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14 Top Beaches in Puerto Vallarta

14 Top Beaches in Puerto Vallarta

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The beaches in Puerto Vallarta are varied. Whether you want to lounge at a beach club or swim in the shallows of a quiet bay, there is a little bit of something for everyone.

Most of the beaches in Puerto Vallarta are accessible by public bus. You can also take Ubers in Mexico to get to many of them or simply hop in a local taxi.

Local taxis in Puerto Vallarta are reliable and affordable. Just be sure to agree on the price before you take a trip. They don’t usually have meters.

If you have a rental car, you can drive to many of these beaches, but parking is limited. Some of them are accessible from the main road and the only place to park is along the shoulder of the road. If you are visiting during the high season (December-March), it’s hard to find a spot here on the weekends.

Best Beaches in Puerto Vallarta Map

1. Los Muertos Beach

Los Muertos Beach is the main beach in Puerto Vallarta’s popular Romantic Zone. 

The Romantic Zone has quickly overtaken the Hotel Zone as the most popular place for visitors to stay thanks to its beautiful historical downtown, its abundance of great restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, and its easy access to this long sandy beach. 

Los Muertos is great because you can walk straight from your hotel or Airbnb pretty much anywhere in the Romantic Zone and be at the beach in less than 10 minutes.  

There are tons of Oxxos and other convenience stores nearby so you can easily stock up on beach essentials for the day. It is also home to tons of restaurants and beach clubs that are right out on the sand, so if you are hungry, you can stay exactly where you are and order food to your chair.

Like many of the beaches in downtown Puerto Vallarta, the beach was hit very hard by Hurricane Lidia which made landfall in 2023 as a category 4 hurricane.

The beach is still recovering in 2024 and isn’t nearly as wide as it used to be. Before the hurricane, the beach clubs took up much of the sand, but there was still plenty of free space for those who simply wanted to bring their chairs or lay a towel down to relax on the beach.

However, there simply isn’t enough space on the beach right now for both, and the beach clubs are winning. So if you are looking for a beach where you can sit in a comfortable chair with umbrellas and food and drink service, this is one of the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta for you.

If you’re looking for a quiet beach away from the crowds, check out some of the other beaches that I’ve listed below.

cobbled street down to the beach in mexico with the sun setting between the buildings.

There are so many beautiful beaches in Puerto Vallarta, but the most conveniently located ones are Camarones, Los Muertos, and Las Glorias, depending on where you are staying.

2. Playa Camarones

Playa Camarones, Shrimp Beach, is the beach in Puerto Vallarta that is right in the 5 de Diciembre neighborhood. Playa los Muertos is at the southern end of the city’s boardwalk and Playa Camarones is the beach at the northern end of the boardwalk.

It’s slightly smaller than Los Muertos, there are fewer restaurants and beach clubs, which means it’s also a little bit quieter. It is where many locals come to set up towels, chairs, and tents for family time on the beach.

The water is a little bit calmer here at Camarones, with waves at Los Muertos being some of the roughest in the bay. 

Just like Los Muertos, you can go a block away from the beach and go into local restaurants like Tacon de Marlin or Rico Mac Tacos. To enjoy a meal right on the beach, book a table at Barracuda

3. Las Glorias Beach

You’ll be familiar with Las Glorias Beach if you have ever stayed in the Hotel Zone in Puerto Vallarta. This is the beach you will go to if you are staying at Secrets Vallarta Bay, Canto del Sol, or Sunset Plaza Beach Resort.

The positives about this beach are that it is long, with tons of space to relax. If you are staying at one of the hotels along the beach here, your hotel will no doubt have chairs and umbrellas for you to use for free on the sand.

If you are visiting from another part of Puerto Vallarta, you’ll want to bring everything you need for the day. There is some parking along the road and near Villas Vallarta shopping center.

However, if you plan to pack light with towels and snacks for a few hours, I recommend taking a taxi or Uber instead. It’s easier than trying to find parking, especially during peak times like Christmas and Easter when parking can be nearly impossible to find unless you rise before the sun.

rocky beach with turquoise water and mountains in the distance.

Getting onto Conchas Chinas is a little bit rocky at first, but if you follow the path along the sand, you’ll get to a nice open, sandy area to relax on.

4. Playa Conchas Chinas

This is one of the absolute best beaches in Puerto Vallarta. Easily accessed by bus, taxi, or Uber, this little beach is even within walking distance to the Romantic Zone.

I recommend taking the bus there and then walking back to town since the walk is downhill. It takes about 25 minutes to walk from Conchas Chinas back to the Romantic Zone and there is a sidewalk the entire way.

There is a very small parking area or you can find street parking in the neighborhood streets that lead down to the beach entrance.

You can get off the bus at this stop and then follow the cobbled street down the hill to the entrance to the beach. It is relatively easy to find the stairs that will lead you through some rocks. 

