Are Puerto Vallarta Beaches Swimmable 2024?

Are Puerto Vallarta Beaches Swimmable?

Yes absolutely! Puerto Vallarta, nestled within the Bay of Banderas, boasts a unique advantage – all Puerto Vallarta beaches are considered safe for swimming. This natural shelter from the open ocean significantly reduces the risk of strong undertows, making it a safer option compared to other popular tourist destinations like Cabo (Baja California Sur) and Puerto Escondido Oaxaca).

Although this may seem like an odd question, but it’s surprisingly one of the most Google’d questions about Puerto Vallarta. Let’s answer this question and talk more in depth about Puerto Vallartas beaches so you know where the best ones are.

Los Muertos Pier
Los Muertos Pier at sunset

Are Puerto Vallarta beaches swimmable?

With swimmable beaches lining the entire coast, Puerto Vallarta offers families with young children an array of fantastic options for a day at the beach. From boat access only beaches to the south, to pristine white sands with blue waters to the north – and everything in between. The beaches in Vallarta and its surroundings exude an enchanting charm. While they may differ in character from the waters of Cancun, Vallarta harbors numerous undiscovered gems that have eluded most tourists. In this blog, we’ll embark on an exploration of these hidden treasures together.

Are Puerto Vallarta beaches rocky?

Many people ask if Puerto Vallarta beaches are rocky. There are a few beaches we consider to be rougher sand, but not rocky like a beach you’d find on the coasts of Canada/United States for example. These beaches include Playa Los Muertos located in Zona Romantica and Sayulita in Nayarit. Personally, the location of Los Muertos beach is fantastic because of it’s walking proximity to restaurants – however in terms of its sand quality and water color, it ranks lowest on our list of Puerto Vallarta beaches. It has a rockier and rougher sand unlike most other beaches in the area. However it offers an incredible variety of amenities from food, parasailing, banana boat ride, jet ski, and more!

los muertos beach
Los Muertos beach


The same can be said for Sayulita. It’s simply just a coarser sand, but overall still a great place to spend time and tan in the sun. However since this beach is occupied by many tourists – it tends to be the dirtiest. I hold an appreciation for both of these locations; however, my critiques stem from a comparison to the exceptionally stunning and tranquil beaches scattered around the Bay of Banderas in Puerto Vallarta. These hidden gems boast crystalline waters and powdery, fine sands that set an incredibly high standard.

Are Puerto Vallarta Beaches Nice?

Many people like to compare Puerto Vallartas beaches to Cancun. There’s no doubt that the Maya Riviera has some unbelievable crystal clear waters and powdery white sand to match. But Vallarta has serene beaches that give Cancun a run for it’s money…you just have to know where to go. Puerto Vallarta beaches get a bad rap simply because the most popular beaches tourists visit are the closest to the downtown core. These beaches have rougher sand, aren’t nearly as wide as other beaches along the coast, and the waters in these regions arent the clearest.

So when people talk about the beauty of Puerto Vallarta beaches, they have this picture in their mind of an overcrowded rough sandy beach, while swimming in a cloudy green colored ocean. While this description does somewhat describe the main beaches downtown (Playa Camarones, Los Muertos Beach, Nuevo, Bucerias, La Cruz beaches), this doesnt describe the rest of the beaches that surround these areas both to the north and south.

Mismaloya Beach
Mismaloya Beach

Are Puerto Vallarta Beaches Safe?

Yes, very. Puerto Vallarta beaches located downtown, the surrounding beach towns, and its beaches are some of the safest places in the entire country. When visiting Puerto Vallarta beaches or beaches located in the neighboring state of Nayarit, the main thing of concern may be having your things stolen when left unattended.

It has never happened to us (knock on wood), or anyone we know of, and we’ve lived here for several years now. The police often parole the beaches on their ATV’s here and there as well, so don’t be alarmed if you see them roaming up and down the sand. The local people in Vallarta are often kind and non threatening also, so you shouldn’t feel unsafe while spending time at the beach.

Water Safety

Regarding the safest of the water, the waves of the ocean can get up to 6-10 feet, but are on the safer side because of their lack of strong undertow. This doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of taking someone under and holding them down though if the conditions are just right. Always be aware of the ocean and never try anything foolish. There are no known dangerous sharks in the area, however there can be washed up blowfish on Puerto Vallarta beaches beach – so don’t go touching those unnecessarily.


punta mita beach
Beach at the Four Seasons resort in Punta Mita

What Are the Best Beaches in Puerto Vallarta?

