Puerto Vallarta is located on the beautiful Bay of Banderas and known to be the “Jewel of the Mexican Pacific”. Puerto Vallarta was once a small fishing village but because of the Hollywood celebrities Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, this small coastal city became a beach holiday destination since the mid-1960s.

Puerto Vallarta has different kinds of beaches catering to different kinds of visitors. With its water treatment facility, Puerto Vallarta features quality water, great for swimming and very safe for everybody.

Cinthia Aguilar

The powdery- fine sand stretches along the shoreline of Puerto Vallarta. It is also dotted with hotels and world-class restaurants that visitors are ought to experience. This place offers loads of activities like surfing, swimming, snorkeling, unwinding, boating and more.

The further you go from the city, the greater the treasure you will find. The best beaches are often in secluded areas, away from civilization. The best time to visit Puerto Vallarta is between April and June, the weather is pleasant, rain is scarce and the room rates are affordable.

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Here’s a rundown of the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. 

1. Playa Los Muertos

The Best Beaches in Puerto Vallarta Top 10 Puerto Vallarta Beaches
Fernando Gutierrez

The beach was named Los Muertos, translates as “Deadman’s Beach” because the site is a former cemetery. In the 1920s, human bones in ceramic pots were unearthed during the excavation of the area. Today, Playa Los Muertos is one of the most popular beaches and is just near the town center of Puerto Vallarta. Activities in this beach include banana boat rides, Jet Skiing, windsurfing, parasailing, and beach volleyball. This beach has plenty of space and a spot for people-watching. Playa Los Muertos is also a party haven for LGBT travelers and has a lot of gay-friendly accommodations along the shore. 

Recommended Hotel: Playa Los Arcos

2. Playa Las Gemelas

Playa Las Gemelas is located in a more remote and secluded area, 20 minutes by car from the city center. Going to Playa Las Gemelas requires heading down some narrow stairs that lead to the beach. It is very private with crystal clear water and white sand is white. There are no vendors on this beach so visitors can enjoy a peaceful sunbathing or relaxing on shady spots. This beach is well known to be a great snorkeling spot. Las Gemelas is the perfect beach destination for relaxation.

Recommended Hotel: Grand Park Royal Luxury Resort Puerto Vallarta 

3. Playa Mismaloya

The Best Beaches in Puerto Vallarta - Top 10 Puerto Vallarta Beaches
Photo by Lisa Andres CC BY 2.0

Playa Mismaloya is located in a lovely cove, 4 kilometers from Playa las Gemelas. This place is one of Puerto Vallarta’s more iconic beaches. It was the setting of a 1964 film “The Night of the Iguana” where the love affair of Hollywood superstars, Elizabeth Taylor-Richard Burton, took place. With a full view of Los Arcos sea rocks, Just like Las Gemelas, Mismaloya beach is a great place to snorkel and scuba dive. There are also boats which tourists can rent. This beach has several restaurants to try and has a lot of trinket peddlers around. 

Recommended Hotel: Hotel Casa Iguana Mismaloya

4. Playa Camarones

Playa Camarones is north of Playa de Los Muertos, just a walking distance from the town center of Puerto Vallarta. Playa Camarones “Shrimp Beach” is one of the cleanest beaches in Puerto Vallarta. It is a wide piece of long and clear brown sands, perfect for building sandcastles and spot for sunset watching. It also offers a beautiful setting for your pictures with the city center as a background. Adventure-seekers should try parasailing, paddleboarding, banana boat, jet skiing, paddle boarding, and surfing. A simple afternoon walk becomes magical in Playa Camarones. 

Recommended Hotel: Hotel Rosita

5. Playa Palmares

Playa Palmares can be found in the same direction as Playa Gemelas, on the same road. Playa Palmares is named, not from the palm trees that are nowhere in sight, but after the condo complex that towers over it. Going here can be a little bit challenging because you have to climb down the narrow stairs leading to the beach, hence it has never been overrun with too many people. This beach is often favored by locals for swimming since it’s located far from the rivers and therefore has stunning crystal-clear water all year round. This is the beach for you if you want a quiet and perfect place to relax and unwind.

Recommended Hotel: Palmares By Playa Moments

6. Las Animas

The Best Beaches in Puerto Vallarta - Top 10 Puerto Vallarta Beaches
Photo by Andy Blackledge CC BY 2.0

Las Animas is a touristy beach and is only reachable by water. You can take a tour that leaves from the main pier or take a boat from Boca de Tomatlán. It has fairly coarse sand there are no waves,  perfect for learning how to swim, but make sure to avoid the area full of boats. This beach is also known for its lush vegetation. There are also plenty of restaurants to choose from.

Recommended Hotel: Hotelito Mio Boutique Hotel

7. Conchas Chinas

Conchas Chinas is described as the most romantic beach in Puerto Vallarta. The term Conchas Chinas means “Chinese Shells” referring to the type of shell found in the place. If you want laidback, quiet and well-hidden beach, then surely Conchas Chinas is a peaceful place away from the crowd.  There are many hotels, villas, and restaurants close by to provide visitors and locals everything for comfort. Although this is not an ideal place for water sports like surfing or paddleboarding, visitors often do snorkeling and diving. 

Recommended Hotel: Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa

Here are some of the Beaches Near Puerto Vallarta

8. Colomitos Beach

The Best Beaches in Puerto Vallarta - Top 10 Puerto Vallarta Beaches
Photo by Dennis Sylvester Hurd CC0 1.0

Colomitos Beach is a secluded tiny beach about 10 1/2 miles away from the main square of Puerto Vallarta. The beach has clear sand with blue water surrounded by rocks, small creek, and waterfall in the lush tropical jungle. This beach is a small piece of paradise for people who love the outdoors, wildlife, nature and calm, relaxing experiences. Activities include hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, and boat ride. 

Recommended Hotel: Villa Armonia Luxury Boutique Hotel

9. Playa Yelapa

The Best Beaches in Puerto Vallarta - Top 10 Puerto Vallarta Beaches
Photo by Brett Wood CC BY-SA 2.0

With no paved roads leading here, Playa Yelapa can only be accessed by a 30-minute boat ride from Los Muertos beach in Puerto Vallarta. Playa Yelapa is one of the best and authentic beaches in Puerto Vallarta. This place has been isolated from the rest of the region and still barely touched by tourism. Playa Yelapa is a must for those who seek disconnection from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is a laid-back bay beach for swimming, snorkeling & water sports, plus delicious local dessert pies that are offered by beach vendors.

Recommended Hotel: Hotel Lagunita

10. Las Caletas

Las Caletas is a beach near Puerto Vallarta only accessible by boat and was leased out to Vallarta Adventures, a tour operator. This is a popular destination for cruise ships. This place has a lot to offer like floating islands, hammocks by the sea, zip-lining, flyboarding, scuba diving, snorkeling with sea lions, paddle boarding, kayaking, guided nature walks and many more. This beach is a real tropical paradise hideaway. 

Recommended Hotel: Xinalani Yoga Retreat Mexico

That’s it! Those are my top 10 best beaches in Puerto Vallarta. So If you’ll be visiting this tropical paradise soon, don’t forget to stop and enjoy at one of the 10 best beaches in Puerto Vallarta. I think that there is no way possible of going wrong here whether you love the beach or not (because surely you will, after visiting Puerto Vallarta beaches). 

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By Sarah