San Sebastian del Oeste Tour Review
This is the second post in my Mexico tour review series, covering tours you can do from Puerto Vallarta. This time I am taking you to the beautiful village of San Sebastian del Oeste for a taste of history of this part of Mexico.
Tour: San Sebastian del Oeste
Tour company: TB Tours
Price: $68 (booked online)
Places visited on the tour:
El Progreso bridge, San Sebastian (including a visit to a coffee plantation and a local silversmith as well as a tour of the village) and a tequila manufacturer.
The tour summed up in just under 2 minutes:
Reasons to do San Sebastian del Oeste tour:
- if you want to visit a less touristy place. Though there are at least two companies operating tours there, the village still has a lovely authentic feel to it and is very quiet.
- if you want to support the local businesses and stock up on great organic coffee and silver jewellery.
- if you are interested in the local culture and history - San Sebastian is one of Mexico's 'Pueblos Magicos'.
Reasons to avoid San Sebastian del Oeste tour:
- if you get carsick easily: this tour does involve a bus trip on a winding mountain road, so those suffering from carsickness might find that rather unpleasant.
- if you want to explore every corner of San Sebastian - outside the guided tour there is not much free time and I would have liked to stay longer to explore the village more.
- On your first stop by the El Progreso bridge you will be given a chance to try a soft taco made in front of you with a choice of toppings - do try one as they are absolutely delicious! There is no fixed price, you can just pay whatever you think is ok.
- Bring plenty of cash - you will have the opportunity to buy coffee, silver jewellery, local food specialities and tequila.
Long review for the nitty-gritty detail:
You get picked up from the hotel by a shuttle bus and then taken to the Puerto Vallarta marina area where people are allocated buses depending on what tour they are doing. I found the pick-ups very handy as for a lot of the tours in Puerto Vallarta you have to make your own way to the main meeting point.
After that, the first (and last) stop before getting to San Sebastian is by the El Progreso bridge, where you can use the toilet and try delicious soft tacos. Toilets are extremely basic, but the location is very picturesque, so it's a lovely photo stop:
In San Sebastian, you get off the bus and go on a walking tour of the village, which starts with a visit to the local coffee plantation, where you learn about the different types of coffee, how the beans grow and get a chance to try and buy locally produced coffee, which we found very tasty. This was the first time for me to see fresh coffee beans straight from the plant:
We enjoyed being there, but as the guide left everyone to their own devices inside and not gave us any meeting time, we managed to lose the group altogether. Luckily the guide noticed we were missing when they left and ran back to find us.
The walking tour is very chilled - you wander towards the main square of San Sebastian, get shown where the lunch break will take place and then you can either wander off on your own and come back for lunch or follow the guide to the local silversmith, which is what we did:
Lunch was delicious and consumed on a shady terrace with a view over the main square. You pre-order the food on the bus from a set of options and we went for two different dishes (beef and a mix), which were both great. The meat was unexpectedly very tender! A soft drink was also included in the price.
You then leave San Sebastian and go to the final stop of the tour - a tequila distillery, where the manufacturing process is explained in great detail before you get to try numerous different types of tequila.
For the keen photographer, this stop also offers great views over El Progreso bridge from the back of the plot:
Here you can also use the toilet, which will be your last chance as after this the bus takes everyone back to their hotels in Puerto Vallarta/Nuevo Vallarta (no shuttle bus involved this time).
For more information and photos of San Sebastian, please visit the 'Puerto Vallarta sights' section of this website.