Taking guests to highlights on Mexico’s Pacific Coast seldom visited by tourists, a new Hidden Gems Cultural Tour is available from the AAA Five Diamond Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit. Enveloped by the flora and fauna of the Sierra Madre mountains, guests begin with a horseback ride along the crystal-clear Cuale River to a secret waterfall. After building up a bit of appetite, a food tour includes stops for Mexican antojitos (snacks) served at a Mexican family’s table. With a refreshing agua fresca to cool the palate, here guests will also learn about the Pre-Hispanic origins of mole. Before heading on, there’s a sweet stop at a Mexican candy store serving up a wide variety of traditional colorful candies.
Next up is a visit to Puerto Vallarta’s Botanical Garden to explore a variety of orchids and oaks. Doña Marta’s Bakery visit follows where she recounts the secrets to making her bread, a town favorite. Later, guests will visit a distillery to try a typical drink known as “Raicilla”, made with the agave plant of western Jalisco. Here, the owner of the distillery will explore the history of this little-known alcoholic beverage. Before heading back to Grand Velas, the final stops on the tour are Alpacora Gallery to learn about magical Huichol art and the 4D Modern Art Museum with Prehispanic abstract art experienced through all the senses. The cost of the Hidden Gems Cultural Tour for up to four people is $2,044 USD.