(This article was commissioned by Gay Entertainment Directory, and it first appeared in their March 2020 edition.)
What is there not to like about Puerto Vallarta’s gay beach? Day in and day out, the southernmost section of Los Muertos, the city’s most popular beach, becomes the centerpiece, meeting point and playground for gay men from all walks of life who choose Puerto Vallarta over other gay destinations, worldwide. For some, it’s the simple fact of being served food or beverages right on the beach—something us locals take for granted. For others, it’s the endless parade of hot guys and the possibility of making new friends or playmates. But when it comes to beach-going, there is more to Puerto Vallarta than Los Muertos Beach.
Why would you want to go elsewhere when Los Muertos is so conveniently located in the heart of Emiliano Zapata, Puerto Vallarta’s gayborhood? For starters, why not? If you are a repeat visitor, a change of scenery is probably due. Then there’s the matter of choice. For some, a perfect beach day may simply require a beach towel, water bottle and a Kindle. And admittedly, during high tourism periods, spending any time at the gay beach may very well be too crowded for comfort.
Fortunately, Puerto Vallarta is located smack in the middle of Banderas Bay, one of the largest bays in the world, and there are plenty of laidback beach destinations to consider beyond Los Muertos Beach, particularly as you head south.
For a quick change of pace or the minimalist in you, consider the beaches along Conchas Chinas, just south of Los Muertos Beach. Conchas Chinas is one of the first residential neighborhoods made popular by folks north of the border and it features mountainside condos and villas with spectacular views, as well as beachfront properties. As such, the Conchas Chinas beaches are primarily frequented by those staying at said properties and folks looking for a basic beach experience—there are no restaurants, bars, services, umbrellas or loungers here. Getting there is as easy as walking to the end of Los Muertos Beach and following the walking path along the rocks. For those with vehicles, there is access from the main highway (Carr. 200 Sur) and limited parking along Amapas, Sagitario and Easy Streets.
There are other public beaches located along the highway heading south that are accessible by car or public transportation, but it is at Boca de Tomatlan, a small beachfront fishing village 30 minutes from Puerto Vallarta, that things get truly interesting. At this point, the highway heads to the mountains and the only way to reach beaches south of Boca is by taking a water taxi to one of several tiny towns popular for day trips or overnight adventures. Water taxis can also be boarded right at Los Muertos Pier, by the way.
Day Trip: Las Ánimas Beach
Located just south of Boca de Tomatlán, Las Ánimas can also be reached via a mildly challenging, 1.5 hr mountain hike. Once there, expect to find a number of palapa style restaurants serving basic Mexican cuisine along with soft drinks, cold beer or the cocktail of your choice. The easiest way to experience Las Ánimas Beach is by taking a water taxi round trip from Los Muertos Beach. Heading south to Boca via the highway to catch the water taxi there adds an added layer of scenic oceanfront driving. For fitness/nature-buffs, consider hiking from Boca to Las Ánimas and then taking the water taxi back!
Overnight Trip: Yelapa
For a great romantic getaway or fun trip with friends, Yelapa, near the southern edge of Banderas Bay, has been drawing those looking for a more rustic, Robinson Crusoe-type of experience for decades. Many discover Yelapa as a day trip and are enticed to return overnight after discovering the broad variety of accommodations available, from basic, palapa-roofed casitas to swanky boutique hotels. No brands you’d recognize, fear not, as most types of urban development are forbidden here. The water taxi ride to Yelapa (whether you take it from Los Muertos or Boca, is usually a colorful experience. The town only accessible by boat, expect everything from a bunch of tourists to a full-size stove to be loaded onto the boats!
Last but not least, consider one of the various gay cruise providers listed in local gay guides for a nice dose of fun, merriment and, in some cases, frolic.