7 Best Beaches in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Puerto Vallarta is on a stretch of Bahía de Banderas (or Banderas Bay) which is the largest bay in Mexico. It is also one of the deepest bays in the world at more than 900 meters (~3000 feet) deep! It takes over 2 hours to drive along the entire coast of the bay, which means there are TONS of beaches to choose from. The following list has all the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta and areas nearby.
Best Local Beaches
The downtown area is located right in the middle of Banderas bay. You can venture north or south and find postcard-perfect spots with the most amazing sunsets you will ever see. If you don’t want to wander very far from downtown, there are 2 great beaches to choose from:
Playa de Los Muertos
The most popular beach in town is full of beachgoers, vendors, and fishermen throughout the day. It is located in the heart of downtown, which also makes it the most accessible beach near Old Town and the Romantic Zone. It is one of the best photo spots in town, especially with the picturesque pier and palm tree-lined beach.
Although this beach is also downtown, it is much less crowded than Los Muertos Beach. It is a beautiful long open beach with many little beach bars and restaurants, which makes it the best beach in Puerto Vallarta to hang out, in our opinion. You can sit at any of them and have a beverage or food.
Best Beaches Near Puerto Vallarta
Bahia de Banderas is larger than you think. It actually takes around 2 hours to drive the entire coast of the bay, which means there are TONS of beaches to choose from. Check out our list of the best beaches that are near Vallarta:
On the way back to/from Yelapa, ask the water taxi to drop you off at Playa Colomitos, considered to be the smallest beach in Mexico. It’s so beautiful. In addition, there is also a restaurant called Ocean Grill with the great views of Playa Colomitos and they have delicious food. Great for a special occasion… For example, I took my wife there for her birthday last year! Don’t forget to make a reservation online.
Playa Bucerias, Nayarit
Small beach town on a stretch of Mexico’s Pacific coast known as the Riviera Nayarit, 20 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta. It has an amazing beach, a ton of amazing restaurants, and it is considered the Wind Surf Capital of Mexico. This is a great spot for family photoshoots since the beach is so long and photos can be taken without swarms of tourists in the background.
This public paradise welcomes beachgoers from 10 am to 6 pm with sandy shores and picturesque views. To get there, grab a 15min water taxi from Boca de Tomatlan pier or hike here from Boca de Tomatlan (see explanation above). Take a picnic or grab a bite at Los Conos Restaurant for a scenic dining experience.
Las Caletas Beach
This secluded beach is privately owned and was once the home of the famous film director, John Huston. Because there are no roads on this side of the bay, Las Caletas can only be reached by sea. They offer snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, and paddleboarding, but you can simply relax in one of the dozens of beach hammocks.
Playa del Amor
Playa del Amor is one of the most unique beaches in the world. It is in Las Marietas Islands, and you must swim from your boat through a cave to reach it. Although it is unknown how the beach was formed, it is believed that the crater was caused by an explosion in the early 1900s when the area was used for tests by the Mexican military.
Beautiful almost-virgin beach with fine white sand and calm waves. Off the beaten path, but definitely worth the drive, especially if you want to check out Punta Mita. There is also a great hike nearby (guided tour or on your own) to the top of Monkey Mountain with an amazing 360° view of coastline and jungles! The hike takes about 1.5 hrs each way.
Playa El Salado (Marina Beach)
The beach at Marina Vallarta mostly caters to guests staying at the resorts in this area, but there is public access to the beautiful golden-sand beach.
There is another public entrance at the end of Paseo Bocanegra and you will find a beautiful beach with almost no other people. The Baby Turtle Release Camp is actually a 5-minute walk west from this entrance, so it is definitely worth checking out! They post the baby turtle release events on their Facebook page, so make sure to check their schedule there. Lay out your beach mat and enjoy all the airplanes taking off right above you from the airport. If you keep walking west you will find some of the best seafood restaurants in Puerto Vallarta that serve Zarandeado Fish, a local delicacy.