Villa Nellcote Guidebook

Maisie

Villa Nellcote Guidebook

Food scene
A spinoff of the very successful La Docena in Guadalajara. Great oysters and grilled meats. The cooking here is excellent and you won't find a better chocolate clam (called that for the color, there is no actual chocolate involved). Great people watching on the Malecon, sunset view, and sometimes you're lucky enough to see whales.
Oyster Grill de La Docena
610 Paseo Díaz Ordaz
A spinoff of the very successful La Docena in Guadalajara. Great oysters and grilled meats. The cooking here is excellent and you won't find a better chocolate clam (called that for the color, there is no actual chocolate involved). Great people watching on the Malecon, sunset view, and sometimes you're lucky enough to see whales.
The best fish tacos in the world. Period. A declaration made by multiple world class chefs. Homemade tortillas. These ladies really know how to fry. Pescado o camerones, both are great. Also try the crab tostadas. Lunch only, close at 6pm.
25
locals recommend
Marisma Fish Taco
320 Naranjo
25
locals recommend
The best fish tacos in the world. Period. A declaration made by multiple world class chefs. Homemade tortillas. These ladies really know how to fry. Pescado o camerones, both are great. Also try the crab tostadas. Lunch only, close at 6pm.
You could get a quesobirria here long before it became trendy in the US but also try the adobado as not every stand has it.
Tacos El Moreno
343 Calle Francisco I. Madero
You could get a quesobirria here long before it became trendy in the US but also try the adobado as not every stand has it.
A sit down restaurant with excellent el pastor. They'll bring a little stand to your table with six salsas ranging from mild to blow your head off. If you're feeling really indulgent, go for the queso fundido too.
Taqueria Las Güeras
A sit down restaurant with excellent el pastor. They'll bring a little stand to your table with six salsas ranging from mild to blow your head off. If you're feeling really indulgent, go for the queso fundido too.
A stand on the street with a full service restaurant beside it. Great seafood including a really special seafood rellano which isn't on the menu but they'll make it if you ask. Good aguachiles as well. Note that they're closed Tuesdays and close at 8pm (very early for PV).
7
locals recommend
Mariscos Cisneros
271 Aguacate
7
locals recommend
A stand on the street with a full service restaurant beside it. Great seafood including a really special seafood rellano which isn't on the menu but they'll make it if you ask. Good aguachiles as well. Note that they're closed Tuesdays and close at 8pm (very early for PV).
This place looks a little new and slick but don't let that fool you. The el pastor is the real deal and the drinks are delicious. It's often our first night's meal when we land. Try the tacos Sonora style and the Michelada (usually we get cielo rojo but here the plain michelada is outstanding).
9
locals recommend
Sonorita Olas Altas
234 Pino Suárez
9
locals recommend
This place looks a little new and slick but don't let that fool you. The el pastor is the real deal and the drinks are delicious. It's often our first night's meal when we land. Try the tacos Sonora style and the Michelada (usually we get cielo rojo but here the plain michelada is outstanding).
Go here for one thing - the chiles en nogada. Can't vouch for the rest of the menu but this stuffed chile (your choice of beef, shrimp, or vegetarian), with a white creme sauce, and pomegranate seeds is worth a visit. Friendly service.
Restaurant Adobes
Go here for one thing - the chiles en nogada. Can't vouch for the rest of the menu but this stuffed chile (your choice of beef, shrimp, or vegetarian), with a white creme sauce, and pomegranate seeds is worth a visit. Friendly service.
Really interesting and delicious appetizers. They're all good but the papadzules is special - corn tortillas stuffed with hard boiled eggs in a pumpkin seed sauce. Yep, you read that right. Hard boiled eggs. As for entrees, the cochinita pibil is our favorite but we usually make a meal out of multiple apps and a salad.
11
locals recommend
Merida Grill comida yucateca
210 Venustiano Carranza
11
locals recommend
Really interesting and delicious appetizers. They're all good but the papadzules is special - corn tortillas stuffed with hard boiled eggs in a pumpkin seed sauce. Yep, you read that right. Hard boiled eggs. As for entrees, the cochinita pibil is our favorite but we usually make a meal out of multiple apps and a salad.
When we fell in love with el pastor over a decade ago, this was a favorite. Well it's many people's favorite now and the line is often around the block. Your call as to whether the wait is worth it given other great el pastor options in town.
