Beach-hopper’s Guide to the Jalisco Beaches in Mexico

Find the ride you need in

The Jalisco Beaches in Mexico are perfect for beach-hopping. But with so many, where do you start? This guide will help plan the ideal vacation.

azure ocean and coastal view of Jalisco

Are you a beach lover planning a trip to Mexico? Are you looking for pristine and secluded coves, clear turquoise waters, sandy beaches and world-renowned surfing destinations? Then you have to visit some of these Jalisco Beaches.

We say some because there are far too many to see on one trip. With so many beaches to choose from, it can be overwhelming to know where to start your research. Thankfully, this guide has you covered. 

Where is Jalisco in Mexico? 

Jalisco is a state located in western Mexico. Its capital city, Guadalajara, is one of the largest and most populous cities in the country. 

With the state’s coastline stretching for over 320 km (200 miles), it’s easy to see why there are so many incredible beaches to explore. 

The most popular tourist destination in the state is the resort town of Puerto Vallarta, which is about 4-5 hours from Guadalajara. It sits on the border of Jalisco and Nayarit.

If you look at Jalisco, Mexico, on a map, you will notice that the state stretches along the Pacific Coast.

The top-rated beaches in Jalisco (North to South)

Playa Esmerelda beach in Jalisco State

Below, we have broken down the top beaches (or playas in Spanish) to explore near and around Puerto Vallarta and those further down the coast. 

El Salado Beach

Playa El Salado is situated on the Bay of Banderas in Mexico’s Jalisco state. 

It is home to several oceanfront resorts, such as the Marriott, Westin, Sol Melia and Grand Velas. 

The beach is a little tricky to access on foot if you aren’t already staying at one of the resorts. But there is public access to the beach via Bocanegra Street.

This large sandy beach is very popular during high season, so make sure to get there early. It offers a range of water sports like parasailing, windsurfing, banana boating and jet skiing. You can also rent sailboards and sea kayaks from some of the resorts alongside the beach. 

Pro tip: In late summer and early fall, you may be able to witness or take part in a program to release baby turtles into the ocean.

Los Tules Beach

If you want the convenience of staying in a beachfront spot in the Hotel Zone, then Los Tules Beach could be an excellent option. 

This playa de Jalisco is only a 10-minute drive from the historic center. 

With soft, golden sand and clear, azure water, it’s the perfect place for swimming, sunbathing and strolling along the shore. 

You’ll also be near the Plaza Caracol Shopping Mall, which has a variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes.

Las Glorias Beach

Las Glorias Beach is popular among both tourists and locals. With beachfront resorts along the shore, it has a lot to offer.

Whether you want to sip a fruity cocktail under the palm trees or enjoy a delicious seafood dish from one of the local restaurants, you’ll never have a dull moment.

Camarones Beach

Camarones Beach, Jalisco, Mexico, is only 3 km (1.86 miles) from downtown Puerto Vallarta. 

If you don’t like sitting still, come to fish by the shore or try your luck at beach soccer or volleyball. 

For adrenaline junkies, try the high-speed banana boats or a parasail ride. 

Olas Altas and Los Muertos Beaches 

thatch roof palapas and colorful chairs on sandy beach

Olas Atlas and Los Muertos are two of the most popular beaches. They are both conveniently located in the Romantic Zone, the best area to stay in Puerto Vallarta.

If you are looking for a lively atmosphere, look no further than Olas Altas. It has a wide variety of beachside restaurants and bars and loads of vendors selling all the souvenirs you could want, including sun loungers and umbrellas to rent, as well as restrooms and showers. 

The neighboring southern beach is Los Muertos, which is larger and offers a broader range of activities. Expect to find everything from banana boat rides to parasailing and jet skiing. 

Or take a walk along the bustling boardwalk, or malecon, at sunset with a beverage in hand. You won’t be short of choices, with plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from.

Las Amapas Beach

Las Amapas is just south of the Romantic Zone and is accessible via a narrow, windy road and path over the hill and down to the beach. 

It is known for its peaceful and uncrowded atmosphere, emerald green waters and golden sand. Not only that, it is surrounded by lush greenery. It’s the perfect spot to spend the day under the shade of the palm trees.

Playa Conchas China

sandy beach in Conchas Chinas Jalisco

If you are staying south of Puerto Vallarta, head to Playa Conchas Chinas. It’s only a few minutes south of the bustling city. 

Besides the soft sand and crystal clear waters ideal for swimming — there are also rock pools to explore.  

