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January 1 – New Year’s Day (Año Nuevo)
Take a stroll along El Malecon and enjoy all the different events, at night there’ll be fireworks and ships in the Bay.
DECEMBER – MID-MARCH
Whale watching: Each winter season a growing number of tourists and locals enjoy tours that take them out to see the migrating Humpback whales in Banderas Bay.
From December to April, these gentle giants can be seen breaching out of the water as parents instruct their baby calves in the ways of their watery world.
Local eco-tour operators are licensed by the National Environmental Agency to assure respectful watching of these magnificent mammals.
February 5 – Anniversary of the Mexican Constitution
National holiday and parade
February 14 – Friendship Day (Día de Amistad – Valentine’s Day)
In Mexico, not just love, but friendship, as well, is celebrated on February 14. Most local restaurants have special menus and live music to dance to in night clubs.
February 24 – Day of the Mexican Flag.
First Tuesday – Carnaval Day
Party with masks, kids parade in the streets.
April 30 – Día del Niño (Children’s Day)
Local children participate in a parade on streets and enjoy the party.
May Cultural Festival (Festival Cultural de Mayo)
Every year the local government organizes the “Festival Cultural de Mayo”, with events and activities all through the month. Important local, national and international artists (painters, musicians, actors, etc.) participate in various concerts, events and happenings all over the city and the surroundings.
Puerto Vallarta International Sports Classic
Various sports events are held around town. Exact dates vary, but always held in May.Click here for more info on the XXV Anniversary Version of the Sports Classic in PV.
Fiestas de Mayo (May Fiestas, most of May)
Traditional fair throughout the month, complete with games and attractions, livestock, exhibits, food, drinks and entertainment. It is held in an open field in the charming neighborhood of El Pitillal; across from the cruise ship terminal.
May- December Sea Turtle Preservation Months. Turtle Preservation Program
Puerto Vallarta has implemented a community-wide preservation program that combines protected nurseries for turtle eggs, plus educational projects. Turtle liberation ceremonies are held daily during the season at participating hotel beaches. In addition, Vallarta eco-tour operators host nighttime tours to research camps designed to protect the eggs where visitors witness sea turtles laying eggs in their natural habitat and the release of the baby turtles as they make their initial voyage to the sea. Puerto Vallarta’s coastline is among the most important breeding grounds in the world for numerous endangered species of sea turtles. The Puerto Vallarta Sea Turtle Protection Project is a joint effort of the Puerto Vallarta Hotel Association, city government and federal authorities.
June 1, Navy Day (Día de la Marina)
A Mexican National event since 1942, it’s held in memory of those that June 1, 1917 sailed out in the ship “Tabasco” in Veracruz, the first Mexican merchant ship. This day, in all Mexican harbors, they honor the sailors that have lost their lives in duty, not only in battle, but all activities related to the sea.
The event is mainly held at sea with all the city’s Navy ships in an offshore parade, they are followed by tour boats and fishermen that then hold a ceremony to honor navy personnel.
All fishermen towns in the area also hold their own special celebrations out to see and it their towns, you can enjoy this more traditional event for example in Yelapa.
July to December – Turtle release programs at many hotels in Puerto Vallarta.
Turtle release programs at many hotels in Puerto Vallarta.
Fiestas Patrias! Mexico’s independence
Commemorated during the month of September, with the famed Independence Eve celebration taking place on the 15th. On this night, the central plaza is filled with revelers participating in the traditional “grito”, or Cry for Independence. The following day is a national holiday, celebrated with a parade through the center of town and continuing festivities.
September 14 – Charro Day. Mexican Charros (Mexican cowboys) Mexican Cowboys parade through town in morning (beginning at 10:00 am) wearing traditional charro outfits with beautifully decorated jackets, pants and sombreros. Their finely brushed horses are decked with their best equipment. Festivities continue throughout the day and evening at various charro rings, celebrations include bullfights, calf roping, traditional Mexican food and dancing.
September 15 – Independence Eve
On this night, the central plaza is filled with revelers participating in the traditional “el grito”, or cry for independence. Led by the Mayor from the balcony in City Hall, it is preceded by the lighting of the flame of independence and a parade through the center of town. Then, at 11:00 p.m., the cry “Viva Mexico” is made, followed by an impressive fireworks display. Food stands, music and folkloric dance performances are also part of the festivities. Special celebrations and live music to dance to in nightclubs.
September 16 – Independence day
The festivities continue on Independence Day, a national holiday celebrated by more brilliant fireworks and a parade that winds through the center of town.