76
locals recommend
Pancho's Takos
162 Basilio Badillo
76
locals recommend
When we fell in love with el pastor over a decade ago, this was a favorite. Well it's many people's favorite now and the line is often around the block. Your call as to whether the wait is worth it given other great el pastor options in town.
A modern take on Mexican ingredients and a bit more upscale than most of our recommendations and in a really cool up and coming neighborhood. It's worth the trip out of the Zona Romantica. The bar specializes in cocktails made with raicilla, the state of Jalisco's version of mezcal. It's the new trendy, hipster Mexican spirit. (note that the photo included was auto-added by Airbnb and is out of date. The patio is much nicer now)
28
locals recommend
Barrio Bistro
305 España
28
locals recommend
A modern take on Mexican ingredients and a bit more upscale than most of our recommendations and in a really cool up and coming neighborhood. It's worth the trip out of the Zona Romantica. The bar specializes in cocktails made with raicilla, the state of Jalisco's version of mezcal. It's the new trendy, hipster Mexican spirit. (note that the photo included was auto-added by Airbnb and is out of date. The patio is much nicer now)
We love ice cream! Much of the ice cream in town tends to have large ice crystals. Not Lix. Creamy and full of flavor. They specialize in ice creams made of Mexican chocolate but also have salted caramel and a yummy roasted cherry. There are is a new location on the Malecon but we haven't tried it.
7
locals recommend
Lix Homemade Ice Cream
168C Basilio Badillo
7
locals recommend
We love ice cream! Much of the ice cream in town tends to have large ice crystals. Not Lix. Creamy and full of flavor. They specialize in ice creams made of Mexican chocolate but also have salted caramel and a yummy roasted cherry. There are is a new location on the Malecon but we haven't tried it.
Smoked marlin tacos and a delicious consommé called salta pa'tras. The smoked fish is almost like ham.
6
locals recommend
Mariscos La Tía
215 Calle Honduras
6
locals recommend
Smoked marlin tacos and a delicious consommé called salta pa'tras. The smoked fish is almost like ham.
The only place we're recommending outside of PV proper... Makai will blow your mind. Unassuming, on the side of the highway, but truly original and delicious. The chef/owner brings ingredients from his garden, treats them with care, and is making some of the most interesting food we've had in the region (tuna cured like prosciutto anyone?). The trick about the location is that it's across the street from the entrance to La Lancha, one of the best surf spots in the area, so the hours are 12-6 to allow the owner to surf before and after service.
Makai Restaurant
The only place we're recommending outside of PV proper... Makai will blow your mind. Unassuming, on the side of the highway, but truly original and delicious. The chef/owner brings ingredients from his garden, treats them with care, and is making some of the most interesting food we've had in the region (tuna cured like prosciutto anyone?). The trick about the location is that it's across the street from the entrance to La Lancha, one of the best surf spots in the area, so the hours are 12-6 to allow the owner to surf before and after service.
Part of Versalles burgeoning food scene, the chef/owner makes fresh, modern food (mole chilaquiles, veggie bowls, etc) and his wife has a boutique in the back with fresh, modern clothes (linen separates and jewelry). Everything is created onsite - food and clothing! At last check, they are open for brunch Tuesday - Sunday 9-4 and dinner Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 6-11. https://www.facebook.com/chacocinalibre/
10
locals recommend
Cha'
167 Hamburgo
10
locals recommend
Part of Versalles burgeoning food scene, the chef/owner makes fresh, modern food (mole chilaquiles, veggie bowls, etc) and his wife has a boutique in the back with fresh, modern clothes (linen separates and jewelry). Everything is created onsite - food and clothing! At last check, they are open for brunch Tuesday - Sunday 9-4 and dinner Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 6-11. https://www.facebook.com/chacocinalibre/
David's favorite taco in town. They steam the meat with aromatics, not greasy. Head and tongue by request. Open nighttime only.
Tacos de Cabeza el Chulo
263-209 Aguacate
David's favorite taco in town. They steam the meat with aromatics, not greasy. Head and tongue by request. Open nighttime only.
Fresh churros! You'll see him extrude the dough, cut with a large knife, fry, and toss in cinnamon sugar. Then tell him how many you'd like and he'll bag them up. Evenings usually until 9pm.
