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The Best Hiking Trails in Puerto Vallarta

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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico is famous for its crystalline waters and idyllic white sand beaches but often, its incredible hiking trails are not triumphed enough. Hiking in Puerto Vallarta is particularly magical because of the diverse landscapes, breathtaking waterfalls, and beautiful scenery.

Tucked in the enchanting rainforests, the lush jungle, and along the coastline are some of the most picturesque hiking trails in Jalisco where you can discover a vast array of tropical flora and fauna.

There are trails suitable for everyone from beginner to advanced hikers, meaning that everyone can join in on the fun. We have listed the best hiking trails for you to explore during your time in Puerto Vallarta!

Hike to the Waterfall in Quimixto

Quixmito is an idyllic and small town and beach area that’s located in the south of Puerto Vallarta, that you can only reach by hiking or by boat. It’s a beautifully secluded area that’s encompassed by palm trees, bamboo huts, and tropical verdure.

The waterfall in Quimixto is one of the largest in the area and attracts avid hikers each day. It features a towering rock formation and a natural pool that’s patterned with enchanting vines and flora, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing.


Level: The difficulty level is rated as moderate, as you’ll be faced with uneven and rocky surfaces and some steep inclines. Fortunately, if you do get tired, you can ride a mule for the remainder of the journey with locals offering support at several points along the path.

Hiking distance: Approximately 1 mile

How to get there: Hop on a water taxi from Boca de Tomatlan or Las Animas. On arrival, follow the La Puerto River inland for about a mile. If you’re unsure of where the riverbed begins, you can head to Los Cocos restaurant and follow the path from there with guidance from locals.

Hike to Colomitos Beach 

Colomitos beach – or ‘Playa Colomitos’ is a beautiful and secluded beach that features golden sands and emerald green water surrounded by palm trees and exotic vegetation. You can gain access to the beach either by hiking the well-worn trails winding through the rainforest crossing over rustic bridges or by taking a water taxi. It’s the ideal place to capture memorable vacation photos, hang out, and soak up the sun. The waterfalls at Playa Colomitos are spectacular and feature a large swimming hole that’s great for all-year round adventure!


Level: Moderately difficult

Hiking distance: the hike leading to the falls is approximately 2-miles long. The path to the falls isn’t hard to find as there are several signs and maps posted at the entrance and along the way.

How to get there: similar to Quimixto, the beach is secluded. You can reach it by following the nature path from Boca de Tomatlan or by hopping on a panga or water taxi, which will take approximately 5-minutes.

Palo Maria Waterfall Hike

Hiking in Puerto Vallarta wouldn’t be complete without Palo Maria! Hidden in the luscious jungle of the Sierra Madre mountains sits Palo Maria, a beautiful cascading hike that features not only one – but twelve stunning waterfalls! During your hike along the natural flowing river, you’ll catch sight of breathtaking scenery and rock formations, as well as exotic wildlife and birds. There are plenty of natural pools along the way, some with rope swings, if you fancy cooling down and taking a break.

palo maria waterfall hike

Level: moderately difficult. Most hikers only climb to the first waterfall as the others are located at a much higher elevation and require rock climbing. however, if you are an experienced hiker or fancy the challenge then excitement lies beyond!

Hiking distance: 1.5 miles (30 minutes) to the first waterfall.

How to get there: Palo Maria is conveniently close to central Puerto Vallarta, near Playa los Muertos, making it easily accessible. Hop on one of the orange buses that depart from Basillo Badillo in the Romantic Zone. Exit the bus at the Palo Maria stop and follow the path up to the mountain which runs directly adjacent to the river leading to the waterfalls.

The Yelapa Waterfall Hike

Yelapa is a small and secluded beach town located south of Bahia de Banderas and is only accessible by boat or by hiking. It’s a paradisiacal area that feels island-esque, with emerald waters and golden sand that lays adjacent to a luscious green jungle. Yelapa is known for its vibrant beach life and piquant tropical seafood cuisine and is home to exciting wildlife including parrots, land crabs, and iguanas. The thrilling hiking trail leads to an enchanting waterfall that has a large swimmable pool and is surrounded by wondrous rock formations and fauna.

yelapa waterfall

Level: Easy! Making it ideal for everyone

Hiking distance: 2.5 miles

How to get there: As mentioned, Yelapa is only accessible by boat meaning you’ll have to take a water taxi from Playa Los Muertos or Boca de Tomatlan. Once you arrive at Yelapa, you can follow the signs that lead you to the start of the waterfall hike. Unlike some of the other trails, the Yelapa hike is well maintained, and the entire path is paved and has signposts, so you shouldn’t get lost.

There are several other amazing hikes to be enjoyed in Puerto Vallarta, but these are our top picks! Other notable hiking trials include:

  • The town of El Nogalito, which has its own eco-park featuring multiple waterfalls.
  • The El Salto hike is also a great choice, running along the ridgelines of the majestic Sierra Madre mountains.

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