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San Sebastian Del Oeste is a little gem in Mexico’s Sierra Madre Mountains.
Located in the cloud forest about 1,5 hours from Puerto Vallarta, San Sebastian provides a welcome respite from the hot temperatures and busy streets. More travelers are starting to discover San Sebastian, and if you want to experience this pueblo before it gets popular, it’s time to plan your trip to San Sebastian Del Oeste!
Is San Sebastian Del Oeste a pueblo mágico?
San Sebastian Del Oeste is a pueblo mágico. Pueblos mágicos or “magic towns” are designated by the Mexican government because of their cultural and historical significance. There are over 130 pueblos magicos in Mexico, and Jalisco is one of the states with the highest number of them.
Where is San Sebastian Del Oeste located?
San Sebastian Del Oeste is a pueblo in the Sierra Madre Mountains in the state of Jalisco. San Sebastian is one of the best day trips from Puerto Vallarta if you are looking for a change of scenery and want to learn more about the history of the region.
- Puerto Vallarta to San Sebastian Del Oeste – 65 miles
- Sayulita to San Sebastian De Oeste – 60 miles via JAL 544
- Guadalajara to San Sebastian Del Oeste – 157 miles
How to get to San Sebastian Del Oeste from Puerto Vallarta?
The best way to get from Puerto Vallarta to San Sebastian Del Oeste is by car. Public transportation is an option but driving a car is a lot quicker. You can rent a car in Puerto Vallarta or Guadalajara, depending on where you begin.
Check my complete guide to renting a car in Puerto Vallarta.
Visiting San Sebastian Del Oeste with a tour from Puerto Vallarta
If you are spending your vacation in Puerto Vallarta, and want to visit San Sebastian on a day trip, book a guided tour. Guided tours are great options because they offer convenience and the most value. A tour will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel, and it also includes an English-speaking guide who will give you an overview of the area.
A brief history of San Sebastian Del Oeste
San Sebastian Del Oeste is a former mining town with a colonial heritage. Spanish miners who settled here used San Sebastian as a base for conducting mining activities in the area. The region is still rich in menials, even though there’s no more mining in San Sebastian.
As you walk around the streets of San Sebastian, you will find some gold smiths and jewelry selling jewelry made from locally sourced materials and adorned with opal and obsidian.
Established in the early 17th century by silver miners, San Sebastian flourished throughout the 19th century before the revolution of 1910 caused mining to decline. Today, this pueblo still has plenty of charm, and the residents of San Sebastian preserve the history of the town.
Most buildings in San Sebastian Del Oeste are original constructions. Inside you will find hotels, restaurants, museums, and haciendas.
Visiting San Sebastian is a lesson in history. Even though it takes effort to get here, it’s well worth it!
Best things to do in San Sebastian Del Oeste
1. El Cerro De La Bufa
The highest point of San Sebastian Del Oeste, El Cerro De La Bufa offers panoramic above-the-clouds views of the surrounding mountains, and you can even see Puerto Vallarta in the distance! Summiting La Bus is one of the most popular things to do in San Sebastian Del Oeste, and there are a couple of ways to do it.
You can get a tour of La Bufa with one of the local guides on the main sure of San Sebastian. Note that the price typically starts at around 1,000 Pesos, and it’s better to wait until more people show up (or do it with your friends) because you will all split the price.
You can also drive to La Bufa in your car, but only do if you have four-wheel drive. The road to La Bufa has many twists and turns and gets narrow!
Wear proper footwear and put on some layers because it’s cooler at La Bufa than over in El Cerro De La Bufa. Get to the top early morning before the clouds begin to form. This way, you can get some good photos and also see Puerto Vallarta and the coastline in the distance.
2. Wander the cobblestone streets
There’s no better way to learn San Sebastian than by walking around its cobblestone streets. It’s a small pueblo and you can explore it on foot in less than one hour before setting down for lunch in one of the local restaurants.
El Galletero Magico is a local bakery that was my favorite stop in San Sebastian Del Oeste. Here you can get freshly baked bread and goodies that are made by the owner on spot.
3. Visit El Templo San Sebastian
El Templo San Sebastian (La Cathedral De San Sebastian Martir) is one of the main historic landmarks in this pueblo magico. It dates to the 18th century and has undergone several renovations since then. Inside, the church boasts a bright aquamarine color that contrasts with blue and pink vaults.
Next to the temple is a 19th-century portal of San Sebastián, where you can buy souvenirs and artisan artworks.
4. Visit an organic coffee plantation at La Quinta Mary
If you are a coffee lover, a visit to La Quinta Mary is one of the best things to do in San Sebastian Del Oeste. Not only will you learn about the production of organic coffee, but you will also see beautiful macaws.
5. Rent an ATV
The best way to explore San Sebastian and its surroundings is by renting an ATV. You can find several people who offer ATV rentals at the main square of San Sebastian Del Oeste. Bring cash, as local vendors don’t accept credit cards, and brush up on your Spanish, as it will make the process easier.
6. Visit the Santa Gertruda’s Mine
San Sebastian was founded as a mining outpost, and the area still has many old mines. The Santa Gertruda mine is one of the few mines in the area that still provides access to tourists and locals. It used to be one of the most important mines in the area, and the precious metals were stored here before they were shipped to Spain.
It is less than 30 minutes from San Sebastian and you can reach it by walking tour or by ATV.
Best hotels in San Sebastian Del Oeste
Most frequently asked questions about San Sebastian Del Oeste
What’s the weather like in San Sebastian Del Oeste?
San Sebastian Del Oeste sits at the altitude of 4,856 feet. It has a humid climate with cooler temperatures with an average of 19 degrees Celsius. In winter, it’s not uncommon to see snow in the surrounding mountains. If you are coming here from Puerto Vallarta, bring some layers, as it’s cooler here than along the coast.
Still, San Sebastian Del Oeste is pleasant to visit at any time of the year. Winter is dry and summers have more rain, but, they also have more greenery.
Is San Sebastian Del Oeste safe?
Yes! San Sebastian Del Oeste is safe for visitors. It’s a small pueblo, and most locals know each other. As a visitor, you are safe to spend some time in San Sebastian and stay for the night.
What is the best time to visit San Sebastian Del Oeste?
The best time to visit San Sebastian Del Oeste is any time! Winters have less precipitation, but the vegetation is drier during this time. Summers have more rain and august and September is the hurricane season in Puerto Vallarta. June and July are perfect to see the lush vegetation and hike in the mountains around San Sebastian Del Oeste.
There’s no bad time to visit San Sebastian Del Oeste, it all comes down to what you like.
What other places can I visit near San Sebastian Del Oeste?
San Sebastian is a short distance from two other pueblos magicos, Mascota and Talpa De Allende. Combine these three pueblos magicos in one trip. Mascota and Talpa De Allende are more off the beaten track, and international tourism is not quite as big there as it is in San Sebastian.
Visiting these pueblos magicos is a great way to experience authentic Mexico, pick up some Spanish, and mingle with locals.
The final word on visiting San Sebastian Del Oeste
San Sebastian Del Oeste is a perfect getaway from Puerto Vallarta. It has a lot of charm, history, and spectacular scenery. It’s a great place to recharge and enjoy a slower pace of life before continuing your adventures. Once you spend some time in San Sebastian, you will always want to come back here to enjoy the magic of this town.