It’s always difficult to pull my friends away from the beautiful beaches in Puerto Vallarta. But when the group said, “It’s your birthday – you decide what to do;” I was excited to say that I was going to choose a side trip to San Sebastian Mexico.
San Sebastian is a small town approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours outside of Puerto Vallarta in the Sierra Madre mountains. This historic village is straight out of a romance novel and is well worth the drive.
For our trip, we hired a private guide. Our guide, Pancho was outstanding and brought much humor and knowledge of the area. After about 5 seconds, it became quite obvious that he knew everyone. We were introduced to the owners of the many establishments we visited throughout the day.
Our private tour to San Sebastian was wonderful and here’s why:
A Private Tour offers Flexibility
There are many tour operators that offer San Sebastian tours, but we chose to hire a private guide for the day because we wanted the flexibility to explore at our own pace.
Our guide Pancho took us off the beaten path to experience the small towns we would have missed if we traveled on the main highway.
We stopped at the Hacienda San Sebastian – a tequilary that had been in the family for generations. We were introduced to the owner Tony and shown how tequila is made.
Next was the coffee plantation right outside San Sebastian where Pancho cut fresh fruit from the garden and gave us some to sample. I got to feed a baby donkey while Pancho explained the different flowers and plants that are native to Mexico.
A Guide Can give you Personalized Recommendations
I mentioned before Pancho knows everyone. That included the owner of the best restaurant in San Sebastian Mexico, El Paraiso de San Sebastian.
Don’t let looks fool you this tiny restaurant is no indication of the huge lobster sea food plate we would soon be introduced to. The menu was diverse but the house specialty is the mixed sea food platter. A dish worthy of bragging rights and a text photo sent to the family back home.
The highlight of this experience was my happy birthday song played by the kitchen staff using all the kitchen utensils. I was serenaded with pots and pans rather than the traditional mariachi guitar.
For an encore and in lieu of a birthday cake, Jose Luis Cueto performed the ritual of making me Spanish Coffee. This is a flaming experience not to be missed birthday or not. After hugs and many thanks, we left to begin our tour of San Sebastian
You See the Town Through a Local’s Eyes
The highlight of this Mexican village is the Temple of San Sebastian with beautiful roman and Corinthian architecture. We visited small boutique hotels, hidden restaurants and shops.
As we strolled, our tour guide Pancho told us stories of the people who use to walk the narrow cobble stone streets. He whispered stories of the families that still call this secluded mountain town home. He gave meaning to the 18th century colonial architecture in a place where time stands still.
Experiencing San Sebastian Mexico through the eyes of our new trusted friend gave us insight we would have never had if we took this walking tour on our own.
I am grateful to be able to still have a peak back in time when people still lived a simple rich life. San Sebastian Mexico will forever have a place in my heart.
Have you taken a private tour? Or visited San Sebastian? What was your experience like?