There are two parts to this beach. When you first enter there is a small patch of sand that is usually empty. I enjoy relaxing here with a book and then dipping my toes into the water to cool off. But this isn’t the best part of the beach if you want to do any swimming because it’s very rocky and the rip current here is strong.

For a better swimming area, carry on down the beach (with the ocean on your right). You will walk along some steps and a path that runs along the sea wall. Then in a minute or two, it opens up to a longer and wider beach area where you’ll likely find a few more beachgoers. 

This is the best place to come to at Conchas Chinas if you want to swim because the water is very calm here. There are no shops or restaurants once you get down to the beach, but there is an Oxxo nearby if you want to buy something to bring back to the beach with you.

Be sure to bring your towels or blankets for setting up on the beach here. There are no beach clubs. You will still find vendors walking the beach selling snacks and drinks, but not as frequently as some of the other beaches in Puerto Vallarta.

quiet golden sand beach with jungle creeping onto the sand from the right and the ocean breaking on the sand to the left.

Beaches in Puerto Vallarta are breathtaking, you just need to travel 10 minutes outside of the city in either direction.

5. Playa Punta Negra

Playa Punta Negra is a beach I only recently discovered and it has quickly risen to become one of my favorite beaches in Puerto Vallarta.

Located about 15 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta by bus, it is easy to get to by public transportation. You can park along the street here or there is a small parking lot to the left of the road where you can park if there is space available. 

You reach Punta Negra via a narrow staircase from the road. Walk with caution and pay attention if you are walking with young children.

There are a few places on the walkway that are not particularly sturdy with wooden boards covering holes. It’s a small price to pay for a Mexican beach paradise that awaits you.

Punta Negra is a small beach that is crescent-shaped and therefore has beautifully calm water for swimming or just floating in the Pacific.

There is plenty of sand here and despite being easy to get to and stunningly beautiful, is never really that busy. I have visited during peak weeks in December and still been one of only a few people on the beach here.

Like Conchas Chinas, there are no beach clubs or restaurants on the beach here, so bring everything you need for the day.

quiet sandy beach with golden sand, ocean on the right side with waves.

Some of the beaches on this list, in particular Punta Negra and Colomitos, are almost empty, especially if you are visiting in shoulder season.

6. Mismaloya Beach

Located in the small fishing village of Mismaloya, Mismaloya Beach is not necessarily the most beautiful beach in Puerto Vallarta.

However, if you are looking for an escape from the throngs of tourists crowding the streets of Puerto Vallarta, Mismaloya is a breath of fresh air.

There are a few restaurants, mostly serving local seafood dishes.

There are a few small no-frills hotels besides the Barcelo resort which dominates front and center these days. There is a small sandy beach with tables, chairs, and umbrellas.

Mismaloya Beach is a great beach to come to if you want to go paddleboarding, hire a kayak and get out on the water, or take a walk along the coastal trails here. It’s more suited to water sports and activities than to lying on the sand.

7. Playa Las Animas

Playa las Animas has become quite famous in the last few years. As Los Muertos becomes busier and many of the quieter beaches in Puerto Vallarta that I listed above sell waterfront land to huge hotels, people are looking for something that gets them away from it all.

Las Animas is one of those beaches. You can only access the beach by taking a boat or hiking here with your own two feet.

The hike to Las Animas starts in the small town of Boca de Tomatlan. Check out my video below to see where the trail starts and how it looks along the way. It took me about two hours to do the hike in the 80-degree heat in December. The trail is best for moderate fitness levels and be sure to wear hiking sandals or sneakers.

If you want to get there by boat the budget way, take the bus to Boca de Tomatlan which costs 10 Pesos (about 50 cents). Then you can get a small boat from a local water taxi which costs 100 Pesos (about $5 USD). The water taxi only takes about 5-10 minutes to drop you off.

You will get off the boat right on the beach, so wear clothes you don’t mind getting wet.

Alternatively, you can take a boat tour from Puerto Vallarta that includes a stop at Playa las Animas. These are larger boats which usually also include snacks, lunch, drinks, and other water sports throughout the day. Book a tour like that one here.

Las Animas is not exactly a deserted beach. Despite how much effort it takes to get here, restaurants line the beach and boats filter in all day long dropping off and picking up people who want to enjoy it here.

8. Playa Colomitos or Madagascar

If you want to go to a truly deserted little beach, take the hiking trail from Boca de Tomatlan towards Las Animas, but stop at Colomitos or Madagascar.

These beaches are much closer to Boca, so you only need to walk for about 30 minutes. Most boats don’t stop here and most people don’t hike these beaches, so you will have them almost entirely to yourself.

The water is calmer, the sand is softer, and there are no boats or restaurants to break the sounds of nature; waves crashing, palm trees blowing in the wind, and birds chirping.

Personally, these two beaches in Puerto Vallarta are some of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico.

playa colomitos one of the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta.

Playa Colomitos is a quiet little beach with enough sand for the 2 or 3 other people you might find there.

