White sand beaches, cobblestone streets, endless tequila, rich culture, friendly locals and delicious cuisine are what make Puerto Vallarta one of our favorite beach destinations. While the city itself offers tons of exciting things to do, we’re sharing four fabulous day trips from Puerto Vallarta that will make your vacay unforgettable.
The Marieta Islands (Islas Marietas)
Only accessible via certified boat tours, a day trip to the Marieta Islands is a must-do on your next beach vacay. This group of tiny, uninhabited, volcanic islands, just a 15-minute boat ride from Punta de Mita, is home to the region’s most Instagram-worthy and iconic “hidden” beach, Lovers’ Beach. Its unique, crater-like shape, diverse wildlife and secluded location make for an incredible Mexico adventure–you can scuba dive, snorkel, whale watch, kayak, hike and more. You’ll want to get there early, though, since the local government only allows around 116 visitors per day to help preserve the islands’ ecosystem.
What was once a small fishing village with minimal tourist activity, Sayulita is a true gem of Mexico’s Pacific coast. Although a lot livelier these days, the town still possesses the small beach town vibe that’ll make you want to stay forever. Sayulita is a surfer’s paradise with endless surf spots to catch a wave, whether you’re a beginner or a pro. When you’re not on the water, be sure to stop at local restaurant ChocoBanana for a tasty breakfast and wander through the bohemian town of cobblestone streets, pastel-colored buildings and row after row of papel picado beautifully hung just above you.
Village of Yelapa
If you’re looking for a day adventure where you can unplug and unwind from city life in Puerto Vallarta, you have to visit Mexico’s quaint village of Yelapa. It’s just a 40-minute water taxi from Los Muertos Pier or Boca de Tomatlan and offers up artsy vibes, crystal-clear water, vibrant marine life, lively locals and limited Wi-Fi (yes, that’s a good thing). Enjoy the slower pace of this small, coastal town by lounging on the beach, exploring the local village, hiking the lush terrain or snorkeling in the aquamarine water.
Calling all old-time movie buffs! Spend the day living like Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in the beautiful town of Mismaloya, just a 30-minute bus ride from Puerto Vallarta. The 1964 filming location of John Huston-classic The Night of the Iguana offers visitors a more intimate beach town experience, with pristine beaches and oceanfront restaurants serving up fresh, locally sourced seafood. Following the debut of the 1960s Hollywood film, many celebrities have dawned the small coastal town over the years and have even bought prime real estate in the area for its laid-back lifestyle and natural beauty. Mismaloya is, hands down, one of our fav day trips from Puerto Vallarta.
Ready to check these places out for yourself? Take a look at these fabulous, all-inclusive Puerto Vallarta deals you don’t want to miss out on! If you’re already planning your beach vacay (like we are), be sure to add these awesome local restaurants and nightlife spots to your list of to-dos!