A visit to the mountain pueblo of San Sebastian del Oeste is like taking a step back in time. Surrounded by picturesque views of green Jalisco mountains and valleys, San Sabastian, Mexico is a place rich in tradition and history. It’s a great stop for travelers, especially those who are visiting the beaches in Puerto Vallarta and want to experience more to Mexico than the sand and surf. With its storied past and dedication to creating an authentic experience, a trip to San Sabastian del Oeste is a great place for travelers to explore.
A Storied Past
Nestled in the hills of the Sierra Madre mountains, San Sebastian del Oeste has a strong Spanish colonial heritage. It was founded in 1605 by silver miners, and today retains the same colonial charm. The residents of San Sebastian are dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of their home. The region is rich in natural resources—gold, silver, and lead were mined there, and colonial miners once used San Sebastian as an outpost and home base. The small town became one of the main mining centers in New Spain, eventually becoming an official city in 1810 and reaching its peak in the 1830s.
Revolution in 1910 put a sudden stop to mining activity in the region. Mining projects moved elsewhere, and the last mine was abandoned in 1921. Today, most of the inhabitants are emigrants, many dedicated to preserving the history and culture of the city they love. While the mines remain closed, San Sebastian thrives on agriculture, stock breeding, and welcoming visitors to experience the mountainside pueblo.
Many of the pueblo’s historical structures remain today, and many are functional as museums, restaurants, and churches. Ranch homes, called haciendas, churches, and more are still standing and are carefully maintained, making a visit to San Sebastian del Oeste a truly immersive historical and cultural experience that brings you back into a well-preserved piece of Mexico’s history.
Step into History
Located 47 miles inland from Puerto Vallarta and near the mountain village of Mascota, Mexico, San Sabastian is a great day trip adventure for those who are in town for the beach and want to see more of what Mexico has to offer. There’s plenty to do and see as a visitor in San Sebastian del Oeste. It is a very comfortable and friendly place to visit—the locals take pride in their city and love to share it and it’s story with the world.
The centuries-old buildings have aged gracefully. Just walking around the haciendas and through the alleys will give you a taste of what life looked like back in the 1700s and 1800s in this Mexican mining pueblo. You’ll find museums, handicraft shops, silver shops that harken back to San Sebastian’s heritage, cigar shops, and farms, including those growing avocados and coffee. Many of these attractions are housed in historic buildings. Hacienda Jalisco is one of the most iconic places to explore in San Sebastian del Oeste. Located next to the town’s main entrance and across from a field of blue agave, it is a well-maintained example of the architecture and style of the colonial mining days and includes an on-site mining museum.
San Sebastian is also a beautiful place to explore nature. Surrounded by mountains, trees, and a river, it offers a different—but still distinctly Mexican—scene than the beaches of Puerto Vallarta. Visitors and locals alike enjoy climbing to La Bufa viewpoint to get a taste of fresh air, nature, and a glimpse of the best landscape scenes in the region.
Explore San Sebastian del Oeste
If you enjoy fully immersing yourself in the history and culture of a region when you are traveling, a trip to San Sebastian should be on your itinerary. This storybook pueblo has aged gracefully and still harkens back to a simpler, centuries-old lifestyle. The best way to learn about the past and present of San Sebastian is with the help of an expert who can explain the history, help you find important landmarks, and give you the chance to explore.
Vallarta Adventures offers a day-long trip from Puerto Vallarta to visit San Sebastian, taking visitors through the landmarks, offering a tequila tasting and traditional Mexican lunch, and gives travelers an authentic look at local history, culture, and architecture. Book your San Sebastian adventure tour today!