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Puerto Vallarta Beaches

Los Muertos Beach, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico.

Puerto Vallarta Beaches in our bay can change month to month, depending of the weather, wave action and currents.
Even without a storm offshore, the beaches will change from season to season. What you see on your visit could be quite different from what you may see a couple of months later.Puerto Vallarta Hiking.

All Beaches in Mexico are public. Luckily we are blessed with a less than perfect State and City government. This means that many of the access roads to out of the way beaches are not in very good condition. The more difficult it is to get there, the more unspoiled and less crowded are the beaches.
Here’s a rough guide to some of the popular beaches, some distance from town but with good road access, that don’t get too many people and some that require more of an expedition to travel to. To get there see Transport and Maps .

Puerto Vallarta Beaches are all around the bay and some outside. – MAP is a guide to some of the most popular ones.

The good news is that there is now a bus service from El Tuito to beaches south of the bay, which are seldom visited and are beautiful. Mayto and Tehuamixtle are great remote locations and not busy. Tehuamixtle in particular has some great fresh oyster and fish restaurants that cannot be beat!

Los Muertos Beach, Puerto Vallarta.

Los Muertos Beach on the south side of town, a very popular beach but not the best as far as sand quality and space, but with a lot of beachside bars and restaurants, makes it a very fun place to be. Very busy on Sunday and Holidays it’s the locals beach of choice. It also has a pier with water taxis leaving for the south bay beaches and sports fishing boats.

Playa Palmares. Has become more popular now with some facilities on the beach. Map

Playa Gemelas (Twin Beaches) south of town on the way to Mismaloya Map, is the best beach close to Puerto Vallarta, with white sand, clear water and gentle waves. 20 min on the Boca de Tomatlán bus, see Transport. Public access to the beach between Playa Gemelas Condominiums and Girasol Sur, which has a restaurant. Also stairs next to the Best Western hotel.

Mismaloya Beach The famous location for John Huston’s Night of the Iguana. What remains of the set is slowly falling apart on the southern arm of the cove. Map. The hotel Barcelo takes up half of it, not very wide but slowly recovering from the incident in 2002 when most of the beach slipped off the rock shelf it was resting on, and disappeared into the bay.
A number of beach restaurants on the sand.

Boca de Tomatlan Beach This beach, at the mouth of the Horcones  River, is where Route 200, going south, leaves the coast and turns inland.
This where you can catch water taxis to the beaches, on the south side of the bay, that have no road connection. It’s also the start of the hiking trail to the 1st beach with facilities, Las Animas. A number of beach restaurants are there.

Boca to Las Animas beach trail map.


Only 11 miles north of the Puerto Vallarta Airport Map.
Semi Tourist beach with fine sand and gentle surf plus many beach bars/restaurants. Very popular for Kite Boarding, also Boogie Boarding and Stand Up Paddle Board.
Surfing You can rent boards and get all the info. you need at Coral Reef Surf Shop.

You’ll need to drive or take the bus to the Punta de Mita turn off from Route 200, to get to these beaches.

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

Nice small town with a marina, lots of food options and a surprising music scene.La Manzanilla beach west of the marina is very popular. Map


Just past La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, 20 miles north of town, this very popular beach (busy on Sundays) is long and wide. Very popular for boogie boarding with long waves. A couple of beach side restaurants close to the parking area. On weekdays if you walk away from the restaurant areas, you’ll find a lot more seclusion.

El Anclote

Just before Punt de Mita is a shallow shelving beach, great for children and also produces some excellent surfing breaks, not big but long. The sand is also finer on the beach than most of the others. Lots of beach restaurants and kayak/boogie board rentals.
A bit over 22 miles from Vallarta. Take the ATM Punta de Mita bus.

From Boca de Tomatlan to Cabo Corrientes there are a few beaches that can only be reached by sea, there are a few “roads”, except that word is an exaggeration, but it’s faster by boat. Most of them will have tour boat loads of tourists during the middle of the day, if you time it right you can avoid them. In order of appearance:

Las Animas

The first big beach after Boca, it now has a pier to unload onto, restaurants and bars on the beach but not much more. The tour boats will get there a bit before noon and after the tourists have loaded up on food and booze they will leave. Being the closest beach it is busier than the others.
But! between Boca and Las Animas there’s a pretty decent trail with a couple of usually deserted beaches to explore on the way. Takes about two hours.

Map of the trail, Boca to Las Aminas. Puerto Vallarta.



