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Top Beaches in Jalisco: The Very Best of the Mexican Pacific

  • Joel CZ 
  • 19 min read
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The beaches in Jalisco, Mexico, meet the expectations of all its visitors.

It has pristine beaches for more privacy and sandy ones surrounded by beautiful vegetation to observe and enjoy nature.

Mexico’s Pacific beaches are beautiful, but some are more spectacular, comfortable, and famous than others.

There are both flat and calm waves and big waves perfect for surfing.

In today’s list, I will share most of them with you to decide which one will be your next destination.

Let’s begin:

Las Gemelas Beaches in Puerto Vallarta Jalisco

beaches in jalisco mexico
Sunset in Playa Gemelas – Source: Hillary Caltagirone / shutterstock.com

Playa Las Gemelas, the twins, are two beaches separated by rocky outcrops. One has calm waves and the other a more wild sea, but both have crystalline waters and golden, fine sand.

Each beach is 100 meters long, and although there are no services, they are some of the most welcoming virgin beaches in Jalisco. You should bring umbrellas, drinks, and food.

The main activities on the quieter beach, the one closest to the private condominiums, are kayaking and swimming. Kids also have fun looking for crabs among the rocks.

You can enjoy both by crossing the rocks or taking a short detour around a small hill.

Majahuitas Beach

beaches in jalisco mexico
Source: AMADO HERNANDEZ / shutterstock.com

Majahuitas is an “almost” virgin beach of Cabo Corrientes with turquoise blue waters and clear sand, which can only be reached by boat.

Its characteristics make it perfect for snorkeling and diving among reefs and underwater caves, where pufferfish, parrotfish, trumpet fish, and other colorful species swim.

Majahuitas beach is embedded in the jungle, mixing the sounds of the ocean with green nature, which during the low season, is left for the pleasure of a few visitors.

The community provides essential services. The departure pier is 35 minutes from Puerto Vallarta.

Boca de Iguanas Beach

beaches in jalisco mexico
Source: Vanessa Becker-Miller / shutterstock.com

This gorgeous Costalegre beach is about a 3-hour drive from Puerto Vallarta on km 14 of Federal Highway 200, ideal for visiting on the weekend.

You can rest, walk along the sand, swim, snorkel, dive, surf, go horseback riding, boat, and catamaran rides. You can also practice adventure sports such as climbing and mountain biking.

The main resort is the Chantli Mare Hotel, with modern contemporary-style suites and some rustic but comfortable cabins a few steps from the water.

The Dos Higueras restaurant bar offers fresh and delicious food based on local gardens’ freshly caught seafood and vegetables.

Isla de Los Alacranes

In Lake Chapala, the Scorpion Island is a Cultural Patrimony of Jalisco and is a ceremonial center of the Wixarica (Huichol) people.

From the heights, the island looks like a scorpion (hence its name), an arachnid that was the symbol of Xiuhtecuhtli, the spirit of heat and fire in Mexica mythology.

The boat trip from the shore of Chapala to the beautiful beach lake takes 15 minutes.

At Isla de Los Alacranes, you will enjoy one of the most refreshing beaches in Jalisco with beautiful views and tasty food. Something a bit different, I should say.

Careyitos: One of the most exclusive beaches in Jalisco

beaches in jalisco mexico
Careyitos beach – Source: Langdon Ernest-Beck / shutterstock.com

This hidden beach in Jalisco, 3 and 2 hours from Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, respectively, is characterized by calm waves. It is so-called because hawksbill turtles come to this beach to lay their eggs.

Careyitos beach is a cove with a crescent-shaped profile, emerald to turquoise waters, and soft brownish-brown sand. Its only restaurant serves simple but tasty food.

This area has exclusive villas, like the famous Casa del Sol y Casa del Oriente.

The sandy area is 100 meters from the turnoff to the Plaza de Los Caballeros del Sol, the best place to park.

Los Tules Beach

Los Tules is a wide beach of soft sand surrounded by hotel complexes such as the Fiesta Americana, Hola Vallarta, Holiday Inn, Villas del Sol Los Tules, and Villa del Palmar, among other excellent complexes.

The hotels in front of the sandy beach have built small piers that divide the beach into sectors.

Playa Los Tules is in the North Hotel Zone of Puerto Vallarta, next to Playa de Oro.

The Plaza Caracol Shopping Mall, one of the most emblematic in Puerto Vallarta, is very close with various stores, attractive promotions, and a program of events that includes shows, sports, and other entertainment activities.

Cocinas Island in Punta Perula

beaches in jalisco mexico
Source: Carlos Roca Dono / shutterstock.com

A Small island in Punta Perula, in Chamela Bay, with an almost virgin beach of calm waves and crystalline waters for swimming, snorkeling, and enjoying with the family.