The Churros Guy
216 Aguacate
Fresh churros! You'll see him extrude the dough, cut with a large knife, fry, and toss in cinnamon sugar. Then tell him how many you'd like and he'll bag them up. Evenings usually until 9pm.
Caribbean curry, chicken wings, oxtail, and amazing potatoes. Plus a pet pig! Yes, pig… Tako Pigman (he’s on Instagram too)
Oregano Caribbean Cuisine
130 Aldanaca
Caribbean curry, chicken wings, oxtail, and amazing potatoes. Plus a pet pig! Yes, pig… Tako Pigman (he’s on Instagram too)
This is a casual sit down, family run place for tacos dorados (crispy) and enchiladas. Everything is good but the tacos with papas (potatoes) are really special. Mashed potatoes in a fried taco shell! Also try the picadillo (shredded beef).
Doña Chela
430 Venustiano Carranza
This is a casual sit down, family run place for tacos dorados (crispy) and enchiladas. Everything is good but the tacos with papas (potatoes) are really special. Mashed potatoes in a fried taco shell! Also try the picadillo (shredded beef).
Birria, just birria, nothing else. In a bowl or a taco. Unctuous! (Breakfast or early lunch only - birria is a morning thing)
Birria Robles
264 Calle Constitución
Birria, just birria, nothing else. In a bowl or a taco. Unctuous! (Breakfast or early lunch only - birria is a morning thing)
A special treat - hike or boat in only. 3 seatings 11, 1, and 3, must have a reservation, and cash only. Good food, fantastic experience. Be sure to read all the info they provide on their website about getting there. Hike starts from Boca de Tomatlan - you’ll have to go away from the ocean, up the river to get a foot bridge and then follow the only path you see back towards the ocean and about 30-40 minutes to the restaurant. Take the boat back to Boca de Tomatlan.
23
locals recommend
Ocean Grill Vallarta
23
locals recommend
A special treat - hike or boat in only. 3 seatings 11, 1, and 3, must have a reservation, and cash only. Good food, fantastic experience. Be sure to read all the info they provide on their website about getting there. Hike starts from Boca de Tomatlan - you’ll have to go away from the ocean, up the river to get a foot bridge and then follow the only path you see back towards the ocean and about 30-40 minutes to the restaurant. Take the boat back to Boca de Tomatlan.
Puerto Vallarta’s take on fine dining. Great wine list, solid cooking, the rabbit dish is a favorite.
24
locals recommend
Trio Restaurant Bar Cafe
264 Gurrero
24
locals recommend
Puerto Vallarta’s take on fine dining. Great wine list, solid cooking, the rabbit dish is a favorite.
Necessities
The Zona Romántica is full of little pharmacies but this is the largest in the area.
20
locals recommend
Farmacia Guadalajara
20
locals recommend
The Zona Romántica is full of little pharmacies but this is the largest in the area.
Yep, there's a Costco here
41
locals recommend
Costco Wholesale
134 Av Fluvial Vallarta
41
locals recommend
Yep, there's a Costco here
Renting a car in Mexico can be leave you feeling like you've been cheated. There's always a big push to upsell insurance and it's not clear what you really need. Gecko is not like that at all. Clear pricing, multiple drivers allowed, great VIP taxi service from the airport, and they rent soft racks in you want to transport a surfboard. https://geckorentcar.com/car-rental-puerto-vallarta/
Gecko Rent a Car
140 Las Palmas
Renting a car in Mexico can be leave you feeling like you've been cheated. There's always a big push to upsell insurance and it's not clear what you really need. Gecko is not like that at all. Clear pricing, multiple drivers allowed, great VIP taxi service from the airport, and they rent soft racks in you want to transport a surfboard. https://geckorentcar.com/car-rental-puerto-vallarta/
The best supermarket is La Comer. It is across the road from Costco. It is customary to tip the person who bags your groceries a small amount (5 pesos). Bring shopping bags as they’ll charge you for reusables. We’ve got some in one of the kitchen drawers. You will need a taxi to go there. You can also order online at lacomer.com.mx if you can manage the Spanish.
32
locals recommend
La Comer Fluvial
32
locals recommend
The best supermarket is La Comer. It is across the road from Costco. It is customary to tip the person who bags your groceries a small amount (5 pesos). Bring shopping bags as they’ll charge you for reusables. We’ve got some in one of the kitchen drawers. You will need a taxi to go there. You can also order online at lacomer.com.mx if you can manage the Spanish.
Best wine and liquor store in the Zona Romantica
10
locals recommend
Vinos América Basilio Badillo (Puerto Vallarta)
284 Basilio Badillo
10
locals recommend
Best wine and liquor store in the Zona Romantica