For those who enjoy a touch of luxury, there are some beautiful 5-star resorts nearby.

Las Estacas Beach

In front of the 5-star hotel Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta, you will find a stunning 500-meter-long beach with smooth sand, turquoise waters, and gentle waves. 

Las Estacas is a scenic destination for beach lovers. 

Activities include water skiing, taking a catamaran out for the day and sport fishing. 

We recommend bringing your own food and drinks unless you are staying at the hotel. 

Punta Negra Beach

Fourteen km south of Puerto Vallarta is Punta Negra Beach, near the town of El Nogalito. 

Surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, this beach is known for its peaceful atmosphere, especially if you want to escape the city. 

You can access the beach by boat, or if you’re feeling a little adventurous, you can hike. 

It’s the perfect place to take some time for yourself, take a dip in the turquoise waters or perhaps go for a fish. 

If you have no luck fishing, don’t worry. There are a few small restaurants to satisfy your hunger.

Palmares Beach

Playa Palmares has turquoise waters with gentle to moderate waves. It’s important to note that the shoreline is rather rocky, but there is plenty of sand to relax on further up the beach. 

If you get hungry, hit up one of the beach vendors for some tasty grilled seafood on a stick, fresh fruit or popsicles. 

If you’re looking for a restaurant, Canto Palmares is recommended for fresh seafood accompanied by a chilled beer.

Pro tip: If traveling with someone with mobility challenges, this beach is accessible and has the facilities needed.

Garza Blanca Beach 

Getting to this crescent-shaped beach with warm, calm water will only take you 15-20 minutes by car from Puerto Vallarta. And it’s worth it. 

It’s a cove with calm conditions, perfect for kids and adults.

Playa Las Gemelas 

Las Gemelas, or “The Twins,” got its name due to its location between two small coves in Los Arcos National Marine Park. 

While one beach is calmer, it’s a beautiful place to enjoy the fine white sand and swim in the dazzling turquoise waters. 

It’s possible to rent kayaks so you can explore the area. 

Los Arcos National Marine Park

Named after its unique rock formations, Los Arcos National Marine Park is a protected marine reserve and an incredibly popular spot for scuba diving and snorkeling. If you’re lucky, you’ll spy sea turtles, eagle rays, manta rays, dolphins, and tropical fish.

There are a few small secluded beaches to explore, such as Playa Las Gemelas (see above). 

The park has limited facilities, with no shops or restaurants on the beaches. 

Guided tours are offered to the park from nearby Puerto Vallarta.

Playa Colomitos 

Do you enjoy an adventure? 

Well, this Jalisco beach is regarded as a hidden gem, but you can only get there by taking a boat from the nearby fishing village, Boca de Tomatlan, or there is a hiking trail through the jungle along the coast. 

The boat journey to Playa Colomitos, Jalisco, Mexico, takes 5 minutes, while the hike takes 45 minutes to an hour. 

It’s a small, secluded cove featuring sparkling, clear water, soft sand and lush tropical vegetation. It’s perfect for those looking for a quiet spot away from the crowds. 

If you have snorkeling gear, check out the marine life, too. 

Playa Caballo

Just a bit further south of Colomitos is Playa Caballo. It can only be accessed by boat from Boca de Tomatlan or along the same coastal hiking trail as above. 

A few vendors offer lounge and umbrella rentals, so you can stay all day on the golden sand and crystal-clear jade-colored water.

There is even a beachfront restaurant called Casitas Maraika for when you need to retreat from the sun. 

Playa Quimixto

Quimixto beach and jungle from a drones

This may start to sound familiar, but Playa Quimixto is only accessible by boat or trail from Boca de Tomatlan. 

Compared to the two beaches above, there is a bit more going on here. 

You can enjoy a horseback ride or dine at the restaurant on the beach, serving local seafood and Mexican food. There are even loungers and umbrellas available to rent.

Pro tip: Be sure to check out the Quimixto Waterfall, accessed by a hike through the jungle off the beachfront. It’s a picturesque and refreshing place to cool off. 

Majahuitas Beach

Playa Majahuitas, Jalisco, Mexico, is hidden amongst jungle vegetation and towering rock formations. It is the perfect place to disconnect from the daily routine and stress. 

While it is only 29 km (18 miles) from Puerto Vallarta, you need to travel by boat to get there. 

Come to enjoy a snorkel amongst the reefs and through the underwater caves. Keep your eyes peeled for puffer fish, trumpet fish and parrot fish. 

