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Boca de Tomatlan, a quaint fishing village with lots to offer

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Why visit Boca de Tomatlan | Things to do in Boca | Where is Boca? | Location Map | Where to eat | Where to stay | Tips & Ideas

A small fishing town with great traditional beachside restaurants, a starting point for trips to the south beaches and with lots of things to do in and around the Boca village.

  • 11 miles south of downtown Puerto Vallarta, you can get there on a public bus to Boca as well as taxis, Uber or even water taxis.
  • Get there in 20 or 30 minutes, the journey there is also a scenic trip.
  • A fishing village where you'll get a taste of what real Mexico is all about.
  • Offers a nice beach and picturesque beachside restaurants.
  • It's a starting point for water taxis (pangas) to the Cabo Corrientes South Zone beaches.
  • Not to be confused with Boca de Tomates that's located a bit north of the Airport on the other side of the Pitillal River mouth and Nuevo Vallarta
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Boca de Tomatlan is a quaint and lively little traditional fishing village, the locals know it as just "Boca". A small village with houses on both sides of the Horcones river (Rio Horcones) that flows down from the Sierra Madre Mountains through the lush tropical jungles.

It's also a popular starting point for pangas (water taxis) going to the south zone of Banderas Bay and beaches like Playa Las Ánimas, Colomitos Beach, Quimixto beach, Majahuitas beach, and Yelapa.

There's also a hiking trail that starts off here all the way to Quimixto along a jungle trail that mostly follows the edge of the sea (no flip-flops please!).

South Zone beach map, including Boca de Tomatlan

Boca an authentic Mexican fishing village, eleven breathtaking and scenic miles south of Puerto Vallarta, where the Horcones River empties its waters into a beautiful cove, surrounded by bougainvillea, hibiscus, banana, papaya and palm covered hills. Enjoy its soft-sand beach, gentle ocean surf, great food, and friendly people!

Why visit Boca de Tomatlan

Boca is a place for visitors that want to see what Mexico is all about, here you'll experience rural Mexico culture as it really is.

People here are friendly and polite, kids play on the street and beach, there's a lot of nature, birds like parrots, egrets, herons, hummingbirds, and seabirds abound. Other more traditional domestic animals and sounds include cute donkeys, not-so-cute roosters, barking dogs, cats, and Rancheras, so it may not be for the faint-of-heart.

It's one of the many great little day trips you can enjoy from out of Puerto Vallarta Mexico.

There's also a very nice beach, that is now divided into two sections by the Malecon and the river mouth, one section north of the river where you'll find the Boca malecón, pier, water taxis, and the restaurants along the edge of the bay, and a section south of the river that is for those that just want to enjoy the beach under parasols, lounge chairs, and tables. Walk all the way to the end of the beach on this side and you'll find a wonderful tree that offers you shade while you bask in the ocean, it's great!

What to do in Boca

Enjoy the beach, the bay and the sea, you'll have a great time just relaxing by the edge, the water is clean, calm and the waves are soft as you'd expect in a small cove like this one. If you are into swimming in the sea, this place is protected from the open ocean, just don't go into the panga (water taxi) area, northeast of the river.

As I mentioned, Boca now even has its own little palm-lined Malecon (offers washrooms and shower for about $0.30 dollars) and a reinforced breakwater exit for the Horcones River, the boardwalk follows along Pelicanos street. It helps keep the river in its course and provides a great starting point for the local fishermen and water taxis going north and south. It's also great for the pier, in the past, the river course changes could render it useless, not now.

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The bay is a great starting point for your trip south, as well as, a hike from Boca to Las Animas and Quimixto and other more secluded beaches along the way like Madagascar Beach, El Caballo Beach, and Colomitos Cove.

It's a well-marked trail that starts off in Boca, you cross the river and follow the edge to the right. Here's a link to a video that shows the complete hiking route to the Hidden Beach at Colomitos.

Another popular activity you could enjoy out from Boca is a trip to the Vallarta Botanical Gardens, buses on the way to El Tuito can take you there, just ask to be left off at the "Jardin Botanico". This park is wonderful and has been voted time and again as one of the best in the Americas (find out more).

Vallarta Botanical Gardens

You can visit Boca Divers in town and arrange for scuba lessons, rent a kayak, get some gear for a snorkeling adventure or maybe even charter a fishing boat.

From November to March you'll also be able to go on a Whale watching tour.

You should also check out the locally brewed whiskey (!!) (The first real Mexican Whiskey called Dorwart) and maybe find a Raicilla seller in town (careful!).