Its characteristics also make it a good setting for a romantic day at the beach, where you should bring an umbrella, food, drinks, sunscreen, and any other items you may need.

The drive from Puerto Vallarta is 2 hours, and the trip between the coast and the small island takes 20 minutes.

Garza Blanca Beach in Jalisco

beaches in jalisco mexico
View from the Garza Blanca Resort – Source: dahuaphotography / shutterstock.com

Garza Blanca beach has the “Blue Flag Mexico” distinction, awarded by the Foundation for Environmental Education to Mexican beaches with the cleanest waters and best environmental conditions. It is one of the 55 beaches that have this recognition.

The beach is 1 km from Palmares on the road to Barra de Navidad and has warm, calm waters and soft sand, ideal for swimming and water sports.

It is named after the white herons (garza blanca) that come to the beach searching for fish.

The 5-star Garza Blanca resort is on the shore of the beach.

Cuitzmala beach

A beach in the Jalisco municipality of La Huerta that in 1986 was protected as a Cuitzmala Beach Sanctuary and in 2002 was recategorized and included in the Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve, with an area of 13,140 hectares.

The Cuitzmala River flows through the reserve, forming estuaries and coastal lagoons with mangroves and lowland forests, home to resident and migratory birds and other species such as the endangered swamp crocodile.

The cozy Cuitzmala beach is a nesting site for several sea turtles, which is vital for their preservation.

The tropical forests of the biosphere reserve are home to pumas, jaguars, ocelots, coatis, peccaries, crocodiles, and geckos, among other species.

El Tecuan Beach

It is a Virgin beach of golden sand and intense waves, perfect for surfing and resting in nature because it has no infrastructure or services. It is 10 km from the Tenacatita – Costa Careyes highway.

El Tecuán beach is reached through a rocky path that crosses a mango, coconut, and cattle ranch.

In front of the sea is an old but ambitious hotel that used to have an airstrip. The complex served as a location for the horror movie I Still Know What You Did last summer.

La Cruz de Loreto

La Cruz de Loreto is a small town on the southern edge of the El Tuito jungle, with a diversity of flora and fauna that will delight nature lovers.

The town is in the municipality of Tomatlan, 39 km from Villa del Mar. It is known in Jalisco for the pilgrimage on November 24 to the temple of San Juan de la Cruz, the local patron saint.

The beach and other natural spaces are perfect for environmentalists and kayaking through mangroves, estuaries, and lagoons, observing the fauna and flora.

San Patricio Beach (Melaque)

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Source: Francisco J Ramos Gallego / shutterstock.com

San Patricio is a coastal town in Bahía de Navidad, 4 km from Barra de Navidad. It forms together with Melaque and Villa Obregón a conurbation of 3 villages called, Melaque.

The town has traditionally been a tourist place supported by its hotels, restaurants, and artisanal fishing activity.

San Patricio is between Melaque and Villa Obregón. The three form the largest community on the coastal strip from Puerto Vallarta to Manzanillo.

In the center of San Patricio, there is a picturesque plaza and several retail stores that cater to the town’s needs and tourists.

Villa Obregón is to the east, and its profile is more residential, while Melaque, to the west, has the best-known beach.

Peñitas Beach

Peñitas Beach, in the municipality of Tomatlán, is striking for its beauty with the blue of the sea, the green of the tropical jungle, and the beauty of the estuaries where sea birds flutter.

It is of medium-grain sand and lacks services in the low season, although during Holy Week, it becomes a small village with provisional facilities.

Rocky outcrops frame the beach, hence its name. It is an unusual place because, in addition to the beauty of the beach, there are petroglyphs of the Nahua people who inhabited the Tomatlan region.

Olas Altas and Los Muertos Beaches in Puerto Vallarta Jalisco

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Source: JackKPhoto / Shutterstock.com

Olas Altas is one of the favorite beaches of locals and tourists for its beauty, proximity, and ease of access since it is located in the romantic zone of Puerto Vallarta between the New Malecon and the Cuale River.

Together with Los Muertos Beach, it forms the pair of beaches of the city’s Romantic Zone. It is also one of the favorite beaches of the gay community in Jalisco.

Olas Altas has excellent services, including hotels, restaurants, bars, and water and sand sports. Very close to the beach is the Lázaro Cárdenas Park, where cultural and entertainment activities are held.

The commercial offerings on the beach include street stalls selling tacos, upscale restaurants, craft stores, and art galleries.

El Caballo Beach

White sand beach in the southern zone of Puerto Vallarta is excellent for sunbathing, building sandcastles, snorkeling, and enjoying as a couple.

Its small size makes it exclusive only to visitors that reach it by water taxis leaving from the pier of Playa Los Muertos and Boca de Tomatlan.

