The town will soon be festooned in red, white and green banners and no; it’s not early Christmas decorations (though you can now find those in the Galerias foyer in front of Liverpool). The Mexican flag will wave from rooftops, front doors, out car windows, off balconies, in the hair ribbons of the school girls heading to class, emblazoned on t-shirts, bags, coca-cola products – really anywhere you can put a flag, a flag will be put. Mexicans are a very patriotic bunch.
While September is a slower month for tourists, it doesn’t slow down much for those of us who live in Puerto Vallarta. Coming up this month we celebrate Independence Day on the 15th and 16th but in fact, the city holds events the days prior including the National Charo Day Parade on September 14, which is a treat to watch the Charo riders and their horses parade in costumes (with their flags). In the evening on the 15th, we all head to the central plaza where there will be music, dancing, and the local mayor will perform ‘the Grito,’ finally ending the night in a cacophony of fireworks. The 16th is a holiday, and many will be nursing hangovers.
In addition to the Independence Day celebrations, which will take place to some extent in every village along the coast, we have the Fiesta Patria (Patron Saint Festival) in the charming pueblo of San Pancho, located just north of Sayulita. From September 26 to October 4 they celebrate in honor of their patron saint, San Francisco, with parades, music, dancing and cultural events. This 10-day event happens around the country throughout the year in many of the villages, and it’s an entertaining cultural experience with customs that vary significantly between the towns. If you’re around for this event or any of the others, I highly recommend getting out and participating.
September is the slowest month of the year, and from now until about October 15, many businesses go on hiatus and spend the time resting or renovating and preparing for the coming ‘high season.’ During this time many service workers are laid off from their jobs, or things like tips dwindle down to near nothing. So, if you have the opportunity to support local mom n’ pop businesses they can use your pesos a whole lot more than Oxxo or Walmart.
Tip generously. Say no to that straw if you don’t need it. Carry an extra shopping bag, just in case. Support local businesses. Get out and give back. Hug those close to you. Don’t text and drive. Travel safely.