Festivals, religious events lead off the season


PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico -- As Puerto Vallarta gears up for the fall and winter season, it has scheduled a variety of special events that offer clients a chance to enjoy value-added activities at little or no extra cost.

November is a busy month in Puerto Vallarta, beginning with All Soul's Day and the Day of the Dead, on Nov. 1 and 2. This is the time when Mexicans pay their respects to their departed family members.

Puerto Vallarta's City Hall and the Cultural Center on Rio Cuale island host special exhibitions about the importance of this event.

Other events through the end of the year include the following:

• From Nov. 7 to 23, the seventh annual Puerto Vallarta Art Festival will bring art gallery shows and outdoor theater to the streets and beaches of the city. All events are free to the public.

• Clients interested in fine dining should head down between Nov. 13 and 23, when the ninth annual Puerto Vallarta Gourmet Festival takes place.

The festival features a variety of events and activities, including cooking classes, wine and cheese tasting and special menus prepared by more than 20 local and foreign chefs. The grand finale weekend will include a cocktail party and a farewell party.

• From Nov. 20 to 22, anglers will make an appearance in Puerto Vallarta for the International Sailfish Tournament; prizes are awarded for the largest catches.

• An offbeat race takes place from Nov. 29 to Dec. 6, when the International and National Pigeon Racing Tournament takes to the skies.

The Hotel Molino de Agua, which hosts the event, offers packages for people interested in attending or participating. Call (011) 52-322 222-1957 or visit www.molinodeagua.com.

• Religious events take place between Dec. 1 and 12, when the Guadalupe Processions, which commemorate the Virgin of Guadalupe, are held at the cathedral downtown.

• Guadalupe Day is celebrated on Dec. 12, and the processions include folkloric dancers, floats, singing and fireworks.

This date is also considered the anniversary of the founding of Puerto Vallarta and is marked by a ceremony at City Hall and a waterfront festival.

• Whale-watching season in Puerto Vallarta begins in December, when migrating humpback whales and their calves arrive in Banderas Bay. The season lasts until April.

Clients can book excursions ahead of time (or once they have arrived) with local tour operators, which are licensed by the National Environmental Agency.

For more information about Puerto Vallarta, call (888) 384-6822, or direct at (011) 52-322 224-1175; fax: (011) 52-322 224-0915; Web: www.visitpuertovallarta.com.

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