Its beach club is also small, so you must make reservations or arrive early.

Los Arcos National Marine Park

beaches in jalisco mexico
Source: Elena Elisseeva / shutterstock.com

One of the most spectacular places in Puerto Vallarta for diving, snorkeling, and paddleboarding, is between the beaches of Mismaloya and Las Gemelas, south of Banderas Bay.

The park is formed by marine spaces and two islets with up to 480 meters of deep water. Its impressive caves and tunnels make the practice of underwater sports an extraordinary experience.

Divers can see fish, spotted stingrays, dolphins, and even the great whale shark, the largest fish on the planet, which is harmless and playful despite its size.

Los Arcos National Marine Park is one of the favorite destinations in Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit for its excursions from the main coastal towns.

Sayulita beach

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Sayulita is known for surfing – Source: Geoffrey Chandler / shutterstock.com

Although it is not in Jalisco but in Nayarit, this beach is so famous that it is included in many tours departing from Puerto Vallarta and other towns in Jalisco. It is also one of the most famous surfing beaches in Mexico.

Sayulita is located in Banderas Bay, 40 km northwest of Puerto Vallarta and 35 km from the city’s international airport.

The large influx of national and international surfers to the beach has stimulated the development of essential infrastructure of services consisting of hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars, discos, stores, and surf schools.

Destiladeras Beach

Flat white sand beach and warm water characterize Destiladeras; its beauty is compared with the shores of the Mexican Caribbean in Quintana Roo. It has hotels, restaurants, and other services.

Destiladeras Beach belongs to the Nuevo Vallarta area, 16 km north of Puerto Vallarta, with access through the old road between Bucerías and Punta de Mita, in front of Banderas Bay.

It is frequented by Mexicans, especially during Easter and summer vacations. Foreign tourists visit between October and March, especially from the USA and Canada.

Las Glorias Beach

beaches in jalisco mexico
Source: C.M. White / shutterstock.com

Las Glorias is a resort complex near downtown Puerto Vallarta with a turquoise blue water beach and golden sand. It is an excellent choice for visitors with families and large crowds.

The beach is shaded by palm trees and surrounded by magnificent hotels, a perfect place to sip a tropical cocktail, practice sand sports, and ride a boat to see the beautiful Banderas Bay.

You can watch the marine fauna, especially the whales that migrate from the cold north between December and March.

In the Hotel Zone of Puerto Vallarta, there are several lodgings near this and other beaches, such as Playa de Oro, Playa Tranquila, Playa Los Tules, and Playa Camarones.

Punta Negra Beach

The water on this beach is crystal clear, perfect for resting, swimming, fishing, and spending time on a clear beach. The sand is fine and soft, like the beaches of Cancun.

The beach is located in El Nogalito, a town in the municipality of Puerto Vallarta, 14 km south of the city, near Playa Garza Blanca and Playa Palmares.

Las Estacas Beach

A beautiful 600-meter long beach of smooth sand, emerald-colored waters, and calm waves. It is in front of the 5-star Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta all-inclusive resort.

Activities at Playa Las Estacas include water skiing, parachute flights, boat rides, and sport fishing, especially in November when national and international anglers come to Puerto Vallarta for the sailfish fishing festival.

The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, spa and wellness center, four a la carte restaurants, and one buffet restaurant.

Conchas Chinas Beach

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Source: Hello Cinthia / shutterstock.com

Conchas Chinas is one of the seven beaches in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, with the Mexican Blue Flag certification, a recognition granted by the Foundation for Environmental Education to beaches that comply with punctual environmental conditions.

The beach is also one of the most fascinating in Puerto Vallarta due to its marine beauty and attractive coastal relief.

It is very close to the Romantic Zone with an abundant infrastructure of villas, hotels, restaurants, and other establishments that ensure the satisfaction and comfort of tourists.

La Manzanilla Beach in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

This charming beach of calm waves and medium-grain sand is located in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, a Nayarit fishing village 27 km northwest of Puerto Vallarta. Its palapas provide food and beverage services.

La Cruz has hotels and restaurants of different categories. It is also the place chosen by many foreigners to make their summer homes.

El Salado Beach

This beach near Marina Vallarta is surrounded by hotels and luxury condominiums, restaurants, and other attractive places.

There’s also the Marina Vallarta Golf Course and the El Salado estuary, a 169-hectare Protected Natural Area, mostly covered with mangroves.

Some hotels have separated the beach areas in front of their buildings with jetties, but at the end of Paseo Bocanegra, there is public access to the sandy beach.

The way to the beach is from the north of the Hotel Zone, along the street that borders the north side of the Plaza Marina Shopping Center.

On the way to the beach, there is a mural by artist Natasha Moraga, made with mosaics and colored glass.

