If you are planning a trip to the Jalisco capital of Guadalajara, or the popular resort town of Puerto Vallarta, you are probably curious about the best Jalisco Mexico beaches and what they have to offer. The state of Jalisco, on Mexico’s Pacific coast, is home to some of the most breathtaking coastlines in the country.
However, outside of the main beaches in Puerto Vallarta (Los Muertos beach, Camarones beach, etc), they remain something of an unknown. Indeed Jalisco state is often overlooked by tourists in favor of better-known coastal destinations in Los Cabos and the Riviera Maya.
15 Best Jalisco Mexico Beaches to Visit in 2023
The beaches in Jalisco offer something for every taste and travel style. In Puerto Vallarta, you will find an abundance of serviced public beaches that have all the amenities that you need for a pleasant day by the sea.
Head further south down the Jaliscan coast, and the crowds gradually disappear, and the coastlines become more stunning and secluded. So if it’s virgin beaches, hidden coves, and remote fishing villages that you seek, you will find everything that you are looking for in Jalisco.
Best of all? Word hasn’t gotten out to international tourists yet about a lot of these places. There are a plethora of breathtaking spots in rural Jalisco that you can travel to and have entirely to yourself.
Conchas Chinas is an upscale coastal area in the southernmost part of Puerto Vallarta. Its name translates to mean “Chinese shells” – a name awarded on account of the unique shells that are only found in this part of Jalisco.
The beach here is only a short walk away from the Zona Romantica and the Puerto Vallarta Malecon but you feel a million miles away from the crowded streets of the city center. Conchas Chinas beach is framed by unique rock formations and palm trees.
From the coastline, you can look across the translucent waters of the Bahia de Banderas and see the coastlines of Yelapa and Chimo in the distance. Conchas Chinas is known as the “Beverly Hills of Puerto Vallarta” and is home to several luxury and boutique hotels that offer unparalleled views of the Jalisco coastline from their balconies.
This is one of the best areas to stay in Puerto Vallarta, particularly if you are seeking somewhere a little quieter. There are no sunbeds or umbrellas for rent here so do back a towel, some sunscreen, some bottled water, and all the things you need for a day at the beach.
When you start to get hungry, you will be pleased to hear that there are some excellent Puerto Vallarta restaurants just a stone’s throw away. Restaurant Bar El Set (Carr. Costera a Barra de Navidad 1182) is a grill house restaurant with some of the best sea views in town.
Meanwhile, Restaurant La Playita (Carr. Costera a Barra de Navidad Km. 2.5-Int. 1190) is a great place to visit if you like seafood. The dishes on the menu are prepared with fresh catches caught by local fishermen earlier that same day.
Los Muertos, Puerto Vallarta
Playa Los Muertos sits in the center of Puerto Vallarta. You are sure to pass by here at some point during your time in the city, and while it isn’t the most peaceful or picturesque beach, it is one of the most popular and central.
Los Muertos beach can be found in the popular “Zona Romantica” close to some of the best bars, restaurants, and cafes in town. It is 630m long and runs from El Púlpito to Playa Olas Altas.
It is perpetually crowded, even in the low season. So if sitting shoulder to shoulder with other tourists is not your thing, this may not be the spot for you.
But if you want a convenient place to catch some rays where you can literally just roll out of your hotel, go straight to the beach, people watch, and have everything you need right on your doorstep, it’s perfect.
You can rent sunbeds and umbrellas from the various restaurants along the seafront for just a few pesos or in exchange for a minimum spend on food and drinks. Street vendors walk up and down the sands selling fresh coconut and light bites like elotes, sliced mango, shrimp, and candies.
When you start to feel hungry, you can duck inside any of the restaurants by the waterfront. Restaurant “La Palapa” (Púlpito 105-3, Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata) serves the best ceviche and lobster tacos in town.
Playa Madagascar is a gorgeous, lesser-known beach just south of Puerto Vallarta and close to the town of Boca de Tomatlán. It exudes desert-island vibes and is everyone’s idea of paradise.
The beach boasts soft, powdery white sands and clear crystalline waters. It is framed by a lush, dense jungle and some jagged rock formations that combine to give an exotic, jungle-y feel.
The fact that few people have even heard of Playa Madagascar, paired with the fact that you need to take a little water taxi from Boca de Tomatlán to get here means that the beach is relatively undisturbed. Even if you travel to Mexico during the peak season (December through March), you are unlikely to bump into other tourists here.
Since there are no restaurants or amenities nearby, you should pack a picnic and plenty of water for the day.
Playa Escondida is one of the best Jalisco Mexico beaches if you are seeking peace and seclusion. The name “Escondida” translates to mean “hidden beach”.
