Bucerias is the perfect place to visit in Mexico if you want calm quiet beaches, good quality restaurants and somewhere quaint enough to walk around and explore without a plan or a care in the world.
And when you’re ready to add a little more adventure to your trip, there are plenty of things to see and do within a day trip (or less) away.
Even if you’ve been to Bucerias in the past, I encourage you to visit again!
Every time we go, there always seems to be new shops, bars and cafes that pop up.
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Enjoy the 5-Mile Beach
The beach in Bucerias is one of the nicest in the entire Banderas Bay.
It stretches for over 5 miles and provides unobscured views of Puerto Vallarta in the distance.
While it’s not the sugary white sand and turquoise water you’ll find on the Caribbean side of Mexico, the beach in Bucerias is still soft under the foot with a light beige hue.
Most days the waves are gentle enough to swim, and you’re able to wade out about 30 feet and the water will still only be at chest height.
Not only is the beach long, it’s so wide – so you’ll never have to worry about finding a spot all to yourself.
Virtually every street in Bucerias provides beach access, and at most access points you’ll find a public bathroom.
Sunset Horseback Riding
Spend even just a few minutes on the beach and it won’t be long before you see a man and his horses trotting up and down the coastline.
We chose to do a 45 minute horseback ride at sunset – it was magical.
It costs 500 pesos per person.
Go for a Cheap Massage
If you’re going to spend any time in Bucerias, I highly recommend going for a massage on the beach.
There are many tents setup all over and you can get anything from a therapeutic to a deep tissue massage.
On the high end it will cost you about $35 for one hour, but you may be able to negotiate a lower price if you shop around.
Watch the Sunset
Tourists and locals alike flock to the beach daily for pacific sunsets that are unmatched anywhere else on earth.
You can nearly hear the sun sizzle as it plunges beneath the ocean.
Visit one of the popular beach bars like Karen’s or Mar y Sol around 6pm to watch the fiery spectacle.
Or, visit one of the many OXXO stores and buy your own beverages to bring to the beach.
Stroll the Golden Zone
The Golden Zone in Bucerias is the arts district along Lazaro Cardenas street.
Known as the Zona Dorada in Spanish, this long street is lined with art galleries, boutique shops, spas and locally owned restaurants and bars.
It’s also where the majority of boutique hotels and condo rentals are located, and is the most popular area for tourists to stay in.
The Golden Zone is also only one block off the beach and connects to Centro (downtown) via the pedestrian bridge across the river channel.
Visit the Natural Hot Springs
Only about 1.5 hours away from Bucerias you’ll find a natural hot spring area. It’s called Aguas Termales Nuevo Ixtlan.
Here you’ll find 30 stone tubs that hold 2 to 6 people with natural hot spring water that gets piped in.
I recommend booking a tour to take you here, as the road in is quite bumpy and difficult to find.
We booked our tour here through Viator and had a great experience.
The groups are kept small (about 8 people), and include hotel pickup, a fresh grilled lunch and massages on the beach.
Along with a few other surprises!
Hang with Locals in Centro
Centro is downtown Bucerias, where you’ll find the main plaza which comes alive at night with locals, vendors and food stalls.
This is where there’s live music at one of the many local bars, almost every night of the week.
Try Street Tacos
Not only are street tacos delicious, they’re ultra cheap!
In centro you’ll find many vendors selling street tacos, so just follow your nose and pick one!
The most popular kind of street taco in this part of Mexico is the Al Pastor taco.
This is marinated pork, which is skewered on a rotating spit that they shave off and serve with pineapple, onions and cilantro.
Get acquainted with a taco tour early on in your visit. Then go back and try all your favorites on your own.
Barter at the Flea Market
The flea market in Bucerias is open everyday until about 5 or 6pm.
Here you’ll find every kind of souvenir and trinket you can imagine.
And don’t be afraid to barter with the vendors and have some fun with it.
If there is an item you’re interested in, the vendor will give you a price and you can usually counter with about 40 to 50 percent less as a starting point.
Bucerias Art Walk
From 6 to 9pm on Thursday evenings the Bucerias Art Walk opens up to visitors.
Local artists showcase their work in a beautiful alleyway lit up with string lights.
Self Guided Mural Tour
One thing you’ll immediately notice as you walk around Bucerias is the amount of murals around town.
A fun way to spend a few hours is to grab your camera and just explore the streets looking for your favorite murals.
And it’s not just murals – look for all the lush villa facades too.
Take a Bike Tour
Sign up for a bike tour with Bici Bucerias. They run full cycling trips or you can choose to join their popular food tours.
Hop on an e-bike and visit local hot spots and taste authentic cuisine.
Their most popular tour is a casual 10km ride, where you stop for coffee and pastries, fresh agua fresca, and dine on carnitas, tacos, fish tacos and ceviche.
Or join a beer and wine e-bike tour, all while taking in the sights of Bucerias.
Visit the Crocodile Sanctuary
About 15 minutes outside of Bucerias, you can visit the El Cora crocodile sanctuary.
This is a rescue and rehabilitation center for both crocodiles and other native animals.
You can take a guided tour through a 2km loop around the property and learn everything you wanted to know about crocodiles.
Visiting the El Cora crocodile sanctuary was one of my favorite things to do just outside of Bucerias.
Take a chocolate plantation tour and then learn how to make chocolate completely from scratch (including picking and shelling the cacao beans).
Many people visit here from Puerto Vallarta, but if you’re staying in Bucerias, you’re only 11 minutes away.
Sunday in La Cruz
La Cruz is a smaller community, only about 10 minutes north of Bucerias. On Sundays, they have a massive market down at the La Cruz marina.
It’s a fun market atmosphere and the best place to buy high quality souvenirs.
There’s a small central plaza in town which has a couple of fun bars with live music on Sunday afternoons. We liked the Green Tomato!
Lounge by the Pool
From November to April, the weather in Bucerias is nearly perfect everyday.
One thing we love about staying here is that it’s full of small boutique hotels, villas and condos – most of which have pools surrounded by a lush courtyard.
Our current favorite is Hotel Palmeras (pictured above).
What is Bucerias Known For?
Bucerias is still a hidden gem destination just outside of Puerto Vallarta, and known for being a quiet and calm beach town.
It’s also known for its large Canadian and American expat community.
Many people choose to visit here for the 5-mile soft sandy beach, the downtown flea market and the many restaurants and low-key bars.