October – May Art Walk
Wednesday evenings, Puerto Vallarta’s galleries stay open late and offer refreshments so that patrons can take a lovely walk through the streets admiring amazing paintings, sculptures and other artwork while enjoying appetizers and wine. The galleries participating in this self-guided tour change every year, so visit the official site to review the current years’ schedule and participants. http://www.vallartaartwalk.com
October 31- Halloween
In Mexico you’ll also find costume parties, and trick and treats. Local custom dictates that costumes be on the ghoulish side, and local discos offer cash prizes up into the thousand-dollar range. The real bewitching hour, however, comes later with the day of the Dead
November 1 – All Soul’s Day (Día de Todos Santos)
On this day, Mexicans pay homage to the souls of the children who have passed on. Tradition states that the departed descend from the heavens on this day, so family members prepare for their arrival by leaving sugar skeletons, skulls and treats on altars custom-designed for the occasion. Each year City Hall offers a special alter exhibition, as does the Cultural Center on Rio Cuale Island. Restaurants, nightclubs and stores also create altars.
November 2 – Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos)
Families hold a graveside vigil on this night, or at least leave their favorite food and drink (usually tequila) on a special alter constructed in their home or on the tomb of their departed ancestors. Bakeries are filled with sweets shaped in the symbols of death, and flowers and memorials fill the cemetery. Particularly popular are marigolds, the sacred Aztec flower that represents death.
Copa Vallarta (Vallarta Cup) Golf Tournament
This annual program golf event is held at El Tigre and Vista Vallarta with a purse of thousands of dollars and other prizes including Swing Vallarta. www.vallartagolf.com
Puerto Vallarta Art Festival
Each November, the exceptional Festival de las Artes takes place, featuring a month-long series of art gallery shows and open-air, beachside theater performances. An impressive range of artwork is displayed from artists throughout Mexico. All events are free to the public.
Festival Gourmet Internacional de Puerto Vallarta
Mexico’s premier culinary event is the annual Puerto Vallarta Gourmet Festival, over a period of 10 days. It serves to showcase a blend of culinary talents between the local chefs at participating restaurants and over 20 guest chefs from internationally acclaimed restaurants and hotels throughout the world. The Epicurean fete features gourmet cooking classes, sunset wine tasting and special gourmet menus at all participating venues available to diners only during the festival. Founded in 1995, the festival has continued to attract thousands of attendees each year. www.festivalgourmet.com
November 20th – Mexican Revolution Anniversary. A parade through the center of town marks the anniversary celebration of the Revolution of 1910-1917.
International Fishing Tournament Marlin & Sailfish Mid-End of November
The state of Jalisco’s renowned International Sailfish Tournament (Torneo Internacional Jalisco Pez Vela) one of the most prestigious and taditional national and international tournament on the West Coast. Hosts hundreds of coastal and inland fishermen from across the globe to Puerto Vallarta.
Anglers compete for the fish in Vallarta’s picturesque Banderas Bay. Prizes are awarded to the boat with the largest sailfish, marlin, wahoo and dorado caught (that comply with local regulations).
The event takes place over a weekend in mid-November annually. www.fishvallarta.com
Surf Classic in Sayulita
This annual event for surfers draws people from all over the world to this major surfing destination in Sayulita. www.sayulitalife.com
December 1 – 12 “Guadalupe” Processions.
During these twelve days, processions take place to the Guadalupe Processions; during these twelve days, take place to the downtown cathedral that bears the name of the patron saint of both Puerto Vallarta and of Mexico. Guadalupe Day (Día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe), is celebrated on December 12, and almost every business, hotel, restaurant, neighborhood and civic association makes a procession to the church for a special mass they have devoted to the Virgin. These processions resemble a small parade, with folkloric dancers, floats, singing and even fireworks following their brief mass.
December 12 – Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe
This important religious and social holiday marks the anniversary of the day the Virgin Guadalupe made her miraculous appearance to a peasant in Mexico. The processions culminate on this day. On this day, fireworks abound and the central plaza is filled with people street vendors selling fruits and other local specialties.
December 12 – Guadalupe Day in Quimixto
The small, south shore community of Quimixto pays homage to the Virgin Guadalupe on this eventful day. Baptisms, first communions and sometimes weddings take place within the local community, culminating with a procession of small “flotilla” decorative fishing boats at 10:00 a.m., which makes its way down the shoreline. The women and children that fill the ‘pangas’ sing hymns in the Virgin Guadalupe’s honor.
December 12 – Anniversary of the foundation of Puerto Vallarta
Special ceremony at the City Hall Council, and Fiesta at the malecon. The founding of Puerto Vallarta by Don Guadalupe Sanchez Torres in 1851.
December 16 – December 24 – Christmas Week.
All over Mexico, families, businesses and neighborhoods celebrate the holidays with parties, known as “posadas.” This tradition is a re-enactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for lodging in Bethlehem. Processions are formed to designated houses and carrying candles, the people ask for lodging through a melodic song. The host will refuse several times before finally opening wide the door, signifying the start of the party. The main Christmas celebration is a traditional Mexican family dinner on Christmas Eve, followed by Midnight Mass.
December 31 – New Year’s Eve
There are vibrant fiestas throughout Puerto Vallarta at hotels, nightclubs and homes. In a very special celebration, people get together at the Malecon in Viejo Vallarta, and in Olas Altas Street at Playa de Los Muertos Beach. Special dinners are served in restaurants.
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