Puerto Vallarta is about as good as Mexican beaches get. In fact, it’s about as good as the beach gets, never mind Mexico. Green hills covered in jungle foliage collide with the greenish blue water of the Pacific in a way that we wouldn’t change even if we could. Throw in a great spot in the sand and a Pacific sunset and you’ve just about made it to heaven. So the beaches there are nice, you get it. But how do you go about finding the very best of Puerto Vallarta beaches? Say no more, we’re here to help.
We’re going to lead off with the beauty queen. That’s probably the best way to identify Conchas Chinas in the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta crowd. The water is turquoise, the sand is clean and the rock formations make protected swimming areas in which you can relax and float on the waves. Naturally, the sunsets are incredible. It’s hard not to lead off with this one.
Playa Garza Blanca
Hammocks and shade go a long way. On Playa Garza you get the view, white sand (beaches in the area normally have golden sand), beautiful water and all that comes with a Puerto Vallarta beach, plus the opportunity to escape the sun and take a nap on the shaded shore. We’re all for soaking up the sun while you’re out there, but a nice nap in the shade can be pretty sweet — especially after a full morning of exploring or a long night out taking in the city’s nightlife.
An added bonus is the Los Arcos Islands which are accessed by boat from Garza Blanca. Just a quick boat ride from the beach, the islands are excellent for paddle boarding, kayaking and scuba diving.
Los Muertos takes the prize for the “most active beach” in Puerto Vallarta. It’s located in downtown Puerto Vallarta, so it’s your best bet for finding more of a beach party atmosphere. You can grab a spot under an umbrella, go for a swim or jump into one of the nearby beach volleyball games. Be sure to head out on the boardwalk and snap a photo.
Located in the hotel zone, Playa Camarones has beautiful golden sand and plenty of space for all the tourists who come down from their hotel rooms for some sun. You’ll see crowds, sure, but the beach is long and you can always walk to make your own space. It’s an excellent spot if you like to walk or go for runs down the shore.
Oh, and if water sports are your thing, this is the spot. Riding jet-skis and parasailing are the most popular choices.
Las Animas is the true getaway beach on the list. Located just south of Puerto Vallarta, Las Animas dodges the heavier crowds that you’ll find at the downtown beaches. Sure, people make their way down, but the distance is a natural advantage. The green hills make for quite the backdrop and the palm trees that line the shore are an added bonus.
It also makes for an excellent family beach with its calm waves and space for snorkeling.
Las Caletas is another more remote option where you can get off the beaten track. Accessible only by boat, the shore and waters immediately off the beach are rocky, but excellent for snorkeling and kayaking. The water is clear and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to see marine life. It has that rugged “jungle-meets-sea” feel that’s typical to beaches in the area, but few spots do it better.