Nestled along Mexico’s picturesque Pacific Coast in the state of Jalisco, Puerto Vallarta is a premier beach and resort destination among travelers from across the world. It should come as no surprise. With its crystal blue waters and idyllic tropical climate, PV is a beach lover’s paradise. If you’re planning to make your way to this picturesque locale, you’ll want to make time for the best spots along the shore. 

We’ve listed the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta from north to south, so if you want to take an amazing day trip, you can easily hit all of them in order. 

Punta Mita
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Punta Mita 

Located just north of Puerto Vallarta is an isolated luxury getaway known as Punta Mita. Sprawled across a 1,500-acre private peninsula, it’s arguably home to the glitziest beachside accommodations you’ll find near PV. 

Location: 10 miles north of Puerto Vallarta in the Riviera Nayarit.

Accommodations: Punta Mita is home to two Jack Nicklaus signature golf courses, a world-class tennis center, and miles of dining selections, spa services, and private beachside cabanas. It’s also a great place to stay while you’re in Mexico, as the Punta Mita luxury villas offer immaculate ocean views and exquisite surroundings. 

Why Go: Punta Mita is a uniquely stunning town. Dotted with ornate mansions and surrounded on three sides by crystal blue waters, it’s among the most beautiful luxury getaways in Mexico. Visitors love it because of its uniquely idyllic climate, which is breezy and balmy all year long. Punta Mita shares the same latitude as the Hawaiian Islands, so the soft sea breezes and perfect temperatures are reason alone to visit. 

Downsides: Not surprisingly, the accommodations can be costly here, so you’ll need to be prepared to spend money if you want to enjoy a private cabana, a day at the links, or even a good meal.

Pro Tip: Food can get expensive, but cheap eats with authentic Mexican flavors can still be found if you know where to look. Try Norma's Tacos and La Cabana.

Playa Boca de Tomates
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Playa Boca de Tomates

Boca de Tomates (not to be confused with nearby Boca de Tomatlan) is a small, quaint village community with gorgeous beachfront real estate and the kinds of massive waves that would satisfy the most discriminating surfer. 

Location: Northernmost Puerto Vallarta, near the mouth of the Ameca River that borders the states of Jalisco and Nayarit. 

Accommodations: Though accommodations are few in this quiet Puerto Vallarta beach, there are some excellent restaurants along the beach. The locals are especially fond of Ramada El Chavo. 

Why Go: Playa Boca de Tomates (Mouth of Tomatoes) is where you go to experience authentic Puerto Vallarta. The beach is minimally crowded and populated primarily by friendly locals. There’s a gorgeous jungle trail that provides unobstructed views of the bay, and the fishing is as good as you’ll find anywhere in PV.

Downsides: During the summer months, rocks and dirt are known to wash ashore from the nearby Ameca River. You may want to avoid this one during the summer, but it’s beautiful throughout the rest of the year. Also, avoid swimming at this beach as it’s home to crocodiles. 

Pro Tip: On a clear day, be sure to keep an eye out for baby turtles in the bay. Also note that all of the beach restaurants close at 7 p.m., so don’t wait too late if you plan on having dinner.

Playa el Salado
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Playa el Salado (Marina Vallarta)

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By the time you reach Playa el Salado (Salty Beach), you’re entrenched in Puerto Vallarta’s world-famous resort district. This is where you can really let your hair down and have fun with energetic tourists and locals alike. 

Location: The northern part of Puerto Vallarta’s Hotel Zone, just south of the international airport. The beach is located just beyond the famed Plaza Marina Shopping Center. 

Accommodations: Watersports enthusiasts will appreciate the accommodations, which include kayak rentals, windsurfing, jet skis, banana boats and more. Rentals are available at the beachside resorts to guests and non-guests alike. Golf enthusiasts will love the Marina Vallarta Golf Course. And of course there is an abundance of dining, drinking, and shopping options. 