This is a fitting title considering that this gorgeous stretch of coastline is seldom visited. Playa Escondida can be found close to the Boca de Tomatlan in the central part of Jalisco.
It is one of several secluded beaches that you will pass by on the scenic coastal walking path that takes you from Boca de Tomatlan to Playa Las Animas. You can opt to take a boat here or you can choose to hike.
If there is one Jalisco beach that stands out from the others, it is Playa Colomitos. The beach is tucked away within a little ravine in the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountains.
It makes an excellent day trip from Puerto Vallarta and is a great stopping point as part of a wider trip to the other beaches around Boca de Tomatlan. For instance, you can start in Boca de Tomatlan, walk down the coast to Colomitos beach, Playa Escondida, and La Troza, and then finish at Playa Iguana before turning back.
(It’s a long trek but there are plenty of excellent restaurants where you can stop en route to enjoy traditional Mexican food and break up the journey). Colomitos is backed by jungle and a narrow creek of water that trickles from the Sierra Madre mountains and into the sea.
Colomitos can get busy during the day, but that definitely doesn’t detract from the natural beauty of the place. For the most peaceful ambiance (and great photo ops), stop by early in the morning or in the evening for sunset.
Mismaloya beach is a popular Jalisco beach located just south of Puerto Vallarta, in its namesake town of “Mismaloya”. The town and beach take their name from the Nahuatl word “Michmaloyan” which means “the place where you take the fish with your hands”.
This is a fitting name of course, as the little settlement thrived as a fishing village before tourism reached the region. Locally, the town is quite famous, and essentially the pride of Puerto Vallarta after it was chosen to be the filming location for a Hollywood movie (The Night of the Iguana) in the 1960s.
Today, this is one of the best Jalisco beaches for spending a relaxing day by the sea. It offers just the right balance of pristine nature and amenities.
There is a selection of excellent restaurants situated right on the seafront here. Ramada Camarena and Los Pescadores are great choices for fresh seafood dishes, prepared with fish caught in nearby waters earlier that same day.
Meanwhile, the Mismaloya grill is a great place for steaks, or for sunset cocktails and incredible views over the Bahia de Banderas as the sun dips behind the clouds.
Boca de Iguanas
Boca de Iguanas (“mouth of the iguanas”) is a breathtaking beach in the southernmost part of the state of Jalisco. It sits close to the town of La Manzanilla.
Since few people venture this far away from Puerto Vallarta and Boca de Tomatlan, Boca de Iguanas is virtually a virgin beach. It is a wonderful place to catch a romantic sunrise and sunset and you have the option to participate in many ecotourism activities from here.
Various local vendors sell the tours and rent the equipment that you need to be able to try your hand at windsurfing, horse trekking, sailing, and snorkeling. Several ultra-luxurious hotels can be found in this part of Jalisco – including the brand-new Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo which sits on the opposite side of La Manzanilla.
If you are looking for luxury accommodation close to Boca de Iguanas, you can opt to stay at the gorgeous, independently-owned eco hotel Chantli Mare. The property is set right on the golden sands of the beach and has just six rooms, making for a wonderfully indulgent, boutique stay.
The restaurant menu, which changes with the seasons is curated by Canadian chef Greg Couillard. Alternatively, if you prefer to get back to basics and enjoy “the great outdoors”, there are also camping facilities at this beach too.
Playa Quimixto is a gorgeous, seldom-visited beach that sits just past Playa Las Animas in Southern Jalisco. There is a small beach between Quimixto and Las Animas that doesn’t even have a name.
(It is literally marked on Google maps as “beach with no name”). That sums up precisely how off the beaten path this area is.
Quimixto is special because not only does it boast the same pristine white sand coastline and translucent azure waters that are characteristic of other beaches in this area. But it is also home to a gorgeous waterfall that is slightly tucked away from view in the nearby jungle.
From Quimixto town, you can follow the signs for “Cascada”. They will lead you across a little wooden bridge, and along a winding footpath through the woodlands.
The trail takes about thirty minutes and it is slightly uphill with a small incline. When you arrive, you are rewarded for your efforts with the opportunity to swim in the cool, refreshing waters of Quimixto falls and grab an ice-cold cerveza at the woodland restaurant.
Playa Caballo (“horse beach”) is one of several lesser-known, secluded beaches along the coastal path between Playa Las Animas and Boca de Tomatlan. The calm waves and azure waters make this a great place for swimming, even for inexperienced swimmers and children.
The beach sits against a backdrop of palm trees and vegetation. It is relatively easy to get here from Boca de Tomatlan (which you can reach by bus from Puerto Vallarta).
