Mexico › Puerto Vallarta › Nearby Beaches
Updated: March 7, 2022
- Puerto Vallarta – Best Hotels
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Puerto Vallarta Beaches – Tips & Advice
• When to Visit Puerto Vallarta: PV is at its best mid-April to June and October. April through June has the best weather; May and June have the best hotel deals, and October has the best water for snorkeling and diving.
• The best beach for partying is Playa de los Muertos near Downtown PV. The best beaches for quiet and solitude are Playa Conchas Chinas and Playa Palito Verde. For watersports, make for Las Caletas or Las Ánimas.
• Arrival: Puerto Vallarta’s airport lies 10 km north of the Old Town on the coastal highway (Hwy-200). Pay for taxis at the kiosk before leaving the terminal – rates are tied to a zone system: US$17 (roughly 380 pesos) for Marina Vallarta; US$18 (400 pesos) for the Old Town/Zona Romántica; US$25 (550 pesos) for Nuevo Vallarta; and US$30 (670 pesos) for Mismaloya and Bucerías. All the major car rental firms have desks at the airport.
• TIP: Travelers with not much luggage can save money by walking out of the terminal onto the main highway. From here buses (marked “Punta de Mita” going north, and “Olas Altas” or “Centro” going south) run up and down the coast for a few pesos, while normal city taxis charge roughly 50 to 75 percent less than the airport taxis – always set the price before getting in.
• Time Zones: Puerto Vallarta is officially part of the Zona Central (US Central) time zone (GMT-5). Though Nuevo Vallarta, Bucerías, and Punta de Mita officially lie within the Zona Pacífico (Pacific Zone), the equivalent of Canadian and US Mountain Time (1hr behind PV), in practice all of Banderas Bay now uses Central Time.
• Water Taxis: Beaches south of Boca de Tomátlan can only be accessed by boat (or stiff hikes through the jungle). Water Taxis from Boca run to Las Ánimas (around 50 pesos; 10 minutes) and Yelapa (around 80 pesos; 30 minutes), but always check current schedules at the dock. More expensive water taxis depart Playa Los Muertos pier in the Zona Romántica, usually hourly in high season, for the same destinations. Private boats are also available, but these cost a lot more.
• Buses to Mismaloya (20–25 minutes) and Boca de Tomátlan (another 10 minutes) depart from the Zona Romántica every 10–15 minutes.(Video) The Best Beach in Puerto Vallarta!
• Tours: Several companies organize boat tours or “booze cruises” to the southern beaches, which are convenient but pricey. Puerto Vallarta Tours runs trips to Las Ánimas and Yelapa (US$43–64), while Vallarta Adventures runs to Las Caletas for US$149.
• Best beach near PV for surfing: Sayulita is a hip surfing town with good beginner and moderate waves – and a great place for surf lessons. It’s not covered in this post but Sayulita is an easy 50-minute bus or taxi ride from central Puerto Vallarta.
• Cash is king: Most locally run beach restaurants and bars take cash only – take a wad of pesos to be safe (some places will accept US dollars but invariably at bad exchange rates). You’ll need cash to rent beach chairs and umbrellas.
• Note that beaches – even the remote ones – can get mobbed on weekends, so visit on a weekday for a quieter experience.
• Theft of personal items from beaches does happen – never leave anything of value unattended, even on seemingly empty stretches of sand.
The 17 Best Beaches in and around Puerto Vallarta
The enticing beaches of Banderas Bay, backed by the jungle-covered slopes of the Sierra Madre, stretch for more than 40 km (25 miles) north and south of Puerto Vallarta’s Old Town, Viejo Vallarta. There’s plenty of variety, from fun beaches backed by condos and hotels, to wilder locations accessible only by boat.