Why Go: Playa el Salado is one of the Puerto Vallarta beaches that’s closest to the airport, so if you have a hankering to hit the shore when your plane lands, this is an easy place to reach. Aside from the vibrant party atmosphere, it’s just an excellent place to experience a breathtaking melding of the classic and contemporary. Enjoy traditional Mexican architecture coupled with modern luxury resorts, towering palm trees, and exquisite ocean views. Marina Vallarta, the local marina, is one of the most beautiful in all of Mexico. 

Downsides: Some of the resorts have sectioned off and privatized specific areas of this Puerto Vallarta beach, so only certain parts are publicly accessible. There’s still plenty to enjoy without resort access, though. 

Pro Tip: Make time to visit Plaza Marina, home to an expansive array of shops and restaurants. If you need supplies or provisions, there’s even a grocery store and a drug store inside. 

Playa Camarones
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Playa Camarones

Playa Camarones, or “Shrimp Beach,” is another resort-adjacent destination with gorgeous sand, but this one is a bit more secluded than other shoreline destinations in the Hotel Zone, and that makes it a huge draw. 

Location: Central Puerto Vallarta, in the heart of the Hotel Zone. 

Accommodations: Because this Puerto Vallarta beach is a bit more secluded, you won’t find a lot of facilities available. There are some food stands, though, and a modest selection of restaurants and bars with delicious margaritas. 

Why Go: Quite simply, this is where travelers go to enjoy some peace and quiet without venturing outside the Hotel Zone. Because it’s well-maintained and not overly crowded, it’s among the cleanest Puerto Vallarta beaches you’ll visit. The calm waters and limited crowds also make it an ideal beach for swimming and snorkeling. For most people, though, it’s just a great place to lie on the sand and enjoy the sounds of the crashing waves without a lot of noise pollution. 

Downsides: The southernmost half of the beach is typically covered in rocks, so you’ll want to stay on the north side to avoid an uncomfortable experience. 

Pro Tip: Though the beach is relatively quiet most of the time, you’ll want to get there in the morning for the greatest amount of privacy, quiet, and seclusion.

Playa Olas Altas
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Playa Olas Altas

The name Playa Olas Altas literally means “high beach waves,” but that’s a bit of a misnomer. The waves are modest at best, but the general atmosphere at this beach is always high-energy. 

Location: Near city center, extending from the Cuale River to the fishing pier. It’s adjacent to Olas Altas Street, the main street in the Zona Romantica. 

Accommodations: Nearby Olas Altas Street is the ultimate party spot, lined with bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and shops galore. The nearby resorts have all the beach rentals you could need, including snorkels, kayaks, and jet skis. 

Why Go: This is where the party’s at. Everything you could want is right within reach, and Olas Altas Street gives you a true Old Town experience complete with buskers, live music, and boutique shopping—all within walking distance of the beach. The beach itself is lined with highly rated outdoor restaurants that offer authentic Mexican cuisine and perfect ocean views, and the shops offer the kind of deals you won’t find anywhere else in the hotel zone. Shop for fine art, enjoy amazing tequila, and take a swim in the calm and crystal-clear waters nearby. 

Downsides: Honestly, there are very few downsides. The beach can get a bit crowded, but for good reason. This is the heart and soul of Puerto Vallarta. 

Pro Tip: If you happen to drive by on a Saturday, take some time to enjoy the Olas Altas farmers’ market, which is a spectacle unto itself.

Playa de Los Muertos
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Playa de Los Muertos

If there’s one Puerto Vallarta beach that rivals Olas Altas, it’s Playa de Los Muertos (Beach of the Dead). Don’t let the macabre name deter you from visiting. It’s easily one of the most famous Puerto Vallarta beaches, and it’s a must-see spot. 

Location: Downtown Puerto Vallarta, on the southern tip. 

Accommodations: Playa de Los Muertos is home to friendly street vendors and world-class restaurants with seating right on the sand. Banana boat rides and parasailing are available, and competitive volleyball is always a star attraction. 