Palmares Beach

Playa Palmares has crystal clear water, calm waves, and fine sand; it is also the first beach in Jalisco to obtain the Mexican Blue Flag.

It is located 6 km south of Puerto Vallarta between Punta Negra Beach and Garza Blanca, although it could be considered part of the former.

It is a clean sandy area with sanitary services, animal access control, and facilities for people with mobility difficulties.

The Marietas Islands

beaches in jalisco mexico
Playa Escondida (hidden beach) – Source: CassielMx / shutterstock.com

These are two Nayarit islands 36 km west of Puerto Vallarta by sea.

Isla Larga and Isla Redonda form the small volcanic archipelago. It is home to Playa Escondida, also known as Playa del Amor, one of the most spectacular beaches in Mexico.

As an environmental protection measure, access to Playa Escondida is restricted to only 100 visitors per day who are not allowed to be there for more than 30 minutes.

The trip by sea between Puerto Vallarta and Islas Marietas takes one hour. Another way to go to this beautiful archipelago is to travel 43 km by land between Puerto Vallarta and Punta de Mita (Nayarit) and board a boat that makes the trip in 15 minutes.

El Tamarindo Beach

El Tamarindo is a place with spectacular landscapes in the Tenacatita Bay of Costalegre.

There are three beautiful beaches presided over by El Tamarindo-Four Seasons Beach & Golf Resort, a hotel located on a property of 825 hectares at 212 km and 50 km from the airport of Puerto Vallarta and the airport of Manzanillo, respectively.

The complex comprises casitas in 3 spaces (sea, garden, and forest) with an 18-hole golf course with superb panoramic views of the rocky coastline.

The casitas have air conditioning, a private pool, a terrace, and a minibar. One of the hotel’s charming details is a daily bowl of fresh fruit for each casita.

The restaurant specializes in Mexican seafood cuisine, and the beach club hosts romantic dinners overlooking the ocean. Kayaks, boats, and snorkeling equipment are complimentary.

Los Angeles Locos: One of the most private beaches in Jalisco

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Aerial view of Tenacatita Bay – Source: Alex M Foster / shutterstock.com

Tenacatita Bay, home of Los Angeles Locos, is a unique corner of Jalisco at the junction of the ocean and the estuary La Vena.

Taking a boat ride on the sandy beach leads to Boca de Los Gorriones or Boca de la Vena, where a lagoon joins the sea through a natural channel of crystalline waters.

This is the starting point for the boats that cross Marisma La Zacatosa, a lagoon with mangroves where the vegetation has formed tunnels populated by crabs, coots, pelicans, and other birds.

Las Alamandas Beach

Las Alamandas Boutique Hotel – Source: Las Alamandas

An extensive beach of intense waves and fine golden sand with Las Alamandas, a 5-star hotel of rustic and ecological beauty at the foot of the sandy beach.

The hotel consists of villas with tile roofs, white tiled floors, and shaded terraces decorated with details of Mexican fabrics and handicrafts.

The resort has an outdoor pool with whirlpool jets, an ocean-view restaurant, beach bar, gym, children’s club, store, surfing, diving, and boogie boarding facilities.

Las Alamandas is a beach in Chamela Bay near the Jalisco community of Quémaro, on the Costalegre.

Costa Sur Puerto Vallarta Hotel Beach

Costa Sur Resort & Spa is a charming 4-star property in Puerto Vallarta at km 4.5 on the Mismaloya highway, with a small beach converted into a natural pool with a breakwater.

The semi-enclosed water has turned the beach into a lagoon of turquoise blue translucent waters, which several species of marine fauna have made their habitat.

Hotel guests can swim, kayak, paddleboard, and snorkel in this lovely saltwater pool.

All rooms have an ocean view, which is sensational from November to March because you can see dolphins and whales without leaving the room.

The beach has areas of white sand and others of pebbles.

Las Amapas Beach

beaches in jalisco mexico
Source: Noah Sauve / shutterstock.com

Virgin, romantic and quiet beach, with emerald green waters, soft waves, and yellow sand, with a shore shaded by trees south of Old Vallarta or Romantic Zone. It is one of the seven beaches in Jalisco with Mexican Blue Flag certification.

It is next to Los Muertos Beach, and at one of its ends is El Púlpito, a rocky promontory well known in the city.

Although it is not advisable for people with walking limitations, a staggered path goes up to the hill and down to the beach. At the other end of the beach is Conchas Chinas.

Punta Peñitas Beach

This is yet another beautiful beach of Costalegre in Costa Majahuas. A tourist concept of charming rusticity is managed with ecological establishments that use solar energy for the day and candles for the night.

Punta Peñitas is a great destination for people who like to spend time in nature.

You will enjoy seductive sunrises and ecosystems with a wide variety of birds, highlighting the Estero del Ermitaño.

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