If you’re going on a beach vacation, Mexico is the right place for you. From the beaches of the Pacific Coast to the waters of the Caribbean, there’s no doubt that this country is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

And while all of Mexico’s beaches feature turquoise waters, soft sand and swaying palm trees, today we invite you to explore the Puerto Vallarta region, a beautiful city located on the Pacific Ocean.

But the secret is that the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta are not actually within the city limits. Puerto Vallarta is a bustling city that was built almost right up against the coast, which means that the beaches in the city itself can be too crowded. While some of Puerto Vallarta’s best beaches are close to the city center, most of the impressive beaches are just outside the city limits.

But what they all have in common is the spectacular views of the jade-colored hilltops and the vast swath of Banderas Bay.

1.Beach in Sayulita

Located in the town of Sayulita, about an hour from Puerto Vallarta, this beach is one of the most popular beaches in Mexico.

It is known for its high waves, and is therefore great for surfing. There are plenty of surfing schools here that will teach even beginners how to stand on a board confidently.

And if you don’t want to go surfing or other extreme sports, you can just relax on the beach or visit one of the many bars and restaurants in the area. In Sayulita, you must try tacos al pastor, ceviche and, of course, drink margaritas!

How to get to the beach:

  • Sayulita is only an hour by car away from downtown Puerto Vallarta, so it’s easy to get there by cab or rental car. The city can also be reached by bus from the airport or the center, also in about one hour.

The best entertainment near the beach Sayulita:

  • Sayulita Beach is ideal for relaxing after numerous ATV tours around the city. In this way, a great combination of adventure and tranquility is achieved: first to see the sights of Sayulita on off-road vehicles, and then to relax on the sand with a refreshing drink in your hand.

Why it is one of the best beaches:

  • In addition to yellow sand and clear water, you can find even more activities on Sayulita Beach than in Puerto Vallarta. Surfing, yoga on sap boards, nature walks, whale watching, visiting small stores and much more.

2.San Pancho Beach

San Pancho Beach, also known as San Francisco Beach, is located in the town of the same name in the neighboring state of Nayarit, about an hour and a half away from Puerto Vallarta.

Therefore, it is a great option for a day trip. This beach is perfect for relaxing, swimming, sunbathing and just enjoying the incredible views. It’s a less known beach and much less crowded than many other beaches near Puerto Vallarta, but that’s what makes it so awesome.

In addition to lying on the beach, the city of San Pancho also has a lot to do.

  • You can stroll through the quaint streets of the city, explore the nearby jungle, or visit one of the many art galleries throughout the city – San Pancho Beach is just one of the many activities in this beautiful place.

How to get to the beach:

  • The town of San Pancho and its beach can be reached by rental car or cab in about 1.5 hours from Puerto Vallarta.

The best entertainment near San Pancho Beach:

  • One unique way to really enjoy San Pancho Beach is to go hiking and do yoga in the jungle. However it is better not to try to do it yourself, but to book a tour. These tours usually cost $25 to $30 per person and include a yoga mat.

Why it is one of the best beaches:

  • Surrounded by the Western Sierra Madre Mountains, the quiet fishing town offers a beach that is not only free of crowds of tourists, but also where you can experience the atmosphere of colonial Mexico.

3.Camarones Beach

One of the most popular beaches in Puerto Vallarta is definitely Playa Camarones.

This beach is located in the old town area, just a short walk from many of Puerto Vallarta’s best restaurants and bars. This beach is the most prominent in the Cinco de DiCiembre neighborhood. The beach itself is clean, filled with active visitors, centrally located, and has one of the best views of the surrounding mountains. Just a couple of blocks from the beach is Avenida Mexico City, one of Puerto Vallarta’s main thoroughfares that runs through the city.

And if you’re looking for a little thrill, you can go parasailing, banana boating or even water skiing at Camarones Beach!

Where is the beach:

  • Camarones Beach starts from Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel and heads south to the beginning of the Malecon promenade.

The best entertainment near Playa Camarones:

  • Near the beach, you can go on one of the best tours in Puerto Vallarta, called Rhythms of the Night. This evening tour is perfect because it starts at sunset and includes a catamaran cruise on Banderas Bay, a Cirque du Soleil-style show on a private beach and a candlelit dinner.

