A view of Puerto Vallarta's Central area
A view of Puerto Vallarta’s Central area

By Eileen Ogintz

PUERTA VALLARTA, Mexico — Ready to celebrate?

Local festivals offer a great entrée to a new culture and, Puerto Vallarta is a terrific bet to experience them whenever you visit. Some visitors like to plan a trip around these festivals, in fact, to get a deeper dive into the rich culture and food scene here.

Celebrations in Puerto Vallarta offer visitors of all ages a special opportunity to experience Mexico’s cultural heritage, food scene, history, nature and more from September into the new year.

Here are some of the highlights:

— October 29-Nov. 3, 2017, Vallarta-Nayarit Gastronomica celebrates all things food, including Michelin star chefs and other celebrity chefs from around Mexico and beyond.

— November 2, 2017 Following the local celebration of All Soul’s Day on November 1, Puerto Vallarta celebrates the Day of the Dead with representative traditions of Mexico with events across the city. Taste some delicious Pan de Muerto while visiting art galleries, hotel lobby’s or view traditional altars and flower carpets on the Malecon.

— November 10-19 2017. Continue to celebrate all things food at the International Gourmet Festival as the guest chefs, in conjunction with highly-awarded extraordinary culinary masters of local hotels and restaurants, lend a seal of the highest quality and creativity, making this event a unique experience where they surprise visitors with their latest trends, creations and secret recipes.

— November 20, 2017. Puerto Vallarta commemorates “el Dia de la Revolucion,” or Revolution Day, the start of the Mexican Revolution. More commonly known as el veinte de noviembre, Revolution Day is celebrated in Puerto Vallarta with colorful grand parades, festive parties as well as patriotic speeches and official ceremonies. The Mexican Revolution against dictators lasted from 1910-1917, so this year marks 100 years since the end of the revolution.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Puerto Vallarta
Our Lady of Guadalupe Puerto Vallarta

— December 12 is Fiesta de Guadalupe, one of the most celebrated holidays in Puerto Vallarta honoring the appearance of the “Queen of Mexico” in 1501 as well as the day that Puerto Vallarta was founded. Hotels throughout Puerto Vallarta commemorate this famous image on property with statues and flowers. After the religious ceremony, join the celebrations on the city’s famous Malecon walkway  with fireworks, and a variety of street food vendors offering Mexican delicacies.

December 18-31. Celebrations for La Navidad start nine days before the religious holiday with Las Posadas, or processions, throughout the streets to symbolize Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. People of all ages gather in El Centro on Christmas Eve at Our Lady of Guadalupe church with piñatas and colorful clothing to listen to music and partake in the exciting festivities that carry on into the night.  After Christmas, festivities continue when Puerto Vallarta gathers on the Malecon, the preferred spot to watch the fireworks display to celebrate the new year. After the fireworks, follow the crowds and celebrate the night with music and dance in the street in the Romantic Zone. Puerto Vallartans celebrate New Year’s Eve by honoring the Catholic traditions of the Spaniards who came centuries ago by eating the 12 grapes of happiness, one grape every time the clock strikes at midnight.

— June 2018. Join the celebration when Puerto Vallarta turns 100 with events taking place throughout the month and city, including sports events such as the Vallarta Open Waters Cup swimming competition, and the Via Recreativa recreational run., cultural exhibitions and concerts, including musical performances.

Have a taco—or two for me!