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Guide to Puerto Vallarta Outdoors

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Located in a unique part of Mexico, surrounded by tropical rain forest, pine and oak woods, and arid zones where you can find cacti ... this diversity of habitats make Puerto Vallarta perfect for flora and fauna observation. Most importantly, our beautiful bay is framed by the Sierra Madre mountain chain. Come and enjoy the outdoors of Puerto Vallarta!

Good for
  • Nature Lover
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Beach Goer
  • Like a Local

10 Places

2 City Tips

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Map

10 Places

Punta De Mita

Beaches

Destiladeras Beach

Beaches

Marietas Islands

Islands

Estero de El Salado

Nature & Wildlife Areas

Playa las Gemelas

Beaches

Los Arcos

National Parks, Islands

Mismaloya

Destinations

Vallarta Botanical Gardens

Gardens

Quimixto

Beaches

Yelapa

Destinations

Abraham M's City Tips

  • Don't forget your sunblock, bug repellent, hat, walking shoes, sunglasses, camera, and water container if you are planning physical activities.
  • Always use established pathways and avoid touching animals you don't know. Even if most of them seem harmless, there are a few that can be dangerous.
  • Punta De Mita
    Beaches
    See more photos
    Abraham M Says:

    Punta de Mita is the furthest point of the beautiful bay, and the closest to the Marietas Islands. It's a place to enjoy the scenery, the waves, kayaking, paddle boarding, and other aquatic activities. I recommend a walk along the beach, where you will find a rocky reef full of invertebrates, seabirds looking for lunch, crabs, and beautiful seashells close to the shore.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Beach Goer
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • You will of course need to bring your bathing suit and towel, but don't worry about bringing lunch or drinks — there are several restaurants and beach vendors.
    • I urge you to avoid taking any of the sea life, shells, rocks, or anything else from the natural environment. Help us to conserve environment as it is.
    • Take the bus in front of the Marine Terminal, right by Walmart and Sam's Club. It is a gray bus with the logo "ATM" and a sign that says "Punta de Mita."
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #20 of 113 things to do in Puerto Vallarta
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Built up 26/05/2019
    • Not much to see here 14/05/2019
    • Punta De Mita
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Destiladeras Beach
    Beaches
    See more photos
    Abraham M Says:

    Located next to the road to Punta de Mita, surrounded by rocky cliffs, and just across from the Marietas Islands, Destiladeras Beach is a beautiful scene to behold. It's the perfect place to get away from the tourist area and see a popular, truly local beach: People here love it because it is also an ideal place for surfing and body boarding.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Beach Goer
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There is no shade (only near the cliff), so bring your own umbrella and chairs, or you can rent them from the vendors.
    • Be careful when crossing the paved road, as there are no traffic lights or speed bumps for drivers.
    • Take the "ATM" bus with the sign "Punta de Mita" from in front of the marine terminal and ask the driver to drop you off by Destiladeras. It takes an hour to get there.
    • There's no bathroom by the beach, but there are a few next to the paved road.
    • Bring snacks with you, or you can always buy local delicacies from the vendors.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 14 things to do in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Have I died and gone to heaven? 28/04/2019
    • Amazing beach 18/04/2019
    • Destiladeras Beach
  • Marietas Islands
    Islands
    See more photos
    Abraham M Says:

    These national park islands play a very important role as a sanctuary for seabirds, including the famous blue-footed booby. There are bromeliads and euphorbias growing on the islands, and lots of marine life in the surrounding waters. Something else that makes the Marietas unique is the incredible 'hidden beach' that you have to swim through a cave to get to. Enjoy this jewel of nature in the Pacific Ocean!

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Beach Goer
    • Hidden Gems
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There are several companies offering tours to the Marietas Islands. Read up on the reviews and choose what is best for you.
    • The tide and how rough the waves are will determine whether you can visit the hidden beach.
    • Bring your aquatic camera! If the currents are calm, you can take pictures of marine life.
    • This an all-day activity, but believe me, it's worth it.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 81 things to do in Nayarit
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Las Marietas Great for Scuba 18/06/2019
    • Marietas Islands price and easiest way 08/06/2019
    • Marietas Islands
    Phone:
    +52 322 205 6878
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • Estero de El Salado
    Nature & Wildlife Areas
    See more photos
    Abraham M Says:

    Meaning 'salty estuary' in English, Estero de El Salado is an ecological protection zone, and one of your best opportunities for learning about local flora and fauna and the conservation of the environment. Seabirds, shorebirds, and more are abundant in the area, so it's a perfect place for those who love bird watching. One of the main, surprising attractions in this reserve: Crocodiles!

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • A long-sleeve shirt and pants are necessary for avoiding mosquito bites. Also bring a hat, binoculars, sunglasses, and your camera!
    • The reserve books tours between 9am and 3pm. Tours are two hours long, so you still have time to do other activities after you finish your tour.
    • After visiting here, walk to Galerias Vallarta, a shopping mall where you can find some lunch.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #31 of 113 things to do in Puerto Vallarta
    • Quiet and beautiful nature experience in the middle of PV 21/04/2019
    • ALMOST LIKE A TRIP DOWN THE AMAZON RIVER 31/03/2019
    • Estero de El Salado
    Phone:
    +52 322 201 7361
    Hours:
    Tue - Thu
    9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
    Fri - Sat
    9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
    Other:
  • Playa las Gemelas
    Beaches
    See more photos
    Abraham M Says:

