While racing around blind corners, speeding along dirt roads in rural Mexican communities, and splashing through mud puddles, I quickly realized I could get used to this ATV thing.
I had never been behind the wheel of an all-terrain vehicle, but the hills of Puerto Vallarta seemed like the perfect place to give it a try. So when it came time to find some outdoor adventure in the Mexican resort town, my friend and I headed to the mountains for an ATV riding excursion.
PV in the summer can get very hot, but up in the mountains it’s cool, foggy, and comfortable. That’s the perfect setting in which to spend a June morning.
A few different companies offer ATV riding tours in Puerto Vallarta. We went with Canopy River, which conveniently picks up visitors in downtown PV and gives them a ride up to the mountains and back.
We were issued our own vehicles and given helmets and some basic instructions. Driving an ATV is not a hard skill to pick up, so there wasn’t much that needed to be explained, aside from how to brake and change gears.
From there, our group hit the road. It was a dirt road that wound up through the mountains, past several small communities and rural dwellings.
Setting aside the thrill of being on an ATV, the chance to see how some of these families live was very revealing. Many had farm animals on the property. I was impressed by the number of people who obviously grew and raised their food. I was especially intrigued by the pigs that sometimes wandered into our path. This one stayed off on the shoulder bathing himself in a nice oasis of fresh mud.
The road had some small mud puddles. At first, most people in our group tried to steer around them, but before long we were splashing through them at top speed.
Occasionally, trucks carrying local residents would drive past us. The guides mentioned that the dirt road continued for another 6 hours. I imagine if you really want to see rural Mexico, this would be a great way to do it.
Puerto Vallarta is known for its relaxing beach lifestyle, but the mountains are fun to explore too, so if you visit, try to take advantage of the wealth of outdoor adventure opportunities. In addition to ATV riding, you can find ziplining, river rafting, and rappelling trips.
And by the way, if anyone is doing some early Christmas purchasing, I’ve decided I would like my own ATV now.
Note: Images #1 and #6 in this article were taken and contributed by Canopy River photographers.