You can opt to take a water taxi or you can choose to walk. If you decide to take a taxi, one of the local men operating the boats can curate a little beach-hopping tour for you.
That way, you can visit a number of the best Jalisco beaches in the area. Alternatively, it takes about an hour and a half to get to Playa Caballo on foot from Boca de Tomatlan.
Playa Las Animas
Playa Las Animas is the final stopping point for many travelers along the scenic coastal walking path that runs south of Boca de Tomatlan. You can also easily reach this beach by water taxi in less than 30 minutes.
Since this is such a public day trip destination from Puerto Vallarta, Playa Las Animas is often a little livelier and more crowded than some of the more secluded beaches nearby. However, from a convenience perspective, it’s great.
There are plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas that you can rent right on the beach here, and a selection of restaurants and street vendors to choose from when you start to get hungry. If you are interested in books and literature, you may also be interested to know that author William Reed lived here with his wife in a little house by the sea.
He wrote books about his experiences living in Mexico and getting accustomed to the bureaucracy and cultural differences. If you want to take a (somewhat bumpy) tour along the coastline, it is possible to take a banana boat tour from here.
You can also pair your visit to Playa Las Animas with an exploration of nearby Playa Caballo. En route, Casa Maraika is a nice place to stop for a horchata or a michelada.
Boca de Tomatlan
Boca de Tomatlan is a small, idyllic fishing village that sits 25 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta and is easily accessible by bus. It makes a wonderful jumping-off point for visiting many of the lesser-known beaches in this area, some of which are completely unknown to international tourists.
If you consider yourself a foodie traveler, you will love dining at some of the ramshackle palapa restaurants in the area. Here, you can try traditional Jalisco delicacies such as birria and pregnant shrimp.
From the port, you can organize a snorkeling trip to Los Arcos, or hop onboard a panga (speedboat) to some of the lesser-known beaches in the area.
Costa Careyes is an upscale region in the southernmost part of Jalisco state that attracts a well-heeled crowd. Hollywood A-listers and celebrities like Kylie Jenner have been known to rent extravagant beach mansions in this part of Jalisco, and enjoy private hidden beaches all to themselves.
Aventura Costalegre is not just one beach, but a series of virgin beaches untouched by human feet and tricky to get to without hiring a private boat. The area sits 2.5 hours south of Puerto Vallarta and is a hideaway of choice for those in the know (and with the financial means).
This part of Jalisco has an interesting history behind it too. It was purchased by Italian Banker Gian Franco Brignone who, when flying over the region in the 1960s, fell in love with its natural beauty and decided to purchase 20,000 acres of land.
Careyes quickly developed into a tropical travel destination for the wealthy and the Italian elite. As tourism in Mexico increases year on year, a lot of developments are underway to make this area more accessible to all – including to people with smaller budgets.
Watch this space as more accommodation options pop up here in the near future. For now, one place to consider basing yourself is the spectacular El Careyes Club whose double rooms boast panoramic views over the sea and are available for prices starting from $350 per night.
FAQs about the Best Jalisco Mexico Beaches
Do you have any further questions or queries about visiting the best Jalisco Mexico beaches? The answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on the topic are detailed below.
Hopefully, you will find the information you are looking for there. If not, feel free to reach out!
Does Jalisco Mexico have beaches?
Yes! Jalisco Mexico has over 50 gorgeous beaches, many of which are relatively unknown to international travelers. Camarones beach, Playa Los Muertos, and Amapas beaches are some of the best-known in Puerto Vallarta.
However, the locals have been keeping some of the most gorgeous spots for themselves. And the best Jalisco Mexico beaches are found along the Costalegre Coast, coast to the Colima state border.
How many beaches are in Jalisco?
There are more than 50 beaches in the state of Jalisco! They run from the state’s border with Nayarit, through the popular beach town of Puerto Vallarta, and through the Costalegre Coast up to the state border with Colima.
How far is Guadalajara from the beach?
The Jalisco capital of Guadalajara is just 214 miles / 344 kilometers away from the resort town of Puerto Vallarta. If you want to drive or take the bus from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta, it will take you between 4.5 and 5 hours.
If you want to fly, it takes around 55 minutes to get from one city to the other. Numerous Mexican airlines service this route, including Volaris and Viva Aerobus.
Final thoughts on the best Jalisco Mexico beaches
It is difficult to choose the best Jalisco Mexico beaches as there are so many beautiful spots here. Word hasn’t gotten out about a lot of these places yet so the time to visit is now before the magical spots outside of Puerto Vallarta start attracting crowds of international tourists.
Have a wonderful time traveling to Jalisco! If this is your first time visiting Mexico, you may be interested in this post on “Is Mexico safe?”
Buen Viaje! Xo