5 picture-perfect places in Puerto Vallarta

Every year, one city in Mexico hosts the Reunión Nacional (National Meeting) and invites Couchsurfers from all over the world to visit and discover their city and local community. Local communities nominate their city to the Mexican Ambassadors, and if chosen, put together a weekend-long event that showcases their city, culture and community. This year was the 8th National Meeting in Mexico and Puerto Vallarta, in the state of Jalisco, was chosen. The Couchsurfing community in Puerto Vallarta went above and beyond and organized a weekend of events that not only introduced us to the known and loved Puerto Vallarta, but to many hidden treasures the region has to offer. Here are a few of the special places we discovered during the Reunión Nacional Puerto Vallarta in and around the paradise of Puerto Vallarta.

1. Mirador Cerro de la Cruz

The new lookout offers plenty of space to get the perfect picture of Puerto Vallarta. By eskystudio/shutterstock

Perched on a hill, very close to the Malecón district of Puerto Vallarta, is this viewpoint which offers the most incredible views of the city and coast. The hike is definitely challenging, but manageable as it is mostly stairs. Make sure you have a good pair of shoes, water and sunscreen!

2. Playa los Caballos

Secluded beaches are just a short boat ride away from Puerto Vallarta. By Elena Elisseeva/shutterstock

This secluded beach is only reachable by water taxi and is a beautiful spot to lay out and tan. It does have a couple resorts around it, but this beach is not one to go to for food and drinks – as it is mostly just sand and foliage. There is a path to Las Animas (our #3!) where you can order food! Take a bus out of Puerto Vallarta heading to “Boca de Tomatlan” a town with it’s own set of restaurants and bars, head to the pier and catch a shared water taxi to this beautiful beach.

3. Las Animas

Yelapa, a beach (and town) a further south from Las Animas but equally as beautiful By karamysh/shutterstock

If you want a beach that is hugged by the jungle, has beach bars, and men walking around holding iguanas – then this is your beach. It is a short boat ride from Boca de Tomatlan and is the perfect half-day trip out of Puerto Vallarta. Pick a spot in front of one of the numerous beach bars and you will be set for the day as far as food, drink and sun are concerned!

4. San Sebastián del Oeste

San Sebastian del Oeste by Carlos Ivan Palacios/shutterstock

For a break from the beach, San Sebastián del Oeste is the perfect addition to your Puerto Vallarta trip. This town in the hills is about one hour from Puerto Vallarta but feels hundreds of years away. The town is full of beautiful haciendas and views of the mountains to die for. Are you a coffee lover? Then make sure you add a stop to Cafe de Altura la Quinta Mary Make sure you have some room in your suitcase for all the beans you will buy!

5. Sayulita

Sayulita’s Main beach by Ahturner/shutterstock

They call it the next ‘Tulum’ but after visiting I have a hard time believing Sayulita is in anyway ‘undiscovered’. The town is beautiful, a couple curved streets hugging the beach, and has the beach town vibe that Puerto Vallarta grew out of decades ago. The town has a strong backpacker vibe and is full of shops, bars, hostels, and restaurants. Many people choose to stay in Sayulita as it is much smaller and manageable than it’s much larger sister to the south. There are numerous gorgeous beaches within a few kilometers of the town and it is well worth a visit! Maybe even add a night or two for some true rest and relaxation!

Sunset at Los Arcos in Puerto Vallarta by Barna Tanko

Puerto Vallarta has grown into a popular tourist destination due to its beauty, international airport and incredibly friendly people. It is not hard to understand why the locals call it paraíso. In spite of its size, there are still many remote places that allow tranquility to set in. The Couchsurfing community in Puerto Vallarta put together an excellent weekend for the National Meeting which truly allowed the community to connect and discover the beauty of this area. I know I will definitely be back, if nothing else, then to get a photo holding those iguanas!

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