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 beachs in Vallarta.
The first beach south of Puerto Vallarta's romantic zone, 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.
You can get to it by hiking along the tidepools from Playa Los Muertos or you can walk along the sidestreets south of the Romantic zone, you can alos take a taxi or a bus going south.
Las Estacas Beach
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 Dreams Resort, once 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.
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.
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.
Located 20 minutes south of downtown Puerto Vallarta, you can take a taxi or a bus from Basilio Badillo and Constitución, the same one that takes you to Mismaloya.
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.
Los Arcos National Marine Park
Half a mile north of Mismaloya, in a straight line, is 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, turtles, sharks and dolphins are native
to these waters, and huge schools of Jack tuna circle
this tiny island in search of food.
This is a must for those interested in great
snorkel and dive site with caves, arches and steep walls to explore. Many tours and cruises arrive here during the day for the view and the activities.
Encore Bungee Jumping
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.
Encore Bungee has once again opened the attraction in the south side on the way to Mismaloya. After tests and remodeling they are open to the public. More info on FB.
Zoológico de Puerto Vallarta (Vallarta Zoo)
You'll find Puerto 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, a perfect backdrop for a fun, enjoyable and educational day trip.
To get to the zoo you travel either by car, taxi or bus (take the ones that say Mismaloya) along the highway to Barra de Navidad, once you arrive to the Barceló Resort there is a speed bump, then you take a left and follow the right road, the one that follows the river, if you advance 800 meters (2500 feet) you'll get to the zoo.
Open from 8AM to 6PM 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.More information on the zoo itself: http://www.zoologicodevallarta.com
Mismaloya is both a small fisherman village and a 300 yard long sandy beach on a beautiful jungle-fringed cove, 9 miles south of Puerto Vallarta located at the point where Mismaloya creek runs into the Pacific Ocean.
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, that in the past was known as "La Joya de Mismaloya", you can also walk around what remains of the old movie set.
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, don not miss them if you have a chance.
Beaches between Mismaloya and Yelapa and the Botanical Garden (click for detail)
Boca de Tomatlan village & beach
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
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 wondering over the spectacular scenery, natural pools, waterfalls, gardens and birds that are all around. Here you'll find 20 acres of land with over 3000 species of plants located in a unique tropical dry forest ecosystem, 1300 feet above sea level.
There is an orchid farm with 100 different species.
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. A picturesque beach where a sweeping arch of rock promontories, white sand meet the waters of the bay.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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 village & beach
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.
The word Yelapa is of Purepecha origin and means "place where waters become a pond or come together."
Artists and writers live for places like these, the tranquility and privacy makes it the perfect place for many of them from around the world. The village is quaint, the life is simple, the surrounding beauty irresistible, many have decided to make it their permanent residence, and enjoy the daily inspiration of the sea, nature and mountains.