Recommendation from previous owner: Baca’s is the best fruit and vegetable store. They have everything: butter, milk, eggs, organic coffee and other necessities. They also have local artisan breads and baguettes. But you should stop by before noon to make sure you get some. Around the corner to the right on Camuchin is a tienda that sells good fresh chicken and chorizo, the Mexican sausage used in quesadillas and served with eggs. There is a good tortilla tienda on the outside southeast corner of the Mercado on Camuchin. There is a good butcher on the outside of the Market on Lazaro Cardenas (next block from Baca’s) who will make up an arrechera for you. This is a skirt steak that is marinated and tenderized naturally. This is usually served with guacamole and salsa Mexicana (aka pico de gallo). And there is a small tienda that sells locally-caught fish and shrimp.
Baca Market
502 Lázaro Cárdenas
Recommendation from previous owner: Baca’s is the best fruit and vegetable store. They have everything: butter, milk, eggs, organic coffee and other necessities. They also have local artisan breads and baguettes. But you should stop by before noon to make sure you get some. Around the corner to the right on Camuchin is a tienda that sells good fresh chicken and chorizo, the Mexican sausage used in quesadillas and served with eggs. There is a good tortilla tienda on the outside southeast corner of the Mercado on Camuchin. There is a good butcher on the outside of the Market on Lazaro Cardenas (next block from Baca’s) who will make up an arrechera for you. This is a skirt steak that is marinated and tenderized naturally. This is usually served with guacamole and salsa Mexicana (aka pico de gallo). And there is a small tienda that sells locally-caught fish and shrimp.
The least expensive test we’ve found in the Zona Romántica. I recommend you contact them on WhatsApp and make an appointment. They process the tests offsite so it takes about 5 hours to get the results. They’ll email you and you can stop back by if you prefer to have a print out.
Laboratorio San Pablo Sucursal Emiliano Zapata.
277 Lázaro Cárdenas
The least expensive test we’ve found in the Zona Romántica. I recommend you contact them on WhatsApp and make an appointment. They process the tests offsite so it takes about 5 hours to get the results. They’ll email you and you can stop back by if you prefer to have a print out.
You can get COVID tests at the airport but the least expensive place is Farmacias del Ahorro in the Marina across from Starbucks. It's 299 pesos + tax. You get results in about 15 minutes. Sometimes it’s super easy and they let you just walk in and get online. Sometimes they insist on pre-registration https://www.fahorro.com/prueba_antigenos?utm_source=HomeFahorro&utm_medium=slider/ or Click a QR code posted at the store to register. Note option for English but know most staff doesn’t speak English, the site is buggy, and service from staff is hit or miss. Our routine is to go in the morning at 9am & have breakfast at nearby Ibarra Light if there is a waiting list.m
FARMACIAS DEL AHORRO
You can get COVID tests at the airport but the least expensive place is Farmacias del Ahorro in the Marina across from Starbucks. It's 299 pesos + tax. You get results in about 15 minutes. Sometimes it’s super easy and they let you just walk in and get online. Sometimes they insist on pre-registration https://www.fahorro.com/prueba_antigenos?utm_source=HomeFahorro&utm_medium=slider/ or Click a QR code posted at the store to register. Note option for English but know most staff doesn’t speak English, the site is buggy, and service from staff is hit or miss. Our routine is to go in the morning at 9am & have breakfast at nearby Ibarra Light if there is a waiting list.m
Drinks
Dive bar in the best way possible.
Pinocho's bar
Dive bar in the best way possible.
Great cocktails. They do a tiki night that includes a really skillfully made mai tai. While it’s not on the menu on other evenings, they’ll make it by request. You might catch a film as the project old movies on the wall of their covered rooftop bar. Seems to be a hangout for salty ex-pats and an interesting mature crowd.
7
locals recommend
Twisted Palms Rooftop Lounge
228 Ignacio L. Vallarta
7
locals recommend
Great cocktails. They do a tiki night that includes a really skillfully made mai tai. While it’s not on the menu on other evenings, they’ll make it by request. You might catch a film as the project old movies on the wall of their covered rooftop bar. Seems to be a hangout for salty ex-pats and an interesting mature crowd.
Opened in December 2021, this cafe by day and wine bar by night is a great find. Very reasonably priced wine, friendly and informative staff.
Granvas
