Puerto Vallarta South Shore
Beyond Conchas Chinas, several towns south of Puerto Vallarta are loosely grouped here as the South Shore for practical purposes. Some of them, such as Las Ánimas or Quimixto, are only accessible by boat. Others, such as El Tuito, are located within a different municipality (Cabo Corrientes) but close enough to Puerto Vallarta, geographically and interest-wise, to be considered here. Many of them are remote, with the jungle creeping right against the beach, making them ideal tropical settings.
Altogether, the South Shore offers a multitude of experiences and attractions that will undoubtedly appeal to visitors looking to spend a few hours or days away from Puerto Vallarta.
Neighborhoods & Neighboring Regions
Best known as the setting for the movie that put Puerto Vallarta on the tourist map, director John Huston’s “The Night of the Iguana,” this is a beautiful small bay framed by tropical rainforest-blanketed mountains. More information about Mismaloya can be found on this page.
Boca de Tomatlán
A small fishing village by the ocean, Boca de Tomatlán is the most important departure point for water taxis (known locally as pangas) to reach destinations further south only accessible by water. Boca de Tomatlán is also the last oceanfront town reachable from Puerto Vallarta by public transportation (see Getting There for details).
Commonly referred to as “Boca,” the town is very small and offers bare necessities. Several palapa-style restaurants along the beach serve basic food and beverages while you wait for your water taxi to depart.
Located south of Puerto Vallarta lies the municipality of Cabo Corrientes, marking the southernmost point of Banderas Bay. El Tuito, its capital, is a small town (population less than 4,000) located approximately 1,085 meters above sea level. Its name derives from the ancient Náhuatla language spoken by the Aztecs and means “little beautiful valley.” And a beautiful valley it is. As you drive into town, you will be immediately taken by the uniformity of its buildings, painted with a mixture of local clays that gives their walls a unique orange tinge. Cottage industries abound, from organic coffee and artisan cheese to raicilla, the local moonshine, not available legally until very recently. Easy to navigate, the cobblestone main road eventually leads to a semi-rectangular main plaza, where you will find most of the action, or lack thereof. Remember, this is a small town! Park your car right on the plaza, as just about everything you will want to explore is located within a two-block radius.
Las Animas is the first destination you’ll reach by boat from Boca de Tomatlán. It is a quiet, swimmer-friendly beach, where sunbathers can relax in colorful beach chairs and choose from several rustic restaurants for Mexican fare.
Located south of Las Animas, Quimixto is one of the few South Shore beach destinations relatively untouched by the modern world and available for exploring at your own pace. Visitors can enjoy a relaxed peek into the “Vallarta lifestyle” of yesteryear, while PV residents consider Quimixto a fabulous place to unwind for the day.
Aside from enjoying the tranquil beach, a pristine 25-minute hiking and horseback riding trail through the lush jungle leads upriver to a cascading waterfall and natural pool perfect for a refreshing swim. A small number of beachfront eateries offer staple Mexican treats, along with icy beverages, while small tienditas, or convenience stores, offer chips and snacks.
Las Caletas is a minuscule, yet appealing beach that, for the most part, has been licensed to Vallarta Adventures to host a variety of their activities. From their daytime sea lion encounters to their spectacular evening Rhythms of the Night, the best way to enjoy Caletas is through their scheduled activities.
A beautiful, small cove with a private beach accessible to anybody arriving by boat. There are no services or amenities available in Majahuitas, unless you are a guest at the small hotel located therein.
This very popular South Shore destination features its own community page.
All the South Shore destinations listed above can be reached by driving along Carr. 200 South from Puerto Vallarta. Points only accessible by boat can be reached by water taxi from Los Muertos Beach pier or from Boca de Tomatlán. The furthest point, El Tuito, can be reached by car from Puerto Vallarta in less than an hour.
There is a very popular hike between Boca and Las Animas, such that visitors sometimes choose to hike to Las Animas in the morning and return to Boca in the afternoon.
Public transportation buses departing for Boca de Tomatlán can be boarded at the corner of Basilio Badillo and Constitución streets in Colonia Emiliano Zapata. Suburban buses departing for El Tuito can be boarded at the corner of Venustiano Carranza and Aguacate streets also in Emiliano Zapata.
Puerto Vallarta South Shore Photos
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