Outdoor adventures and cultural experiences abound in Mascota, the beautiful town located an hour and a half away from Puerto Vallarta.

Travelers to the region will love taking a break from the city or their resort to explore more of the region, and Mascota, derived from the native word that means ‘place of deer and snakes,’ will charm any traveler.

It’s been recognized by the Mexican government as a Pueblo Magico, or a Magic Town, for its traditional culture, preserved history and natural beauty. Its main square is always alive with rich vegetation and local musicians, while its Mercado Municipal de Mascota, the local market, offers something delicious to eat for everyone. It’s also a great stop for buying locally made gifts or products.

Near the main plaza, visitors can also see some of the town’s most beautiful architectural wonders, including the Municipal Palace and the baroque-style Nuestra Señora de los Dolores church. Another, el Templo Inconcluso de la Preciosa Sangre, or the Unfinished Temple of the Precious Blood, was a church that has now become a tranquil garden, perfect for a rest among the flowers or taking some photos.

The Archeology Museum in Mascota offers a great introduction to the history of the region, with artifacts displayed from the pre-Columbian site at El Pantano.

Mascota is also a great place to enjoy some of the region’s best outdoor activities, with hiking, fishing and horseback riding. El Rincón de Ixcatán waterfall is about seven miles away from the town and can be a fun place to hike and take a dip in the waters. El Corrinchis Dam is another favorite for swimming, camping and enjoying a relaxing day outdoors.

El Molcajete Volcano and El Malpais Petrified Field make for interesting hikes and explorations around Mexico’s geological past, while bikers and car travelers will love the scenic El Circuito Rural, a 22-mile long road that begins at Mascota, travels through smaller, picturesque villages and ends at the beautiful Lake Juanacatlán, where visitors can enjoy the gorgeous scenery or purchase a spa treatment at the lakeside resort.

For more information about Mascota or Puerto Vallarta’s other incredible nearby towns, please click here.

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