Festivals and Events in Puerto Vallarta

January

El Día de los Santos Reyes. El Día de los Santos Reyes (January 6) was the day of gift-giving in Latin America until Santa Claus invaded from the North. Although many families now give gifts on Christmas or Christmas Eve, Three Kings Day is still an important celebration. The children receive token "gifts of the Magi." Atole (a drink of finely ground rice or corn) or hot chocolate is served along with the rosca de reyes, a ring-shaped cake. The person whose portion contains a tiny baby Jesus figurine must host a follow-up party on Candlemass, February 2.

February

Festival de Música San Pancho. The four-day Festival de Música San Pancho is an amalgam of the area's best regional musicians; snowbirds also participate. The free jamboree is usually held in mid- to late February. The event has featured bluegrass, blues, jazz, funk, and standards in addition to cumbia and Mexican classics. Look for flyers around town. San Pancho is 50 minutes north of downtown Puerto Vallarta. sanpanchomusicfest.wordpress.com.

Campeonato Nacional Charro Vallarta. Charros (cowboys) from all over Mexico compete in the four-day Campeonato Nacional Charro Vallarta. In addition to men's rope and riding tricks and the female competitors, there are mariachis, a parade, and exhibitions of charro-related art. Admission is $7–$12. or. centrodeeventosvallarta.com.

May

Restaurant Week. Restaurants lower their prices for two weeks at the beginning of low season during Restaurant Week, also known as the May Food Festival.

June

Día de la Marina. June 1 is Día de la Marina. Like other Mexican ports, PV celebrates Navy Day with free boat rides (inquire at the Terminal Marítima or the XII Zona Naval Militar, just to the south). Watch colorfully decorated boats depart to make offerings to sailors lost at sea. Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco.

July and August

San Antonio de Padua. Barra de Navidad celebrates its patron saint, San Antonio de Padua, the week preceding July 13 with religious parades, mass, street parties, and fireworks. Barra de Navidad, Jalisco.

Cristo de los Brazos Caídos. Cristo de los Brazos Caídos is honored August 30–September 1 in much the same way as St. Anthony. Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco.

September

Celebration of Independence. The Celebration of Independence is held on September 15 and 16, beginning on the evening of September 15 with the traditional Grito de Dolores. It translates as "Cry of Pain," but it also references the town of Dolores Hidalgo, where the famous cry for freedom was uttered by priest Miguel Hidalgo. Late in the evening on September 15 there are mariachis, speeches, and other demonstrations of national pride. On September 16, witness parades and charros on horseback through the main streets of town. Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco.

October

Historic Center artWalk. One of the most traditional events in dowtown Vallarta is the Historic Center artWalk which showcases artwork at several dozen galleries. The galleries stay open late, sometimes offering an appetizer or snack, wine, beer, or soft drinks. Browse among the paintings, jewelry, ceramics, glass, and folk art while hobnobbing with some of PV's most respected artists. If you don't have a map, pick one up from one of the perennially participating galleries, which include Galería Whitlow, Corsica, Colectika, Galería Pacífico, Galería Caballito de Mar, PV Santana, The Loft, and Galería de Ollas. This walk is held every Wednesday from 6 pm to 10 pm, from the last week of October until late May. Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. No phone. www.vallartaartwalk.com.

Bucerias Art Walk. North of Nuevo Vallarta, Bucerías Art Walk is on Thursday nights from the last week of October until late April, 7–9 pm. Participating galleries are on Boulevard Lázaro Cárdenas 62 around Calle Galeana. Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. www.thebuceriasartwalk.com.

November and December

International Gourmet Festival. The International Gourmet Festival is one of PV's biggest events. Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. 322/222–2247. www.festivalgourmet.com.

Home Tours. Mid-November through the end of April, three-hour villa tours by the International Friendship Club get you inside the garden walls of some inspiring PV homes. English-speaking guides lead groups on air-conditioned buses Tuesday and Wednesday, from December to March. Tours depart at 10:30 am. Lunch is included. The fee benefits local charities. Calle Olas Altas 513, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. 322/222–5466. ifctoursforvallarta.com. $35.

Fiestas de la Virgen de Guadalupe. Puerto Vallarta's most important celebration of faith—and also one of the most elaborate spectacles of the year—is Fiestas de la Virgen de Guadalupe, designed to honor the Virgin of Guadalupe, the city's patron saint and the patroness of all Mexico. Exuberance fills the air as the end of November approaches and each participating business organizes its own procession. The most elaborate ones include allegorical floats and papier-mâché matachines, or giant dolls (for lack of a better phrase), and culminate in their own private mass. Groups snake down Calle Juárez from the north or the south, ending at the Cathedral in Old Vallarta. El Centro, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. No phone.

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