Our personal favorite is Playa Caballo, a short water taxi ride from Boca de Tomatlán. A tranquil setting with great sand, palm trees, and wonderful swimming. Playa de los Muertos has a deserved reputation for partying and a vibrant nightlife. While Playa Conchas Chinas (south) and Playa Palito Verde (north) are great for beach lovers looking for a quieter, more relaxed experience.
SOUTH OF PUERTO VALLARTA
Note that beyond Boca de Tomatlán, beaches are accessible only by water taxi and private boats.
1. Playa Caballo (10 minutes by boat from Boca)
Gorgeous and often empty beach backed by shady palm trees. Other than two boutique hotels, there are no facilities or activities, and nowhere to eat or drink, but bustling Las Ánimas (see below) is a short walk around the headland. Water taxis and boats only.
Recommended Hotels: Hotelito Mio (luxury/boutique) • Casitas Maraika (luxury/boutique)
2. Playa Colomitos (5 minutes by boat from Boca)
Tiny, sheltered cove with a small beach of soft, white sand, and a snacks and drinks kiosk. Great for swimming and snorkeling. Has a real “hidden beach” feel, but because of its size, can get packed if a couple of tour boats come in. Note also that high tides can sometimes flood the whole beach. Water taxis and boats only – or an energetic 30–40 minute hike from Boca. The nearby Ocean Grill restaurant offers tasty meals and sea views.
3. Playa Conchas Chinas (2 km south of Old Town PV)
The most scenic city beach, easily accessible by bus or taxi (or an easy 30 minute walk from Zona Romántica). A series of small sandy coves, backed by condos but rarely busy (there are no restaurants or bars). Good for swimming but rip tides can be strong here. The shallow tide pools along the rocky sections of shore are crammed with marine life.
Recommended Hotels: Quinta Maria Cortez (B&B) • Casa Villa Verde (mid-range) • Marboka Hotel & Suites (budget)
4. Playa Palmares (7 km south of Old Town PV)
Fine white-sand beach just below the coastal highway, popular with locals. Calm and perfect for swimming (it’s warm and relatively shallow), though there are very few places to eat and drink. There is a rare public bathroom here with showers (around 10 pesos), and it’s possible to rent umbrellas with table and chairs. Accessible by bus or taxi.
5. Las Caletas (15 minutes by boat from Boca)
Tiny and isolated beach, run as a watersports hub by Vallarta Adventures. Great for swimming and snorkeling. Water taxis and boats only.
6. Yelapa (30 minutes by boat from Boca)
Hemmed in by jungle-smothered hills and coconut palms, this beach and tiny village has a rustic, laidback vibe, despite the steady stream of day-trippers. The white-sand beach is good for swimming and is lined with palapa restaurants. From here it’s a pleasant stroll up the Rio del Tuito to cascading waterfalls. Accessible by boat only – it’s the final water taxi stop.
Recommended Hotels: Casa Berita (luxury/boutique) • Pura Vida Wellness Retreat (mid-range) • La Loma Yelapa (mid-range) • Casa Isabel (mid-range)
7. Playa de los Muertos (Zona Romántica)
The primary (and most fun) city beach lies just south of the old town. It’s crowded, is lined with hotels, features mostly coarser, brown sand and is fairly narrow but it’s by far the best beach for eating, drinking, and partying – swimming is good too. The stylish Playa Los Muertos pier divides the beach in two, with the LGBT section lying at the southern end, opposite the Blue Chairs Resort.
Recommended Hotels: Playa Los Arcos Beach Resort (mid-range) • Almar Resort (mid-range, LGBT-friendly) • Villa Verano (luxury)
8. Mismaloya (12 km south of old town PV)
The best-known and most accessible southern beach (take a bus or taxi), made famous by John Huston’s film “The Night of the Iguana”. Today it’s a small, sandy strip dominated by the Barceló hotel, but with a handful of cheap palapa restaurants and local vendors. Good for watersports and wonderful snorkeling trips to Los Arcos, tiny islets just offshore rich in marine life.
