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Top 11 Best Beaches near Puerto Vallarta

Are you heading to Mexico and want to find the best beaches near Puerto Vallarta?

Nestled between the majestic Sierra Madre Mountains and the sweeping Banderas Bay, lays Puerto Vallarta. A popular beach town in Mexico.

It ticks all the boxes even for the most discerning beach bums – staggering views, magical sunsets, and a wide range of thrilling water sports activities.

If you fancy a sun and sand getaway, it is the perfect getaway. Especially since they host a convenient international airport right in town. 

Not only is it full of plenty of beautiful beaches nearby, but there are also plenty of epic things to do in Puerto Vallarta. It is home to surfing, markets, and of course great tacos. 

Puerto Vallarta is a popular destination on the Mexican Riviera, and a must-visit location when coming to Mexico.

Best Beaches near Puerto Vallarta

Playa Los Muertos best beach near Puerto Vallarta

1. Playa Los Muertos

Contrary to its literal meaning, (beach of the dead) Playa Los Muertos is a rather bustling place and one of the most popular beaches near Puerto Vallarta.

It’s located just south of Puerto Vallarta and is adorned by a wide stunning pier that sits 180 feet into the Pacific waters.

It is the perfect beach near puerto vallarta for a quick day trip.

Playa Los Muertos is a fabled destination especially for families because the extensive shorelines offer a huge playground for the young ones. 

During the day, it’s a fantastic spot for people-watching. In the evening the beach fills up with everyone coming out to watch the magical sunsets.

You can enjoy the best local culinary experience plus the unrivaled high-energy nightlife if you chose to stay. 

Besides all of that, the beach offers an assortment of fun-filled activities including banana boat rides, windsurfing, Jet Skis, parasailing, and even beach volleyball. 

So you will not be bored. 

The beach is lined with quite a few eateries and bars right at the edge. However, you can also opt for a picnic on the beach.

As expected, the proximity of Playa Los Muertos to the Central Squire makes the beach an obvious choice for most people so it can be crowded.

Why you should visit

Playa Colomitos, Mexico 2. Playa Colomitos

Located approximately 11 miles south from Puerto Vallarta, Playa Colomitos is a small stretch of soft sand beach that combines adventure with relaxation.

This beach is perched between a creek, rounded rocks, and a small waterfall that flows from the lush tropical jungle, across the beach, and into the ocean.

Playa Colomitos is not fully accessible by road, so it will not be crowded.

It is the perfect beach if you are looking for a remote and quiet spot.

You can access the beach by mini jungle excursion by hiking to the beach from Boca de Tomatlan.

This beach is perfect for the outdoor enthusiast.

If you would like to skip the hike you can also access this beach by water taxi.

However, the hike is what makes this beach special. If you are lucky you should come across wild animals such as iguanas, raccoons, foxes, and many more!

The jungle canopy offers perfect shade whilst you are hiking. However, you should pack an umbrella if you’re planning to spend the whole day on this beach to protect yourself from the sun. 

It is also a good idea to wear the right sunhat and sunscreen to protect yourself even more from the sun.

You can also picnic here but there is a restaurant right at the edge of the shoreline from where you can enjoy a local dish plus fabulous views of the ocean, the cove, and the jungle.

Why you should visit

  • Take a break from the busy town and escape to a secluded location
  • Not so crowded
  • Lots of wildlife spotting opportunities
Pro Tip: Rent a car to visit all the beautiful less crowded beaches the Pacific side of Mexico has to offer. 

Mismaloya Beach, Mexico
3. Mismaloya Beach

Located roughly 10 miles south of Puerto Vallarta, Mismaloya Beach is frequented by tourists and locals alike.

However, there are lots of undertows as well as aggressive tides here.

There are indicators with different colors showing the conditions of the ocean it may not be the best place to swim if you have young kids. 

Besides its natural beauty with the beach engulfing the water in a U-shaped cove, Mismaloya holds a history that every resident is proud of.

Which is some scenes from the celebrated Hollywood movie, ‘Night of the Iguana’ were filmed on this beach in 1963.

You’ll find lots of boats moored on the beach ready to give you a ride to Los Arcos, a famed snorkel, swimming, and diving site just nearby.

Why you should visit

  • Experience the laidback vibe of a former fishing village
  • Enjoy feet-on-the-sand eateries
  • Easily accessible by public transportation
  • Interact with locals and fishermen

Amapas Conchas Chinas Beach 4. Amapas Conchas Chinas

If all you want is to relax in a tranquil, peaceful area and dip in turquoise clear waters Conchas China is your best bet.

Situated at the southern tip of the Banderas Bay, and just south of downtown Puerto Vallarta.

Amapas Conchas is safe, secluded, and unspoiled.

Also, the natural rock formation around this area creates natural tide pools, which means the beach is a haven for hundreds of marine life.

You can wind around to spot fish, crabs, and other sea life creatures in their undisturbed ecosystem. A fun activity for the kids. 

With its isolated location, the greatest perk of visiting Conchas Chinas is the fact that you won’t have fight huge crowds to walk along the shorelines or scramble for a spot to watch the sun go down! 

Why you should visit

  • Dodge the crowds and touristy traps
  • The marine life

Las Gemelas Beach 5. Las Gemelas Beach

This stunning beach with a calm ambiance, clear warm water, and fine golden sand is just 10 miles south making it one of the best beaches near Puerto Vallarta.

The beach makes a great spot for swimming or snorkeling in calm waters.

