Puerto Vallarta’s beaches are ready for fun in the sun
While successive heatwaves continue to make much of North America and Europe swelter this summer, the beautiful beaches of one of the most popular vacation destinations on Mexico’s Pacific Coast remain a comfortable 80 degrees. If travelers have not considered a vacation to Puerto Vallarta and its world-famous beaches before, now might just be the perfect time.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico’s West Coast beach resort capital, is a jewel of a historical city cradled between the Bay of Banderas and the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains. A combination of colonial Mexican charm and barefoot beach escape, Puerto Vallarta is one of the best destinations in Mexico for visitors who truly want to “have it all” on vacation.
From the beaches in the Hotel Zone to downtown, the Zona Romantica and beyond, there is no shortage of fantastic coastal access in Puerto Vallarta for the perfect beach holiday.
In the Hotel Zone, visitors will find side-by-side beaches that stretch along the all-inclusive properties, ideal for viewing picture-perfect sunbathing, an afternoon cocktail or sunset selfie.
Puerto Vallarta is the only destination in Mexico where the historical colonial city center meets the sea. The picturesque Zona Romantica offers some of the most popular and beautiful beaches in the city. Playa Los Muertos — lined by beach clubs, bars and restaurants — is always happening. By day, the beach is alive with activity, day parties and boat trips departing from iconic Los Muertos pier. By night, a visit to this section of town immerses visitors in Puerto Vallarta’s eclectic gastronomic scene and high-energy, electric nightlife.
Moving south from Zona Romantica, travelers will discover more of Puerto Vallarta’s “hidden” beaches, frequented mostly by locals or travelers in the know. Playa Las Gemelas, or “The Twins Beach,” is a pair of small beaches just a few miles from downtown. These quiet, off-the-radar strands are known for turquoise waters, gentle waves and crisp, white sand – the latter a rarity in Puerto Vallarta, renowned for the warm golden sands of most of its beaches. Keep in mind that there are no vendors on Las Gemelas beach, so visitors will have to bring supplies with them. But the views are completely worth the extra effort.
Another picture-postcard beach on the south side of the city is Conchas Chinas, also heralded for its turquoise water and sugary sand. Visitors love this beach for the rock formations that create fun pools of water. This is a very glamorous part of town, so be on the lookout for the gorgeous mansions up in the hills, or A-list weddings down on the shorefront.
Farther outside of town lie beaches only accessible by boat. The most popular is Playa Las Animas, a remote stretch of sand that’s one of the most famous in all of southern Puerto Vallarta — and entirely worth a day trip. It’s packed with restaurants and bars perfect for spending the day lounging underneath the palm fronds of a traditional palapa shelter, frosty margarita firmly in hand. Visitors can rent paddle boards, take banana boat rides, snorkel or simply relax on one of the many lounge chairs that line the shore.
Las Animas can be the starting point from which to explore some other hidden beaches, such as El Caballo Beach, a hidden oasis of calm, clear water and bleached sand with just a single bungalow-style hotel and beach restaurant/bar. Another such hideaway is Colomitos Beach, a small strand fringed in the greens and blues of the jungle-covered mountains above it and the rolling waves gently lapping against its sands.
One stop farther lies the private paradise cove of Yelapa, where attraction and activities include not only the fantastic beach but jungle hikes to a stunning nearby waterfall. This safe, beautiful walk to the falls takes about 30 to 40 minutes and ends at a refreshing natural pool perfect for a refreshing dip. While Yelapa makes for a wonderful day trip, visitors should consider renting a room at one of the basic hotels lining the beach.
No matter your vibe — from peace-and-quiet to maximum-party-and-adrenaline — Puerto Vallarta has the gorgeous beach to match. There’s no time like the present to start discovering the beauty of what the beaches of Puerto Vallarta have to offer.