Do you consider yourself to be a beach girl or guy? Do you love finding hidden coves and secluded beaches? If so, Puerto Vallarta’s South Shore is a gift straight from Mother Nature to you. The best beach hopping on the south shore can be enjoyed when you stay at Garza Blanca in Puerto Vallarta!
Puerto Vallarta’s South Shore
The Garza Blanca Resort & Spa rests in the heart of Puerto Vallarta’s south shore and overlooks the stunning Banderas Bay while being backed by palm-covered mountains. The beaches considered to be “south shore beaches” are those that can be found between Cabo Corrientes (at the southern tip of the bay) and the southernmost end of Los Muertos beach.
South Shore Beach Hopping
The certified beach found at the Garza Blanca resort is one of the most beautiful in the area, certainly, but the whole coastline is peppered with some of the most stunning beaches, coves, and hideaways in the world. Whether you rent a vehicle, or use the efficient and reliable public transport that can be found in the area you’ll find that most of the best beaches are very accessible.
Some of the favored south shore beaches are easily accessed from the resort, and all of them can be reached from the main highway, called Carretera de Barra de Navidad (follow the signs for Puerto Vallarta when leaving the resort, or signs for Barra de Navidad when leaving from downtown Puerto Vallarta):
Conchas Chinas Beach
Conchas Chinas is under 5 minutes from Garza Blanca, and only 7 minutes from the downtown area of Puerto Vallarta. From the main highway, you should take the turn on easy street (no, really!), and follow the short cobblestone road down towards the water. This beach has various coves to enjoy, but you should pack a cooler as this is a residential area with no food venues apart from the odd vendor selling fish or mango. The waters here are great, and on a calm day the tidal pools are great fun for kids.
Punta Negra is just 10 minutes further southward from Conchas Chinas and is a really gorgeous stretch of sand. This beach is home to a couple of condominium developments and is notorious for its ever changing beach formation. Some days the beach is covered by rocks, and then just as suddenly there will be nothing but sand. The waters here are a vibrant turquoise color, and are great for fishing. Remember to bring a lunch, though, because there are no restaurants here.
Playas Gemelas is very close to the Garza Blanca preserve, and is only 12 minutes or so south of downtown Puerto Vallarta. This beach can be accessed from the highway via very steep steps, but the powdery white sand and glorious waters are perfect for swimming. Bring along a lunch and drinks, and perhaps an umbrella and an air mattress to make lounging more comfortable too.
Mismaloya beach is only about 5 minutes from Garza Blanca when you head southwards, and less than 20 minutes from the downtown area of Puerto Vallarta. This is a renowned location which is often bustling and vibrant, and offers much in the way of activities and amenities. You can eat in one of the many fine restaurants here, play in the river, or rent a small boat from which to fish. Why not watch the pelicans plunge into the water, or even walk to the movie set where Night of the Iguana was filmed? Mismaloya is definitely one of the places that helped shape Puerto Vallarta into the sought-after destination it is today!
Boca de Tomatlan
Boca de Tomatlan is around 25 minutes from downtown Puerto Vallarta, and about 10 minutes from the Garza Blanca Resort & Spa. This is a sleepy fishing village which offers a unique experience to those seeking authentic Mexican places. Watch the water taxis come and go while you drink cold beer or margaritas and eat fresh barbecued fish.., or even hop on board and head over to beaches like Las Animas, Quimixto and Yelapa. These are the hidden gems of Puerto Vallarta’s south shore.
Las Animas is very close to Boca de Tomatlan, and can be reached quickly by water taxi, but there are many who visit regularly and take the hour and a half hike through the stunning natural landscape. Once you arrive, you will find a real crowd pleaser of a beach which has inviting water, plenty of choices for food and drinks, stunning weather, and a really beautiful beach. The relaxing atmosphere here offers a rejuvenating experience.
Quimixto is only accessible via boat or water taxi from Boca de Tomatlan, and it’s one of the truly unique places around Banderas Bay. The quaint village is found by a beautiful waterfall, nestled in the jungle, and the beach which adjoins it is truly wonderful. Most of the tourists who come here do so to see the waterfall, and will take the 25 minute journey to it on foot or horseback with a guide. Once you’ve done this, why not relax on the beach, which is a favorite with local surfers?
Yelapa is a heavenly place of stunning beauty which can be reached via water taxi from Boca de Tomatlan or Los Muertos beach. From Yelapa beach, you can reach multiple waterfalls on foot, explore the hillside paths which wind through and around the town, or while away the hours on the pristine sands of the beaches. There are few activities that can top the feeling of relaxing in a hammock overlooking the waves with a frosty drink in your hand.
One last bit of advice: Sundays are the busiest days of the week on Puerto Vallarta’s public beaches, so you may wish to pick a different day of the week if you are feeling like a day of blissful tranquility at the beach.