277 Guerrero
Opened in December 2021, this cafe by day and wine bar by night is a great find. Very reasonably priced wine, friendly and informative staff.
Neighborhoods
A super cool neighborhood most tourists miss. It’s got a young, hip vibe. Brooklyn of Vallarta?
13
locals recommend
Versalles
13
locals recommend
A super cool neighborhood most tourists miss. It’s got a young, hip vibe. Brooklyn of Vallarta?
Sightseeing
One of three popular beaches reachable only by boat (the other two are Las Animas and Yelapa). Take a panga from Boca de Tomatlan for 200 pesos/person or Playa de las Muertos (not sure of the cost from there). Quimixto has the fewest restaurants but a little village you can walk through to a waterfall, horseback riding, and the only surf break south of Punta Mita.
Quimixto
One of three popular beaches reachable only by boat (the other two are Las Animas and Yelapa). Take a panga from Boca de Tomatlan for 200 pesos/person or Playa de las Muertos (not sure of the cost from there). Quimixto has the fewest restaurants but a little village you can walk through to a waterfall, horseback riding, and the only surf break south of Punta Mita.
One of three popular beaches reachable only by boat (the other two are Quimixto and Yelapa). Take a panga boat from Boca de Tomatlan (should cost you 200 pesos/person) or Playa de los Muertos (unsure of the cost) and spend the day on a chaise lounge while someone brings you lunch and cocktails.
Las Animas
One of three popular beaches reachable only by boat (the other two are Quimixto and Yelapa). Take a panga boat from Boca de Tomatlan (should cost you 200 pesos/person) or Playa de los Muertos (unsure of the cost) and spend the day on a chaise lounge while someone brings you lunch and cocktails.
Our favorite surf spot in the area. You've got to hike in but it's worth it for the gentle, longboard wave. Park at WildMex Surf Shop and rent a board.
24
locals recommend
Playa La Lancha
24
locals recommend
Our favorite surf spot in the area. You've got to hike in but it's worth it for the gentle, longboard wave. Park at WildMex Surf Shop and rent a board.
We're not actually recommending the resort but there is a good surf break here.
Grand Palladium Vallarta Resort & Spa
We're not actually recommending the resort but there is a good surf break here.
This is our favorite local beach. No services but nice local scene, no one hassling you, beautiful water, etc. Take an Uber or be adventurous and try the local bus. Walk to the highway (down Aguacate and make a left, follow púlpito past Serrano’s Grill and down the hill). You’ll see a bus stop across the street. 10 pesos per person, tell the driver to let you off at Conchas Chinas, walk a little further up the highway after the bus drops you and they’ll be a road down to the beach. Maybe take an Uber the first time to scope out the route.
26
locals recommend
Conchas Chinas
26
locals recommend
This is our favorite local beach. No services but nice local scene, no one hassling you, beautiful water, etc. Take an Uber or be adventurous and try the local bus. Walk to the highway (down Aguacate and make a left, follow púlpito past Serrano’s Grill and down the hill). You’ll see a bus stop across the street. 10 pesos per person, tell the driver to let you off at Conchas Chinas, walk a little further up the highway after the bus drops you and they’ll be a road down to the beach. Maybe take an Uber the first time to scope out the route.
Shopping
Beautiful pillows, bedspreads, weavings, and more. Family owned and fairly priced.
Casa Oaxaca Art & Home Decor
377 Aquiles Serdán
Beautiful pillows, bedspreads, weavings, and more. Family owned and fairly priced.
Without doubt the best handicrafts in Vallarta. They come from all over Mexico and South America. Expensive. But oh so beautiful. Lots of very good silver jewelry too.
Galeria Alpacora
226 Ignacio L. Vallarta
Without doubt the best handicrafts in Vallarta. They come from all over Mexico and South America. Expensive. But oh so beautiful. Lots of very good silver jewelry too.
A small shop with fine Puebla pottery
TalaveraEtc.
266 Ignacio L. Vallarta
A small shop with fine Puebla pottery
Here's where to get well-priced glassware and talavera dishes. This isn't fine art, it's great everyday pieces.
Mundo de Cristal
333 Insurgentes
Here's where to get well-priced glassware and talavera dishes. This isn't fine art, it's great everyday pieces.
This is one of our most favorite places! You never know what you're going to find. Worth exploring even if you aren't going to actually buy anything.
Antiques store
363 Venustiano Carranza
This is one of our most favorite places! You never know what you're going to find. Worth exploring even if you aren't going to actually buy anything.

