With miles of protected coastline and almost 50 individual beaches within the Bay of Bandera´s, Puerto Vallarta is a Beach lover´s paradise. Choose from pristine virgin beaches only accessible by boat to the popular Los Muertos beach where you can do everything from extreme sports to getting a henna tattoo. Below is a great selection of local beaches you will want to visit while in Puerto Vallarta.
Los Muertos Beach
Los Muertos Beach in Old Town is our most popular beach and the center of daytime activity, also a favorite for sunset. The spot where tourists and locals effortlessly mix, it is a gathering place for all ages and features some of the best restaurants in town, several with gorgeous palapas situated right on the sand. La Palapa and El Dorado are favorite spots to relax in a lounge chair under an umbrella 20 feet from the ocean while waiters bring you food and drink. Los Muertos has all kinds of water sports such as wave runners, parasailing and fishing charters. Walk south to the end of Los Muertos beach and climb the cliff stairway to Conchas Chinas beach.
The Water Taxi leaves Los Muertos pier every morning at 10 and 11 am for the beautiful beaches on the south part of they bay only accessible by boat. We highly recommend visiting Las Animas, Quimixto and especially the bohemian paradise of Yelapa.
Conchas Chinas is a beautiful residential area on the edge of town as you head south along the scenic coastal highway to Mismaloya. Developed in the 1970´s when wealthy North Americans started investing in this hidden paradise, multi million dollar villas line the highway that divides this prestigious neighborhood. The beach side of the highway is Lower Conchas Chinas; villas perched along the mountainside pertain to Upper Conchas Chinas.
The beaches in Conchas Chinas are exquisite; a series of white sandy beaches set between volcanic rock reefs. It makes a pleasant walk and you will find the protected coves great for swimming and snorkeling. There is a beautiful wide sandy beach down a steep road near the Hotel Conchas Chinas and famed El Set Restaurant on the highway to Mismaloya. You can also access these beaches by stopping for breakfast or lunch at Lindo Mar, a great beach front restaurant just another block south, next to El Set Restaurant.
About 4.5 miles south of town is Punta Negra Beach named for the black rocky point. Public access down a road below Hotel Jalisco Vacacional. Up river from Punta Negra is El Nogalito jungle restaurant and Contacto Natural Spa.
Mismaloya Beach is located about 10 km south of Old Town. You can take the Boca/Mismaloya bus or taxi to the entrance of the Barceló Hotel, walk towards the ocean down the path that runs between the hotel and the river all the way to the beach. Mismaloya is the main launching point for fishing and snorkeling inside the bay, site of the original film set of Night of the Iguana , the notorious movie starring Richard Burton that put Vallarta on the map in the early 1960´s. Mismaloya is an authentic Mexican jungle village and popular beach with locals featuring rustic palapa restaurants; all major water sports available for rent. Horseback riding upriver to jungle restaurant and waterfall at El Eden , film set of Predator.
Los Arcos Islands National Marine Park is a huge rock formation and Vallarta´s most well known geological landmark, located at the mouth of Mismaloya cove. An excellent spot for snorkeling with large reefs made of volcanic rock, it is like swimming in an aquarium. We work with a very reliable dive company in Mismaloya owned by two brothers, Chato and Chipol; you will see their dive shop on the path down to the beach, Mismaloya Divers. They can take you snorkeling, diving, fishing or just out for a pleasure cruise in their boat at very reasonable rates, cost for the boat for the day about $2000 pesos plus tip.
Boca de Tomatlan
Boca de Tomatlan Is the last beach destination accessible by road. The rugged, jungle covered terrain along the south shore is impressive and is well worth a trip down the curvy mountain highway that hugs the coastline. The village of Boca de Tomatlan is another authentic Mexican fishing community set in a lush jungle river gorge and launch point for boats heading south to beaches only accesible by boat.
The bus stop for Mismaloya and Boca de Tomatlan is on the south side of town in the Romantic Zone, at the corner of Basilio Badillo and Insurgentes, where the bus turns right onto the Mismaloya highway. Buses pass every 10 minutes and cost $5 pesos, stopping at all the beaches, hotels and condos as you travel south along the shore. The last stop is Boca de Tomatlan, the last cove you can get to by car on the south part of the bay. At Boca the bus turns around and heads back to town.
Just past Boca (as it is known locally) are Chico´s Paradise Restaurant andLas Juntas Canopy Tours; take a ride harnessed to cables suspended from rainforest trees, whizzing across river gorges in the mountains south of Boca de Tomatlan.
Experiencing the bay from the water is a must and Boca is a great place to catch a Water Taxi. Enjoy a ceviche and cold beer at one of the beachfront palapa restaurants while you wait for departure. There are many secluded and pristine beaches on the bay only accessible by boat. Some have small villages with beach front palapa restaurants. The water taxi will take you to these jungle communities: Las Animas , Quimixto (where you can ride horseback up to a jungle waterfall) and Yelapa , a bohemian artist´s enclave, the last village on the south part of the bay.
It is said the best way to see Yelapa is at night. For an overnight jungle getaway, Yelapa has a beautiful beach front hotel,Lagunita Hotel, with a natural rock pool and private jungle cabins with thatch roofs for $75-100 USD/night. Don´t forget to try a whole grilled fish and the potent agave liquor Raicilla, distilled in the mountains above the beach
The north shore of Puerto Vallarta features the Hotel Zone and Marina Vallarta. You can walk to the Hotel Zone beaches all the way from the Malecon boardwalk downtown.
Marina Vallarta is further north, closer to the airport. Home to fabulous yachts and ocean faring ships from all over the world, Marina Vallarta has a very North American feel; landscaped boulevards with condominium complexes, luxury hotels, upscale home decorative stores, a championship golf course and an array of highly acclaimed restaurants overlooking the docks including Porto Belo, La Terraza di Roma and El Faro, a lighthouse with a bar on top. The swanky Nikki Beach Club at the Westin Hotel has large bed sized lounges next to the water and features a fabulous Sunday brunch.
Nuevo Vallarta is about 10 minutes past the Marina. An area with residential and exclusive membership projects and a long stretch of white sandy beach with a great beachfront restaurant called Etc Beach Club.
Bucerias and Beyond
Bucerias is a charming beach town with lots of great seafood restaurants and a long white sandy beach perfect for swimming, located approx 30 mins north of Puerto Vallarta (10 mins past Nuevo Vallarta).
After Bucerias and Crux de Huanacaxtle there are a series of rocky outcrops with white sandy beaches going all the way to Punta de Mita. The Northshore of the bay and outside the bay on the Pacific coast of Nayarit have the best waves if you are a surf aficionado.
- Los Venados Beach Club near Punta Burro and Costa Banderas gated community
- Sayulita – quaint bohemian surfing town with a substantial amount of shops, restaurants and nightlife. Surfboard rentals and lessons available on the beach.
- San Francisco (aka San Pancho) smaller than Sayulita, another popular surf destination.
- Punta de Mita – exclusive area with multi million dollar homes, gated communities and the fabulous Four Season´s Resort and Golf Club
Contact us to Stay in a Luxury Villa in Puert Vallarta and enjoy life at the beach!