    Moving to the southern area of the bay, you will find a little beach between two condominiums. It's small but quiet and clean, with clear blue water — an ideal place for swimming and relaxing. Leave the crowds from town behind and come to one of the most popular beaches among locals.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Best to visit during the week if you want a more tranquil experience.
    • Bring your own snacks or lunch, or if you prefer to buy there's a store at the top, though prices are a little higher than in town.
    • Take the orange public bus from the intersection of Basillio Badillo and Constitución. It will take you around 30 minutes to get there by bus, or you can always take a cab.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #7 of 113 things to do in Puerto Vallarta
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A magical beach and delicious food and drink 02/06/2019
    • Beautiful 15/05/2019
    • Playa las Gemelas
  • Los Arcos
    National Parks, Islands
    See more photos
    Abraham M Says:

    This national park, which boasts caves and serves as a nesting place for birds, is an icon in Puerto Vallarta. Visit here if you love bird watching, snorkeling, diving, or taking photos. You can take boat trips that go to or pass by Los Arcos, or an overland bus tour will get you to a mirador (viewing point) where you can enjoy beautiful views of the magnificent rocks in the middle of the ocean. I usually take the bus and head down to the shore to walk on the rocks and take pictures of the sea life (also providing a perfect opportunity for 'selfies!').

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Beach Goer
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Boat tours go to other southern beaches, where you will have ample opportunity to enjoy the views or do some snorkeling.
    • If you take a city tour, it will probably stop for a few minutes at the mirador, where you can take pictures and buy souvenirs.
    • Taking the bus will give you a more local experience, enable you stay longer at the mirador, and go down for a walk. If you want to snorkel, beware of sea urchins and currents.
    • If you want to go to the mirador by land, take the orange public bus at the intersection of Basillio Badillo and Constitución; it will take around 35 minutes to get to Los Arcos.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #17 of 113 things to do in Puerto Vallarta
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • fun, fun 04/06/2019
    • A quick snorkel trip 04/06/2019
    • Los Arcos
    Address:
    Los Arcos National Marine Park
    Puerto Vallarta 48300
    Mexico
    Phone:
    +52 322 146 2139
    Other:
  • Mismaloya
    Destinations
    See more photos
    Abraham M Says:

    Mismaloya is a town with a famous history: Two Hollywood movies were filmed here, 'Predator' and 'The night of the Iguana.' There is a zoo where you can find the expected zoo animals plus species native to Mexico. By the beach, there are several good restaurants to eat at and a beautiful resort. If you want to enjoy the outdoors, I recommend booking a horseback riding tour and going up to the mountains for the day. The rates are reasonable and it is a must if you want to learn more about the local culture.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Beach Goer
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • To get there you can take the orange public bus at the intersection of Basilio Badillo and Constitución, around 45 minutes.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    • Mismaloya
  • Vallarta Botanical Gardens
    Gardens
    See more photos
    Abraham M Says:

    Vallarta Botanical Gardens opened their doors to public in 2005, and since then, they have been working hard to transform the land into a beautiful place full of plant life. A non-profit organization with the goal of conserving and educating, it is one of my favorite places to visit. They have many trails where you can see local plant and wild life; my personal favorite is the 'Jaguar Trail,' which takes you up the hill and down the river, finishing at the main building.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Wear good walking shoes and bring bug repellent, hat, camera, water, and binoculars if you want to do some bird watching.
    • There's a gift shop for souvenirs, or to help support the organiation you can buy a tile with your name on it, to be placed on the floor.
    • If you get hungry, there's a delicious Mexican restaurant at the top.
    • Take a tour with one of the local companies or go by yourself. You can take a taxi or the bus from Aguate St and Venustiano Carranza St, around one hour to get there.
    • If you have time, go check out the petroglyphs “Las Pintadas” close to the gardens, or to visit “El Tuito,” a small town to the south.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 6 things to do in Cabo Corrientes
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Botanical Zen 12/06/2019
    • Marvelous, a "must-visit" 30/05/2019
    • Vallarta Botanical Gardens
    Address:
    Carretera Puerto Vallarta a Barra de Navidad Km. 24
    Las Juntas y los Veranos
    Cabo Corrientes 48447
    Mexico
    Phone:
    +52 322 223 6182
    Price range:
    US$0 - US$0
    Hours:
    Mon
    9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    Tue - Sun
    9:00 AM - 6:00 AM
    Other:
  • Quimixto
    Beaches
    See more photos
    Abraham M Says:

    This is a small town with no access by land, only by water. You can enjoy the beach and scenery, eat at local restaurants, walk through the town, and access some amazing waterfalls, where locals and tourists enjoy swimming and diving. There's also an option to take a horseback tour to the waterfalls.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • It can take a long time to get to the waterfalls on foot, but if you want some exercise, it's perfect.
    • You can book tours to Quimixto with different companies. My recommendation is always to look at the different reviews and choose the best option for you.
    • Take a water taxi (1 hour trip) from Boca de Tomatlán. There's a bus that takes you to Boca that leaves from the intersection of Basilio Badillo and Constitución (45 minutes).
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 6 things to do in Cabo Corrientes
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Lovely hike! 10/03/2019
    • To the waterfall on mules, the village, and Los Cocos on the beach! 09/02/2019
    • Quimixto
    Address:
    Costa Sur
    Cabo Corrientes 48400
    Mexico
    Other:
  • Yelapa
    Destinations
    See more photos
    Abraham M Says:

    I love this place ... the colors of the town, the narrow streets, the blue ocean, the beachside eateries, the small hotels and condos, and all of the various activities you can take part in here — from flying a 'parapent' to walking to the small waterfalls and seeing local communities on your way. A peaceful place full of Mexican culture, my culture.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • You can also book tours that go to this village.
    • Don't forget your sunblock, bathing suit, camera, walking shoes, and some money to buy lunch and souvenirs.
    • Take a water taxi (1.5 hr trip) from Boca de Tomatlán. There's a bus that takes you to Boca that leaves from the intersection of Basilio Badillo and Constitución (45 minutes).
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    • Yelapa
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