Why it is one of the best beaches:

  • Playa Camarones is one of the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta because there is something for everyone. There is a long boardwalk perfect for walking or jogging, and the beach itself is great for swimming, sunbathing or just relaxing. The beach is also the perfect place for people-watching – you never know who you might see walking by!

4.Hidden Beach (Playa del Amor)

Playa del Amour, also known as Hidden Beach, is one of the most unique beaches in Mexico and in the world. It is located inside a hidden cove and can only be reached by swimming through a small cave.

Many tours stop at the beach so visitors can swim in the bay, relax on the sand, and enjoy the beauty of this secret location. Many tours include snacks, water and an English-speaking guide in addition to transportation. So the effort required to get to this beach is definitely worth it.

How to get to the beach:

  • The only way to get to Hidden Beach is by sea excursion from Puerto Vallarta, since it is located on an island. Once you get close to the island, you have to swim through a small cave to reach the hidden cove.

The best entertainment on a hidden beach:

  • The clear water and impressive cliffs around the beach make for great photo opportunities, so don’t forget your camera!

Why it is one of the best beaches:

  • Where else in the world can you see a beach inside a cliff, where it is comfortable to swim and even sunbathe?

Tip: There are daily restrictions on the number of people who can visit this beach, so take care in advance to buy a tour and check with the help of the operator whether you will get to the beach itself or you will just be taken nearby.

5.Yelapa Beach

Another favorite beach of visitors to Puerto Vallarta, the beach in the coastal town of Yelapa is certainly one of the most beautiful and safe beaches in Mexico. This beach is absolutely stunning, with soft white sand and clear turquoise water.

If you like water activities, Yelapa is definitely for you.

This beach has some of the calmest and clearest waters in all of Mexico, making it an ideal place for snorkeling. You can also kayak, swim, and see turtles and other marine life.

The town itself is a very pleasant and quiet place without the chains of hotels and noisy restaurants. You can take a peaceful stroll through the town, visit the local market, and even get to the waterfall located in the nearby mountains.

How to get to the beach:

  • The best way to get to Yelapa is by water cab from Puerto Vallarta. Water cabs leave from Boca del Tomatlán (a small town near the Zona Romantica) and also from the pier of Los Muertos. It costs from 250 to 400 pesos for a round trip, depending on where you depart from.

The best entertainment near Playa Yelepa:

  • The calm waters of Playa Yelapa are ideal for kayaking and canoeing. You can rent them at stores in town, as well as at many hotels. Go sailing at sunset for a special experience!

Why it is one of the best beaches:

  • There is no road to Yelapa, which is why Yelapa remains so quiet and unspoiled, with very few people reaching this beautiful place.

6.Los Muertos

Los Muertos Beach is probably the most popular beach in Puerto Vallarta. It is located in the Zona Romantica and features a famous pier in the shape of a sailboat.

This is one of the busiest beaches in the entire state of Jalisco. You’ll recognize it by the dozens of beach restaurants and lounges sprawled out on the sand, and by the groups of happy travelers and locals who fill the beach from morning to night.

While there are certainly arguably more beautiful beaches around Puerto Vallarta that can be reached from that very famous pier, if you don’t want to leave the town, Playa Los Muertos is a better option.

Where is the beach:

  • Los Muertos Beach is located in the historic Zona Romantica neighborhood in the south of the city.

The best entertainment at Los Muertos Beach:

  • You can go paragliding, rent a jet ski, ride a banana boat, or sign up for an excursion to go snorkeling or fishing. You can also find some of the best local restaurants along the beach.

Why it is one of the best beaches:

  • The beach is centrally located and yet has ample space for sunbathing and swimming and plenty of water activities to choose from.

7.Kolomitos Beach

If you drive south from Puerto Vallarta, you are sure to see the small fishing village of Boca de Tomatlán. Just beyond the village (about 1,000 yards to be exact)there is a small, rocky cove that hides one of the best beaches around Puerto Vallarta.

