Beaches & Sights between Puerto Vallarta and Mismaloya
Green and lush jungle hills tumble toward the sea along the shoreline south of Puerto Vallarta's romantic zone.
The South zone offers villas, condos, a series of world-class hotels and resorts and many of the nicest beaches in Vallarta.
North of Mismaloya
South of Mismaloya
The first beach south of Puerto Vallarta's romantic zone is Conchas Chinas (Chinese shells or maybe curly shells) offers beautiful villas and the beach is rocky, offering small pools and lots of sea life, you can fish off the rocks and you can also snorkel here.
Conchas Chinas beach itself isn't really one beach but more like a series of small sandy coves separated by rocks that start off about a mile south of Playa Los Muertos and El Pulpito.
You can get to it by hiking along the tidepools from Playa Los Muertos and Amapas Beach or you can walk along the side streets south of the Romantic zone, you can also take a taxi or a bus going south.
Las Estacas is a beautiful 300 foot long gently curving white-gray sand beach found next to the south end of the Conchas Chinas residential area, it is in front of the Hyatt Ziva (ex-Dreams Resort also known as Camino Real Puerto Vallarta).
Great for kids and swimming but is only accessible through the Dreams Resort for guests or day-pass holders. There is a hidden path down to the beach, hard to find, just north of the resort, only if you are fit.
Los Venados is a small crescent white sand beach on Km 3.5, on the highway south of Puerto Vallarta's romantic zone.
A beach that offers soft and regular waves and soft sand, very much like Las Estacas beach that is found 1 km to the north, you'll find this beach on kilometer 4.5 of the highway to Barra de Barra de Navidad. Waters are crystal clear, great for snorkeling, the sand is light grey in color and soft.
A beautiful beach that can only be accessed through the Playa del Sol, it features an artificial reef that holds back the waves and makes the beach fabulous for swimming and snorkeling.
Beside Punta Negra Beach you'll find lots of condos, homes, and villas, the area is very quiet and only 5 kilometers (3 miles) south of downtown Vallarta. Great view of Los Arcos.
The beach is great for photos, the surf breaks beautifully here and the sand is adorned with palms and tropical vegetation.
Actually the same beach as Punta Negra, but going south, beyond the Condos located there (Punta Negra Condominiums, Quinta Esmeralda and Los Palmares), you arrive at an area where there even is a lifeguard post, this part of the beach is known as Playa Palmares (Palm Grove beach) or also "El Paredón" (the big wall), this beach is therefore located between Punta Negra and Garza Blanca, that's the next beach beyond the point seen in the photo above.
The beach is great for swimming, the surf is mostly soft though you do lack vegetation for shelter, so bring your parasol along.
Palmares Beach has a blue flag certification.
Supposedly one of the beautiful beaches in the Puerto Vallarta area, Garza Blanca Beach (White heron beach) offers some white sand, lots of stones and a so-so backdrop for your vacation photos. I can attest that it surely is NOT one of the most beautiful options in the area (the photo above is from somewhere else, I'll update it soon...). After a short visit, I was quite surprised at how sad the whole place is. Maybe the hype is related to the timeshare or condos they sell in the area.
Access is complicated as there is no parking space and the local condo guards are ready to make your visit as short as possible. Access along the road located north of the Garza Blanca condos, it's located on the Barra de Highway on Km. 6, on the way to Mismaloya Beach.
Supposedly there are lifeguards on the property (didn't see them) and defined swimming areas, bring your own food and drinks as there is nowhere to buy them here, though I personally would recommend other beaches, there are better and more accessible.
Playa Las Gemelas, two adjacent beaches (gemelas means twins), one in front of the Presidente Intercontinental Hotel and the other has public access. Services available for hotel guests or visitors with a day pass.
The entrance to Las Gemelas Beach, among the most beautiful in the area, is a bit steep, so you need to be more or less in shape. Pack well with food and drinks as there isn't much to buy in the area.