Where is Boca and How to get there

Boca is the last part of the Federal Highway 200 going to Barra de Navidad by the sea's edge, it then turns inland taking you through the town of Las Juntas y Los Veranos, El Tuito (18 miles from Boca) and other smaller ones along the way, this also includes the very popular attraction, the Botanical Gardens between Las Juntas and El Tuito.

Boca de Tomatlán panorama

It's 3 miles past Mismaloya Beach and is the most popular landing and departure bay for the water taxis that take you to the isolated and beautiful beaches of the southern part of the Banderas Bay, including Las Ánimas, Quimixto, Majahuitas, Yelapa, Pizota, Corrales and more.


From Puerto Vallarta to Boca de Tomatlán

You can catch a bus to Boca de Tomatlan in Puerto Vallarta on the corner of Basilio Badillo and Constitución streets in Old Vallarta (Romantic Zone), the same place and the same buses that go to Mismaloya beach in the south zone. The buses are orange and white and have a sign that says "Boca", you can always check with the driver. The ticket should put you back about $0.60 dollars (one-way).

You could also try hitchhiking with pickups going south where the highway starts off south on the corner of Basilio Badillo and Highway 200 (Carretera Federal 200), I don't, but maybe it's your "thing" :-).

Buses from Puerto Vallarta to Boca de Tomatlan
Buses say Boca and Mismaloya

The bus ride to Boca doesn't take that long from downtown Puerto Vallarta, it's 11 miles (17km, a 15 to 20-minute car or taxi, 30 minutes in bus). You'll follow along the edge of the sea on the road between the jungle hills on your left and the emerald-blue ocean on your right.

Local buses run to and from Boca and Mismaloya every day, starting off early around 6:30 AM - 7:00 AM and running at regular intervals until around 10 - 11 PM.

If you are a seafaring person, you can also get there in water taxis, you can catch these at the Marina, or better, at the Pier at Los Muertos at Playa Los Muertos. Check out the departure schedules here.

Where to eat

On the Boca beach, you'll find five small restaurants one after the other along the edge of the sea, you'll know which one is which based on their tablecloths, each has a different color! You'll enjoy the freshest local seafood and fish dishes under their palapas (traditional Mexican palm-leaf roofs), and have a drink served on the beach at the water's edge. Did I mention they are quite inexpensive? They are open from around 10 AM to 7 PM, you can also just enjoy a cold beer and maybe some grilled shrimp or fish.

Le Kliff

Half a mile from Boca going in Mismaloya's direction, you'll find Le Kliff Restaurant, a great five-star location, as you might expect, on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the sea. Offers gourmet dishes and drinks with equivalently breathtaking views of the Boca Bay, Pacific Ocean and Los Arcos to the north.

Ocean Grill Puerto Vallarta

Restaurant located around the bend from Boca at Los Colomitos Beach. A palapa covered veranda (traditional Mexican shelter roofed with palm leaves), over the edge of the cove and ocean. A spectacular location, with great service, and delicious food.

You'll need to reserve beforehand, it's a cash-only and reservation-only restaurant and grill, so you can't arrive unannounced. Adult-only and no pets due to the location, that could be dangerous for them.

Chico's Paradise

If you want you can go a little further south along the highway, before arriving at Las Juntas y Los Veranos, you'll find a great place called Chico's Paradise Restaurant by the river. They offer a canopy tour there and/or you can enjoy a great meal at the restaurant overlooking the river, it's also a great view.

Chico's Paradise

If you want you can go a little further south along the highway, before arriving at Las Juntas y Los Veranos, you'll find a great place called Chico's Paradise Restaurant by the river. They offer a canopy tour there and/or you can enjoy a great meal at the restaurant overlooking the river, it's also a great view.

Where to stay

There are lodging options in town, bed & breakfasts, vacation rental villas, apartments, and other accommodations, if you plan to stay overnight. If you like the laid-back atmosphere of the place, would be a great idea to stay here a night, you'll have either budget options or boutique hotels.

Among the most popular, we can mention the Bed and Breakfast called Casa de Piedra, Las Brisas, Posada Pacifica, Vistamar Apartments, Villa Rodelinda and the more upscale options: Villa Armonía and Villa Lala Boutique Hotel.

Tips & ideas

  • The Horcones river ends its trip from the Sierra Mountains and flows into the little bay of Boca de Tomatlán.
  • The river brings most water during the rainy months that start in June and end in October.
  • Visit Colomitos Beach, either take a water taxi (5 minutes) or hike from Boca by land (40 minutes).
  • Visit the Botanical Gardens.
  • Take a trip from Boca to El Tuito.

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Boca de Tomatlan Jalisco Mexico, despite its quaint, relaxed demeanor, is also a great starting point for many adventures and some of the best memories from your trip to Puerto Vallarta and the Bay area, be sure not to miss it while you are vacationing here.

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