Hiking to Las Animas
Las Animas is a coastal village that’s lively during the day when tourists swarm the beaches, and quiet at night when residents breathe a sigh of relief until the next morning when they open their welcome arms to people who keep the commerce going.
The best thing about hiking from Puerto Vallarta to Las Animas is what you’ll discover at the end. Beach restaurants, up and down the shoreline, offer Mexican dishes at slightly higher prices than what one would expect to find in Puerto Vallarta. All food and supplies are brought to Las Animas by boat, adding a premium to purchases.
There are two ways to get to Las Animas from Puerto Vallarta and we prefer the hike, which has become very popular over the past five or six years. Once was a time when you could walk the entire trail and not see a soul; these days there’s an abundance of travelers along the path, giving an air of camaraderie and liveliness. The water taxi from Boca de Tomatlan begins runs at 8 am, costs $50 pesos and takes about twenty minutes. If you take the bus to Boca, get off at the top of the highway; it’s the last stop. Parking is mostly free, but we never mind paying the $50 pesos to park in a family owned lot just steps away from the beach. There are also water taxis leaving from the pier in Puerto Vallarta where you can purchase round-trip tickets. If choosing this route, we always suggest arranging these the day before to beat the crowds in the morning.
Wear sneakers. This is not a journey for flip flops or sandals. Be aware of your step and mindful that there will be slippery spots, especially following a rainfall. Steps are carved out of the hillside is some places and it’s prone to be loose and unstable. Be careful to stay away from ledges that can give way, and stick to the inside of the path. Wal-Mart and Costco in Puerto Vallarta have been known to sell walking sticks and we highly recommend them as they add steadiness and a little extra bit of confidence. Handrails exist in some areas but we don’t depend on them.
For those seeking more adventure, it’s 90 minutes further to Quimixto, where waterfalls and fresh water swimming await. Simply stay on the path along the seaway and it will take you there.
In both villages there are locals with large snakes, iguanas and parrots who wander through café tables, willing to allow photos to be taken with their pets. Please give them at least $50 pesos for this photo op and remember this is the jungle. If you’re afraid of these animals, keep your distance and wits about you. This is their natural setting.
Unless you’ve decided to hike on your return to Boca, don’t miss the boat back! Make sure you keep an eye on the time; the last boat usually leaves at 6 pm and there are few places to board for the night.
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Thanks to our guest blogger Adam Garcia for this article!
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