Best Jalisco Mexico beaches

25 Best Jalisco Mexico Beaches to Visit in 2024

Swimming, sunbathing and relaxing at gorgeous Jalisco beaches along the Pacific Coast is one of the major draws for visiting Puerto Vallarta and the coastal areas in the wider region. While the beaches in Puerto Vallarta itself are among the most known and popular, they are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what Jalisco has to offer.

Head a little further along the coast and you will find breathtaking secluded beaches and coves that see just a fraction of the crowds that you see in Vallarta. Places like Colomitos, Playa Esmerelda and Yelapa are well worth the effort to get to. 

While the beaches in Jalisco may not have the same crystal-clear turquoise waters as those you will find on Mexicos Carribbean coast, they are naturally beautiful to a breathtaking degree. They are often set in natural coves against a backdrop of jungles or unique rock formations.

I live in Mexico and have spent a lot of time in Puerto Vallarta and wider Jalisco. In this post, we will look at some of the very best Jalisco beaches – from popular spots in Puerto Vallarta to lesser-known beauties that locals keep to themselves.  

Best Jalisco Mexico beaches
Conchas Chinas beach, Puerto Vallarta

25 Best Jalisco Mexico Beaches to Visit in 2024 

This post covers a variety of different Jalisco beaches that start in Puerto Vallarta, and continue down the coast to San Patricio and Barrio Navidad. While there are some popular spots in the state of Nayarit and Nuevo Vallarta that people often venture to while in PV, I haven’t included them here.

As you head further south along the Jaliscan coastline towards the state border with Colima, you will pass by many pristine virgin beaches and tranquil fishing villages. Many A list Hollywood celebrities spend their vacation time at the exclusive villas and resorts of Costa Careyes, and the wider Costa Alegre region, while overlooked for now, has seen a lot of investment in recent years and is likely to become a major tourist destination in the next few years.

Playa Camarones, Puerto Vallarta

Best beaches in Jalisco Mexico at a glance

If you dont want to trawl through a huge travel guide, I get it. At a glance, I would say that the best beaches in Jalisco are: 

  • Islas Cocinas if you want secluded tropical islands with water like the Carribean

  • Yelapa for a quaint fishing village vibe, good seafood and waterfalls

  • Conchas Chinas and Playa Palmeras for non-crowded spots near Vallarta

  • Playa Camarones if you want somewhere in Vallarta with all the amenities

  • Playa El Tamarindo for upscale seclusion and luxury resorts
Best Jalisco Mexico beaches
The stone beach at Conchas Chinas

Conchas Chinas

Conchas Chinas is an upscale coastal area in the southernmost part of Puerto Vallarta. Its name translates to mean “Chinese shells” which refers to the unique shells that are found here, and only in this part of Jalisco.

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. 

There are some excellent Puerto Vallarta restaurants just a stone’s throw away from the beach for when you start to get hungry. 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 while 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. 

Playa Camarones, Puerto Vallarta  

Playa Camarones (literally “shrimp beach”) is a popular spot in downtown Puerto Vallarta that is famous for its street food vendors who wander barefoot up and down the sand selling grilled shrimp (camarones) on sticks. You can access the beach via any of the calles that sit between calle San Salvador and calle Jesús Langarica in the 5 De Diciembre neighborhood. 

Playa Camarones boasts soft, powdery white sands and blue waters that are usually calm enough to swim in. Despite being a popular spot, especially during the weekends and the high season, it is mostly locals that come to hang out here. 

You have a great view from here too – with Marina Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta in the distance on your right and the Bahia de Banderas to your left. 

Playa Tranquila 

Playa Tranquila (translation “peaceful beach”) is a stony beach in the Las Glorias district of Puerto Vallarta that certainly lives up to its name. This pebbled beach is framed by woodland and though the water is a little bit choppier here, the beach is naturally stunning. 

Las Glorias is a very popular place to stay in Vallarta, filled with hotels, restaurants and touristic businesses so its interesting that somewhere so central is so quiet – perhaps because the entrance is a little awkward to find. To reach the beach, you need to walk down a somewhat sketchy looking alley (although its perfectly safe). 

The sunset views from here are second to none. 

