Puerto Vallarta has a lot to offer in the way of sights, events and tours and we sampled quite a few during our three months living in PV. However, there was one experience that truly took our breath away and remains our choice for best tour in Puerto Vallarta. This special event is called Rhythms Of The Night.
Our Ryhthms of the Night Experience
Our Rhythms Of The Night began with a 45 minute sunset cruise which took us to Las Caletas Beach Hideaway, located on a private island. Upon boarding we were immediately served drinks, which kept flowing all evening, and the fun, crazy entertainment that we had come to expect in Mexico began. The crew somehow managed to serve drinks, and perform for us despite the rocking and rolling of the boat.
As we approached the island of Las Caletas they turned off the music and dimmed the lights so as to give the full effect of the glowing spectacle ahead. It was hard to believe at first that the brilliance in front of us was created only by open flames but as we drew closer we could indeed see that there were hundreds, possibly thousands, of torches and candles illuminating the shore and the paths leading along the beach and up into the jungle.
It felt as though we had been transported to a tropical paradise back in time as we disembarked and were greeted by haunting flutes and pulsating drums played by pre-Columbian attired performers. We were directed to follow various torch lit paths which crossed bridges, climbed stairs and hugged the edge of the jungle and the shore before opening up into pockets of tables scattered among the rocks and on the golden fire lit sand.
We were led to a table for two on the beach just a couple of feet from the sparkling white of the softly breaking waves. Although we were surrounded by dozens of other tables they were situated in a way that you could easily forget there was anyone else there. It was incredibly romantic and serene.
Before long our server, Juan, appeared to offer us wine, cocktails and bottled water and pointed out the large buffet tables sitting on the rocks behind us. There was a great assortment of beautifully displayed food including, steak, chicken, fish and shrimp plus plenty of salads, vegetables, pasta and rice, all lit just by candlelight. We never expect the food to be the highlight with these tours but can honestly say that this was an exception. The food was fabulous! We enjoyed a lovely leisurely meal while listening to the waves and watching the moon rise before ending with an array of delicious deserts and coffee with Kahlua.
As we still had 30 minutes before the big show we set off to explore the island a little. Following the torch-lit paths we felt as though we were on the set of a romantic fantasy film. There were hidden coves and secluded spots with hammocks and cushions for snuggling and lounging and of course the candlelight completed the magical ambiance.
All too soon our fantasy was interrupted by the sound of a horn signaling that the show was about to start. We actually debated not attending the show and just staying in our cozy position. We’re really glad we didn’t. Another mystical path led us into the jungle where we found a glowing pyramid in the center of an open amphitheater. The performance began with a bit of comedy from a face painted witch doctor and then morphed into a spectacular show of music and dance highlighted by incredible acrobatics and fire dancing.
The performers portrayed some of Mexico’s rich cultural heritage through stories and folklore showed how ancient pre-Columbian religions and beliefs influenced the myths, legends and cultures of Mexico. We have seen performances in many cities including Las Vegas, London and NY and I have to say that this show was as beautiful and entertaining as any I’ve seen. Like the food, it really exceeded our expectations.
Following the show we all made our way back to the beach and waiting boats. There were three large boats to fill and to our delight we were one of the last to board. This gave us more time to sit at the lovely beach bar and soak up a last bit of magic. We were in no hurry to leave this fantasy island. In fact, Nathan and I were seriously tempted to get “lost” and spend the night in one of the hammocks.
Eventually, we begrudgingly boarded the boat and had a lively and fun ride back with music and stumble-dancing (it was still a bit rough on the waters) and of course more cocktails…they certainly don’t skimp on the open bar.
Heading home we talked about the experience and we both agreed that this evening would be hard to beat and will likely remain in our top 10 throughout all of our future travels. This is really high praise as we usually prefer blazing our own adventure trail, like the awesome beach hike we did. as opposed to paying big bucks for an often tacky touristy event created for the masses. But Rhythms of the Night is worth every penny. You really get a bit of everything needed for a perfect night out; sunset, boat ride, music, great food & drinks, good service, entertainment, candlelight, ocean view, even a nap in a hammock! I’d say that’s money very well spent!!
Rhythms of the Night Tips
- The boats depart from the Maritime Marina (across from Walmart) at 6:30 pm but plan to arrive at least 30 minutes early as there will be a couple hundred others arriving too.
- Depending on who you book with you may have to pay a small port fee of prior to entering the departure area. Port fees are paid at the window just before the turnstile.
- If you suffer from motion sickness take something for it if you can. The boat ride can be a bit rough depending on the weather and waves.
- Tickets to Rhythms Of The Night include dinner and open bar both on the boat and on the island.
- Definitely bring a camera. You will want to catch the sunset as well as the amazing candle and torch lit beach and spectacular show. Also bring a tripod if you want better night shots than we were able to get.
- Try to be one of the first off the boat to get the best choice of tables. We really enjoyed having our feet in the sand but there are also lovely table among the rocks off the beach.
- Bring a light jacket or wrap as it can get quite cool on the boat ride back.
- A small flashlight comes in handy if you want to explore the island.
- As wonderful as the food and setting for dinner is, try to leave yourself a bit of time to go exploring between the your meal and the show.
- Book Rhythms of the Night in advance if you can. It’s a popular tour and definitely can sell out.
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Born in England, Sarah developed her wanderlust at a young age as she traveled around Europe with her parents. As a young adult she spent every penny she could on experiences as opposed to possessions. Eventually she found a way to earn a living doing what she loved: traveling, writing and capturing images of the wondrous world we live in. When not on the go Sarah enjoys time in her “sometimes home” of Vancouver.