You can also try your hand at paddleboarding and kayaking rentals on the beach. 

Yelapa Beach

pale sandy Yelapa Beach in Jalisco state

Yelapa Beach, Jalisco, Mexico, is accessible by a 45-minute boat ride from Puerto Vallarta. 

It is a unique and remote beach located in a small fishing village. And arguably one of the best beaches on this list. It’s hard to dispute that as you sit on a beach chair munching on local seafood before slipping into the calm water. 

Or, if you are feeling more adventurous, hike to Yelapa’s waterfall. Either way, we know you will have a great time if you choose to visit.

The fun doesn’t end there. If you feel like staying the night, you can stay in one of the family-run guest houses. 

The Marietas Islands

Hidden beach in Las Marietas Islands in Jalisco

The Marietas Islands are a group of uninhabited islands located 36 km west of Puerto Vallarta. 

The trip takes around one hour from Puerto Vallarta but is definitely worth it for any nature and adventure enthusiasts. 

The islands are a protected area and home to a diverse range of marine and bird species. 

Visitors can explore the famous “Hidden Beach,” a secluded cove surrounded by rocky terrain that can only be reached by swimming while on a guided tour. 

Be sure to book in advance, though, as there is environmental protection in place, where only 100 visitors can visit daily for just 30 minutes each.

It is also a hot spot for snorkeling and scuba diving, with opportunities to encounter animals such as sharks, dolphins and sea turtles.

Beaches even further south in Jalisco

Playa Mayto

baby turtle in Mayto Beach Jalisco

This is one of the best beaches in Jalisco if you love sea turtles. 

Between June and December, sea turtles come to shore to lay their eggs in the sand. 

To get here from Puerto Vallarta, you will need to travel 85 km (52 miles) south of the city. On arrival, you’ll find a long, pristine beach stretching several miles along the coast. 

There are two places to stay along the beach if you want to wake up to the sound of crashing waves — the low-key Hotel Mayto or El Rinconcito. 

Penitas Beach

Penitas Beach is approximately two and a half hours south of Puerto Vallarta.

The beach is popular for its large rock formations that create tide pools for all you explorers wanting a glimpse into the world of marine critters. 

Not only that, but expect soft, white sand and clear, calm waters, making it a family-friendly location. 

There are plenty of water activities, such as kayaking, surfing and paddleboarding. 

If you get hungry, don’t stress. There are a couple of small restaurants and cafes near the beach where you can enjoy local fresh seafood dishes caught that day.

Las Alamandas Beach

empty golden beach with palms

Las Alamandas Beach is a secluded beach in the Costalegre region of Jalisco. 

It features white sand, crystal-clear waters, and beautiful natural surroundings. It is a vast beach with moderate to strong waves. 

It is part of the exclusive Las Alamandas resort, which offers luxury accommodations, think beachfront villas, a pool, a spa and a delicious restaurant. It’s the perfect place for travelers seeking a secluded and luxurious beach getaway. 

Cocinas Island 

Without a doubt, this island is home to one of the most spectacular beaches in the state. 

From Puerto Vallarta, you must make your way to Punta Perula. You can then take a water taxi to the island, which takes 25 minutes. 

It’s an incredible place to come for those who enjoy being amongst nature in peace and quiet. Walk barefoot in the sparkling sand before diving into the warm ocean. 

Bring your snorkeling gear and keep your eyes peeled for colorful fish, sea turtles and rays. 

Pro tip: Bring everything with you as there are no shops or restaurants on the island. 

Playa Paraiso

Playa Paraiso, Jalisco, Mexico, is another beach with hotels lining the shore. This, unfortunately, means the facilities are not for the general public. 

On the plus side, this secluded beach has stunning fine white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters, perfect for swimming and snorkeling. 

For those who want shade, the lush trees provide relief from the Mexican sun. 

Costa Careyes

Fancy a bit of luxury? Then, this family-owned and operated private beach resort could be the secluded getaway you were looking for. 

The sprawling estate is spread across 20,000 acres with high-end accommodations, gourmet restaurants and boutique shopping. 

Explore all the small coves and bay areas dotted with picturesque beaches such as Playa Careyitos. 

Arroyo Seco Jalisco

Arroyo Seco, a small coastal town, is a surfer’s paradise, particularly from November to April. 

While the beach is picturesque, with golden sand backed by lush jungle and coconut palms, the biggest appeal is the waves, which can be quite strong at times. 

There are a variety of surf breaks that are suitable for surfers of all skill levels, from beginners to advanced. 

