Semana Santa is the biggest party in Puerto Vallarta, bar none. There are other celebrations, such as El Grito, the commemoration of Mexico’s Independence Day, New Year’s Eve, and the festivities of the Christmas holidays, to name a few. But there is nothing that compares to the influx to Puerto Vallarta for the days surrounding Easter.
Religious content is certainly a factor and churches will be overflowing, people lined up around windows, and pouring out of doors. However what really accounts for the flood of visitors is the long school vacation, this year from April 13 – 28, giving families a total of sixteen days of potential freedom from mundane daily tasks (except for mom, probably.) Not that most families take the full opportunity but by the 18th of April, most folks living in town are going to see a big increase in the usual parking and traffic issues.
There are things one can do to avoid the hubbub, such as leaving town for a couple weeks. That works for some, but not most. So, what to do?
It’s a fact the beaches are packed. It’s a challenge to find a patch of sand in Puerto Vallarta and the same goes for outlying towns and closer areas, such Garza Blanca, Mismaloya, Boca de Tomatlan. We say skip the beach. Get a day pass at one of the many hotels who offer them in Puerto Vallarta; few will be crowded. A day pass is not expensive and is credited toward food and drink as you lounge by the pool.
Gather at friends’ houses, or hang out at the gringo restaurants and cafes, of which there are plenty. Get off the main streets and venture out of town just a little. Pitillal will have more visitors than they commonly do, but stores will be open, whereas if you go further inland, to Guadalajara, for instance, you will find many businesses shuttered, their owners on vacation in Puerto Vallarta.
Stay home, putter around the house, get those things done you’ve been putting off. Go to the vivero (plant nursery), and get some color for the garden. Check out the biblioteca (library), go to the movies, sign up for the yoga class that has been beckoning.
We do recommend stocking up; just to steer clear of long lines, if for no other reason. ATM’s close to the beach will run out of cash. Taxis and Uber will be very busy and slower than normal. Cold beer will become a commodity for a handful of days. The Malecónwon’t be impassable but it will have hundreds, if not thousands more tourists. Wait until after Easter.
The main thing to remember is people coming to Puerto Vallarta over Easter holidays are Mexicans. It’s their country and we’re the visitors.
Que es cómo es.