Fishing boats in the sand in Yelapa, Mexico

Yelapa 

Yelapa is a quaint beach town on the west coast of Jalisco known for its “no car” way of life, and its beautiful golden sand beaches. Locals here get around via donkeys, mules and ATVs rather than standard vehicles and the town feels a million miles away from the crowds of Puerto Vallarta. 

The best way to reach Yelapa is to take a water taxi from Los Muertos beach pier in downtown Vallarta. After a 20 minute journey on these little wooden fishing boats, you will arrive in the lovely coastal town. 

Aside from enjoying the beach and indulging in some delicious, freshly-sourced seafood as you sink your toes in the sand, Yelapa also boasts two waterfalls which can be fun to hike to if you are seeking a little more adrenaline. There is also the Yelapa History, Art & Culture museum (MHACY), a non-profit that discusses the heritage of the local area. 

Playa Palmeras and Punta Negra 

Playa Palmeras and Punta Negra are two great little beaches that sit just south of Puerto Vallarta, along the stretch of coastal road between Vallarta and Mismaloya. There are several little hidden coves and rocky crags along this road (Carretera Federal 200) and to be honest, you cannot go wrong with any of them. 

If you are renting a car in Puerto Vallarta, you can simply head south along the coast and stop at wherever catches your fancy and looks quiet at that time. There is a free parking lot by Playa Palmeras and the beach has been given “blue flag” status on account of how clean and pristine it is, and the ecological efforts made by the local community. 

Playa El Tamarindo 

Playa El Tamarindo is a secluded, tropical paradise nestled in the jungle south of La Manzanilla. The new “Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo” first opened its doors here in 2023 and is a favorite choice among the jetset who come here for peace and privacy. 

Tamarindo beach, backed by jungle and leaning palm trees, is not accessible via the main road. If you are staying at the Four Seasons, you will be taken along the dirt trails to the reception via a golf cart. Otherwise, the only way to reach the beach is by a private boat. 

Further along the coastline, you have several other virgin beaches that are unaccessible unless you have some form of water transport – including Playa Escalera, Playa Venado, and the beaches on the uninhabited islands of “Isla Iglesias”. (Church islands). 

Barra de Navidad 

Barra de Navidad is the southernmost Jalisco beach town that sits close to the Colima state border. This emerging tourist destination sits against a backdrop of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains and is home to virgin beaches and some of the most unique natural scenery in Jalisco. 

It was discovered by the Spanish conquistadors in 1540 who named it Puerto de la Natividad (because it was founded on Christmas Day). Since then, the name of the town has been changed more than 7 times, before the residents settled on the current name, Barra de Navidad. 

Along with the numerous beaches in the arena, this little seaside town is known for its delicious Jaliscan fare. (Try the tacos at Los Pitufos and the fish dishes prepared with the days latest catches at Restaurante Colimilla.) 

In the evening, stroll to the end of the Malecon Panoramico de Punta Melaque to snap amazing photos at golden hour or at sunset against the backdrop of the town and the wider Christmas Bay. 

A unique sculpture in Playa Los Muertos, Vallarta

Los Muertos, Puerto Vallarta

Playa Los Muertos sits in the center of Puerto Vallarta and is one of the busiest and most popular beaches in town. It can be found within the “Zona Romantica” and covers a length of 630m running from El Púlpito to Playa Olas Altas. 

You are sure to pass by here at some point during your time in the city, even if you are not headed to the beach specifically. The seafront promenade here is lined with tons of bars, restaurants, gelato stores, etc so you can easily roll off the sand and go to pick up some drinks or snacks.

The beach 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. 

However, if you want a convenient central spot to be by the coast and where you can easily socialize, meet other travelers, 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 

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 anyone’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 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 You are unlikely to encounter other foreign tourists here, even if you travel during the peak season.

Melaque 

The beach town of Melaque (San Patricio Melaque in full) sits just across the bay from the Barra de Navidad, and can easily be explored as a day trip from the town. There are plenty of restaurants, accommodation options and nice beaches in the area, although it is lesser known and less “developed” than Barra de Navidad. 

One alternative thing to do while you are here is to check out the ruins of the abandoned Hotel Casa Grande. This was a luxury all-inclusive hotel and the only one of its kind in Melaque that first opened its doors in 1965. 

Sadly, following a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in 1995, the building experienced significant devastation and has been left in eerie abandonment ever since. At the far end of Melaque beach, you will see people swimming and snorkeling against the backdrop of the hotel. 