Playa Colomitos is 11 miles away from the city center, but it feels like a completely different planet. The small, golden sandy beach is surrounded by a picturesque waterfall that runs down a jungle-covered mountain. There are no restaurants or stores on this beach, so you’ll have to bring everything you need or shop in Boca de Tomatlán.

How to get to the beach:

  • The beach can only be reached on foot from the village of Boca de Tomatlán or in five minutes by water cab.

The best entertainment near Colomitos Beach:

  • If you are interested in hiking, you can walk the jungle trail that stretches from Boca de Tomatlán south to more remote beaches like Las Animas and see many others along the way.

Why it is one of the best beaches:

  • Very few people know about the existence of this beach, in addition, it is difficult to get to, so it will feel like a personal tropical paradise.

8.Conchas Chinas Beach

Playa Conchas Chinas is one of the most beautiful and less known beaches, which is still close to the city center. However, it is usually known only to residents or those who have been vacationing in Puerto Vallarta for many years.

It exhibits a color palette of water that is rarely seen close to the center of town. The rock formations on the beach create natural tide pools in which it is a pleasure to swim and explore the surrounding area. You’ll also find plenty of beach restaurants and places to sign up for water activities there. Around the beach there are villas and hotels, which are some of the most expensive in town.

Where is the beach:

  • Conchas Chinas beach is located after the southern end of Los Muertos beach, between the forest and the mountains.

The best entertainment at Conchas Chinas Beach:

  • Natural pools form in the rocks on the beach, which can be a great subject for photography. This beach is also a good place to do some snorkeling close to the shore to observe marine life.

Why it’s the best beach:

  • Although Conchas Chinas can’t exactly be called a hidden beach, it can definitely feel like one. There are not many bars and restaurants along it, and it doesn’t really offer any water sports, so most people never do it here.

Tip: Because of the large number of barnacles and stones on the beach, you may feel more comfortable wearing special shoes (coral slippers).

9.Quimixto Beach

Like Yelapa, Quimixto is another village along Cape Cabo Corrientes at the southern end of Banderas Bay. While most travelers drive past Quimixto to Yelapa, few stay in this small village, which actually boasts clean, clear water and a laid-back atmosphere.

Nevertheless, Quimixto is a very popular beach among locals, so don’t expect to have the beach all to yourself. Still, a trip to this place is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and experience one of the small settlements that are near to Puerto Vallarta.

How to get to the beach:

  • The easiest way is to take the bus from Calle Basilio to the Constitucion in the Old District of Vallarta and get to Dernvni Boca de Tomatlán. Once you get there, go to the pier and ask for a ride to Quimixto. Water cabs run on demand, with no fixed schedule. So you will need to tell the captain what time you want to be picked up from the beach.

The best entertainment near Quimixto Beach:

  • One of the most popular things to do in Quimixto is to walk from the beach to the waterfall, hidden in the jungle, on a small hiking trail.

Why it is one of the best beaches:

  • Quimixto is considered by many people to be more picturesque, cleaner, and richer than other nearby beaches. At the same time, it is not at all popular with tourists, which makes it a valuable and unusual find.

10.Las Gemelas Beach

In fact, it’s not even one beach, but two. Gemelas, which means «twins» in Spanish, is a perfect description for this pair of beaches in the south of Puerto Vallarta.

They are a long way from the city center, and locals usually take a bus to get here quickly to relax in the calm turquoise water.

The two beaches are relatively small and separated by the Girasol Sur apartments, so during high season, expect to share beach space with a lot of other vacationers. There are no stores on Las Gemelas either, so you better bring everything you will need during the day.

How to get to the beach:

  • Like other beaches outside the city, it can be reached by bus or cab.

The best entertainment at Las Hemelas Beach:

  • There aren’t many restaurants or water sports opportunities, so the best solution is to just enjoy swimming in the turquoise waves or picnicking on the white sand.

Why it is one of the best beaches:

  • One of the few beaches in the ranking that has shaded areas.

Tip: Arrive early on weekdays or weekends so that you can get the beach area you want. Also note that there are no public toilets on the beach. They can only be found in the restaurants belonging to the apartments, for which you will have to buy something there to get in.