Best Beaches in Puerto Vallarta

(Last Updated On: July 20, 2021)

Puerto Vallarta beaches aren’t the only reason people visit this popular Mexican city. It has a laid back atmosphere, while also offering many things to do in Puerto Vallarta, such as hiking, water sports, shopping and a vibrant nightlife.

There is an array of dining possibilities in Puerto Vallarta, range from top of the line gourmet cuisine to traditional home-style restaurants to famous Mexican street foods such as tacos, tamales and sweet tasty churros (think Mexican cinnamon donuts).

Best Beaches in Puerto Vallarta
(Photo Credit: Guajillo studio 

Being on the Pacific side of Mexico, Puerto Vallarta boasts some of the best sunsets in Mexico. And the steep hills allow for perfect viewpoints of the setting sun from the decks of many restaurants. They will be more than happy to seat you with a view and a cocktail to watch the brilliant hues of the sunset. 

A fantastic sunset view can also be taken in at the popular Malecon (boardwalk) which runs alongside the ocean. It is also a fantastic place for people watching and art walks. Weekend markets and pop-up concerts keep the weekends hopping and entertaining as well.

Still, the miles of gorgeous Puerto Vallarta beaches draw most people to the sand.  At the busiest beaches you’ll find people frollicking in the water during the day, and dining on tables in the sand for romantic sunset dinner in the evening. 

With so many beaches in Puerto Vallarta, you can easily find one to suit your tastes. Whether you prefer a party atmosphere, a family-friendly swimming and splashing zone, or a deserted tropical beach where you can be alone, you’ll find it here. If you want a more catered experience, there are also great Beach Clubs in Puerto Vallarta!

We’ve put together this list of the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta to help you choose. We’ve listed their amenities and ease of access as well. 

Las Animas Beach

Best Beaches in Puerto Vallarta: Las Animas Beach
Las Animas Beach (Photo Credit: Goran Bogicevic)

Las Animas beach is one of the most stunning beaches in Puerto Vallarta. It is situated at the southern zone and is very popular day trip destination in the area. There are plenty of tours and cruises that will take you there from Puerto Vallarta, allowing you to stay and unwind for a day.

The place is a perfect getaway because of the natural setting. The beach has fine sand and crystal clear water surrounded by jungle and a mountain range in the distance.

Las Animas is also a great beach to spend quality time with friends, families with small kids. It offers a wide range of water activities; such as snorkeling, kayaking, jet ski riding, parasailing and many more. 

HOW TO GET THERE:

To get there from Puerto Vallarta, travel by bus or taxi about 10 miles south (or about 20 minutes) from the heart of the city on the south road towards Barra de Navidad. You’ll arrive at Boca de Tomatlan, a small coastal village. Descend into the town and take one of the plentiful water taxis (pangas) that shuttle passengers to the beaches of the southern area of ​​Banderas Bay.

ACCESSIBILITY:

Las Animas beach is not as easy to get to as it’s more secluded. There is no road leading to the remote spot, which means that the single entree is by panga or water taxi. It’s about a 30 minute boat ride to this beautiful beach. 

It is also not that handicapped friendly since you need to ride a water taxi, but once you get there at the beach it’s easy to roam around.

AMENITIES:

There are few amenities directly on the beach, such as public toilets or rental shops, and there are lots of beach front restaurants nearby. 

  • Bathrooms – Yes, there are few bathrooms around the area.
  • Gear rentals – Definitely, yes! You can rent gear and book tours for boat rides, zip line canopy tours, snorkeling and many more. 
  • Eating & Drinking – There is a variety of small restaurants and vendors providing food and drink.
  • Lifeguards – There are no lifeguards around here, so beware.
  • Type of surf – Moderate, ok for snorkeling and swimming. 
  • Parking – Not much. Public transportation recommended.

Las Gemelas Beach

Best Beaches in Puerto Vallarta: Playa Gamelas
Playa Las Gamelas (Photo credit: Jenna Kennett)

Playa Las Gemelas is one of the best beautiful beaches around Puerto Vallarta, and it is made up of two long stretches of beach situated at the foot of lush and green hills to the south of Puerto Vallarta. It is truly a great place to relax and to reconnect with nature.

Here, unlike some of beaches in Puerto Vallarta, the water is the crystal turquoise blue that you dream about when planning a Mexican vacation.

