Last Updated on January 21, 2023

Deep in the heart of Mexico’s steamy rainforest lies a mystical paradise accessible only by sea. It’s not an island per se, but because it has no accessible roads, boat is the only way to get to Playas Las Caletas, Puerto Vallarta.

Las Caletas is a stunning tropical paradise located in an isolated cove just south of Puerto Vallarta. Once the home of famed Hollywood producer John Huston, who called it one of the most beautiful places in the world, this secluded nature preserve is nestled between the majestic Sierra Madre Mountains and the turquoise waters of Banderas Bay.

By day, visitors can explore the magnificent coastal enclave, snorkel in the waters of its crystalline secluded bay, or lie in a beach hammock and experience what many Mexicans call their “Garden of Eden.”

Come twilight, Las Caletas undergoes a magical transformation. Dressed in island tropical attire, my husband and I sailed via Vallarta Adventures catamaran from Puerto Vallarta following the coastline into a spectacular fiery sunset. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres during our one-hour trip were served by an attentive, friendly crew and lively music provided entertainment.

Lights flickered in the distance as we approached Las Caletas Cove. The pier was ablaze with nearly 4,000 flaming candles. We were heralded to the shore by the blowing of a conch shell and a hand-carved and painted rock which read “Bienvenido a Las Caletas.” Hundreds of tiki torches guided the pathway as there is no electricity in paradise.

One passenger asked another, “are we on Survivor?”

The echo of synchronized drumbeats beckoned us as we were guided through the flame-lit jungle to a large open-air, multilevel amphitheater. We were here to see “Rhythms of the Night SAVIA,” a uniquely memorable and mesmerizing escapade of color, lighting and special effects.  

Choreographed by the Cirque du Soleil Academy, the contemporary dance troupe magically carried us on a mystical journey through time, reenacting stories of the myths and legends of ancient civilizations through music, vibrant dance, pulsating rhythm, acrobatics, dramatic backdrops — and a lot of fire.

The stage is where the spirit world of the ancients once again comes alive. This isn’t just a show, it’s a totally immersive experience. Legend has it there were four civilizations of humanity prior to ours. Each new period saw the evolution of the human race, as well as its demise. These previous worlds were destroyed by tornadoes, fires and floods, yet rituals and sacrifices kept the human spirit alive. From the bones and ashes of the ancients arose a celebration of the fifth sun and the unflagging hope for a better world.

Rhythms of the Night show. Photo by Vallarta Adventures.
Rhythms of the Night show. Photo by Vallarta Adventures.

After the show we hoped would never end, we were treated to a beautifully presented, sumptuous gourmet dinner with extensive offerings awaiting us as we were escorted to our private candlelit dining table located right on the seawall. Waves lapped the shoreline of Playas Las Caletas, Puerto Vallarta, palms gently swayed in the warm, balmy breezes, and the moon reflected on the waters of the bay. Once again, the words “magical” and “enchanted” came to mind as we sipped our wine and allowed ourselves to drink in the entire experience.

Once we finished dinner, it was time to head back to the mainland from Playas Las Caletas, Puerto Vallarta, but the fun didn’t stop on the catamaran. We danced under a star-studded sky on our return trip with the crew providing a variety of music, entertainment and more outstanding service. Passengers were all happy, with big beaming smiles.

Honeymooners, couples and families all reveled in the perfect evening. As for my husband and me, who have visited many Mexican destinations, we both agreed that “Rhythms of the Night” on Playas Las Caletas, Puerto Vallarta was one evening we would never forget. And we never have.