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Vamonos to Mexico » Travel Guide » Boca de Tomatlan, Colomitos, and Las Animas: Hike, Swim and More…

Boca de Tomatlan, Colomitos, and Las Animas: Hike, Swim and More…

  • Joel CZ 
  • 11 min read
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Not too far from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, about 20 km (30 min), there is a small fishing village called Boca de Tomatlan. Followed by Colomitos & Las Animas beach.

Today, I will talk about these hidden gems connected by a short boat ride or an incredible hike.

Let’s start with Boca de Tomatlan.

The locals refer to this town simply as “Boca.” Tourists can reach it by sea and land, although the local buses that go to this community are especially economical and reliable.

Boca de Tomatlan is located on the way to the Vallarta Botanical Gardens, about 5 km from the community of Mismaloya.

It is considered the most popular departure and arrival site for the so-called “water taxis,” which take locals and tourists to southern Banderas Bay’s beautiful and secluded coastal areas.

I am referring to such attractive beaches as Colomitos, Las Animas, Quimixto, Majahuitas, and Yelapa.

It is important not to confuse Boca de Tomatlán with Boca de Tomates since the latter is located north of the Puerto Vallarta Airport, while the former is south.

Wild beauty on Jalisco’s Coastline

boca de tomatlan
Source: Faina Gurevich / shuttlestock.com

The flow of the Horcones River ends its journey from the elevations of the Sierra in the tiny bay of Boca de Tomatlan.

The course of the river and the shape of the beach change year after year, which is something to consider when visiting this corner of Puerto Vallarta.

The river has its greatest flow during the months with high rainfall, from June to October.

Boca de Tomatlan is a great starting point for trips in this area. It includes one of the most popular beaches, especially for its gentle waves.

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Visitors fond of swimming and other related nautical sports have guaranteed fun in Boca de Tomatlan.

The only important recommendation, for safety reasons, is to stay away from the “pangas” area. (pangas are the local boats)

What to do in Boca de Tomatlan?

boca de tomatlan
Source: Federico Fermeglia / Shutterstock.com

On the beach, visitors will find rustic seaside restaurants open from 10 am to 6 pm.

They are ideal places to drink ice-cold beer and taste local dishes prepared with fresh seafood and fish.

Those who intend to spend the night around Boca de Tomatlan should know that this community has rustic and affordable lodging alternatives.

There are comfortable bed and breakfasts hotels, apartments for rent, villas, etc.

It is a very enjoyable place to stay, because of the tranquility that can be perceived in these coastal areas.

Regarding recreational options in the area, I have already mentioned the Botanical Garden, a fascinating site that can be reached by bus (the ones that go to El Tuito).

Still, Boca de Tomatlan also has magnificent spaces for snorkeling, sport fishing, kayaking, diving, and many other popular nautical activities.

It is also advisable to take a stroll to the nearby Colomitos Beach, have a delicious lunch with regional snacks, or contemplate the Mexican Pacific’s formidable landscapes.

How to get to Boca de Tomatlan

As I mentioned earlier, Boca de Tomatlán is located about 20 km south of Puerto Vallarta on Highway 200. (distance varies depending on where you are in PV)

By land

In Guadalajara, two bus stations are popularly known as the ‘New’ Bus Station and the ‘Old’ Bus Station. (Central Nueva y Vieja)

In the ‘Old’ Bus Station, you will find buses with short routes up to 100 kilometers away from the city, while the ‘New’ Bus Station operates the rest of the lines with departures to the rest of the country.

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On a side note, there are currently two major bus stations in Guadalajara: The central “Nueva” I was telling you about is in Tlaquepaque, and there’s another station in Zapopan.

Puerto Vallarta is connected to the rest of the Mexican territory by the Guadalajara-Compostela-Vallarta highway (reaching as far as Manzanillo) and the Guadalajara-Autlán-Vallarta road; both in good condition.

If you’re visiting Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta is about 810 kilometers away. Several bus lines cover the route, and the estimated travel time is between 10 and 12 hours.

By air

The main access route is Gustavo Días Ordaz International Airport in Puerto Vallarta.

During the high season, the weekly traffic is 450 flights, between domestic and foreign, especially from cities in the United States such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Denver.

Transportation from the airport to downtown PV is reasonably priced.

First, you must pay the service fee at the cab booth of the air terminal, where they will be assigned a van-type unit that will transfer them to their destination.

Also, if you prefer to ride an Uber and save some beer money, you’ll need to step outside the airport as they’re not allowed to pick up clients on the premises.

Where is Colomitos Beach?

Colomitos beach – Source: Raphael Rivest / shutterstock.com

Playa Colomitos is truly the little beach of your dreams: with white sand, gentle waves, a jungle entrance, and even a small creek and waterfall that makes it a true paradise.