There are a north and south beaches that make up Gamelas are separated by stretch of rocks that makes the south beach less accessible, but more private. The two beaches are the reason for the name Las Gamelas, which means “twins” in English. 

HOW TO GET THERE:

Las Gemelas Beach is about a 20 minute drive from town. Lyft or Uber are your best bet –  drivers will know exactly where this popular beach is located. When they drop you off, you will then take the narrow stairs downwards towards the beach. There are also local taxis, but they are more expensive.

If you want to take a bus, find the orange and white ones going south towards Boca. Just tell them you want to get off at the Las Gemelas Beach, next to the El Presidente Hotel, and they will remind you when you’re at the right spot.

ACCESSIBILITY:

There really aren’t too many parking options if you are driving, unless you are a resident at the condos at the beach. It might be possible to park along the road a little far down, but it’s often filled up as well.

The beach itself isn’t very handicapped friendly, you will have to get down some stairs at the only entrance.

AMENITIES:

There are hardly any amenities or creature comforts at this beach, besides maybe the surrounding hotels that also call the beach home, some of which have restaurants. You’ll want to bring all you need.

  • Bathrooms – There are no bathrooms here, you might have to go to the Girasoles Restaurant for emergencies.
  • Gear rentals – There are no rental shops right at the beach, for towels or snorkeling gear or fishing tackle, so you’ll want to bring your own.
  • Eating & Drinking – There is very little infrastructure here at all, so we recommend bringing all your own food and drinks. There are usually a few locals walking the beach selling various drinks and snacks. The closest restaurant is the Girasoles, and at the condos if you tell the guard you are going to the restaurant there, they will let you in.
  • Lifeguards – There are no lifeguards around here, so beware.
  • Type of surf – Fairly moderate waves, you can snorkel on calm days. Not great for surfing, but probably big enough to body board.
  • Parking – Not really. You might get lucky and be able to park along the road a bit away, but who knows. Much easier to use public transport. 

Conchas Chinas Beach

Beaches in Puerto Vallarta: Conchas Chinas Beach
Conchas Chinas Beach (Photo credit: Inspired By Maps )

Conchas Chinas is known as a beach lover’s paradise with stunning rock formations that create fun natural little pools of saltwater. The main attraction is its location – it  is surrounded by hills that lead down to the ocean. The beach is known for its white sand and turquoise water.

Conchas Chinas is located just 10 minutes away from the romantic zone of Puerto Vallarta. This pristine beach is great for spotting sea life in the shallow and crystal clear water.

HOW TO GET THERE:

Conchas China is about 2 km minutes south of the Romantic Zone. You can walk the distance in about 25 minutes, going south on Calle Sagitario.  You can also take the bus toward Boca de Tomatlan, getting off at the OXXO located right before Sagitario Street (or just ask the driver to let you know when you are at Conchas China).  Look for the blue signs that say “accesso la playa” and take the stairs down and it will take you to the beach itself.


 

ACCESSIBILITY:

There is very little parking available; therefore if you are not walking, we recommend using public transportation such as bus, taxi or Uber. Signage indicates public beach access in the various streets in the Conchas Chinas neighborhood. 

The beach itself isn’t very handicapped friendly, you will have to get down some stairs at the entrance.

AMENITIES:

There are few actual amenities directly on the beach, such as public toilets or rental shops, but there are lots of beach front restaurants nearby. 

  • Bathrooms – Only in surrounding hotels or restaurants.
  • Gear rentals – Not at the beach. Snorkeling is really the only beach sport popular here, as volleyball and the like tend to be at more white sand beaches.
  • Eating & Drinking – Yes plenty, from locals walking along the beach selling drinks, to lots of beach front restaurants.  A few popular restaurants nearby being Lindo Mar, El Set and La Playita.
  • Lifeguards – No lifeguards around typically
  • Type of surf – Moderate, ok for snorkeling. Some of the shore is rocky as well. 
  • Parking – Not much. Public transportation recommended.

Camarones Beach

If you are looking for convenience, Camarones beach is a great option. It is the main beach of Puerto Vallarta, stretching all the way to the downtown area. This also means there are dozens of shops and restaurants of all kinds along the beach, with everything you need.

This is also the first urban beach in the country to receive the Playa Limpia (Clean Beach) certification from the government. This certification means not only is it clean, but it will always have a lifeguard on duty, as well as nearly every amenity you can want. 