Traveler advice

Don't miss

Wednesday Night Art Walk

Wednesday nights October through May, explore El Centro as you gallery hop https://puertovallartaartwalk.com/about_us.html
Ways to save

Cheapest place to get a COVID test

You can get COVID tests at the airport but the least expensive place is Farmacias del Ahorro in the Marina across from Starbucks. It's 299 pesos + tax. Blvrd Francisco Medina Ascencio 3951 https://goo.gl/maps/4R9TXZ1usBT3dEM5A Click a QR code to register. Note option for English but know most staff doesn’t speak English, the site is buggy, and service is hit or miss. Sometimes this is super easy but if they’re very busy they may insist you make an appointment. Our routine is to go in the morning at 9am & have breakfast at nearby Ibarra Light if there is a waiting list.
Getting around

Uber

Your Uber app will work here and it's the easiest and cheapest way to get around. Much preferred to haggling with a cab driver.
Getting around

Airport Transportation

Exit the airport past all the people selling timeshares and promising taxis. Ignore all of that. You can't get an Uber from the airport so you can either pay the slightly higher regulated taxi fare there (someone will sell you a ticket at the curb) which is 350 pesos at last check or you can exit out of the building to your left and cross a pedestrian bridge over the highway where you'll see cheaper cabs lined up. Tell them you want to go to Alta Vista and negotiate the fare before getting in. Should be about 220 pesos. Ubers can take you to the airport when you are departing.
Getting around

Villa Nellcote/Villa Jazmin Google Pin

We've dropped a Villa Nellcote pin on Google maps to make it easier for you to find. Google is still "verifying" so sometimes it doesn't come up or brings you to the original Villa Nellcote in France. You can always search for the previous name Villa Jazmin or Zen Palacio, two names the previous owner’s used, as that's more consistent. https://goo.gl/maps/hh5iy9ZQYUMsx7zYA
Getting around

Stairs to the Zona Romantica

There is a new set of very well-made steps straight down the hill on Aguacate. Go out the front door and to your right on Calle Hortensias. Make an immediate right down the hill on Aguacate. Walk around the switchback and continue down Aguacate to the stairs.
Getting around

A Second Route to Walk to the Zona Romantica

The second way to get to town is to walk past Serrano’s Grill, then turn right down the alleyway just past the restaurant. There is a staircase at the end of that alley that goes down toward Basilio Badillo and Insurgentes.
Don't miss

Wash Fruits & Vegetables

Please soak all fruits, vegetables and eggs in tap water sprinkled with a few drops of Microdyn for at least 20 minutes before using to get rid of pesticides and anything that might make you sick. Better safe than sorry.
Getting around

Chartering a Boat

If you would like to charter a boat to go to beaches, snorkel, or maybe visit Las Tres Marietas islands where you’ll see blue-footed boobies and where you can swim in to Hidden Beach, go to www.puertovallartatours.net/yacht-charters. We haven't done it but are told it costs around $400 for a half day. You can also just go to the pier on the Malecon and make a deal with a panga/boat owner on the spot. Won't be as lux but will be less expensive.
Getting around

Scuba Diving

The previous owners were avid scuba divers. The diving here cannot be compared to great diving destinations of the world, but they said there are three good sites worth visiting: La Corbetena, Las Tres Marietas, and the Wall at Los Arcos. The best diving company by far is Twin Dolphins. Phone 293-1905 or www.twindolphinspv.com
Getting around

Snorkling

You can book a snorkelling trip to Los Arcos, which is the group of big rocks just off Mismaloya beach about 15 minutes south of Vallarta. We think the best way is to go to the Los Muertos pier and book a boat there. It’s really nicer if you go on a smaller boat instead of the big ones. The boats have all the gear you’ll need. Not sure what it costs (you should bargain) but way way cheaper than chartering your own boat.
Getting around

Zip Lining

Glide on a wire across and high over the jungle. It’s a thrilling ride, and don’t worry… you are well-harnessed. You'll ride a mule up, go swimming and have lunch too. It’s a fun day. The best and most fun tour is Canopy River. You can find them here: http://www.canopyriver.com/
Getting around

Golf

We're told Vista Vallarta is the best course near here. www.vistavallartagolf.com