Although the downtown and hotel zone of Puerto Vallarta have some fabulous beaches, sometimes its fun to step out of your comfort zone and explore some out of the way places. With that in mind, we complied a list of fabulous beaches that are well worth the day trip.
Best Beach for Snorkeling – Playa Majahuitas
There are a number of beaches in the Bay of Banderas that vie for the distinction of “Best Snorkeling” due to the incredible number of rock formations all along the shores. However our favourite has to be Playa Majahuitas located on the south shore between the small villages of Quimixto and Yelapa. This beach is secluded and hard to get to but it’s worth the effort due to the plethora of sea life that make their home around the underwater boulders. Here you’ll find puffer fish, spotted eagle rays, garden eels, octopi and nudibranchs. To get to Playa Majahuitas take the water taxi from Boca de Tomatlan, a small fishing village 20 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta. We recommend going in the afternoon to avoid the large tour companies that visit this tranquil spot most mornings.
Best Beach for Fresh Seafood and Margaritas – Playa Las Animas
Just before Playa Majahuitas on the south shore lies our choice for the best beach to go to for the freshest seafood and coldest margaritas in the bay, Playa Las Animas. This golden sand beach is lined with 5 or 6 beachfront, thatched roofed restaurants to choose from. We recommend ordering the local specialty of Huachinango Zarandeado, which is whole red snapper rubbed with spices and cooked over a wood grill. Delicious!
Best Beach for a Romantic Walk — Playa Destilederas (aka Nahui)
Our choice for “Most Romantic Beach” is Playa Destilederas, located about 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta along the highway to Punta de Mita. This long, flat, white sand beach is perfect for strolling hand in hand with your loved one as you watch the sun set behind Las Marietas Islands. To walk from one end of the beach and back takes about 50 minutes but we like to stop at the stylish beach club of Los Veneros for a mid way cocktail to enjoy the full experience.
Best Beach for Boogie Boarding — Playa Punta de Mita
Most visitors to Punta de Mita head to popular Playa El Anclote, which is located in front of the main street and lined with seafood restaurants. However our favourite is the lesser known Playa Punta de Mita that is located south of the small marina and is the perfect spot for playing in the gentle waves. Take the stairs across from Hotel La Quinta del Sol and spend the day enjoying the surf rolling in along this perfect white sand beach.
Best Beach for Wildlife– Playa Escondida (Las Marietas Islands)
Playa Escondida, or the Hidden Beach, is located on the nature preserve of the Islas Marietas and is best reached by taking one of the many small panga charters available from the marina in Punta de Mita. The trip over takes about 20 minutes and along the way you are likely to see dolphins, jumping sting rays, pelicans and, during the months of December to April, humpback whales. The islands are uninhabited and home to over 90 species of birds, including the famous blue-footed booby. To reach the beach, one must swim under an archway in the island past an amazing snorkeling spot filled with a variety of fish and marine life.
Best Beach for People Watching – Playa Sayulita
Located about an hour north of Puerto Vallarta along the Riviera Nayarit, you will find the once sleepy fishing village of Sayulita that has grown into a bustling and funky surf town. This is our favourite beach to grab a sun chair from any of the number of restaurants spread out in front of the main section of town and settle in for a day of great people watching. You’ll see surfers catching some incredible waves, mariachi bands looking to play you a tune, and lots of unique characters just doing their thing. This isn’t the beach for those who are searching for peace and solitude but is perfect for those who are looking for pure entertainment.
About the author: Larissa Magee works at Agave Villas Mexico, which specializes in Punta Mita and Puerto Vallarta Villa Rentals. Looking to visit the area for your next vacation? Get in touch with the experts at www.agavevillasmexico.com.