South Shore Beaches of Puerto Vallarta

Just south of Puerto Vallarta, there are a number of unique playas (beaches) waiting to be discovered. Each one has something distinct to offer – whether it be natural pools, an underwater sanctuary, a rare dining experience, an intimate experience or just time in nature.

Playa Conchas Chinas – for proximity
Located just minutes south of the city of Puerto Vallarta, this is one of the most interesting beaches in the area. The beach itself is made up of millions of tiny shells that have been tumbled and polished by the waves. Rocky outcroppings form natural pools, with crystalline water. The individual coves are perfect for sunbathing and snorkeling. No services, so ask your host to organize a picnic lunch for you.

Conchas Chinas Beach - Beaches of Puerto Vallarta
Conchas Chinas Beach – Photo: Courtesy of Puerto Vallarta Board of Tourism


Playa Mismaloya and Los Arcos National Park – for snorkeling and diving
Located seven miles south of town, where the Mismaloya River meets the ocean, this lovely white sand beach became famous after the filming of The Night of the Iguana (1963) – directed by John Huston and starring Richard Burton, Deborah Kerr and Ava Gardner. The original movie set (now in ruins) is located at the far end of the beach. There are several rustic, palapa-style seafood restaurants. This beach is good for swimming and hence frequented by families.

Take a boat across to Los Arcos national park, a couple of rocky islets teeming with birds and marine life. Rumoured to be the deepest part of the Bahia de Banderas – with underwater reefs, caves, tunnels and arches – this is an excellent spot for diving or snorkelling.

Los Arcos National Park - Beaches of Puerto Vallarta
Los Arcos National Park – Photo: Courtesy of Puerto Vallarta Board of Tourism


Playa Colomitos – for dining
This cove, with its tiny, hidden beach and emerald green waters, is perfect for snorkeling and swimming.

Playa Colomitos - Beaches of Puerto Vallarta
Playa Colomitos – Photo: Courtesy of Puerto Vallarta Board of Tourism


Playa Caballo – for privacy
Looking for an intimate experience? This gorgeous, palm-fringed beach, accessible only by boat, is home to Hotelito Mio – a boutique, adult-only hotel. Visitors can dine at the restaurant, or if you want to stay all day go for the day pass – which includes transportation to and from the hotel, a welcome drink, towels, use of the sunbeds and pool.

Playa Caballo - Beaches of Puerto Vallarta
Playa Caballo – Photo: Courtesy of Puerto Vallarta Board of Tourism


Playa Majahuitas – for nature
Located on a secluded cove, this crescent-shaped white sand beach is accessible by boat only. Spend the day at the Beach Club of the 18-acre, eco-friendly Majahuitas Resort. Take a hike in through jungle or kick back on the beach. Includes round-trip transportation to/from Boca de Tomatlan, beach umbrella, sun beds, towels, snorkeling gear, kayaks, stand up paddleboards, and beach volleyball court. Lunch is served at 2:30 PM.

Playa Majahuitas - Beaches of Puerto Vallarta
Playa Majahuitas – Photo: Courtesy of Puerto Vallarta Board of Tourism

The beaches of Puerto Vallarta beckon – come and see them for yourself!

Contact our concierge guide to organize your South Shore adventure. They can recommend the best boat for you, make your dining reservations or organize a picnic lunch. You can reach them at

Desiree Bilon
Desiree Bilon is a writer, translator, and a surf tour guide. After traveling and living abroad on four continents she now calls Mexico home.

Desiree occasionally manages to use both of her Master’s degrees: International Relations and Translating/Interpreting. Her writing has appeared in surf and action sport magazines in English, Italian, and Spanish.

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