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Puerto Vallarta Nearby Towns, Mexico

Mexico is one of the best beach destinations in North America. There are a lot of amazing beach towns with beautiful coastlines and many restaurants, shops, and bars.

When choosing a place to visit in Mexico, it can be hard to pick a place when there are so many great towns throughout the country.

Puerto Vallarta is great, but it is on the bigger side of beach towns in Mexico. However, there are many smaller beach towns nearby.

This article will explore Mexico’s Pacific coast near the Mexican states of Nayarit and Jalisco.

Below are the best beach towns near Puerto Vallarta. So if you are looking to fly into Puerto Vallarta, but don’t want to stay there, this article is for you.

I have spent a lot of time in the state of Nayarit, I love it, because it is much smaller than the Yucatan.

This is why I decided to make this list, of my favorite beach towns to vacation in, rather than Puerto Vallarta.

Quicklist Best Beach Towns near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Sayulita, Mexico

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Mexico

Bucerías, Mexico

Rincón de Guayabitos, Mexico

San Francisco (San Pancho), Mexico

Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

Punta Mita, Mexico

Lo de Marcos, Mexico

Chacala, Mexico

La Peñita de Jaltemba, Mexico

San Blas, Mexico

Mexcaltitán de Uribe, Mexico

About Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta is a popular resort town and one of the top tourist destinations not only on the Pacific Coast of Mexico but in all of Mexico.

Its well known for its beautiful beaches, nightlife, and luscious mountains. There are plenty of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, as well as shops along the beachside promenade.

There are many things to do in Puerto Vallarta, and if keeping busy and having lots of options is your cup of tea, then youll love it here.

However, there are also many other great beach towns near Puerto Vallarta. Keep reading to find out more about some of your other options when youre staying in this area of Mexico.

Even if you choose to stay in Puerto Vallarta, the various beach towns on this list could make ideal day trips if youd like to explore other beaches and towns in the area. Is Puerto Vallarta Safe?

Some of the places on the list would also make good overnight trips from Puerto Vallarta or are great vacation destinations themselves. So if you are looking for the best towns near puerto vallarta, look no further.

Top 12 Beach Towns Near Puerto Vallarta

Keep reading to learn more about the best beach towns near Puerto Vallarta to visit on a day trip, an overnight trip, or to stay for your vacation. 

Palm Trees lining sunny beach in Sayulita, Mexico

1. Sayulita, Mexico

Sayulita is a popular destination among the surfing crowd for its small and frequent waves. Its the ultimate beach town about an hour from Puerto Vallarta.

It has cute cobblestone streets, lots of colorful buildings, pristine beaches, and of course, great surfing conditions.

Surfers love visiting Sayulita for the waves but also the vibe and atmosphere of this beach town. There is plenty to do here.

There are great surf schools in town if youre new to the sport or looking to enhance your technique.

Whether youre a surfer or not, youll love the quaint community of this beach town. Its also enjoyable to watch the surfers as you’re hanging out on the beach and relaxing under the sun.

Its a popular backpackers town with many budget travelers visiting. If youre not looking for a luxury experience and instead want to meet new people with the same budget travel interests as you, youll love the community in Sayulita.

It also has a thriving nightlife scene which is another great way to meet new people. This is the perfect place to visit if youre traveling alone or looking to make friends.

Sail boats lining port in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Mexico

2. La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Mexico

Located in Banderas Bay, about 45 minutes from Puerto Vallarta, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle is a great small town to check out.

Nicknamed La Cruz, its famous for its golden, fine sand, which is a beautiful contrast against the turquoise ocean.

Its recently been undergoing changes and has become an important economic town in the area. La Cruz has excellent beaches for relaxing and swimming.

Its not known for its surfing conditions, but if youre hoping to swim without a bunch of waves hindering you, this is the perfect place to have a leisurely swim.

More of a relaxing Mexican town than a surf town.

Church tower in Bucerías, Mexico

3. Bucerías, Mexico

The quaint town of Bucerías might be small, but there is a ton to do. It has one of the longest beach strips in the bay. There is lots of room to settle down and get comfortable in the sand for the day.

The name Bucerías comes from the Spanish word buceo, which means scuba diving. Scuba diving is a popular sport and even a form of fishing in Bucerías.

Here youll be able to enjoy a traditional Mexican town with the tranquility of cobblestone streets, bright homes, and an authentic environment.

Its a booming town with great restaurants, an art scene, and lots of entertainment.

Birds on the beach in Rincón de Guayabitos, Mexico

4. Rincón de Guayabitos, Mexico

Rincón de Guayabitos is about an hour and a half from Puerto Vallarta. Its a great place for those who enjoy water sports, including canoeing, rowing, water skiing, sailing, surfing, and scuba diving.

Kiss Beach and Turtle Beach are the two best beaches to check out in this town. Youll also find Coral Island and Isla del Cangrejo just off the coast, which are tiny islands worth exploring.

Another fun activity you can do in this beach town is to go on a banana boat cruise, kayaking, and whale watching.

San Pancho, Mexico

5. San Francisco (San Pancho), Mexico

San Francisco, Mexico, also known as San Pancho, is about an hour from Puerto Vallarta. Its considered the cultural capital of the area.