If you visit during the weekdays, the beach is not crowded like most beaches around the area. This also means there are fewer to no vendors.

There is a palapa restaurant nearby with a great selection of delicacies for reasonable prices.

The best way to get to Las Gemelas Beach is by taxi or public transport (catch a bus to Boca de Tomatlan and alight at the Best Western).

It takes a bit of effort to find the beach as there is no obvious signage. However, just flow the flight of stairs descending down.

But the fact that there is no signage keeps this beach a hidden gem.

Be sure to bring all the stuff you need for the beach including towels and snacks because there are no facilities close by.

Why you should visit

  • Great place for swimming and snorkeling
  • Less crowded

Playa Camarones, Best beach close to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 6. Playa Camarones

Located just south Playa Camarones is one of the best beaches near Puerto Vallarta. It is a great alternative for Playa Los Muertos if you want to enjoy all the fun activities but with fewer crowds.

This nice stretch of sand is a popular destination among families as the water is calm and swimmable.

While Playa Camarones is noticeably a little bit uncrowned compared to Los Muertos, it’s still pretty popular. Especially with water sports fanatics.

There are lots of activities to try out including banana boat tours, and parasailing.

Besides being a perfect hub for thrill-seeking individuals, this beach also offers captivating sunrise and sunset views.

In addition, little beach bars and restaurants are lined on the shorelines offering cool relaxing spots, beverages as well as meals.

Why you should visit

  • Fewer crowds
  • Proximity to Puerto Vallarta
  • Beautiful sunsets and sunrises

Playa Las Animas, Mexico 7. Las Animas Beach

Situated approximately 40 minutes’ drive just south from Puerto Vallarta, this beach is unmissable if you want to combine picturesque views of the jungle and coastal scenery.

There are dozens of ways to get to the beach.

Including a fairly challenging hike from Boca de Tomatlan, or a water taxi from either the quaint town (Boca de Tomatlan) or other nearby beaches such as Los Muertos Beach.

Hiking will take you roughly 1.5 hours with the trail weaving through the jungle and other smaller secluded beaches.

Be sure to explore Las Animas Beach during early morning hours as the beach tends to get busy with cruise ships ferrying people ashore from mid-morning.

If you’re a foodie, there is no better place to explore the local gastronomy experience with waves literally crashing on your table.

Why you should visit

  • Combine beach time with hiking
  • Astounding scenery
  • Great for families
  • Different beach-style palapa restaurants

Playa Palmares, Mexico 8. Playa Palmares 

Playa Palmares is not only a locals’ favorite but also one of the best beaches near Puerto Vallarta for swimming.

The water is crystal clear and the sand softer than most spots along the coastline.

The beach is located approximately 10 miles south of Puerto Vallarta and is super accessible even via public transport.

The beach is quiet and there are a handful of eateries where you can sit to enjoy a seafood dish or a cool glass of beer.

To get there, you’ll board a bus from Puerto Vallarta bond for the beautiful town of Boca de Tomatlán and alight at Playa Palmares Condominiums.

From here, you’ll follow narrow stairs that will lead you to the beach.

Why you should visit

  • Easy to access
  • Great place to swim

Playa Yelapa, Mexico 9. Playa Yelapa

Situated at the center of a charming beach community, Playa Yelapa is one of the most fascinating beaches to visit in Puerto Vallarta.

The village is a bit secluded from the rest of the region making it one of the most pearly gems.

Playa Yelapa is a great escape if you want to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The best part is, if you’re doing a DIY visit, you can time your visit around early morning hours when you’ll have almost the entire beach to yourself.

There is also a small beautiful waterfall nearby that you can visit.

Why you should visit

  • Less crowded in some hours of the day
  • You can enjoy the relaxed ambiance of the nearby village

Quimixto, Mexico 10. Quimixto

If your idea of a beach day means relaxing on a hammock unbothered by the rest of the world, you should add Quimixto beach to your bucket list!

This beach can easily be reached by bus or taxi ride to Boca de Tomatlan from where you can ride a water taxi to Quimixto.

You can spend your day hiking around the Quimixto waterfall, enjoying a meal in one of the few restaurants along the shorelines, swimming, or laying lazily on the sand undisturbed for hours.

However, what you’ll appreciate most about this beach is fact that you’ll share the place with a handful of other people.

This means there are almost no vendors to hassle you every two minutes and this can be a heavenly feeling, especially after a few days in Puerto Vallarta.

Why you should visit

  • Secluded
  • A great place to relax and rejuvenate

San Pancho best beach near Puerto Vallarta 11. San Fransisco (San Pancho)

This is not the same one that you will find in California. This is San Fransisco, Mexico or as the locals like to refer to it as San Pancho.

It is a small quiet town near Puerto Vallarta with a quiet beach, perfect for surfing or just hanging out.

San Pancho is located about an hour’s drive north of Puerto Vallarta.

San Fransisco or San Pancho is hands down one of the best beaches near Puerto Vallarta.

It has great surf and good restaurants all along the beach.

There are shops and vendors near the beach to keep yourself entertained for the day, but not too many where you can still have a relaxing day.

It is the perfect day trip from Puerto Vallarta, or even a great spot to stay if you want to skip the hustle and bustle of Puerto Vallarta all together.

Why you should visit

  • Peaceful and charming


Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this article on the best beaches near Puerto Vallarta. Do you have a favorite beach near Puerto Vallarta that wasn’t mentioned on this list? Say so in the comments below.

Also, be sure to check out these travel tips on Puerto Vallarta before your trip.

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