Why Go: As the largest beach in Puerto Vallarta, Playa de Los Muertos has something for everybody. Dining options range from five-star steaks to street tacos on the beach, and the selection of amenities and accommodations is unmatched. The party lasts all day and all night, so if you love the late-night beach experience, this spot won’t disappoint. 

Downsides: Being that it’s one of the most popular Puerto Vallarta beaches, the crowds can be dense. Some people love the high energy, but others prefer quieter and more serene surroundings. Parking can also be a challenge here, as the spaces are limited and the crowds are dense.

Pro Tip: You’ll definitely want to pack your swim trunks, as the calm, clear waters make this the most swimmable beach in Puerto Vallarta. It’s also a great spot for members of the LGBTQ+ community, as Newsweek ranked it the #2 most gay-friendly beach in the world.

Conchas Chinas
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Conchas Chinas

Noted for being one of the top wedding destinations in PV, Conchas Chinas is one of the most romantic beach locales in the region. 

Location: Central Puerto Vallarta, just south of the Zona Romantica and near the Garza Blanca Preserve. 

Accommodations: Conchas Chinas Beach has some excellent wedding chapels and packages for lovebirds seeking exotic nuptials. The nearby restaurants are known for their regional seafood offerings like embarazado fish, marlin tostadas, and octopus ceviche. If you want to taste some of the best food in Conchas Chinas, head over to Lindo Mar, El Set, or La Playita, all of which offer incredible regional cuisine.

Why Go: Conchas Chinas is the romance capital of Puerto Vallarta because it offers some of the most pristine, picturesque landscapes you’ll find, all while being located just minutes from all the excitement of downtown. The beauty is almost indescribable, thanks to the combination of turquoise ocean waters and pure sand set against natural pools created by towering rock formations. You can even take a swim in the natural pools, which are warm year-round. 

Downsides: The restaurants and bars tend to be on the pricey side, as the local businesses are accustomed to accommodating formal wedding parties. 

Pro Tip: If you do decide to get married in Conchas Chinas, try to book your wedding several months in advance, preferably a year or more. The venues are constantly booked.

Playa Las Animas
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Playa Las Animas

As you exit Puerto Vallarta to the south, you may stumble upon the hidden gem known as Playa Las Animas. Of course, you’ll only stumble upon it if you know where to look, as it’s the most secluded beach on our list. 

Location: Just south of Puerto Vallarta. 

Accommodations: Despite being a hidden beach, Las Animas has a few bars and restaurants located along the water. Jet ski rentals and parasailing are also available. The accommodations are what make this beach so incredible. You can enjoy total seclusion while still accessing many of the same accommodations found in the Hotel Zone. 

Why Go: This beach is as isolated as it gets. It’s only available by boat, water taxi, or hike. It’s actually the perfect beach for hikers because it takes you through scenic jungle terrain and past several other secluded beaches. Despite being off the beaten path, the beach is easy to find. 

Downsides: Though it’s not hard to get to Las Animas, you can’t simply drive there. Also, the beach attracts a lot of boats, so it’s not the safest water for swimming. 

Pro Tip: To get to Las Animas, you can take a water taxi from the pier at Boca de Tomatlan. The cost is 50 pesos. Alternately, you can hike there. The distance is only about 2.5 miles. Start at the Tomatlan bus station and start walking toward the ocean. Be sure to bring good shoes, as the terrain can be a bit rocky at times. 

Ranking the Puerto Vallarta Beaches

If you don’t have time to do the full north-to-south trek and you just want to see a few of the top Puerto Vallarta beaches, here are our rankings based on quality and accommodations: 

1) Playa Olas Altas 

2) Playa de Los Muertos 

3) Punta Mita 

4) Playa el Salado

5) Playa Camarones

6) Conchas Chinas

7) Playa Boca de Tomates

8) Playa Las Animas

What are your favorite Puerto Vallarta beaches? Are there any that we missed? Let us know in the comments!