Recommended Hotels: Barceló (luxury) • Villa Los Arcos (luxury) • Casa Iguana (budget, great pool)
9. Playa Quimixto (15 minutes by boat from Boca)
Relatively quiet and empty beach backed by a small village. Just a couple of beach restaurants and not much else. Trails lead up river to a refreshing waterfall and swimming hole. Water taxis and boats only.
Recommended Hotel: Xinalani Retreat (luxury)
10. Las Ánimas (10 minutes by boat from Boca)
Long, sandy, but narrow beach crammed with restaurants and bars, just around the headland from Playa Caballo. Haven for fun activities – jet skiing, banana boats and parasailing – but can get very busy. Water taxis and boats only – or a strenuous 2hr-hike from Boca.
NORTH OF PUERTO VALLARTA
All the beaches north of Old Town PV are accessible by taxi/car and bus.
11. Playa Palito Verde (34 km north of Old Town PV)
First of the northern beaches free of all development – it’s a gorgeous, shallow bay a short walk off the main road, with no facilities, no shade, and no food. Best place to escape the crowds and great for swimming.
12. Bucerías (25 km north of Old Town PV)
Wonderful sand and calm waters for people who like to swim. Bucerías is a busy town but its chalk-white beach is rarely packed and there are plenty of low-key beach restaurants.
Recommended Hotels: Royal Decameron (luxury) • Aventura Pacifico (mid-range) • Unelma Bungalows (budget)
13. Playa Destiladeras (36 km north of Old Town PV)
Wide, sandy beach that’s isolated and rarely busy but offers a bit more in the way of services and food options than nearby Palito Verde.
Recommended Hotel: Marival Armony Luxury Resort & Suites (luxury)
14. Nuevo Vallarta (20 km north of Old Town PV)
The long stretch of sand that runs along this newer, upscale resort area is flat, calm, and rarely busy, lined with hotels and palm trees. Good for swimming.
Recommended Hotels: Hard Rock Hotel (luxury) • Bahía del Sol (mid-range) • Paradise Village (mid-range)
15. Playa Camarones (Zona Hotelera, 1 km north of Old Town PV)
“Shrimp Beach” is at the heart of PV’s hotel zone for good reason, with a gorgeous swath of sand (always very clean), plenty of activities, vendors, and relatively pricey dining options. Good for swimming and it’s big enough absorb visitors without feeling busy.
Recommended Hotels: Sheraton Buganvilias (luxury) • Dreams Vallarta Bay (luxury) • Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel (luxury)
16. Playa la Manzanilla (32 km north of Old Town PV)
Small white-sand beach in a sheltered bay perfect for swimming, with several cheap (and excellent) seafood restaurants and beach bars. Always busy at weekends.
17. Punta de Mita (49 km north of Old Town PV)
Right at the very northern tip of Banderas Bay, the pristine, empty beaches along this headland are mostly reserved for the private “Club Punta Mita” development and its associated properties, but are stunning nonetheless. Day passes available but expensive.
Recommended Hotels: Four Seasons (luxury) • St. Regis (luxury)
- Puerto Vallarta – Travel Guide
- Puerto Vallarta – Best Hotels
- Puerto Vallarta – Family Hotels
- Puerto Vallarta – Where to Stay
- Puerto Vallarta – Best Things to Do
- Puerto Vallarta – Best Time to Visit
- Puerto Vallarta – Best Restaurants
Which part of Puerto Vallarta has best beaches? ›
Los Muertos Beach
The most popular beach in Puerto Vallarta is full of beachgoers, vendors, and fishermen throughout the day. It is located in the heart of downtown, which also makes it the most accessible beach near Old Town and the Romantic Zone.
Colomitos Beach near Puerto Vallarta
Colomitos is a secluded beach about 10 1/2 miles away from the main square of Puerto Vallarta. It has a clean sandy beach and crystal clear emerald-colored water. Colomitos is no doubt one of the most beautiful beaches, if not the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta.
