When citizens of most cities talk about “going to the beach,” there’s typically only one option, or at best a handful of choices.
On the other hand, this sunny city by the sea is stationed on the planet’s 7th largest bay, giving it direct access to nearly 20 separate stretches of shore, most of which offer their own unique amenities and atmosphere. We’ll mostly stick to the most popular beaches within a few minutes of city limits in this post, but from Punta de Mita in the north to Yelapa in the south, there is no shortage of beautiful beachfront for you to enjoy during your stay (or lifetime) in Puerto Vallarta.
Boca de Tomates
The first high-profile beach visitors will encounter on their journey into town from the airport in the north, this beach in the area of the city’s Marina district is home to a range of restaurants and other points of interest. Here, visitors can interact with the region’s bounty of wildlife, including snapping pictures of wild crocodiles and taking part in turtle releases at the Rescue Camp in the area.
Further into the heart of town along the highway named for former Jalisco governor Francisco Medina Ascencio awaits Playa Camarones, connecting the city’s 5 de Deciembre neighborhood to the Pacific Coast. Playa Camarones can be either sandy or rocky depending on environmental conditions, but in either case the beach is home to one of #WeLovePV’s Top 10 Beach Bars of 2019 (which is also a strong contender for 2020’s upcoming rankings.)
In the area where the Rio Cuale divides the El Centro and Zona Romantica districts inland rest the sands of Olas Altas. The calm surf and lower density of sunbathers compared to the main beach in town makes this a popular section of shoreline for aquatic activities including parasailing, banana boat rides, and wave racing on jet skis.
Playa Los Muertos
The most famous beach in town has thoroughly earned its reputation as a destination, offering a smorgasbord of sights and sounds to curious visitors. This lively waterfront spans over a mile south of the Rio Cuale, and is home to an endless variety of vendors selling snacks, handmade jewelry, and other beach goodies. At the sail-shaped pier that shares the name of the beach, visitors can also catch water taxis to some of the best beaches along Vallarta’s South Shore.
Las Amapas is hidden just over a small rock formation from the most heavily trafficked section of Playa Los Muertos, but offers an entirely separate experience. Where Playa Los Muertos becomes a nonstop procession of beachgoers and shorefront sellers, Las Amapas delivers a much more relaxed setting where visitors can stretch out on the sand, unpack a cooler of beach day essentials, and enjoy a much-needed afternoon of relaxation.,
Where most of the world considers a trip to the oceanfront a rare treat, Puerto Vallarta is home to a variety of inviting beaches all well within reach of its most populous neighborhoods. Whether you’re looking forward to margaritas with a view or an uninterrupted day of tanning with a good book, you’re not far from an ideal option anywhere on the Banderas Bay.