Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico’s top beach destinations, and many people visit simply to relax, soak up the sun, and spend some time on the beach. However, there are many more things to enjoy in this location, including historical landmarks, excellent restaurants, and fun family activities. The diverse landscape surrounding this resort town means it is also a great place to visit for people who enjoy the outdoors. One of the best ways to explore the town and its surroundings is by hiking along the many trails. Here is a traveler’s guide to hiking in Puerto Vallarta.
El Noalito EcoPark
According to My Deztination, one of the best hikes in Puerto Vallarta is in El Noglito EcoPark. It is on this trail that you will experience one of the many waterfalls for which Puerto Vallarta is famous. You need to take the bus to the small town of El Nogalito, then walk for approximately 25 minutes to the entrance to the park. From the trailhead, it is an hour’s walk to the waterfall, where there is a rope to climb the rocks alongside the waterfall, although you do this at your own risk. The trail is lined by impressive rock walls and lush forests.
The Palo Maria Hike has a total of 12 waterfalls, although only experienced hikers will manage the full trail. It is a little over an hour to reach the first waterfall, and the trail goes over a riverbed and rocks. At the base of the first waterfall, there is a swimming hole where you can take a dip and cool off before heading back to the starting point. Alternatively, you can continue along the trail to see the other 11 waterfalls, depending on your fitness level.
Boca de Tomatlan to Playa Las Animas Trail
All Trails lists the walk from Boca de Tomatlan to Playa Las Animas as one of the best hikes in Puerto Vallarta. It is just south of the resort town and takes you along the coast where the views are spectacular. This moderate, out-and-back trail is 4.5-miles long, so it takes over two hours to complete. There are rocky patches along the way, so wearing appropriate footwear is essential.
Boca de Tomatlan to Quimixto Waterfall
For advanced hikers who want to enjoy a full-day hike, a good option is to walk from Boca de Tomatlan to Quimixto Waterall. This 10.7-mile trail takes around five hours to complete. The beginning of the trail takes you along the beach where the terrain is even, and there are gorgeous coastal views. You then head into the forests to the waterfall, and there is elevation gain and uneven terrain along the way.
Malecon Puerto Vallarta
If you prefer urban walks over flat terrain, then one of the best options is to walk along Puerto Vallarta’s Malecon, which is the boardwalk along the coast of the resort town. It is an easy walk that is accessible to people of all abilities. It is 2.4-miles long and takes around an hour to complete. You can enjoy views of the ocean and see the sights of Puerto Vallarta as you complete the walk, and the Malecon is lined with many cafes, restaurants, and coffee shops where you can stop for some refreshments.
Trail to Cerro La Cruz
Villa del Palmar recommends hiking from Puerto Vallarta to Cerro La Cruz. Puerto Vallarta is surrounded by mountains, and one of these is Calle Emilio Carranza, which is a small, forest-covered mountain directly behind downtown Puerto Vallarta. Climbing this small mountain is one of the best ways to enjoy views across the town.
The Botanical Gardens’ Trails
One of the most popular attractions in Puerto Vallarta is the Botanical Gardens. In addition to admiring the various gardens, this attraction also has several trails to explore. The trails vary in length and difficulty, with some taking you along the river and others going into the jungle. It is possible to complete several trails in one visit if you wish. After an energetic day walking along the various routes, you can grab a bite to eat at the on-site Mexican restaurant.
Monkey Mountain is just north of Puerto Vallarta, and Slight North says it is one of the best trails in the area. It is a 5.8-mile out-and-back trail that will please hiking enthusiasts, as it poses more challenges than many other trails in Puerto Vallarta, as many of them are flat. There is a steep inclination along the Monkey Mountain trail, and there is another section of rock scrambling. It is worth the effort as you can enjoy some of the best views of the coastline from the top.
Muertos to Lindo Mar Beach Walk
If you intend to spend a lot of your time in Puerto Vallarta on the beach, but you prefer something more active than sunbathing, then take the Muertos to Lindo Mar Beach Walk. The walk covers four beaches, but it is only one mile long. It is an easy trail that is accessible for everyone, and it takes under an hour to complete. As there are cafes and restaurants along some sections of the beaches, you can stop for something to eat before heading back to the starting point.
Sayulita to San Poncho
For experienced hikers, one of the most popular trails runs from Sayulita to San Poncho. It is classed as a difficult hike, as there are some obstacles along the way. One section of the trail runs alongside a highway, there is a 12-foot fence to climb, and it takes you across uneven terrain in the jungle. However, the reward is the views across the coast. The trail begins in Sayulita, which is a surf town in Puerto Vallarta. From the highest point, there are amazing views of the coast.
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Written by Liz Flynn
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