Rhythms of the Night | An Unforgettable Encounter with Ancient Civilization

This post was last updated on August 18th, 2014

Talk to any established travel writer and they’ll all tell you the same thing:

Never, ever use clichés.

Like breathtaking. Or heart stopping. Or mind blowing. Unless you’re actually recounting an event where your brains exploded from the skeleton around it, find a new description. I know I’m guilty of using clichés far too often. I’m working on it.

With that advice in mind, I’m going to say it anyway: Rhythms of the Night is a jaw-dropping dinner and theater event.


Rhythms of the Night - A Cruising Couple Sunset Cruise

Rhythms of the Night - Sunset Cruise


But as our catamaran approached Caletas Island, the steady beat of drums echoing across the water and thousands of candles and torches flickering through the night sky, I’m pretty certain my jaw did actually drop.


Rhythms of the Night - Caletas Island Candle Lit Island


We learned of Rhythms of the Night on good authority from our Puerto Vallarta Couchsurfing host. It was described to us as Cirque du Soleil meets indigenous dances on a secluded island with fantastic buffet dinner and open bar. A bit more research led us to Vallarta Adventure’s website, which states: “stories of an ancient civilization are told through live music and modern dance as one of Mexico’s most innovative contemporary dance troupes transport you on a magical and mystical journey through time”.

Naturally we were intrigued. We made some calls and signed up for one of the few nights we had available before moving to San Pancho. We were not disappointed.

The evening began with a catamaran ride at sunset. The staff wasted no time getting the open bar going, generously pouring margaritas and rum punches along with beer and wine. Between the alcohol, the food, and the lively atmosphere, the journey to Caletas Island passed almost too quickly.


Rhythms of the Night Open Bar

Rhythms of the Night Cruise Director


When our boat docked at Caletas Island (once the private home of filmmaker John Houston), we were ushered to the outdoor theatre pavilion to find seats for the big show. Set against a stone pyramid, surrounded by jungle and beneath a star-lit sky, the venue was spectacularly romantic.


Rhythms of the Night Torch

Rhythms of the Night Welcome Party

Rhythms of the Night Stage


Then the show began. In one word, it was hypnotic. The music from the live ensemble intensified. Fire flashed.  Dancers twirled at dizzying speeds in intricate costumes and body paint. Though a very different experience, I immediately understood the Cirque du Soleil comparison.  The dancers of Rhythms of the Night exercised the same high-caliber in their dance and acrobatic skills, leaving the audience to gasp at their flips and contortions. As it turns out, the choreographer actually trained at the Cirque du Soleil academy.


Rhthyms of the Night Performance

Rhythms of the Night Live Music

Rhythms of the Night Acrobatics

Rhythms of the Night Mayan Performance

Rhythms of the Night Performer


The performance does not have a chronological story line. Rather, it’s filled with illustrations of the myths and legends of pre-Hispanic civilizations. One dance number depicts the ceremony of two hearts melting into man and woman. Another takes the audience through a deer-hunting scene, representing male energy and wisdom. Mesoamerican flutes and tribal drums fully transport you to the past.

Our only complaint about the show was that it was too quick. But all good things must come to an end, and luckily we had another good thing waiting for us around the corner—the dinner!


Rhythms of the Night - Caletas Island Night Candles


Recounting our favorite moments of the show, we sat down to an all-you-can-eat-buffet. Rows of tables lined the edge of the island, the candles competing with the stars for who could outshine the other. I’m quite certain we had the best table in the house, tucked away in a private corner but still oceanfront. Steak, seafood, BBQ chicken, all the guacamole you could possibly need, along with countless other dishes were available. Typically I don’t really enjoy buffets, but the food here was exceptional. There’s also unlimited red wine to accompany your dinner, an extra romantic touch.


Rhythms of the Night Dinner Buffet

Rhythms of the Night Dinner Buffet

Rhythms of the Night Dessert

Rhythms of the Night Dinner Table

Rhythms of the Night Dinner Seating


Just when you think your pants are about to burst, it’s back to the boat. Although admittedly not as talented, the staff then puts on an entertaining show of rock and roll and air guitars to keep you entertained for the ride home. Rhythms of the Night has left no detail unaccounted for.