Los Muertos Beach, on the southern end of downtown Puerto Vallarta is by far one of the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta for people watching.What are the less touristy beaches near Puerto Vallarta? ›
The best beaches for quiet and solitude are Playa Conchas Chinas and Playa Palito Verde. For watersports, make for Las Caletas or Las Ánimas. Arrival: Puerto Vallarta's airport lies 10 km north of the Old Town on the coastal highway (Hwy-200).What is the nicest area to stay in Puerto Vallarta? ›
- Zona Romantica (The Romantic Zone)
- Marina Vallarta.
- Zona Hotelera (the Hotel Zone)
- Conchas Chinas.
- Centro / 5 de Diciembre (“Downtown Puerto Vallarta”)
- Puerto Vallarta's South Zone & Southern Beaches.
- Summers Are Hot and Muggy.
- Come for Whale Watching Season.
Playa Del Amor, commonly referred to as the Hidden Beach of Puerto Vallarta, is located in the Marietas Islands 22 miles west off the shore of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The beach features beautiful blue waters, all encased within an island cavern that only opens up to the sky above and the pacific ocean.Is it safe to swim in the ocean in Puerto Vallarta? ›
Puerto Vallarta is located on beautiful Banderas Bay where the waters are calmer than the Pacific Ocean. The bay and beaches are perfect for swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, and kayaking.Are there white sand beaches in Puerto Vallarta? ›
One of the most famous beaches in the south of Puerto Vallarta, Conchas Chinas beach is known for its white sand, turquoise water and rock formations that create fun little pools of water. This beautiful beach is the cover for many Puerto Vallarta publications.Where is the most turquoise water in Mexico? ›
Marama Beach has the clearest water in Mexico - Picture of El Dorado Maroma, Playa Maroma.Where did the Kardashians stay in Puerto Vallarta? ›
|Design and construction|
|Number of rooms||12|
What is the hippie beach town near Puerto Vallarta? ›
These are some of the reasons why Sayulita has become a must-see stop to all visitors in Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit.Can you walk along the beach in Puerto Vallarta? ›
You can walk all the way to Los Muertos and Old Town Vallarta along the beach. There is a a well-marked path that takes you up and over a cliff. The hike along the Conchas Chinas coastline is a great walk; very interesting to see the multi-million dollar resort homes from the beach perspective.Which is better Cabo or Puerto Vallarta? ›
Puerto Vallarta tends to be the more relaxed, culturally oriented destination of the two, while Cabo San Lucas, located at the southern end of Baja California, is known for its beach life and good-time atmosphere.Where is the best part of Puerto Vallarta? ›
Best Area to Stay in Puerto Vallarta – The Marina Zone. Many people consider the Marina Zone to be the best area to stay in Puerto Vallarta. This hotel zone is a large one with a variety of different types of accommodations. Everything from resorts to condos to hotel chains that cater to more short term stays.What is the best area to walk around in Puerto Vallarta? ›
- Mirador Cerro de la Cruz. ...
- Malecón Puerto Vallarta. ...
- Boca de Tomatlan - Cascada Quimixto. ...
- Playa Quimixto. ...
- Playa Las Animas - Playa Quimixto - Cascada Cuale. Moderate• 4.3(13) ...
- Rio Pitillal Path. Easy• 4.1(20) ...
- Xinalani Trail. Easy• 4.5(12) ...
- Mirador Conchas Chinas. Moderate• 4.5(12)
The best time to visit Puerto Vallarta is between April and June when the weather is pleasant and the room rates are affordable. During these months, rain is scarce and there are fewer tourists compared to the winter high season. If you're interested in whale watching, however, visit from December to March.What is the rainiest month in Puerto Vallarta? ›
Rainy season in Puerto Vallarta runs from June through September—with some rain in October—and very little the rest of the year.Is Cancun or Puerto Vallarta better? ›
So, which is better – Puerto Vallarta or Cancun? If you're looking to experience gay nightlife and get a bit of a culture fix, then Puerto Vallarta is the place to be. If you're looking for a relaxing resort vacation, then Cancun is your best bet.What is the most secluded beach in Puerto Vallarta? ›
Playa Las Animas
Of course, you'll only stumble upon it if you know where to look, as it's the most secluded beach on our list. Location: Just south of Puerto Vallarta. Accommodations: Despite being a hidden beach, Las Animas has a few bars and restaurants located along the water.