Now for the real meat of the article. Some of these beaches aren’t as easily accessed as others, but if you have a car, or in other cases a boat, you’ll be able to see the true beauty of Mexico’s west coast. If you dont have access to those methods of transport, do not worry – because Vallarta has plenty of spectacular beaches close to downtown (mostly to the south).


Colomitos is regarded as on of the smallest Puerto Vallarta beaches on the whole coast. This beach can be accessed by driving to Boca de Tomatlan and hiking on a trail for 1 hour to it’s hidden oasis. The pristine bay and calm waters make it a perfect spot for snorkeling and swimming. If you aren’t up for the hike, a short panga boat ride from Boca de Tomatlan will get you there in about 10 minutes or so.

This beach has a small bar for drinks, with tables and chairs as well. With its small surface area, this beach is extremely unique, but can become crowded on Sundays (in particular) if too many people have the same idea to spend time here. The water changes throughout the year from a blue to more of a green color. Its a beautiful place for lounging and snorkeling too!

puerto vallarta day trips colomitos beach
Colomitos beach

Las Gemelas:

Located south of Puerto Vallarta, Las Gemelas consists of two small coves with soft sand and clear waters. It’s a quieter option for those seeking a more peaceful beach day. This beach is where you can see noticeable differences in water color when you’ve only experienced Puerto Vallarta beaches downtown. The water becomes more blue and inviting from here on in as you head down the coast. We enjoy this beach because its outside of the city, but not too far away to get to. Considered to be by many one of the best Puerto Vallarta beaches close to Centro. Just a quick drive outside the Romantic Zone.


Located further south in Cabo Corrientes, Mayto Beach is a long stretch of golden sand with rolling waves. It’s an excellent destination for surfers and those seeking a more remote beach experience. Some may not consider Mayto to fall under the list of puerto vallarta beaches since its a bit of a ways away, and that understandable. But the locations that are nearly untouched will always be located further out of any city.

We had to include this beach for anyone interested in an adventure – it would be a shame not to know this wonderful beach exists. There’s a hotel here, allowing you to comfortably stay overnight, or as many nights as you’d like!

Mayto boasts an expansive and untouched beach known as Playa Mayto. This long stretch of golden sand offers a tranquil escape away from the crowds, perfect for leisurely walks, sunbathing, and swimming in the azure waters. Mayto beach still remains nearly uninhabited too, so its perfect for snorkelling and exploring many undisturbed areas around the beach.

Mayto is home to a sea turtle sanctuary dedicated to the conservation and protection of these endangered creatures. Visitors can participate in turtle release programs and learn about the efforts to preserve their natural habitat.

This place is a haven for bird enthusiasts. The village is surrounded by diverse ecosystems, including mangroves, estuaries, and tropical forests, attracting a wide variety of bird species. Birdwatchers can spot colorful tropical birds and migratory species in their natural habitats. 

perto vallarta best beaches
Plata Mayto


Some may not consider any beach located in Nayarit to fall under the umbrella of “Puerto Vallarta beaches,” but if you’re staying in Puerto Vallarta, all of these beaches are accessible and must be mentioned. We wouldn’t want you to fly all this way and miss out on some of the nicest beaches around!

Located in the Riviera Nayarit area, Litibu Beach is a quiet and scenic spot with a mix of soft sand and rocky areas. It’s a hidden gem for those looking for a peaceful beach escape. One of our favorite beaches hands down, because it offers limited services (only el Barracuda restaurant), so the beach is normally only visited by locals. The waters here are always a beautiful blue – and on a good day this is a wonderful place to snorkel as well with its vast shallow waters to the south side of the beach.

Located off of a rough road once you turn off the main road going to and from Sayulita, you will fair better if you drive an SUV here, however a car can make the trek, its just a but rough.

carreyeros beach
Carreyeros beach

San Pancho (San Francisco):

This charming village features a lovely beach with a relaxed ambiance. It’s a great place to unwind and enjoy the local culture. The inhabitants of San Pancho are warm wand welcoming which always helps the vibe any location! The beach is nice and wide too, providing everyone lots of space to feel comfortable. Theres tons of vendors selling fresh coconuts, other fruits, and hand made jewelry too. A perfect beach to bring your dog or throw around a frisbee with friends.