I say that Colomitos beach is small because it is about 30 meters long, but thanks to this, the water is perfect for getting in and swimming.

This secret little corner on the southern curve of Banderas Bay is a semi-pristine beach you must visit once in your lifetime.

The beautiful Colomitos beach is located in Jalisco, in the municipality of Cabo Corrientes, south of Puerto Vallarta.

As I said earlier when I was talking about “Boca,” This beach lost in nature is only 5 minutes away from Boca de Tomatlan (by water taxi) and about 40 minutes from Puerto Vallarta.

The Amazing Hike to Colomitos

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Impressive views along the hike – Source: Oskar Fluehler / shutterstock.com

There are several options to get to Colomitos beach, among them a hike where you will see butterflies, beautiful birds, and even reptiles.

This hike starts in the small fishing village of Boca de Tomatlán, and the one-and-a-half-kilometer hike takes about 30 minutes without exhausting you too much. The views are amazing!

You don’t need a special guide to do the hike, as there is a trail that is easy to find and signs, and several of the locals can give you directions.

Don’t forget to wear tennis shoes if you plan to walk there.

Also, if you’re feeling lazy or cannot walk for some reason, water taxis are there to help. Just head over to the Boca pier, and you’re good to go.

What to do in Colomitos Beach?

There is a lot to do here. First of all, getting there on foot can be a little tiring for some people, so swimming is probably your first activity.

If you decide to go into the clear waters, you will see a diversity of tropical fish, including king angelfish, pufferfish, and even giant damselfish. Make sure to bring some snorkeling gear!

Besides snorkeling, you can also kayak or scuba dive.

Then, you can grab lunch at the Ocean Grill restaurant and eat seafood if you get hungry.

Everything there is super fresh; however, you need to make reservations. They also have their own boat to give you a ride back.

It is best to arrive early, because Colomitos beach is tiny, so it gets crowded very easily.

Furthermore, there are other beaches nearby worth visiting, so you can take a tour of them as well. Las Animas Beach is an example. I will talk more about it below…

Las Animas Beach, next to Boca de Tomatlan

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Las Animas beach – Source: BGStock72 / Shutterstock.com

Las Animas de Quimixto, commonly known as Las Animas, is a beautiful beach village just 10 minutes south of Colomitos (by boat, or you can hike there as well!).

It is 600 meters long with smooth sand and mellow swells, excellent for snorkeling and diving.

With a little luck, whales and dolphins can be spotted in the distance.

Other recreational options when visiting Las Animas include horseback riding, water skiing, and parachute jumping.

Again, this beach is accessible by boat and foot. It is a coastal sanctuary of pure nature, excellent for fun and relaxation.

Las Animas is the first stop for water taxies on their way to the southern part of Banderas Bay.

A large dock makes it easy to arrive and depart with a boat.

Enjoy the coasts of Jalisco and Las Animas

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I took this shot of Las Animas beach from the water taxi

The best thing about visiting Las Animas is that you have the impressive nature of the region and breathtaking scenery of amazing biodiversity as a backdrop.

To visit this beach, you have to take a short tour, which, fortunately, is offered by many cruise ships and operators in the area.

After passing through Playa Caballo, Las Animas is the first beach that appears from Boca, about 3 km from this site.

It is important to note that in Las Ánimas, you can find a good variety of restaurants, artisan shops, and a couple of SPA parlors.

Although some have their home in this area, Las Ánimas is part of an ejido under the protection of indigenous communities.

A taste of the Mexican Pacific

Las Animas can be enjoyed simply by lounging in a chair with an umbrella while contemplating the tropical landscape and sipping delicious ice-cold drinks.

But for those who prefer a little more adventure, a nearby Adventure Park offers a zip line circuit, climbing walls, bridges, and other entertaining activities.

Las Ánimas Beach is located in Cabo Corrientes, a municipality in Jalisco known for its wild beauty.

Visitors find it extremely attractive that fruit is abundant in these parts of Jalisco, such as bananas, coconut, and papaya.

It is also a must to enjoy the most traditional specialties of the region, such as seafood and oysters cooked in different ways.

My favorites are ceviches and aguachiles!

Tips for visiting Las Animas Beach

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Arriving at Las Animas pier, view from the water taxi

A coastal area comparable to Las Animas is Yelapa, a true paradise that captivates visitors with its tropical atmosphere.

It is a modest community inhabited by fishermen where you will find excellent beach clubs and rustic-style restaurants.

Vacationers can enjoy days filled with sun, relaxation, and simple lodging options located along the beach.

And just as it is pleasant to spend leisure moments in Las Animas swimming or sunbathing, in Yelapa, hiking is one of the main attractions.

To do this, you must walk along trails that lead to the mountain through lush vegetation.

A beautiful waterfall and a natural pond of crystalline water are pleasant to admire.

These are natural wonders that no one should miss.

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