Beaches are the calling card of Puerto Vallarta. The two most central favourites include Los Muertos and Olas Altas, as the closest to the city’s main square. What many sun-worshippers may not know, is that the former takes its name – which translates as Deadman’s Beach – from when the site was originally used as a cemetery. These are some of the most easily accessible spots for water sports and boat excursions.
From the 60-metre pier on Playa de Los Muertos, take a boat ride to head away from the crowds to the quieter southernmost reaches, where secluded coves boast pristine snorkelling sites. Some of the best are to be found near the villages of Yelapa, Quimixto and Playa Majahuitas – a favourite amongst scuba-divers.
Another popular choice accessible by boat is Las Caletas (the Coves), where hammocks swaying in the breeze against a backdrop of thick jungle provide the perfect scene for relaxing by the water.
Meanwhile, Playa Mismaloya is well-noted as an iconic stretch of sand, thanks to the beach’s appearance as the backdrop for the Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor film, the Night of the Iguana. The beach is also close to the remarkable Los Arcos Marine Park.
Elsewhere, for a beach less touched by tourism and development, set your sights on Playa Yelapa. Here, an authentic beach community continues to thrive in a charming, quiet traditional village. Spend an afternoon on this secluded bay and be sure to sample the legendary dessert pies sold by the beach vendors here.