Increasingly, ATV, dune buggy, and jeep tours are heading for the hills around Puerto Vallarta. Most rides are to small communities, ranches, and rivers north, south, and east of town. Sharing a vehicle with a partner means a significant savings.
You need a valid driver's license and a major credit card. Wear lightweight long pants, sturdy shoes, bandanna (some operators provide one as a keepsake) and/or tight-fitting hat, sunglasses, and both sunscreen and mosquito repellent. In rainy season (July–October) it's hot and wet—ideal for splashing through puddles and streams; the rest of the year is cooler and dustier. In either season, prepare to get dirty. Three- to four-hour tours run $80–$120; full-day trips to San Sebastián cost about $165 for one rider or $175 for two.
If you plan to gulp rather than sip on a tequila-tasting tour, please strongly consider riding two per ATV and designating one person as the day's driver. Doubling up is usually also the bargain rental option.
Adventure ATV Jungle Treks. This company leads daily ATV tours ($75 to 165$) that head into the hills behind Vallarta, Sayulita or beyond. Those that stop at Rancho Las Pilas include a brief tequila-making tour and tasting, but lunch there is optional and not included in the price. A four-hour tour combines this ATV trek with a canopy tour through River Canopy, along the Cuale River ($135 for one rider, $190 for two). Dune buggies and Polaris RZR tours are also available, and now there is also a convenient branch in Bucerias if you're based in Nuevo Vallarta or Bucerias itself. Calle Basilio Badillo 400, Zona Romántica, Puerto Vallarta, 48380. 322/222-8944. www.wildtreksadventures.com/.