A useful landmark, great for snorkeling, scuba, and SUP, located half a mile north of Mismaloya, in a straight line, known as Los Arcos ecological reserve, surrounded by the blue waters of the Pacific this barnacle covered rock attracts all manner of sea life.
A profusion of manta rays, sea turtles, sharks (not dangerous ones, just in case), and dolphins are native to these waters, and huge schools of Jack tuna circle this tiny island in search of food.
Quite an experience for those that haven't tried it, a special one for those that have, jumping "into" the sea is certainly nicer than many other bungee jumps you can find in normal cities, you can even spot manta rays or other creatures in the clear emerald waters below.
You'll find Vallarta Zoo in the valley that ends with Mismaloya and Mismaloya beach, an exotic lush tropical jungle, close to the village between river and mountains.
Open from 8 AM to 6 PM every day of the week, the entrance fee is around 7-8 dollars (100 pesos) for adults and 4 dollars for children (50 pesos - ages 3 to 11); Phone: (322) 228-0501.
Here you'll find several restaurants, mainly little palapas by the edge of the sea, on the other end of the cove there is a large resort, Barceló Puerto Vallarta.
Beaches & Attractions South of Mismaloya
South of Boca de Tomatlan are the beaches and villages that you could almost consider "island" beaches, that include Yelapa, Las Animas and Quimixto, they at least feel like that as access is only by sea, small picturesque towns caught in time await discovery there, do not miss them if you have a chance.
Surrounded by jungle, Boca de Tomatlán is a small fishing village with an estuary on the south side, a nice beach and a beautiful cove where water taxis take off to the "island" beaches further south. You'll find a number of small beachside restaurants that serve fresh fish and other products from the bay.
Vallarta Botanical Gardens was established by Bob Price. This beautiful place is full of flowers, wild plants, and blue agaves, framed by the impressive mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental. A great place for those interested in plants or maybe just a good meal or drink while enjoying the spectacular scenery.
Vallarta Botanical Garden is located on Km. 24 on the Coastal Highway from Puerto Vallarta to Barra de Navidad, the phone number is (322) 223-6182. http://www.vbgardens.org
The first of the secluded and remote beaches you'll reach going south on the panga you rent or the water taxi you take south from Boca de Tomatlan. Las Ánimas is a picturesque beach where a sweeping arch of rock promontories, white sand meet the waters of the bay.
A quiet beach, a great place to spend a day in the sun, with a good book or if you just want to get away from it all and do absolutely nothing. You can also swim and snorkel in the calm waters of the cove.
Palapa style beach restaurants serve up fresh seafood. Swimming, snorkeling, reading, and eating, in total peace and quiet, are not that bad of a way to spend a day, a week or a lifetime. Horses can be rented and there are limited water sports available from beach.
Read more on Las Animas beach.
This tropical island type village makes you feel like you've transported yourself to the South Seas. A couple of large palapa restaurants dominate the landscape. This is one of the largest fishing villages in the south of Banderas Bay.
There is a beautiful waterfall within walking (hiking) distance of the beach.
A few homes along the beach and not much else but peace and tranquility here. This is a regular stop on the run to Yelapa by many of cruises and tours. A very tranquil setting. Horses can be rented here.
Enjoy the beach, the waterfall hike and explore the town.
Continuing south you'll arrive at a small jungle-fringed cove (only accessible by boat), you'll find a small hotel called Majahuitas (Majahuas), the beach is very isolated and therefore mostly yours to enjoy, except when the tour boats arrive.
You can snorkel and dive here in the crystal clear waters on the north and south ends of the cove, you'll find moray eels, sea cucumbers, rays and a wide variety of colorful fish.
Yelapa, a small town just 40 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta (by boat), at the foot of the majestic mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental.
Artists and writers live for places like these, the tranquility and privacy make it the perfect place for many of them from around the world. The village is quaint, the life is simple, the surrounding beauty irresistible.