HOW TO GET THERE:

Getting to this one is easy. While in the downtown area, if you are head toward the ocean you will inevitably end up at the 2000 foot long beach.

ACCESSIBILITY:

Camarones is surely the most accessible when it comes to parking, with both street and private parking available. It is also about as handicapped friendly as it really gets in Mexico, with much fewer stair entrees to the beach. 

AMENITIES:

The short answer is YES. Compared to any other beach on this list, there is everything you can want or need at Camerones, from gear rental to public toilets to good food options. 

  • Bathrooms – Yes, multiple.
  • Gear rentals – Yes. You can rent gear and tours for banana-boat rides, SUP paddle boards, Jet Skis, parasailing and more.
  • Eating & Drinking – There are plenty of options lining the beach, from small huts selling authentic Mexican food, to nice restaurants, to hip bars and beach clubs. 
  • Lifeguards – Yes, always.
  • Type of surf – Moderate, good for swimming and snorkeling. 
  • Parking – Yes. The best bet would be street parking and private parking around Parque Hidalgo.

Los Muertos Beach

Los Muertos Beach
Los Muertos Beach (Photo credit: Meunierd )

This beach is also known as Dead Man’s Beach, and it is one of the most visited place to relax, eat, walk or have some drinks and enjoy the fabulous colorful Vallarta sunsets. This is also the main and most popular beach within the city limits of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. That said, this beach is favorite among the locals, families, and tourists from the neighboring cities and states. 

HOW TO GET THERE:

Getting here is the easiest one compared to the rest of the beaches in Puerto Vallarta. It is located at the south of the Malecon, so you can simply stroll down the boardwalk and you’ll end up there. This is the easiest beach to go from the city and it’s walking distance away depending on where you’re coming from.

Otherwise, you can take a taxi, Uber or a bus, then just get off around Basilio Badillo and Constitucion. From there head to the beach along Basilio Badillo, left on Olas Altas and from there you are a half block to Los Muertos beach.

ACCESSIBILITY:

Los Muertos is definitely the most accessible when it comes to availability, which is the beach is free 24/7, with both street and private parking available. It isn’t really a handicapped friendly which you will need to pass through a couple of minutes walk down a rocky path.

AMENITIES:

Yes, compared to some of the beaches listed here, there is everything you are looking for or need at Los Muertos, from gear rental to public toilets to good food options. 

  • Bathrooms – Yes, multiple.
  • Gear rentals – Yes. You can rent gear and tours for banana-boat rides, SUP paddle boards, Jet Skis, windsurf, parasailing and more.
  • Eating & Drinking – There are also a variety of excellent restaurants, bars, cafes, and in the evening you can enjoy a romantic gourmet dinner on the beach.
  • Lifeguards – Yes, always.
  • Type of surf – Surf are gentle enough to everyone and most especially for children.
  • Parking – Generally, on street parking is safe around the area.

Colomitos Beach

Beaches in Puerto Valllarta - Colomitos Beach
Colomitos Beach (Photo credit: Miguel Naranjo)

Exploring the hidden jewel of Colomitos beach is quite the journey, but worth the effort. This tiny 30 meter long hidden beach in Banderas Bay, just outside of Boca, is a great little quiet getaway. It also offers a great nature hike if you want to see a lot of birds and animals, with a one mile jungle trek from Boca.

HOW TO GET THERE:

You need to get to Boca to get to Colomitos beach. You can either take a taxi to the small village of Boca, or you can take a water taxi the whole way. These water taxis (or pangas) can be caught around the Pier at Los Muertos Beach and at Marina Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta. There is also a hike from Boca de Tomatlán through the jungle, about a mile, if you are a little more adventurous.

ACCESSIBILITY:

This place isn’t that accessible at all due to its remote location. But, if you love adventure the hike is a perfect way to go, and will take you less than an hour.

AMENITIES:

There are hardly any amenities at all, besides one new restaurant, so bring everything you will need.

  • Bathrooms – No.
  • Gear rentals – No.
  • Eating & Drinking – One small restaurant.
  • Lifeguards – No.
  • Type of surf – Good for snorkeling.
  • Parking – No.