The hidden beach is accessible by boat. Board one of our speedboats with our bilingual tour guides and cruise to the secret beach to explore all the beauty nature has to offer. If sailing conditions are not ideal there is still lots of wildlife to enjoy without accessing the hidden island.
Why is it called Secret beach? ›
Secret Beach earned its name from its unmitigated privacy. There are a few aspects to Secret Beach that make it this way. First of all, this 3,000 foot stretch of beach located on the North Shore is reachable only by a steep, unmarked trail – a jaunt that discourages the more apprehensive.Is it safe to leave resort in Puerto Vallarta? ›
Is It Safe to Leave the Resorts in Puerto Vallarta? If you want to leave your Puerto Vallarta resort to explore the Malecon (waterfront boardwalk), downtown, or other popular areas, you can do so without worry. As mentioned earlier, just be sure to bring your common sense with you.Can you drink tap water in Puerto Vallarta? ›
Puerto Vallarta's water system is one of the best in Mexico. The water treatment plant is considered state of the art and wins many awards. The tap water in Puerto Vallarta actually tastes good too. You can feel absolutely confident brushing your teeth and showering in Puerto Vallarta.Is the water warmer in Cancun or Puerto Vallarta? ›
Typically, most people find the water warmer on the Cancun side of Mexico compared to Puerto Vallarta.Where is clear water in Puerto Vallarta? ›
1. Banderas Bay is Deep and Beautiful. The crystal clear water of Puerto Vallarta's famous Banderas Bay is 3,000 feet deep and 26 miles across.What is the name of the hidden beach in Puerto Vallarta? ›
Playa del Amor, the “beach of love” more typically called the Hidden Beach, is a secluded sandy cavern on one of the islands that make up Marietas Islands National Park, located on the north end of Bahía de Banderas, an hour northwest of Puerto Vallarta and only fifteen minutes from Punta Mita, Nayarit.Does Puerto Vallarta have crystal clear water? ›
Puerto Vallarta is home to some of the most beautiful and unspoiled beaches in Mexico. Visitors can enjoy swimming in crystal clear waters and soft sandy beaches. Puerto Vallarta has a beach for everyone, whether you're looking for a lively and vibrant beach scene or a secluded and peaceful retreat.Who has the prettiest water in Mexico? ›
Cancun's beaches are some of the most popular in Mexico, recognized for their vast sands and crystal clear waters. While many will stick to the shoreline outside their resort, visitors should consider exploring the area's other options, too.Where is the whitest sand in Mexico? ›
Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres, Mexico
There are so many beautiful beaches lining Mexico's shores, but Playa Norte is among the best, thanks to its soft white sand and sparkling waters.
Neighborhoods to Avoid
The traditional Romantic Zone and the area along Malecon are the safest places for tourists as plenty of people are out and about for most of the day. However, further inland from the beach is some of the most dangerous streets in Puerto Vallarta.
