Let’s be direct about it…whether you’re here for a week or for the duration, if you find yourself in Puerto Vallarta I’m willing to bet an afternoon of relaxed sipping in the sand is somewhere on the agenda. Obviously this is a beach town, so the number of viable options in the area approaches half of infinity, but these 10 picks come with my personal stamp of approval.
You wanna really relax? Hard to ask for more than a frosty beverage a four-poster canopy bed on the sunny shores of the Banderas Bay, and a day pass at Mantamar offers this alongside so much more. The beach bar also bills itself as “straight-friendly,” which certainly comes as welcome news for this rainbow hetero.
Swell Beach Bar
Usually offering an open lounger and always ready with an icy bucket, Swell is probably the place where you’re most likely to catch me (if you can) on a typical weekday afternoon of inspiration farming. The food menu also offers ample options for when the munchies strike, from huge salads to fully loaded nachos so you can decide how irresponsible you want to be that day.
Location | Contact
- Hours 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
- 182 Amapas
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco 48390
El Solar Beach Club
Located on a joint site with one of Vallarta’s favorite waterfront restaurants is this vibrant little beach bar specializing in mezcal cocktails. You’ll probably want to get there early if you’ve got eyes on a lounger in the sand, or if you plan your day-to-day life more meticulously than a certain lifestyle scout, I suppose you could also call ahead and make reservations.
Location | Contact
- Paraguay 1294
Cinco de Diciembre
48350 Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
Another beach bar sharing a site with a popular restaurant on the beach is El Dorado, stationed on the southern end of the city on the bustling Playa Los Muertos. From this vantage point, day drinkers can witness the Sun slip into the ocean from a front row seat as well as watching the city’s famous pier ignite with light as the night takes flight.
Mango’s Beach Club
Mango’s Beach Club is popular among savvy locals, located on the sands alongside 5 de Diciembre to offer a spectacular view of the sparkling Pacific. The bar also regularly offers affordable drink specials such as discounted buckets of beer and 2 x 1 margaritas, a practice which works well with a freelance writer’s salary.
Playa Los Muertos has no shortage of appealing options for those whose day plan includes cold drinks in the warm sand, and Langostino’s typically comes up in discussions of the best. The full bar is everything you expect, but if you’ll be sticking around for a while you might want to avail yourself of some of the restaurant’s tasty guacamole, possibly an entire red snapper.
Canto Del Mar
“Canto del Mar” translates as “song of the sea,” and if you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain, under an umbrella at this beachside bar and restaurant during the summer months is a great place to experience both. Bet that’s not the song you expected. In any event, this beachside bar is an ideal place to kick back for an afternoon of leisure.
Location | Contact
- Tue-Sat 11:00 PM – 9:00 PM
- Lázaro Cárdenas s/n
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco 48380
Okay, fine, Casa Karma isn’t strictly in the city proper, but how many suggestions along Playa de Los Muertos do you want in a Top 10 list? This picturesque B&B just south of the restaurant merits mention here purely on the strength of its massive Bloody Marys, which can contain just about everything in the kitchen
About 20 minutes down the Barra de Navidad that can take an especially curious traveler clear to the Guatemalan border lies Aquazul Beach Bar & Lounge, located on the grounds of a resort. Luxury reigns at this beachfront oasis, from the top-flight cocktails to the snazzy swimming pool for those protecting their colorful dye jobs from the ravages of salt water.
Have you been to Yelapa yet? If not, you’re missing out…only accessible via a zippy ride on the water taxi from downtown PV, this independent enclave is home to a range of attractions from the essential Pay de Yelapa (that’s “pie” for us Anglophones) to this outstanding beach bar that invites you to enjoy a slice–and a cocktail of course–from its loungers and day beds.
Puerto Vallarta is one of the most sought-after destinations on the northern half of the continent because of the bevy of beautiful beaches in and around the city. That means that relaxing on the shore with something refreshing is a perfectly valid use of your day, and these 10 establishments certainly deliver on the promise of the pursuit…I should know, I’m an expert.