Hotel Zone Beach in Puerto Vallarta -Lined with resort hotels, this beautiful, wide sandy beach stretching from Marina Vallarta to the Sheraton is a tourist playground. This terrific Puerto Vallarta beach offers every amenity and water sport - from parasailing to whale watching. It's easy to have an adventure on this beach or stroll over to a beach bar, restaurant or hotspot that catches your eye.
Bucerias in Puerto Vallarta -Golden sands for miles and gentle waves make this an ideal family beach in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. With oceanfront palapa restaurants, this small town is interesting to explore. Boasting the longest beach on the bay, "The Place of the Divers" is known for its freshly shucked giant oysters and sublime seafood. Catch some rays at beach restaurants and enjoy the breeze that makes this Puerto Vallarta beach fresh and cool. The town offers many waterfront restaurants and a colorful outdoor market by the main plaza that exudes local flavor.
San Francisco/San Pancho Beaches -A few miles beyond the bay, this pristine Puerto Vallarta beach area is gorgeous, windswept, primitive and long and wide, with deep creamy sand and rougher waters than inside the bay.
This adventure resort area attracts outdoor enthusiasts from around the world, offering every Puerto Vallarta beach activity you can imagine, including surfing, kayaking, sport fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and hiking. Take a tour to Matachen Bay, famous for the world's longest surfable wave. The town's main street has great restaurants and cafes.
Sayulita Beaches -An international surfing hotspot, this picturesque fishing village is dotted with beautiful beaches and coves where surfers hang ten. Ride the gentle breakers to shore at main town beach, where you can find lessons and board rentals. Enjoy a private moment at one of the area's small coves, conveying the sense of being yours alone. After a day of swimming and sunning, enjoy the palapa restaurants and many Mexican dining spots – from casual to gourmet. A funky fishing village with dramatic beauty, Sayulita offers an appealing town square, and trendy shops and businesses.
Punta de Mita Beach -One of two beaches on this pretty peninsula at the northern tip of Banderas Bay, Punta de Mita is the ideal Puerto Vallarta beach for strolling and absorbing the incredible beauty and tangy sea air.
El Anclote Beach -One of two public beaches at Punta de Mita, El Anclote is a popular beach and seaside community with great swimming and surfing. Since the waves break in front of the beach, it's an ideal spot to learn to surf. This Puerto Vallarta beach offers restaurants and activities, such as kayaking, catamaraning and snorkeling. Rent a boat to the Las Marietas Islands nature preserve where snorkeling and diving are amazing, or hire a panga to take you whale watching in the bay.
Boca de Tomates Beach.Five minutes from Puerto Vallarta, Boca de Tomates is a long, peaceful sandy retreat where you'll see more crocodiles, sea turtles and exotic birds than sun worshippers. An ecologist's utopia, the Tomates estuary is one of the area's important wildlife refuges. The beach is popular with boogie boarders and offers cool palapa restaurants.
Marina Vallarta Beach -Catering to the resort hotels, this wide, sandy beach offers a spectacular view of Puerto Vallarta and its mountain vista. Come sun and play at Nikki Beach, a cool restaurant-bar-beach club where you can lie on beach beds and enjoy drinks and food.
Los Muertos Beach -Los Muertos, translated to "The Dead," is the liveliest beach on Puerto Vallarta' South Side. This funky and popular Puerto Vallarta beach is lined with restaurants and bars. Grab a beach chair and table, or try parasailing. In the evenings, mariachi and other musicians wander the beach, stopping to play and charging by song. From Los Muertos, pangas depart for beaches further south.
Garza Blanca Beach -Located off the Barra Navidad road on the way to Mismaloya, this small, tranquil white sand beach is framed with palms and crystal clear water that laps the shoreline. Garza Blanca is popular with the locals on weekends and the perfect spot for a picnic and enjoying the sand and surf.
Gemelas Beach -"Twin" beach is two small crescent-shaped beaches at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountains. Here the surf is gentle and great for swimming. Water sports and a restaurant are available at the beach hotel.
Mismaloya Beach -A small sandy beach on a beautiful jungle-fringed cove south of Puerto Vallarta where the Mismaloya creek meets the ocean, this Puerto Vallarta beach is where "The Night of the Iguana" was filmed in 1963. Mismaloya offers a beautiful white sand beach, restaurants, little palapa spots, and a resort. Walk around what remains of the old movie set.
Boca de Tomatlan Beach -With a primitive South Seas feel, this small sandy cove at the edge of the jungle three miles south of Mismaloya is where the mouth of the Tomatlan River meets Banderas Bay. Palapa restaurants serve fresh fish and Mexican fare and small boats take you to beaches further south.
Photos by Mark Callanan