Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Beaches
Enjoy swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, windsurfing, jet skiing, fishing and bungee jumping over emerald waters of the pacific. On the rugged beaches to the south, where the Sierra Madre mountains tumble into the sea, you will discover intimate coves and sandy stretches. The peaceful northern beaches on the road to Punta de Mita offer great surfing and relaxing.
Playa de Oro Beach -Playa de Oro beach is a wide, sandy beach with a few rocky areas interspersed. This beautiful Puerto Vallarta beach is popular with tourists and locals because of its water sports.
Los Muertos Beach -Puerto Vallarta's most lively beach, Playa los Muertos is a long sandy beach on the South Side. Located just south of Old Town, this funky and wildly popular beach is lined with shops, restaurants and bars where you can grab a beach chair and table, and is a great parasailing beach.
In the evenings, mariachi and musicians play along the beach. From Los Muertos, many pangas depart for beaches further south. Weekends on this beach are bustling with activity, sun worshipers by day and the dining and nightlife crowd after dark. The beachfront bars and restaurants are a great place to catch the incredible Vallarta sunsets.
Marina Vallarta Beach -The wide Marina Vallarta beach offers beautiful views of Puerto Vallarta and its mountain backdrop. Check out Nikki Beach, a sexy and cool restaurant/bar/beach club where you can eat and drink right in bed!
Nuevo Vallarta Beach -Lined with sprawling resort hotels, this gorgeous, wide sandy beach hugs Banderas Bay for as far as the eye can see. This peaceful beach is a beautiful spot to soak up the sun, swim and relax. Nuevo Vallarta also offers a wealth of diversions from the sun and sand, including three professional golf courses, a water park, a yacht club, marinas, shopping and many excellent restaurants.
Puerto Vallarta Hotel Zone Beach -Lined with resort hotels, this beautiful, wide sandy beach stretching from Marina Vallarta to the Sheraton is a tourist playground. The beach offers every amenity and water sport - from parasailing to whale watching - you decide. It's easy to have an adventure on this beach, simply by strolling and stopping into the beach-front bar, restaurant or venue that catches your eye.
Bucerias Beach -Golden sands stretching for miles and gentle waves make this an ideal family beach - with oceanfront palapa restaurants and an interesting small town to explore. Boasting the longest beach on the bay, "The Place of the Divers" is known for its freshly shucked giant oysters and sublime seafood. Catch some rays in front of the beach restaurants and enjoy the constant breeze that makes the beach feel fresher and cooler. The town offers many waterfront restaurants and a colorful outdoor market by the main plaza, which is a fun way to absorb the local flavor
San Francisco/San Pancho Beach -Just a few miles outside the bay, this pristine Puerto Vallarta beach on the open sea is gorgeous, windswept, primitive and wide, with deep creamy sand and rougher waters.
This famous adventure beach attracts outdoor enthusiasts from around the world, offering surfing, kayaking, sport fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking, and tours to Matachen Bay, which boasts the world's longest surfable wave. The town's main street has an Internet Café and great restaurants.
Sayulita Beaches -The beaches of Sayulita are an international surfing Mecca. The shoreline of this picturesque village is dotted with coves and beaches where surfers hang ten. Most of the surfing action happens off the main town beach, where you can find lessons and board rentals.
Well known in the surfing world, this long and wide beach boasts a women-only surfing school. Enjoy some privacy in one of the area's small coves, conveying the sense it is yours alone. After a day of swimming and sunning, check out palapa restaurants on the beach and gourmet dining spots. A funky fishing village with wild beauty, Sayulita offers an appealing town square, as well as trendy shops and businesses.
Playa Conchas Chinas Beach -This beautiful, exclusive Puerto Vallarta beach community is one of the most prestigious local areas. Luxury homes and villas are nestled on the mountainside along Mexico's Pacific coast, offering tremendous views of the bay and the mountains. Puerto Vallarta's ultimate luxury escape, Conchas Chinas Beach offers peace, tranquility, and enchanting vistas. Playa Conchas Chinas offers gorgeous sandy strands for relaxing with ocean breezes and colorful sunsets.
Boca de Tomates Beach -A half hour north of Puerto Vallarta, Boca de Tomates is a peaceful, long sandy retreat where you'll see more crocodiles, sea turtles and exotic birds than sun worshippers. An ecologist's paradise, the Tomates estuary is one of this area's most important refuges for wildlife. The beach is popular with boogie boarders and offers funky
Garza Blanca Beach -Located off the Barra Navidad road on the way to Mismaloya, this small, tranquil white sand, city beach is framed with palms and crystal clear water that laps the shoreline. Garza Blanca is popular with the locals on weekends and the perfect spot for a picnic and enjoying the sand and surf.
Gemelas Beach -"Twin" beach is comprised of two small crescent-shaped beaches at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountains. At Gemelas the surf is gentle for swimming, surfing and all kinds of water sports. A nice restaurant is located at the beach hotel.
Mismaloya Beach -A small sandy Puerto Vallarta beach on a beautiful jungle-fringed cove south of town, where the Mismaloya creek meets the ocean, Mismaloya is the beautiful remote strand where the "The Night of the Iguana" was filmed in 1963. Mismaloya features a beautiful white sand beach, several restaurants, little palapa bars, and a major resort - a perfect place to relax. You can even walk around what remains of the old movie set.
Boca de Tomatlán Beach -A primitive-feeling beach near Puerto Vallarta, this small sandy cove at the edge of the jungle three miles south of Mismaloya is where the mouth of the Tomatlan River meets Banderas Bay. The last beach that is accessible by road, Boca de Tomatlan is very quiet and peaceful and is a great swimming beach. The beach offers Palapa restaurants, small seafood restaurants and taco stands that serve fresh-caught fish and Mexican fare. You can hire local pangas here to take you to Yepala, Las Animas or Quimixto.
Punta de Mita Beaches -Located 40 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, Punta de Mita beaches offers an unrivaled Mexican vacation experience with magical islands and enchanting vistas. The gorgeous, pristine beaches in Punta de Mita are the most beautiful on the Bay and possibly all of Mexico. Punta de Mita Beach on the northern tip of the Bay is ideal for strolling and absorbing the incredible beauty and sea air. The second public beach, El Anclote, is a bustling beach with great swimming
Since the strong waves break right in front of beach, these beaches are excellent surfing and windsurfing spots. A favorite weekend getaway for Vallartans, this soft sand beach offers restaurants, activities, such as kayaking, catamaraning, and snorkeling and kayak/boogie board rentals. Rent a boat and guide to take you to Las Marietas Islands nature preserve just offshore where snorkeling and diving are amazing, or hire a panga to take you whale watching in the Bay.
Photos by Mark Callanan