This beach too, will load up with tourists from the tour boats at about 11am, but if you get there early, water taxi from Boca de Tomatlan, you can hike up to the waterfall before the rush and usually have it all to yourself. There are also many, somewhat scrawny horses you can rent to avoid the hike (quite a lot up hill). Before the tourists found the place, it used to be home for Archie, Cynthia and their kids (Archie’s Wok in town) when Archie was the chef for John Huston at his beach house at Las Caletas.


Once the private residence of John Huston, director of Night of The Iguana and so many other great movies. It is now the location of two tours from Vallarta Adventures, the Caletas day tour and in the evening the Rhythms of The Night tour. Not a good place to go to privately as all the facilities are Vallarta Adventures’.


Another semi-private beach containing some private”facilities”. All beaches in Mexico are public, but if the only bathroom is in a private resort ? There are some great snorkeling spots around here with usually very clear water.
Now part of Vallarta Adventures Tours. Majahuitas & Yelapa.



The old hippie hangout just isn’t the same with electricity and telephones. Not a bad beach and there is the village to explore. The waterfall behind the village is OK during, or just after, the rainy season, but dries up fast when the rains stop. Hike up the river, or rent a horse, to a much bigger one it’s not as tall though. For more information on Yelapa, click Here.


Another beach which was, more or less, taken over by the owner of the Chivas football team from Guadalajara. Well, that deal fell through so the village still remains the same. But now some Airbnb. Some facilities, but for the Vallarta Adventures Sea Safari excursion.


There are some wonderful virgin beaches just before this fishing village, which would require a good hike. Since there are no regular water taxis, you’d have to rent a private panga. These beaches are really only available if you were to spend the night in Chimo, which maybe possible, but I have no recent information.

Tehuamixtle, Jalisco.

Now this beach is really remote, outside the bay and south of Cabo Corrientes, see Map.

Great news! the bus is back! from El Tuito on March 22nd 2024, to the south at 10:30 am. , from Monday to Sunday, Bus returns from Ipala at 5pm
See below for driving instructions.

Entrance to Tehuamixtle.

If you like really fresh seafood, especially oysters, eat at Cande’s Restaurant to the right by the dock, with a new huge palapa, you can’t miss it.

Mayto Beach south of Vallarta.


Mayto Beach
Mayto is just north of Tehuamixtle, see the turn-off described below, and has an almost endless beach. Just down from the hotel is a turtle research station. The patrol the whole beach during the laying season and rescue the eggs, to be hatched in an enclosure away from predators.

The hotel Mayto is new, very clean and rents for 875 pesos per person. Tel. 322-120-6206.

Also the Hotel Rinconcito. or Hotel Colibri US$54 per double room. Cell 322 175 5277.

Beach at Mayto, south of Vallarta.


If you want to drive on your own, go to El Tuito, at the end of the plaza, turn left and zero out your kilometer counter.
At about 21K, turn right at the schoolyard in the village of Llano Grande, then left. At 38K keep straight and finally at about 40K, turn right at the fork. That will get you there. Note this was a dirt road but greatly improved now. To get to Mayto, a tremendous beach with two hotels, turn right at 37K. About 50 min. drive from El Tuito. see Map.

Cajon de La Peña 2 hrs south of Puerto Vallarta.

Presa Cajon de La Peña. Not really a beach, but water boats and fishing! This inland reservoir irrigates the valley that Tomatlan lies in, is quite famous for it’s Large Mouth and Florida Bass Fishing. The lake also contains Langostino (Crayfish) and fresh water shrimp.

The local lakeside restaurants serve langostinos by the kilo! The are also a lot of Tilapia as well.

You can stay and fish at Rancho Andrea or stay in the village at Rincon de la Ceiba

About 25 miles north of town and outside the bay (take the Sayulita bus), the beach is quite long, wide and boasts an Women Only Surfing School. Well known in the surfing world. Restaurants on the beach and in the village also has a pool hall. To the south, past the rocky point covered with gringo homes, you’ll find some small sandy coves (take the path by the cemetery).
Bus service from the Wal-Mart Bus Stop in town, the green/white Compostela to Sayulita will stop there.

San Pancho
Proper name San Francisco, but nobody calls it that. Much more laid back than Sayulita. Once the home of President Echeverria (1970 to 1976), but it was always a fishing village. Good surfing but sometimes a strong undertow.
It now boasts La Patrona Polo CLub! and the home of several expats.

Lo de Marcos
Probably the most laid back beach on this stretch of coast. Peter O’Toole built a house there.

La Ayala
Tucked away in the south side of Jaltemba Bay

Rincon de Guayabitos
The main beach in Jaltemba Bay

La Penita
Famous for it’s weekly market, Superior Tours runs a  tour there, Shopping Tour.

The very best beach, not too busy.