beach in Puerto Vallarta

With guaranteed sunshine, sparkling blue water and soft, golden sand stretching as far as the eye can see, it's no surprise that Puerto Vallarta's visitors have one thing on their mind: the beach.

Technically there are only two beaches right "in" the city- but there are countless sandy stretches just minutes away from Puerto Vallarta on the same sweeping bay. Located along the Zona Romántica are the beaches Playa Olas Altas and Playa de los Muertos if you don't want to stray too far from downtown. The gay crowd hangs out at the southern tip of the Playa de los Muertos in a patch of the beach referred to as the "The Blue Chairs" for its blue (and now green, too) lounge chairs.

Up and down Puerto Vallarta's coastline and just minutes from the city are countless beaches ranging from intimate coves to massive sandy stretches that are just begging to be explored.

North of the city are the crowded beaches of Puerto Vallarta's hotel zone. Grab your towel and head to any of the following beaches for plenty of fun in the sun and surf: Playa Camarones, Playa Las Glorias, Playa Los Tules, Playa Las Palmas and Playa de Oro. Even further north is the beach Playa El Salado, located in Marina Vallarta, the city's port.

If you're looking for a more tranquil atmosphere, the beaches south of Puerto Vallarta are calling your name. Characterized by sleepy port towns and beach villages, you can reach these delightful destinations via the coastal Highway 200. Minibuses constantly depart from downtown Puerto Vallarta and travel the incredibly scenic route, so just bring along your beach gear and hop right on. Popular beaches south of Puerto Vallarta include: Playa Conchas Chinas, Playa Estacas, Playa Los Venados, Playa Punta Negra, Playa Garza Blanca and Playa Gemelas.

If you want to channel your inner Richard Burton or Ava Gardner, the delightful cove of Mismaloya - the scenic location for the film The Night of the Iguana - is about 12 kilometers down the coast. Just make sure, when taking the minibus, that it actually says "Mismaloya" as its final destination, as not all of the buses go quite that far.

For further isolation from the hustle and bustle of the city life, consider heading to the southern side of the bay to the charming beach locations. Only accessible by boat, the beaches Las Ánimas, Quimixto, Majahuitas and Yelapa are characterized by their picturesque charm, tiny villages, beautiful surroundings and great beach-side restaurants.

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