December-April - Whale watching
Each winter season a growing number of travelers enjoy excursions to view the migrating Humpback whales in Banderas Bay. From December to April, these gentle giants can be seen breaching out of the water as parents instruct their baby calves in the ways of their watery world. Local eco-tour operators are licensed by the National Environmental Agency to assure respectful watching of these magnificent mammals.
December 1 - 12 - "Guadalupe" Processions
During these twelve days, processions take place to the Guadalupe Processions; during these twelve days, take place to the downtown cathedral that bears the name of the patron saint of both Puerto Vallarta and of Mexico. Guadalupe Day (Día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe), is celebrated on December 12, and almost every business, hotel, restaurant, neighborhood and civic association makes a procession to the church for a special mass they have devoted to the Virgin.
For the larger groups, these processions resemble a small parade, with folkloric dancers, floats, singing and even fireworks following their brief mass. The Tourist Department downtown displays a poster each year listing the day and time of each organization’s scheduled processions.
Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe; this important religious and social holiday marks the anniversary of the day the Virgin Guadalupe made her miraculous appearance to a peasant in Mexico. The processions (see above) culminate on this day. On this day, fireworks abound and the central plaza is filled with people street vendors selling fruits and other local specialties.
This date also marks Puerto Vallarta’s “birthday.” In 1851, Don Guadalupe Sánchez Torres founded Puerto Vallarta, when he brought his family and a few friends to settle in an area alongside the Cuale River.
Guadalupe Day in Quimixto; the small, south shore community of Quimixto pays homage to the Virgin Guadalupe on this eventful day. Baptisms, first communions and sometimes weddings take place within the local community, culminating with a procession of small “flotilla” decorative fishing boats at 10:00 a.m., which makes its way down the shoreline. The women and children that fill the ‘pangas’ sing hymns in the Virgin Guadalupe’s honor.
Anniversary of the foundation of Puerto Vallarta: Special ceremony at the City Hall Council, and Fiesta at the malecon. The founding of Puerto Vallarta by Don Guadalupe Sanchez Torres in 1851.
December 16-24 - Christmas Week
All over Mexico, families, businesses and neighborhoods celebrate the holidays with parties, known as “posadas.” This tradition is a re-enactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for lodging in Bethlehem. Processions are formed to designated houses and carrying candles, the people ask for lodging through a melodic song. The host will refuse several times before finally opening wide the door, signifying the start of the party. The main Christmas celebration is a traditional family dinner on Christmas Eve, followed by Midnight Mass.
Christmas Day (Navidad); religious celebration and national holiday. Banks and public government offices remain closed.
New Year’s Eve generates vibrant fiestas throughout Puerto Vallarta at hotels, nightclubs and homes. In a very special celebration, people get together at the Malecon in Viejo Vallarta, and in Olas Altas Street at Playa de Los Muertos Beach. Special Diners are served in the hotels and fine restaurants. Some of the have live music to dance, if not you will find live music at the latin music night clubs, until 6 A.M.