Playa Esmerelda 

For now at least, Playa Esmerelda is one of Puerto Vallartas best kept secrets and home to some of the best translucent azul waters along Mexicos Pacific Coast. This secluded little beach awaits 9km south of central Puerto Vallarta, close to “Playa Gemelas” (twins beach) which is also very deserved of your attention. 

This is a secluded spot with no amenities so be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen, water and snacks. Since there is virtually no shade from the sun, it is also a good idea to pack an umbrella or a beach tent. 

Cuastecomates

Cuastecomates Playa Incluyente awaits within the little beach town of the same name, close to San Patricio. This is one of the most beautiful beaches in Jalisco state. 

As the name suggests, this is an inclusive beach, designed to accommodate everyone. Indeed, this was the very first beach in Mexico to be created specifically with people with mobility issues in mind. Here you can expect plenty of sidewalks and ramps to help those with disabilities. 

The beach itself is beautiful – offering golden sands and clear, calm waters backed by rolling hills filled with lush, dense jungle foliage. When you want to grab a bite to eat, there are some great restaurants along the water. 

Isla Cocinas 

Isla Cocinas, off the coast of Perula, San Mateo and Chamela in south central Jalisco is one of the only places in the state where you can find blue-green waters similar to those in the Mexican Carribbean. The waters here shimmer in different shades of blue, and the larger island of the three is home to Playa La Escondida which is one of the only nudist beaches in the country.

You can take tours from the mainland which take you to the three main islands here. (Isla Colorada, Isla Cocinas and Isla Pajarera.) If you have access to a boat, you can also stop by the uninhabited islets of Islote Novillos and Isolote Mamut. 

Playa Escondida 

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” which 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.

Colomitos 

If there is one Jalisco beach that stands out from the others, Playa Colomitos is it. 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

Mismaloya is a popular Jalisco beach town located just south of Puerto Vallarta. It takes its 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.

It was chosen to be the filming location for a Hollywood movie (The Night of the Iguana) in the 1960s. As such, it is essentially the pride of Jalisco for a lot of people.

Mismaloya is a great place to spend 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.

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 

Playa Quimixto is a gorgeous, seldom-visited beach that sits just past Playa Las Animas in Southern Jalisco. Nearby, there is another small but pretty 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 offers a pristine white sand coastline and translucent azure waters that are characteristic of other beaches in this area. However, the highlight of visiting is the nearby waterfall that can be found 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

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 small children. 

The beach sits against a backdrop of palm trees and vegetation. It is relatively easy to get here. You can take a bus from Puerto to Vallarta to f Boca de Tomatlan and then take a water taxi or hike to Playa Caballo.

If you do decide to take a water taxi, you can negotiate a rate with one of the local men that operate the boats and have them curate a little beach-hopping tour for you. 

If you choose to walk, it takes about an hour and a half to get from Boca de Tomatlan to Playa Caballo on foot.

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.

Since this is such a popular 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 an ice cold 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

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 fell in love with the area when flying over it in a light aircraft in the 1960s.

He promptly decided to purchase 20,000 acres of land and 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. 

Best Jalisco Mexico beaches
Best Jalisco Mexico beaches

FAQs about the Best Jalisco Mexico Beaches 

Do you have any more questions about beaches in Jalisco? I have answered some FAQs on the topic 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. Some of the best and least touristic 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 whereas flying takes about 55 minutes.

Peering out to the coast from Conchas Chinas beach

Final thoughts on the best Jalisco Mexico beaches 

As you can see, there are literally dozens and dozens of Jalisco beaches and part of the fun of visiting the area is found in simply renting a vehicle and driving independently along the coastline, stopping wherever takes your fancy. Arguably the best time to visit the area is now, before the crowds start to discover some of these beach towns. 

As I discover more favorite spots, I will add them to this list. In the meantime, please dont hesitate to reach out to me if you need anything! 

Safe travels and enjoy your time in Mexico! 

Buen Viaje! Melissa xo 


Melissa Douglas

Melissa Douglas is a British Travel Writer based in Merida, Mexico and the Editor-in-Chief of Mexico Travel Secrets. She has over seven years worth of experience in working in travel media and has travelled to 57 countries, mostly solo. Throughout her career, Melissa has produced written content for several high-profile publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, the Huffington Post, Rough Guides, and Matador Network.

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