Beaches
 
Beaches

North Beaches

Punta de Mita

Located at the northern tip of the Bahia de Banderas, 26 miles from Puerto Vallarta on the Punta Mita Highway, this once-remote beachside fishing village is now home to the Four Seasons Punta de Mita Resort. The beach itself is fairly rocky but offers beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Madre Mountains that frame the bay. Sports, tours and amenities of all kinds are available. The area is known as a great surfing beach and snorkeling is excellent along the islands just off shore. A short walk along the beach brings visitors to isolated stretches of pristine coastline.

El Anclote

"Anchor Beach" is at Km 21 on highway 200 north of PV. This wide beach is known for its mild surf. Fishing boats are anchored at the far right of El Anclote and boat rentals are available for tours to the Marieta Islands to explore, snorkel, scuba dive or fish. El Anclote has many services as it has a large local population.

San Francisco/San Pancho

A sleepy little town 31 miles (49 km) north of Puerto Vallarta known for its "gnarly waves, dude." Purported by some surfers to be the best in the area due to its big open ocean beach and southwest to northwest swells. Surfers from around the world congregate there to experience the giant waves that have made this beach so popular. San Francisco/San Pancho is also known for its untamed natural beauty and is a favorite among naturalists.

Sayulita

22 miles north of the airport, the idyllic Sayulita beach is located in a cove where the jungle meets the sea. Perfect for surfing or sunning and everything in between. Seaside cafes and fine dining along with other services available. Along the point of the cove there are hidden beaches that can be found by walking through a graveyard. These beaches are well worth the effort. Lots of private little spots between rock formations teeming with marine life. The swift tides bring an abundance of seashells and other sea treasures to these tiny beaches.

Destiladeras

Located 19 miles from the airport at Km 8 on Highway 200 and popular with the locals for its wide sandy beaches and with surfers for its two- to five-foot swells. The beach is situated between the cliffs of Punta del Burro and has several natural pools of fresh water. There are a few seaside palapa restaurants with fabulous views of the Bahia de Banderas and Puerto Vallarta in the distance.

Bucerias

The name means "Place of the Divers." Its 5-mile stretch of white sand beaches is the longest along the Bay of Banderas. This beautiful beach comes alive on Sundays when locals bring their families for a day at the shore. Its long shallow shoreline is perfect for body surfing, boogie boarding, surfing and shell collecting. Located 12 miles north of the airport, Bucerias is popular with Canadian and North American visitors. This old-fashioned Mexican town has plenty of local color with its many shops and town square market. Literally dozens of open air restaurants line the beach on one of the four main streets that run parallel to the water for miles.

Nuevo Vallarta

The clean white sand beaches here seem endless. The beaches of Nuevo Vallarta begin four miles north of the airport. Activities abound here. Visitors and locals surf, body surf, wind surf, jet ski, water ski, parasail, ride a big yellow banana bicycle. The hotels and mega resorts of the area offer many amenities including beachside cafes and bars.


South Beaches

Garza Blanca

A small city beach located off the Barra Navidad road at Km 6 on the way to Mismaloya, this white sand beach is framed with palms and crystal clear water that laps the shoreline. It is popular with the locals on weekends who pack a picnic, as there are no amenities.

Gemelas

"Twin" beach is two small crescent-shaped beaches at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountains. Here the surf is gentle and good for swimming. Water sports and a restaurant are available at the beach hotel. Several new condominium projects also enjoy the beachfront. Located south of town at Barra Navidad road, Km 8.

Mismaloya

Probably the most well known beach due to the filming of "Night of the Iguana" here in l963, this 500-meter-long beach sits at the very edge of the jungle where the Mismaloya creek meets the sea. Several species of wildlife have been spotted in the hills above the beach, including many different types of birds and land animals such as deer, pumas, jaguars, quails, monkeys and armadillos. The shallow surf makes it a good place to swim, thus it is popular with families. There are jet ski, parasail, and boat rentals available as are water taxis to remote beaches. The original movie set is now a restaurant at the far end of the beach and several palapa-style eateries line the beach offering an array of delights for eating and drinking. Mismaloya beach is located seven miles south of town on Highway 200. The entrance is at the bottom of the hill between The La Jolla de Mismaloya Resort and the bridge.

Boca de Tomatlan

A small seaside village cove that sits at the edge of the jungle, three miles south of Mismaloya, where the mouth or boca of the Tomatlan river meets the bay, hence its name. This quiet fishing village is the source of most of the fish sold in the area. Fleets of small fishing pangas leave each morning from its shores. Water taxis also leave here for the chain of small remote beaches accessible only by boat. A family-owned open-air restaurant serves beach-goers at this secret little beach.

Las Animas

A quiet, tiny beach inaccessible except by boat where sunbathers can relax in colorful beach chairs and choose from several rustic restaurants for Mexican fare. Snorkeling is popular in the gentle surf of this cozy beach. Rumor has it that Las Animas, The Souls, was named for a pirate who was killed returning to his ship after he had buried his treasure somewhere along the beach. It was never found and legend has it his ghost protects the lost loot.

Quimixto

One of three remote beaches south of Puerto Vallarta that is accessible only by boat. Pangas or water taxis leave the mainland several times a day for this out-of-the-way shore. Quimixto is known for its quite waters framed by boulders perfect for scuba diving and snorkeling. There is also a refreshing waterfall to cool off in after a leisurely day of sun worshipping. Dining is available at beachside palapas.

Majahuitas

Located on a remote, secluded cove south of PV, Majahuitas beach is accessible only by boat (i.e. water taxi). This idyllic spot has 18 acres of paradise to discover in a private resort setting that offers a "rustic elegance" with full amenities, activities and lodging.

Yelapa

The largest of the remote beaches accessible only by boat that dot the southern cost of Banderas Bay. Tour boats as well as small skiffs or pangas leave for Yelapa daily with afternoon returns. This tiny village is a true escape from civilization. With no electricity or telephones, one can really get away from it all. At night, generators supply the power for the small hotel and restaurant nestled into the jungle side. During the day, there are several beachside eateries to choose from while partaking in a favorite beach activity. A 35-meter (114.8 foot) waterfall that cascades down through the thick jungle is a great hiking and horseback destination, complete with hillside cafe that overlooks the falls pool. Many artists have taken up residence in this isolated village, adding to the local color. According to these local residents, Yelapa means "the gathering place." And that it is, members of the community and visitors from Puerto Vallarta gather each month for full moon celebrations that have become legendary.