Los Muertos Beach is our most popular beach and the center of daytime activity, also a favorite for sunset. The place where tourists and locals effortlessly mix, it is the top gathering spot for all ages and features some of the best restaurants in town, several with beautiful palapas situated right on the sand, 20 feet from the water.
Los Muertos is what makes Vallarta unique from most Mexican resorts. You can sunbathe and swim in a vibrant public area while waiters bring you food and drink. El Dorado Restaurant, near the pier, is one of the best spots on the beach to camp out for the day.
Los Muertos also has all kinds of water sports for rent: wave runners, parasailing, banana boats, fishing charters etc. From the south end of Los Muertos beach, you can climb the cliff stairs to Conchas Chinas beach.
Seeing the bay from the water is a must and a water taxi ride to Yelapa is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to do it The Water Taxi leaves Los Muertos pier every morning at 10 am for the beautiful beaches on the south part of they bay only accessible by boat. We highly recommend visiting Las Animas, Quimixto and especially the bohemian paradise of Yelapa.
You can also take the water taxi from Boca de Tomatlan, the last cove on Banderas Bay accessible by car or bus. From Boca (as it is known by the locals) the highway turns inland and continues south all the way to Acapulco.
On the southern outskirts of town is Conchas Chinas Beach, a long coastline of beautiful sandy beaches set in small coves separated by volcanic reefs. One way to access this beach is to go to the great beachside restaurant at Lindo Mar resort, across from the 2nd entrance to upper Conchas Chinas. Go to the lobby and take the elevator down to beach level.
They have good food, a fabulous view, beach chairs and shade. Public access is a block north of Lindo Mar down a steep driveway, just past Hotel Conchas Chinas and Siete Mares. There is a stone pillar that says Casa del Mar. At the bottom of the hill is a green stairway on your right down to the beach.
There are 2 gorgeous beaches at the bottom of this road, 2 of the prettiest on the bay From this southern point on Conchas Chinas beach, you can follow the coastline north all the way to Los Muertos beach/Olas Altas area in Old Town.
It makes for a pleasant walk and you can stop and swim along the way at the beautiful beaches. It is also interesting to see the million dollar villas of Conchas Chinas from the beach perspective.
At the end of the beach is a well marked trail that takes you up over a cliff; on the other side is Los Muertos beach.
Mismaloya Beach is located about 10 km south of Old Town. You can take the Boca/Mismaloya bus or taxi to the entrance of Barceló Hotel, walk towards the ocean down the path that runs between the hotel and the river all the way to the beach.
Mismaloya is the main launching point for fishing and snorkeling inside the bay, site of the original film set of Night of the Iguana, the notorious movie starring Richard Burton that put Vallarta on the map in the early 1960’s. Mismaloya is an authentic Mexican jungle village and popular beach with locals featuring rustic palapa restaurants; all major water sports available for rent. Horseback riding upriver to jungle restaurant and waterfall at “El Eden”, film set of The Predator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Los Arcos Islands National Marine Park is a huge rock formation and Vallarta’s most well known geological landmark, located at the mouth of Mismaloya cove. An excellent spot for snorkeling with large reefs made of volcanic rock, it is like swimming in an aquarium. We work with a very reliable dive company in Mismaloya owned by two brothers, Chato and Chipol; you will see their dive shop on the path down to the beach, Mismaloya Divers. They can take you snorkeling, diving, fishing or just out for a pleasure cruise in their boat at very reasonable rates, cost for the boat for the day about $2000 pesos plus tip.
Just past Mismaloya is Boca de Tomatlan, the last beach accessible by car on the bay. Lots of beachfront restaurants and boat charters, another major launching point for boating on the bay. You can also catch the Water Taxi at Boca for the beautiful beaches on the south part of they bay only accessible by boat.
Depending on the tide, you can sometimes boogie board on Los Muertos Beach, but most Surfing is done outside the bay, north on the Pacific coast of Nayarit, in Sayulita and San Pancho, about an hour north of Puerto Vallarta.