A final note must be made for the service during the evening. Each and every person who makes Rhythms of the Night possible wears a smiling face, and is eager to insure you have a remarkable time. For example, as I was walking to the bathroom, one of my sandals broke. I absolutely couldn’t wear it. But before I had time to pick it up, a staff member was at my side. He took the broken sandal from me, saying he would be back in a few moments. He later found me at our dinner table to return to me a very wearable shoe! I’m not sure which staff member has a history of shoe repair, but I’m actually still wearing the shoes now!  Broken shoe aside, I was astonished at the thoughtfulness shown to me, without my even having to ask for assistance.


We admittedly didn’t ‘do’ much during our short time in Puerto Vallarta, but Rhythms of the Night was certainly the highlight. If you’re in the area, we confidently say that it is a must-see. We would not hesitate to return again.


Useful Information: 


Departs From:

Nuevo Vallarta at Vallarta Adventures’ Center; Maritime Terminal


Approximately 5 hours. Meeting time is 6:00pm


Seems to vary. Book ahead for discounted tickets. Website price is $115.00, which includes open bar, cruise, candlelit buffet dinner, and dance show.

Phone Number: 1-888-526-2238

Website: Vallarta Adventures

Rhythms of the Night


Do you enjoy going to dinner and a show? What’s the best show you’ve ever seen?


A massive thank you to Vallarta Adventure for hosting us. We were not asked to write a positive review and, as always, all thoughts and opinions are our own. 



  1. Such an amazing experience! I like the idea of watching a ‘local’ performance like this one and the food sounds interesting, if I was there I would have stuffed myself with guacamole, I absolutely adore it! :)
    Franca recently posted…With Earphones In – Le Trio Joubran (Palestine)My Profile

    • Ahh the guacamole. My hips are going to be in trouble by the time we leave here! It’s so addicting! :)

  2. Hmmm…..Not sure this is my cup of tea. A bit too funky for me!

    • You might be surprised! We talked to many people who said they don’t normally enjoy theatre or shows, but had a great time here because it was so unique. It’s always worth a try ;)

  3. Between Casey’s vivid description and Dan’s outstanding photos I feel that I experienced this vicariously. Thanks for the ride! I know you had a great time.

    • Thank you! Glad we were able to transport you to Mexico for a big :)

    • It really was such an amazing experience! Now we want to do it again though haha.

  4. Sound like an incredible experience (first time I heard about it). I had kind of a similar experience watching Mexico Espectacular (Xcaret’s Night Show) close to Playa del Carmen. In there, they do a lot of pre-Columbian and traditional dances (and they follow a story line). They also have some awesome ball game demonstrations. The good thing is that the show is included in your ticket. That means you can be all day in the park (which is great) and stay for the night show.
    Ruth recently posted…500 Things to be Grateful ForMy Profile

    • Ahh someone was just telling us about that show! We’ve heard it’s really great, and actually considered trying to see that one too if we had time, just to be able to better compare the two shows. Sounds like an awesome way to end your day! We didn’t go to Xcaret, but we did do the cenote tour through them and were really quite impressed with the entire outing.

    • Looks like you guys got a pretty awesome equivalent in Playa del Carmen! Was that fire ice hockey I saw photos of? SO cool!

  5. Hi Casey, that looks and sounds like a fabulous experience. All that free flowing wine and alcohol would get anyone in the mood for a great night’s entertainment.

    Seeing the pictures and reading about the main show just reminded me of scenes from the James Bond film, “Live and Let Die”. I dare say it was a little bit similar?
    The Guy recently posted…The George C Marshall Memorial Plaza In Uniontown PennsylvaniaMy Profile

    • Haha it’s true- we’ve found everything in Mexico to bee all-inclusive, which can be a bit dangerous! Like, snorkeling outing? Of course it’s all you can drink wine! But if I’m being honest here, I haven’t seen Live and Let Die in far, far too long. I can’t really recall it, but it sounds like a pretty cool comparison to me ;)

  6. Ah! Heyy, I was just telling someone that I went on this excursion and never have seen a blog post about it until now. I loved it and so happy you guys did too. Now I have to look back to my pics. Great pics of it too :)
    Angelica Wilk recently posted…What a Trip from NYC to Australia Looks LikeMy Profile

    • That’s awesome!! Glad that you enjoyed it as much as we did! We also hadn’t heard much about it until our Couchsurfer brought it up, but it’s such a great show!

  7. This is right up my alley! I love stuff like this, especially when the support staff aren’t just phoning it in. Great service is such a simple thing but makes such a huge difference.
    Heather recently posted…36 Hours in TokyoMy Profile

    • Yes!! Service really does make an experience so much more memorable. I think that’s also why we love B&Bs so much, too :)



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