What is the new part of Puerto Vallarta? ›
Nuevo Vallarta, on the other hand, is a more recent development that does not have a town square or downtown area. Unlike Riviera Nayarit, Puerto Vallarta has a very popular downtown, which is where people go to enjoy the nightlife, culture, and culinary scene the city is so famous for.Why is Puerto Vallarta so special? ›
The city's vibrant nightlife includes some of Latin America's best clubs, fiestas, and music festivals. The area's natural beauty is unparalleled. From its blue waters to its lush jungles and majestic mountains, Puerto Vallarta has something for nature-loving travelers.Do you need a car to get around Puerto Vallarta? ›
Do I Need a Car in Puerto Vallarta? Puerto Vallarta is a resort town with lots to do and is rather spread out. We did not have a car in Puerto Vallarta but relied on taxis and Uber. However, if you plan to spend a bit of time exploring the towns around Puerto Vallarta, a car would be handy.Do you need water shoes in Puerto Vallarta? ›
It´s highly advisable to bring a pair of water shoes if your feet are sensitive. Sometimes you may find irregular rocky formations, branches, and sticks along through the coasts. So to avoid any possible pinch and enjoy the warm waters of Puerto Vallarta, don´t forget to bring them.Where are the colorful houses in Puerto Vallarta? ›
El Mirador de la Cruz
It is at this viewpoint where you can feel the sea breeze and enjoy the famous Puerto Vallarta sunsets from above. In the foreground, the red roofs of the houses in the center stand out, as well as the iconic crown in the upper part of the parish of Guadalupe.
One difference between Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit are their coastlines. On vacations to Nuevo Vallarta, there's less of a bustling downtown but a wider expanse of sandy shores, making it the ultimate beach destination.Are there swimmable beaches in Puerto Vallarta? ›
With 360 days of sunshine a year, Puerto Vallarta's beautiful beaches are worth a visit in any season. Most of them are great for swimming. Some are better suited for water sports and adventure activities. Or just relax listening to the soothing sounds of waves breaking on Mexico's Pacific coast.Are all beaches in Puerto Vallarta swimmable? ›
Puerto Vallarta is located on beautiful Banderas Bay where the waters are calmer than the Pacific Ocean. The bay and beaches are perfect for swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, and kayaking. Summers have less wave action and the water is clearer.Is it better to go to Cabo or Puerto Vallarta? ›
Puerto Vallarta tends to be the more relaxed, culturally oriented destination of the two, while Cabo San Lucas, located at the southern end of Baja California, is known for its beach life and good-time atmosphere.Which is more expensive Cabo or Puerto Vallarta? ›
You will find that Puerto Vallarta is less expensive than Cabo. You'll notice it's about 30 percent cheaper. If you're on a budget, Puerto Vallarta has many more affordable choices for accommodations and food and drink prices are significantly cheaper than Los Cabos.
Are Nuevo Vallarta beaches swimmable? ›
Of course, Nuevo Vallarta beach swimming and paddleboarding are always good options too for Mexico beach vacations. Not only does this town have pristine tropical beaches, but there's also a variety of luxurious all-inclusive resorts with direct access to some of the best beaches in Mexico.Is the ocean water clear in Puerto Vallarta? ›
The crystal clear water of Puerto Vallarta's famous Banderas Bay is 3,000 feet deep and 26 miles across.Which is better to visit Cancun or Puerto Vallarta? ›
In summation, the whole difference between Puerto Vallarta and Cancun boils down to the kind of experience they offer. If you care more for the beaches and all-inclusive hotels and want to be close to the Mayan culture to explore, Cancun is your place.Is there a seaweed problem in Puerto Vallarta? ›
Sargassum is a type of seaweed that is known to wash up on beaches in Mexico and other parts of the world. Puerto Vallarta is located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico and is not directly affected by the massive sargassum blooms that occur in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.Can you drink the water in Puerto Vallarta Mexico? ›
Puerto Vallarta's water system is one of the best in Mexico. The water treatment plant is considered state of the art and wins many awards. The tap water in Puerto Vallarta actually tastes good too. You can feel absolutely confident brushing your teeth and showering in Puerto Vallarta.Are beaches free in Puerto Vallarta? ›
The most popular shoreline in Puerto Vallarta, Playa de los Muertos (Dead Man's Beach) in the Zona Romantica, offers opportunities to Jet Ski, windsurf and even parasail and an assortment of excellent restaurants and bars.