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The laid back, small village, atmosphere still exists in the outlying areas around Puerto Vallarta. In the Sierras behind Puerto Vallarta are some villages and small towns that are still living the old way. Some have not changed much in the last 100 years. Quiet, uncomplicated and friendly, they are not too easy to reach and that's why they have not changed much today.

Although some can be reached by small plane in as little as 15 min. from Puerto Vallarta airport, to get to them by road can take half a day. The main reason for this is that most are high in the Sierras, up to 6,000 feet. The second reason is that few of the roads are even 2nd class and some bus routes do not even run during the rainy season. In most cases, to reach these places by bus you will have to stay overnight, since the arriving bus will arrive after the return bus has left.
Most were established in the 16th Century by the Spanish, in many cases because of the gold and silver to be mined there. Few of the mines remain today and agriculture is now the main business . Most have one or two hotels and surprisingly pleasant Haciendas are available for accommodation at some places, while at others it maybe necessary to stay at someone's house.

Beyond Yelapa. Apart from Pizota, the only place of any interest still inside the bay is El Chimo, a small fishing village with some wonderful beaches to the east of it. Beyond the bay to the south is a incredible long beach at Mayto and the fishing village of Tehuamixtle.

To the north, outside of the bay, Sayulita is know for surfing and boasts a female surfing school. Beyond several small towns with beaches that are far less comercialised than Puerto Vallarta. Except on Mexican national holidays when they will be very busy. The two weeks of Semana Santa and also at Christmas these beaches will be packed.