North Americans and Europeans flock to Mexico in droves every year to enjoy their vacation. Beautiful beaches, intensely sunny skies, and crisp blue ocean surroundings make this country the ultimate getaway destination. Vacationers looking for a deal are also attracted to Mexico’s affordability. All-inclusive resorts, luxury vacation packages, and first-class hotels provide the high-end food and accommodations that lead people to this large piece of paradise. Fortunately, there’s also room and a market to experience Mexico on a budget for travelers wanting to encounter the real Mexico while getting some of the sun and beach enjoyed by vacationers.
Mexico On A Budget: Rincon de Guayabitos
The small western seaside town of Rincon de Guayabitos, located approximately 45 miles (70km) north of Puerto Vallarta (a 70-minute drive), is ideal for the serious traveler who also wants a bit of the vacation experience. This friendly beach oasis has recently become more and more popular with foreign vacationers and is also a hotspot for Mexicans looking for a little getaway. Rincon de Guayabitos is a pleasant, affordable, and inviting slice of Mexico that is often overshadowed by its more popular (and much more expensive) nearby neighbor, Sayulita.
Change is coming to this beautiful area but it still feels like a ‘well-kept-secret’ that you need to enjoy while you can.
Situated on the picturesque Jaltemba Bay, Rincon de Guayabitos comes with a near perfect two kilometer stretch of white sand beach. The beachfront area hosts a myriad of bars, restaurants, and hotels. Beach vendors have set up shop in hopes of catching the tourist dollar but they’re generally friendly and will take “No, gracias.” for an answer. The waters of Jaltemba Bay are calm and swimmable with easy going waves that almost anyone can enjoy. Sorry, HangTen. Your surfboard won’t be needed here.
Just a short walk from the beach takes you to the town’s main street, Avenido del Sol Nuevo. It hosts even more affordable hotels, resorts, and restaurants. Grocery stores, convenience stores, and souvenir/trinket shops also line this street providing any and everything a weary traveler or vacationer may need.
Restaurants in the area are numerous. There’s a whole lot of authentic Mexican food with some western style cuisine mixed in. There’s a Subway Sandwich Shop for the tourist missing home and there’s Guayabitos Restaurant if you’re craving Mexican, looking to splurge (a little), and wanting a million dollar view.
Guayabitos may not be a large town but a number of restaurant choices will have you thinking you should have skipped the all-inclusive resort. Get here and enjoy the authentic Mexican food before McDonalds and Burger King move in!
Accommodations are generally cheap throughout Guayabitos, making it a prime destination to experience Mexico on a budget, with prices ranging from 20-40 US dollars a night. Many hotel rooms come with kitchenettes so coffee and breakfast can be made as you wake up from your tequila hangover.
Due to recent increases in popularity, vacationers and tourists are finding that they’re needing to book hotels earlier and earlier during the peak season (November to March) to secure a place to stay. The construction and expansion of apartments and hotels are noticeable as the word is slowly spreading about this little paradise on Mexico’s west coast.
Things To Do In Rincon de Guayabitos:
Enjoy Some Seaside Fun In The Sun
The ocean is the ultimate playground in Rincon de Guayabitos. The nearby Coral Island (Isla Coral) is ideal for diving and fishing. Charters head to the island regularly for snorkeling, fishing, and party tours. Grab a few snacks and cervezas to enjoy a picnic on the island while watching pelicans awkwardly dive bomb into the water. From August to January, watch local sea turtle conservations release baby turtles into the ocean. Various whales migrate through the area off Jaltemba Bay and tours can be easily purchased on the beach, through your hotel, or simply by asking a local taxi driver or shop owner. Humpbacks can often be seen right from the beach as they spend the winter in the warmer oceans of Mexico.
Visit The Church Of Our Lady Of Perpetual Help
Located on Avenido del Sol Nuevo is Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro (The Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help). Whether religious or not, this building is a small artistic delight that welcomes all. The stained glass windows and its circular shape give this church an architectural character that locals are most proud of. Mass is held every Saturday and Sunday as well as the first day of every month.
