The big pull—the bargain—behind Puerto Vallarta is that, although it’s only a few miles from Cancun, it’s seemingly a hundred. While the luxury all-inclusives are still plentiful, nowhere to be found are the disappointing beaches strewn with sun baking bodies. In Puerto Vallarta, the beaches are quiet, unspoiled and sprawling. No longer is there a need to hope that the beach in the brochure matches the one at the hotel.
What you see is what you get in Puerto Vallarta, and that’s what we like most about it. There is not photoshopping or photos at awkwardly flattering angles. If we saw the Eiffel tower in a photo of a Puerto Vallarta beach, well, we’d expect there to be one jutting out from the sand, come our next visit; that’s how stoic its beaches are.
Although Puerto Vallarta already flaunts some pretty spectacular sights, like any scenario with the potential for competition, there are some that outshine others.
Destiladeras – A wide, white beach situated between the town of La Crus and Punta Mita (near Rancho Banderas). Along the shore are 2 or 3 restaurants. The crowd never gets too large and the waves are ideal for surfing and skimboarding.
Punta Mita – Home of two beaches; the beach at El Ancolte and the one at Emiliano Zapata. The specialty here is abnormally clear-blue water; generally calm and inviting. Although they are popular with the tourists, the beach never gets uncomfortably crowded.
Sayulita – The best place to surf in Puerto Vallarta. Features a large number of restaurants and a bordering community.
San Pancho (San Francisco) – The most striking beach of Puerto Vallarta. Excellent for walking, or just observing. The town that neighbors it is set in something of a Walt Whitman poem; it is sleepy and quaint.
The beaches of Puerto Vallarta are unlike those of Cabo, Cancun, or Miami. They are not stuffed to the brim with tourists or tourism. They prefer to be enjoyed and experienced, rather than accommodated or tolerated.