Into the Mountains
Although the little mountain enclaves of San Sebastián, Mascota, and Talpa are, as the bird flies, not very far from Puerto Vallarta, they are a world apart from the coast and very distinct from each other. All are accessible directly from Puerto Vallarta by highway or horseback, or light-airplane charter flights.
San Sebastián is a half-forgotten former mining town, with a noble plaza and fine colonial-era houses and buildings, notably the Hacienda Jalisco, that appear as they did a century and a half ago. Some old mines, now in ruins, can still be visited, preferably in the company of local guides. Guides can also lead you on foot or horseback through verdant mountain country for day-trip explorations or to overnight campsites. There you can enjoy the sunset, relax around an evening campfire, savor the forest’s quiet natural sounds, and marvel at the brilliance of a truly dark night sky.
Mascota, the hub of a rich farm valley, enfolded by lush pine- and oak-forested ridges, is a departure point for outdoor excursions and explorations of the idyllic villages of Yerbabuena, Cimarrón Chico, and Navidad and the pristine high-sierra Laguna Juanacatlán.
Talpa, tucked in its own lush valley, is famous throughout Mexico for its colorful village ambience. Its towering baroque basilica and surrounding plaza are magnets for hosts of visitors who flock to pay respects to the adored Virgin of Talpa, one of the renowned “Three Sisters” virgins of Mexico.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Puerto Vallarta, 7th edition