Explore Nearby Towns
Rincon de Guayabitos is the second of three consecutive seaside towns on Jaltemba Bay. To the south is the small town of Los Ayala. To the north is the larger and more urban city of La Penita.
Drive or take a taxi for less than ten minutes south to get to Los Ayala. This friendly rustic town has a gorgeous beachfront area featuring much of the same amenities as Rincon de Guayabitos on a smaller scale. Less traffic with more back roads makes Los Ayala a great area to explore on foot for a half day. The main beach of Playa del Beso is very popular with locals on the weekends so stake claim to your spot early. Enjoy a swim in the ocean before dining on fresh seafood, tacos, and cervezas followed by an afternoon siesta to get the authentic Mexican experience.
Walk north along the beach or take an eight-minute drive and you’ll find La Peñita. If you’re tired of the slow, quiet, laid back happenings of Guayabitos, this is the place you want to be. Traffic congestion, crowds, and the nearby highway gives this town a near city feel and sound. This relatively large urban center has the area’s public services such as hospitals, clinics, a post office, a library, and financial institutions (banks, ATMs, etc.). Stores, cafés, restaurants, and hotels are all here to meet your needs. Like Los Ayala and Guayabitos, the main attraction is the beachfront area. La Peñita created the beachfront malecón (boardwalk) in 2013 which is a gathering place for tourists and locals alike. The area is perfect for events, festivals, and local merchants. The popular Tianguis market occurs every Thursday for those looking for fresh foods, homemade crafts, or locally made clothing. Come prepared to haggle and barter with your best broken Spanish. Por favor!
Rincon de Guayabitos is a hidden gem in Mexico’s collection of getaway hot spots. Affordable accommodations make Jaltemba Bay’s middle town the perfect spot for the conscious traveler or deal-seeking vacationer who want to experience real Mexico on a budget.
An abundance of authentic Mexican and fusion restaurants make meal time varied, fresh, and delicious while not breaking the bank.
The beach and ocean provide the perfect playground under the Mexican sun that everyone (except the hardcore surfers) can enjoy.
Don’t miss the chance to take short jaunts to nearby Los Ayala or La Peñita to change things up, find your own adventure, and take advantage of the additional available amenities.
Get to Jaltemba Bay soon as construction continues and the secret is getting out. Visit Guayabitos while the affordability, charm and Mexican authenticity are still intact.
How To Get To Rincon de Guayabitos
Rincon de Guayabitos is in Riviera Nayarit north of Puerto Vallarta. Catch a taxi from Puerto Vallarta Airport (avoiding “taxi drivers” in the airport trying to sell you on timeshare presentations). Go through the glass doors to legitimate taxi stands. Decide on the price with the driver before entering a taxi.
The taxi ride is approximately one and a bit hours on Highway 200. The cost can vary between 800 and 1600 pesos ($45-90 USD) although that can change regularly. There are options via bus but do require that you take a taxi to the main Puerto Vallarta bus station.
Author’s Favourite Travel Gear
Sigvaris Cotton 230 Men’s Compression Socks 20-30mmHg: Long flights increase the risk of blood clots in the legs. Sometimes it’s difficult to get up and move around as much I need to. That’s where my Sigvaris gradual compression socks come in. They reduce my risk of clots and promote venous return when sitting. Get up and walk around, do foot/calf exercises, and find a good pair of compression socks says this traveling R.N.
Sony NWZ-B183F B183F Flash MP3 Player with Built-in FM Tuner (4GB): The compact and easy to use Sony Walkman MP3 Player is a staple when I travel. It’s perfect for working out, running, or taking a long walk while not being near as bulky as my cell phone.
YogiOnTheGo Eco-Friendly Folding Yoga Mats From Clever Yoga: This machine washable yoga mat goes with me everywhere. Perfect for a few downward dogs or a light stretch while also being a make-shift mattress when the floor or ground is the available sleeping space.