Puerto Vallarta beaches will soothe your soul and melt away your stress. Now, uncover the great beaches that run along this magnificent deep-blue bay. They offer world-class surfing, unique culture and beauty, and even some intrigue. For example, you’ll find two Puerto Vallarta beaches that are called Playa de los Muertos” And, each one has a different reason for its name.
Marina Vallarta section
From long stretches of sand to a tiny cove backed by majestic cliffs, Puerto Vallarta beaches offer a variety of differences like no other coastline. And, the uniqueness of each beach keeps you wanting more. Some are great for surfing, yet others offer peace and tranquility. Then, get a glimpse into the unique Mexican cultures within the small villages that host many of them. So, after you’ve visited each beach, your intrigue will be satisfied, and you’ll have quite a story to tell.
Playa de los Muertos – there are two of them
The first “Beach of the Dead” is about 25-miles north of downtown Puerto Vallarta in Sayulita, which is famous for its many beautiful beaches. And, it’s only a five-minute walk south of the main Sayulita beach where most tourists visit. As you walk there, you’ll pass a very colorful and vibrant cemetery, which is the reason for its name, to a tiny secluded cove where the beach resides. This secluded location is great for paddle boarding since the waves there are measurably smaller due to a cape-like outcropping. Also, there are very large rocks on each side of the beach that help reduce the waves.
There’s another Playa de los Muertos, which is in Old Town Puerto Vallarta and the Romantic Zone. Also, it’s near the River Cuale – a spot known for eating fresh oysters. The reason this beach is called “Beach of the Dead” is believed to be its proximity to a sacred cemetery of the local natives. Bones and other artifacts were unearthed when this region was developed. Nonetheless, this beach is near it all – art, shopping, cafés, and even mariachi bands to entertain you.
Conchas Chinas Beach
Located just minutes from the Romantic Zone near downtown Puerto Vallarta, Conchas Chinas Beach is highlighted by the jungles of the majestic Sierra Madre mountains. This rugged beach offers beautiful and swimmable tide pools with plenty of little creatures to observe in their natural habitat. You’ll find a great variety of birds, reptiles, fish, mollusks, crustaceans, and other marine animals around the area. But, when you visit this family-friendly beach, be sure to safeguard the plethora of sea-creatures as it’s sometimes tempting to pluck them out of the water.
Conchas Chinas is one of the Puerto Vallarta beaches certified as a “Blue Flag” beach, which is an international program that seeks to protect and maintain beaches in a sustainable way. Therefore, you can be sure that the waters there are clean and well-cared-for.
This secluded sandy beach is tranquil and exquisite, as it’s backed by towering cliffs. And, if you get hungry, there’s a great restaurant right nearby called Ocean Grill. They require reservations ahead of time, but the cuisine is outstanding, and the views are spectacular.
As one of the Puerto Vallarta beaches that attracts local families on the weekends, Palmares Beach stretches a long distance down Banderas Bay, south of town. Also, this beach is nice and wide, with lots of great sand – the best type for sandcastles. So, take your entire family there and let the kids build their small fortresses while you stroll with your mate for a nice long walk on the beach.
John Huston made this beach famous with “The Night of the Iguana.” Though it’s not a Hollywood spectacle anymore, Mismaloya Beach remains beautiful as it’s framed by the exotic jungle and the majestic Sierra Madre Mountain backdrop. Also, there are some small restaurants on the north side that are delightful to visit. And up the hill, there’s Barcelo Resort, an all-inclusive resorts that towers above the beautiful beach. Finally, if you feel adventurous, take a half-hour hike to the Vallarta Zoo from there.
Boca de Tamatlán
This is the last beach along this stretch of Puerto Vallarta beaches that you can drive to. And, this is the place where visitors and locals alike go to catch rides on the “pangas,” which are small fishing boats or water taxis. You can take those to other towns and beaches along Banderas Bay. At the many restaurants there, you can enjoy fresh fish, grilled shrimp and hot tortillas while watching all the “panga” activity.
Only accessible by boat, Quimixto Beach, which is located in the small fishing village of Quimixto, is a very popular beach located in the southern part of the Banderas Bay. To get there, take a panga from Boca de Tomatlán, which is about a 20-minute trip. Another great way to get there is on one of the many beach cruise tours all around Puerto Vallarta.
The most popular attraction near Quimixto Beach is a beautiful waterfall located about one mile inland. Only a 30-minute walk, you can get there from the beach starting near a nice restaurant called Los Cocos. First, find the riverbed. Then, start walking inland, following signs that show the route. There, follow the pathway over some small hills taking you to La Puerta River and the waterfall itself. While you’re there, enjoy a nice lunch at the small rustic restaurant located right there at the waterfall. Horseback riding on Quimixto Beach
If you are not up to walking to the waterfall on foot, you can find horses for rent so you can ride there instead. Also, horseback riding on the beach is a blast! The price should only be about $20 dollars per horse, so haggle with them if they ask for more.
Playa Las Ánimas de Quimixto
Also located near the small fishing village of Quimixto, Playa Las Ánimas de Quimixto is a beach-lover’s dream-come-true. The pristine fine white sand is beautiful and soft to walk on. And, the waters there are crystal clear as the soft waves gently break onto the beach. Then, there’s a great pier that makes it easy to board and disembark the pangas or tour boats. Once you’re there, you’ll quickly notice the astounding natural surroundings – this beach is in a very beautiful setting.
There’s an assortment of small restaurants and vendors that provide delicious food and drinks. And, Playa Las Ánimas de Quimixto is famous for it’s locally hand made pies for sale by the vendors on the beach. Next, there’s parasailing and banana boats available along with wave runners for rent. Lastly, there’s an amazing hiking trail that starts at Boca de Tamatlán. It leads to Playa Las Ánimas de Quimixto and goes on to Quimixto Beach.
Las Marietas Hidden Beach
Ranked number 10 on The Guardian’s annually-published 50 Best Beaches in the World, Las Marietas Hidden Beach is only accessible by boat or “panga.” And, it takes an hour or two to get there, depending on the type of boat you’re on, since it’s out in the middle of Banderas Bay. Also, you must swim through a tunnel to visit Las Marietas Hidden Beach. But, you emerge into a sun-filled pocket of blue water and white sand, totally surrounded by rock and hidden from view as the name suggests. You may only stay there for a short time, but simply experiencing this hidden treasure is quite a thrill indeed.
Playa de Oro (hotel Zone)
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