It celebrates and promotes Mexican culture, making it a great place to visit if you want a more authentic experience.

For one thing, there are amazing beaches, but there are also cultural centers, galleries, and restaurants serving traditional food.

It also, isn’t overrun with tourists, which makes for a nice escape. San Pancho is also known for its fiery red sunsets that you just cant get anywhere else to the same extent.

Youll truly be looking forward to the sunset every day after youve gotten a taste of it in San Pancho.

Big condos lining the beach in Nuevo Vallarta Mexico

6. Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

Literally translating to the new Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta is located about 30 minutes from Puerto Vallarta.

Its known for being very ritzy and charming. If you like chic and fabulous, this is your place.

This clean, upscale city has long lines of beaches, high-end marinas, and a thriving ex-pat community.

It has the second-highest number of hotels and resorts in the country, just after Cancun. Some of the restaurants are very exclusive, so be sure to book well in advance if you want to experience them.

Nuevo Vallarta is also home to condominiums and features a thriving population of expats, retirees, and frequent vacation-goers.

Punta Mita, Mexico Sunset

7. Punta Mita, Mexico

Punta Mita is a 1,500-acre private peninsula.

It has some of the most luxurious and private hotels and resorts in the world, including the Four Seasons Punta Mita, St. Regis, and the Imanta Resort, where the Kardashians have apparently stayed.

Here youll also find several golf courses to keep you busy, as well as some of the best restaurants in the country and some fantastic boutique shopping.

There is, however, still a much smaller and local part of town if luxury travel isnt your cup of tea. In town, youll find much smaller but still amazing restaurants, shops, and cafes worth your while.

All of this is about an hour for Puerto Vallarta.

Boat on beach in Lo De Marco, Mexico

8. Lo de Marcos, Mexico

An hour and a half from Puerto Vallarta, Lo de Marcos is a very unassuming town at first glance.

It doesnt receive many foreign visitors compared to other beach towns in the area, but its well worth the visit.

If youre looking for some peace and quiet, this is your place. It has some of the most picturesque and uncrowded beaches in the area, making it the perfect place to swim and enjoy the tranquility.

The water is so clear and calm that you can even see fish while swimming in the ocean. The Days and time move slowly when youre in Lo de Marcos.

Once you visit its a place youll be thinking about for years to come.

Waves breaking on beach in Mexico

9. Chacala, Mexico

Chacala is a small fishing village two hours from Puerto Vallarta. It has traditional Mexican villas and is a great town to immerse yourself in a more authentic experience.

If youre into hiking, this is the ideal place to be. Its known for its volcano and waterfall hiking opportunities.

This is also a great place to get fresh seafood, especially shrimp. The name Chacala comes from the Uto-Aztecan language of the Nahuatl and means where there are shrimp.”

This is truly the place for nature lovers. Hike to El Capomo waterfall or an extinct volcano, search for petroglyphs in the forest, and enjoy the rich and inviting outdoors.

Old boat on the beach with an island in the background in La Peñita de Jaltemba

10. La Peñita de Jaltemba, Mexico

Located an hour and a half from Puerto Vallarta, La Peñita de Jaltemba is another underrated beach town.

La Peñita is a fishing village with palm tree-lined squares and a plaza with a typical Mexican church.

This is a great place to stay if you want to experience local day-to-day life.

You wont find foreign tourists here because its mainly off the beaten path, so if youre looking for an authentic experience, this is the place to be.

You can enjoy traditional restaurants where you wont find a chain in sight, which is very refreshing and appealing to many travelers.

The uninterrupted beaches are great for swimming, body surfing, skimboarding, and snorkeling.

Floating Huts in San Blas Mexico

11. San Blas, Mexico

This is a bit further from Puerto Vallarta and would be a better overnight trip than a day trip because its a three-and-a-half-hour drive.

Its most known for its biodiversity, with pristine beaches, islands, mangroves, marshes, rainforests, lagoons, and lots of wildlife.

Its also a great place for surfing and enjoying the outdoors. If you love the natural beauty of the outdoors, San Blas is well worth the trip.

As for architecture, youll find Spanish colonial architecture and ruins from the San Basilio Fort.

Ariel View of Mexcaltitán de Uribe in the desert of Mexico

12. Mexcaltitán de Uribe, Mexico

Furthest away on this list at just under five hours from Puerto Vallarta, it’s not really a nearby town, but still earns a place on our list.

Mexcaltitán de Uribe is one of the most unique places in the area. Its a man-made island city that has been nicknamed the Venice of Mexico.

Its located on a lagoon, and during the rainy season, if the streets flood, locals will get around by boat where they once walked.

To access this mini lagoon island, you must take a boat. There are no cars on the island, but the boat ride is only 15 minutes long.

Mexcaltitán de Uribe will capture your heart and is well worth the visit. It’s a quaint island city that you won’t forget.


There are so many marvelous beach towns near Puerto Vallarta, with Puerto Vallarta being a great beach town itself.

Hopefully, you found a beach town on this list that has sparked your interest for the next time you visit the Puerto Vallarta area.

Many of these beaches would make great day trips from Puerto Vallarta or vacation destinations themselves.

Hopefully, some of these beach towns were new to you because many are small, underrated, and unassuming beautiful beach towns on the water.

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