Mismaloya Beach

Beaches of Puerto Vallarta: Mismaloya Beach
Mismaloya Beach (Photo credit: Elena Elisseeva  )

Mismaloya is located between Conchas Chinas and Boca de Tomatlán, just past Los Arcos National Marine Park. The beach has a nice jungle background, and is located where the Mismaloya river meets the sea. The beach itself is about 900 feet long, with plenty of SUP and other activities on offer.

HOW TO GET THERE:

From the heart of the city of Puerto Vallarta, you can reach this secluded beach by catching an Uber or taxi from Zona Romantica. If taking the bus, have them drop you off at the entrance of Hotel Barcelona, and you get right to the beach by walking down a short roadway.

ACCESSIBILITY:

This is one of the more accessible beaches on the list, with plenty of resorts and restaurants around, but as with most, it’ll be rough going in a wheelchair.

AMENITIES:

Most comforts can be found here, especially food, drink and activities. Bathrooms will probably only in restaurants.

  • Bathrooms – Yes.
  • Gear rentals – Yes.
  • Eating & Drinking – Yes, plenty.
  • Lifeguards – N/A, probably not.
  • Type of surf – Small to no wave action.
  • Parking – Some, recommended to go early to find parking, if driving yourself.

Las Caletas, Cabo Corrientes

Puerto Vallarta: Las Caletas Beach
Las Caletas Beach (Photo credit: Manu Roldan)

This private beach, once owned by a Hollywood legend, and now is leased out to Vallarta Adventures, a tour operator. Hence, you have to purchase a ticket to go here, with only around 150 people allowed on the beach at a time.

Las Caletas is great for swimming, snorkeling and enjoying the region’s fresh seafood. It’s a perfect place for relaxation, some water sports, and if you’re feeling more adventurous, hiking. You can explore the jungle to find a diverse range of indigenous flora and fauna.

HOW TO GET THERE:

Las Caletas is situated at the Bay of Banderas, approximately 12 miles (19 kilometers) south of Puerto Vallarta. This secluded beach is only accessible by water. Vallarta Adventures catamarans leave in the morning from Puerto Vallarta Marina and will take about 45 minutes to get there.

Also, keep an eye out for whales, dolphins and other marine life during the boat ride. The tour fare typically includes all food, drinks and water-sports equipment.

You can’t get to Las Celetas on your own. Only 150 people at a time are allowed here, and you must book tickets ahead of time.

ACCESSIBILITY:

This beach is not open to the public, and you must buy an adventure pass to get there, starting around $130. The tour focuses also on other adventures like ziplining and hiking and swimming with dolphins, so you will have to talk to them and ask if they can cater to wheelchairs, if needed.

AMENITIES:

This is a package tour, so everything will be provided or available. Maybe bring sunscreen and a towel.

  • Bathrooms – Yes.
  • Gear rentals – Yes, or included.
  • Eating & Drinking – Yes.
  • Lifeguards – Yes.
  • Type of surf – No waves.
  • Parking – Maybe around the boat pickup, some tours also do hotel pickups.

Yelapa Beach

Yelapa Beach
Yelapa Beach (Photo credit: Karamysh)

You shouldn’t miss this one of the most enticing undiscovered beaches in Puerto Vallarta. Yalepa Beach  offer quiet, beautiful scenery, a small cove surrounded by nature and tropical green jungle.

Yelapa is a laid-back beach for swimming, snorkeling and water sports, and has some beachfront eateries and restaurants. The easiest way to get here is by water taxi from the romantic zone in downtown.

HOW TO GET THERE:

You can of course ask a taxi to take you, and then you can walk down the rocky shores on the path, but the easiest way is to get the water taxi that will drop you off right in the middle of the beach. This beach is probably the furthest from Puerto Vallarta, being about a 45 minute by bus or a long water taxi ride. If an extra long boat ride isn’t what you’re looking for, you take a bus to Boca, then a water taxi from the pier there.

ACCESSIBILITY:

The water taxis make this really easy to get to, but you’re going to need some help if you are in a wheelchair, as getting in and out of the basic boat and onto the beach will be a little hard. This is a wide beach too, so waves can be slightly bigger on some days, for small kids.

AMENITIES:

You’re better off bringing your own gear for snorkeling, etc. 

  • Bathrooms – Yes.
  • Gear rentals – No.
  • Eating & Drinking – Yes, various restaurants and bars.
  • Lifeguards – No.
  • Type of surf – Some days can have a little bigger surf for small kids.
  • Parking – Not close by.

 

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