9. Playa Las Gemelas

If you are looking for a place to stay that is right on the beach, but away from the crowds, book a stay at Condominios Playa Gemelas.

I stayed here on a trip to Puerto Vallarta a few years ago and it was a truly memorable experience that changed the way I explore Puerto Vallarta. There is a small grocery store here, a few restaurants, small local vendors selling food right on the beach, and calm waters for swimming.

The beach, like all beaches in Mexico, is public. So you don’t have to stay at the Condominiums to visit this beach.

There is a bus stop right outside the entrance, so you can walk down here from the road. There is little to no parking on the main road, so stick to buses or taxis to get here.

10. Boca de Tomatlan Beach

Like Mismaloya, the beach in Boca de Tomatlan is not the most picturesque but is still a nice place to visit. 

The main reason to come to this beach in Puerto Vallarta is to enjoy some great local seafood. There are restaurants right on the beach serving up ceviche, aguachile, shrimp tacos, and whole grilled snapper for a fraction of the price you would find in the Romantic Zone.

There is nothing better about going to the beach than eating fresh seafood with your toes in the sand and that’s exactly why Boca de Tomatlan is one of the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta.

quiet beach with sailboat in the waves and a palm tree above at one of the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta.

Playa Madagascar is my personal favorite beach in Puerto Vallarta with shade, golden sand, calm waters, and almost no other people around.

Beaches Near Puerto Vallarta Worth Traveling For

Just north of Puerto Vallarta is the state of Nayarit and the coastline here is referred to as Riviera Nayarit.

All of the beaches listed below are within an hour’s drive of Puerto Vallarta and are best visited with a rental car.

11. Bucerias

Located about 20 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta is the little beach town of Bucerias.

Just like Puerto Vallarta, Bucerias Beach sits inside the Bay of Banderas. But unlike Las Glorias or Los Muertos Beaches, Bucerias Beach is long and the water is mostly calm. 

It’s a wonderful beach to come to with a boogie board or skimboard. The waves are small and break close to shore for much of the year. There are some beach clubs and bars along the beach, but for the most part, you can bring whatever you want and find plenty of space to relax.

You’ll want to visit all of the wonderful restaurants in Bucerias. This town is packed with great places to eat fresh seafood and even one of the best pastor tacos I’ve had outside of Mexico City.

If you want a beach where you can walk for hours along the coastline, Bucerias is the best beach near Puerto Vallarta to do just that. You can drive here and find street parking anywhere along the streets that run parallel to the beach.

Alternatively, you can take the bus here from Puerto Vallarta. Buses to Bucerias leave from outside Sam’s Club. This is also where you’ll get the bus to the other towns listed below.

calm beach with hill in the background

If you want to enjoy peace and quiet near Puerto Vallarta, the beaches in Riviera Nayarit are well worth a day trip.

12. Sayulita

There are enough things to do in Sayulita that you could spend your entire vacation here. Many people do.

It is the best beach near Puerto Vallarta if you want to learn how to surf or are an intermediate surfer. The waves are perfect for beginners and there are tons of surf schools to check out while you’re here.

There are also tons of restaurants in Sayulita, with both indulgent and healthy options available. There are cute boutiques, cafes, hiking trails, and hidden beaches to explore.

But if you are just looking for a good day trip from Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita Beach has a little bit of something for everyone. If you plan to drive yourself, arrive early and be patient when looking for parking. 

13. San Pancho

San Pancho is one of the most wonderful beach towns near Puerto Vallarta.

This dusty little town is not quite as busy or built up as Sayulita, but it has a similar boho vibe. There are good places to eat like Ceviche Girael. There are some cute boutiques and art galleries.

But most of all, the beach is long and the sand is soft. The waves are mostly calm and the water is perfect for swimming. 

The beach has more than enough space to find a place to set up your towels and umbrellas. There are a few beachside restaurants that have tables and shade available if you would prefer to sit at a beach chair rather than just on your towel.

calm beach with waves and a pier in the middle of the beach and green trees on the beaches edge.

There are a lot of even smaller beaches along Punta Mita if you love surfing and want to escape the crowds, but base yourself in Bucerias.

14. Lo de Marcos

If you want to truly disconnect and get away from it all, drive yourself to Los de Marcos. The last of the beach towns along the Riviera Nayarit, it’s about an hour’s drive from Puerto Vallarta.

But this quiet beach town has not yet been overrun with chic cafes, upscale boutiques, or surfers from the US looking to relax somewhere cheap all winter (Sayulita, I’m looking at you).

It doesn’t have as many amenities as Bucerias or San Pancho, but it still has plenty of shops and restaurants. There is ample parking. There are small locally owned souvenir shops. 

And most importantly of all, the beach is breathtaking. Long, but not too long that you have to walk ages to find a calm spot. The sand is golden, the water is great for swimming, and the surroundings are all mountains and cliffsides. It’s one of the most beautiful beaches near Puerto Vallarta.