
Thursday 15th of September 2022
Thank you so much for the mention of Bici Bucerias! Such a great blog - I agree 100%! Hope you can return again soon : )