While it may be easy to take laid-back Bucerias in Riviera Nayarit for granted, the number of similarities between this small oceanfront town and Puerto Vallarta—when it was a smaller city, that is—are definitely worth keeping in mind: great restaurants, a thriving live music scene, an art walk, residential and commercial areas, are just a few of them. Other amenities include shopping centers and supermarkets that round off Puerto Vallarta-like city life without its hustle and bustle.
It’s name derives from the Spanish “bucear,” or diving, because of the many diving—and fishing—related activities that have been pivotal to the town’s livelihood since its inception.
Considered one of Riviera Nayarit’s most visited destinations, Bucerias is ideal for anybody looking for a relaxing getaway, whether you are spending a day or a weekend in town, or for extended stays.
It is impossible to miss Bucerias, as it is located right along the highway. From Puerto Vallarta, head north along Carr. 200 Norte. Depending on where you are heading, you may want to consider the first exit if you are looking for restaurants and shops located along Lázaro Cardenas St. (see Neighborhoods below). Conversely, if you are looking for Bucerias’ main plaza or points north, the second exit, further down the highway.
Bucerias can also be reached from Puerto Vallarta via public transportation (buses depart from Walmart, across from the Maritine Terminal) and its proximity to Puerto Vallarta, makes it easy to travel back and forth to enjoy its many offerings. It takes less than 20 minutes to reach Bucerias by car from Puerto Vallarta.
Culture: Arts, Music, Cuisine
From simple to gourmet, there are a number of choices in Bucerias to consider, many of which are located along Lázaro Cárdenas St., next to shops and art galleries. Starting on its main plaza and heading north along Del Pacifico, many beachfront eateries feature a variety of options as well.
The Bucerias Art Walk holds ongoing art-related events year-around, including art workshops on several disciplines, details of which can be obtained by visiting their website.
Bucerias has its own Farmers’ Market every Saturday, organized by the Bucerias Bilingual Community Center, a local non-profit that promotes Spanish/English education and interaction in town.
A number of restaurants feature live music in Bucerias, performed by residents, (such as jazz singer Armi Grano), or their visiting musician friends.
Neighborhoods & Neighboring Regions
The town of Bucerias is located between Nuevo Vallarta/Flamingos, on the south, and La Cruz the Huanacaxtle right after it, and follows the coastline along a narrow stretch of land, with two distinct neighborhoods divided by a small stream of water that increases in strength during the rain season.
The highlight of the southern section is Lázaro Cárdens street, featuring a number of restaurants, shops and art galleries along a six- or seven-block stretch. Most of the surrounding streets are residential, with a few b&b’s and bungalows thrown in the mix.
The northern part of town can be accessed from the highway along its main street and features Bucerias’ church and beachfront main plaza, a great place for people watching, particularly on Sunday afternoons. Many traditional Mexican shops and eateries can be found in its vicinity, including an outdoor market.
A pedestrian bridge connects both neighborhoods, making it easy to walk from one to the other. However, they are only connected for vehicular traffic along the highway.
Landmarks, Sights & Activities
- Paseo del Beso, a pedestrian walkway that connects the town right at the outdoor market, features curious murals depicting of besos, or kisses, along the way.
- Due to its beachfront location, Bucerias’ Main Plaza is ideal for strolling, people watching, and taking in the relaxed pace of the town.
- Adjacent to the Main Plaza, the Mercado de Artesanías, or Crafts Market features Mexican artifacts and souvenirs, and is usually more lively during weekends.
- A shopping stroll along Lazaro Cardenas is a must!
Without a doubt, Bucerias’ long, wide beach with its fine sand and gentle surf, is one of its strongest assets, and a preferred destination for families with small children. A large number of hotels and eateries can be found next to it, particularly near the downtown area.
The beach also provides center-stage view to the many nautical activities that take place in Buceras year-around: sailing, kayaking and kite surfing being just a few of them. Bucerias’ beach consistently ranks among the cleanest on the Mexican coast by the Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat).
Where to Stay
From all-inclusive resorts, to intimate bed & breakfasts, to affordable bungalows, there is a broad variety of lodging options in Bucerias.
Bucerias has been a favorite for homeowners for many years, especially when Puerto Vallarta started getting a little too big for some and people started heading north. Real estate development has caught up here, as well, with a number of large developments, primarily for condos or townhouses. The area has strong markets for both homes and condominiums on the beach, hillside and in the towns. Bucerias homes tend to be older, featuring classic Mexican architecture, with some impressive homes along the beach.
Regular Important Events
- Bucerias’ traditional fiestas honoring Nuestra Señora de la Paz (Our Lady of Peace) take place during the month of January during several days, culminating with a grand celebration on January 24.
- Several events related to Riviera Nayarit’s Nautical Extravaganza take place in Bucerias during the month of March.
- The increasingly popular annual kitesurfing competition Festival del Viento (wind festival) takes place during the month of May.
- Bucerias is ideal for seasonal activities, such as whale watching (November – March) and sea turtle rescue efforts (June – December).