For the northwestern bay beaches the key is to follow Highway 200 north by car, bus, or tour. If you’re on a short time budget, go for a day to Punta Mita  for swimming and sunning on Playa Anclote , lunching at a beachfront restaurant, and later enjoying a sunset beach stroll. (Please note that these northwestern beaches are in the state of Nayarit, which is on mountain time. Once you cross the Río Ameca coming from Puerto Vallarta, you'll need to set your watch back one hour.)
With a day or two more, linger for an overnight in a comfortable Punta Mita hotel or bed-and-breakfast, or spend an afternoon or another night in Bucerías . Stay at a beachfront hotel or trailer park, surf, sun, and snooze on the beach, and enjoy dinner at some of Bucerías’s excellent restaurants before returning to Puerto Vallarta .
For Puerto Vallarta’s mountain country , go by either bus, sturdy passenger car or SUV, or charter flight tour. In one long day, you can visit San Sebastián , enjoy lunch, stroll around the village square, visit a historic hacienda or an old gold mine, and return to Puerto Vallarta.
If you have two or more days, you can continue on to Mascota  for an overnight or two in one of its comfortable hotels. Stroll around the town, visit the Raoul Rodríguez Museum and the Casa de Cultura , and maybe camp on the pine-shaded shoreline of Corinches reservoir. Spend another day visiting the picturesque villages of Yerbabuena , Cimarron Chico , and Navidad . Alternatively, drive out in a different direction from Mascota and spend a day, maybe an overnight, at pristine high-sierra Laguna Juanacatlán  and Sierra Lago Resort and Spa.
With another day, continue on to the fascinating pilgrimage town of Talpa . Visit the Museum and Basilica of the Virgin of Talpa , adored by hundreds of thousands of yearly pilgrims. Afterward, if you have another day, spend a restful overnight at Hacienda Jacarandas bed-and-breakfast before returning to Puerto Vallarta.