Lo de Marcos Beach:

A mere 15-minute drive north from San Pancho will lead you to one of our cherished, hidden treasures: Lo de Marcos. This beach boasts mesmerizing water hues that are nothing short of breathtaking. What sets it apart is its status as a lesser-known gem, ensuring a peaceful and uncrowded escape.

Lo de Marcos features an expansive shoreline, and the absence of vendors adds to its tranquil ambiance. Here, you can unwind comfortably beneath the shade of an umbrella, savoring cold refreshments in serene solitude. The towering mountains cloaked in lush jungle vegetation envelop the scene, transporting you into the realm of a cinematic adventure.

For those who cast their gaze northward, an intriguing sight awaits—an old house perched upon the hill. Contemplating its history and the lives that may have once inhabited it adds a layer of mystique to this already enchanting locale.

lo de marcos
Lo de Marcos beach

La Lancha Beach: 

La Lancha Beach, just outside of Sayulita, stands as a premier destination for surfers. Situated near Punta Mita and Punta de Mita, it caters to surfers of all skill levels with a variety of wave sizes. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced surfer, La Lancha has something to offer.

However, it’s important to note that this beach lacks amenities such as tables, chairs, or beachside services. Visitors are advised to bring their own umbrella for shade. While shade spots under the trees are limited, they provide ample protection from the sun’s rays. La Lancha’s beauty lies in its simplicity, making it an ideal spot for those seeking tranquility and pristine sands. While it may not suit every beachgoer due to the absence of amenities, its soft sands make it a standout gem within the bay.

For surf enthusiasts, a conveniently located surf shop WildMex awaits just across the street from La Lancha’s entrance. Here, you can find rental equipment. Additionally, an Oxxo store nearby offers water, drinks, and snacks to keep you refreshed during your beach day.

La Lancha beach
La Lancha beach



This remote beach can only be reached by boat, which adds to its tranquility. It offers excellent snorkeling opportunities and a relaxed atmosphere.  Majahuitas beach turns into a nightclub when the sun sets, showcasing it’s Tulum type vibes. During the day you can eat fine food here, and simply enjoy the tranquility of the blue waters in front of you and the green jungle behind. Simply love this place. Just be sure to have a plan in place to get back to the city, or wherever it is you want to go from this beach. You can learn more details and view more photos of Majahuitas on our website.

Waters at Majahuitas
Waters at Majahuitas


Quimixto is a charming coastal village with a beautiful beach. You can hike to it through the jungle, enjoy horseback riding, and visit the nearby waterfall and enjoy some drinks while listening to the powerful sound of the water come crashing down onto the rocks.

The restaurants on the beach are great too, with a beach volleyball court for anyone interested in a casual game. Quimixto has a small hamlet you’ll see as you walk around, but its not inhabited by many. Overall its a tranquil destination and a wonderful place for a day trip outside of the bustling city.


Yelapa is a small fishing village located on the Pacific coast of Jalisco, Mexico. The village is located about 20 miles south of Puerto Vallarta, and it is known for its pristine beaches, crystal clear waters, and laid-back atmosphere.

Yelapa is a popular destination for travelers who are looking for a more authentic and off-the-beaten-path experience in Mexico. The village is relatively small and unassuming, and it has a laid-back and friendly atmosphere, with a strong focus on the natural beauty of the surrounding area. 

There are several waterfall hikes that you can walk to by foot, or you can even ride a donkey! Plan for a full day to travel here, enjoy the setting, and head back if you want to maximize your experience. Often there’s parasailing option here too if you’re up for an extra thrill!

6 yelapa cabo corrientes jalisco
Yelapa beach



It goes without saying, but when visiting these hidden gem beaches, it’s important to respect the environment and local communities by adhering to any guidelines or rules in place. Some of these beaches may have limited amenities, so it’s a good idea to bring your own food, water, and other necessities for a day of relaxation when venturing out in the hot sun. Always wear high quality sunscreen and bring as much water/hydration as you can carry. It’s always better to have more water than less.

We’ve experienced situations where we unexpectedly depleted our water supply faster than anticipated, and in such moments, the paramount concern becomes locating a source of water. It’s an experience that’s far from enjoyable, to say the least. We trust that we’ve addressed your question regarding “Are Puerto Vallarta beaches swimmable,” adequately, offering you the essential information to embark on your exploration of Puerto Vallarta beaches with assurance and preparedness!

playa colomitos
Always love the color of the water at Colomitos