El Tecuan Beach

Located 25 km (15.5 miles) from Careyes, El Tecuan Beach is popular due to its surf break. 

There is an abandoned hotel that sits just back from the beach, but other than that, there is no infrastructure in sight. 

Whether you come here to catch some waves, read a book, or just nap while listening to the sound of crashing waves, you are likely to be one of the only people there. 

Boca de Iguanas Beach

This long and wide sandy beach is close to the town of Manzanillo. 

From Puerto Vallarta to Manzanillo, it will take you 5 hours and 15 minutes on the tourist bus. You then need to travel an hour to get to Boca de Iguanas Beach. 

The water is calm and transparent, perfect for families with young children. It doesn’t get crowded, and there are sun umbrellas and a beach restaurant to lounge the day away. 

Stay a night or two at the Chantli Mare Hotel. 

San Patricio Beach 

cliffside beaches near Melaque in Jalisco

This beautiful 1.5 km (0.9 mile) sandy beach in Melaque attracts tourists and locals alike.  

The area is known for its calm waves, making it an ideal spot for water sports like kayaking and snorkeling. 

If you get hungry, there are several restaurants and bars providing a perfect setting for a relaxing day by the sea. 

Weather in Jalisco 

seahorse statue and angry waves in Puerto Vallarta

When planning your trip to the Jalisco beaches, remember there are two distinct seasons: the dry and the rainy seasons. 

The dry season runs from November to May. You can expect temperatures to reach a high of 30°C (86°F), but generally, during the day it will stay around 25°C (77°F). The temperatures cool down at night, so you will need some light layers. 

From June through to October, when it’s the rainy season, this area of Jalisco is hot and humid. Temperatures can get as high as 35°C (95°F) during the day. 

Don’t let the wet season deter you, as the rainfall normally comes in the form of afternoon thunderstorms, typically only lasting for a few hours. 

Packing list essentials for the Jalisco Beaches

pools in front of the beach in Puerto Vallarta

After all the effort spent planning your trip, packing should be the easiest part, right? 

Sometimes, it’s hard to know what to bring, so below are a few key items you won’t want to forget: 

  • Water shoes: If you plan to visit a beach in Jalisco with rocky areas or coral, it’s a good idea to protect your feet while swimming or walking on the beach. 
  • Insect repellent: No one wants to get bitten on holiday. Come prepared during the rainy season, as mosquitoes and other insects can be common. 
  • Beach bag: There is nothing worse than not having a smaller bag for your beach towels, sunscreen, water bottles and snacks. 
  • Snorkeling gear: It’s always frustrating when you can’t find a hired snorkel that fits. Bring your own so you don’t have to worry. 
  • Travel adapter: It’s so easy to forget this item when packing, but it’s important to be able to charge your phone and any camera equipment. 

Of course, on top of these items, you will need a few swimsuits, light clothing for the beach, sunscreen and some layers for when it’s cooler in the evening. 

How to get to Jalisco 

Depending on where you are coming from, the easiest option to visit the Playas en Jalisco, Mexico, is to fly into Puerto Vallarta. The airport there is called Licenciado Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR). 

The other option is to fly into Guadalajara, stay a few days, and then take a domestic flight or a 5-hour bus from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta.

So, where to after the Jalisco beaches? 

aerial view of Las Gamelas beach in Jalisco

Now it’s time to book your flights and accommodation. The hardest part will be choosing between all of these incredible beaches. Good luck! 


What is the closest airport to Jalisco?

This would depend on where in the state of Jalisco you are visiting. For the main coastal town of Puerto Vallarta, the most convenient airport is Licenciado Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR). 

Is Jalisco safe?

In short, yes. It is pretty safe for tourists to travel to the state without any issues. As with any country, never leave valuables on show and use common sense when out at night. 

Can you swim in Jalisco?

Most certainly. There are so many incredible sandy beaches to choose from. 

Posted March 4, 2024
image of blog writers kate and oliver
Kate and Olly of KO Travellers
Kate Torpy and Oliver Neville of KO Travellers are travel bloggers and content creators from Australia. They caught the travel bug from a young age and have not looked back since. The things they love about travelling the most are meeting new people, experiencing diverse cultures and exploring lesser-known corners of the world. Whether they are on assignment or travelling for pleasure, they document their travels on Instagram and provide detailed accounts on their Blog. From picturesque landscapes to island paradises, they cover it all - even the underwater marine world.
image of blog writers kate and oliver