As avid hikers, we always look for the best hike in every area we visit. When we visited Puerto Vallarta, we were thrilled to find the nearby Boca de Tomatlan to Las Animas Beach Hike. This hike, near Puerto Vallarta, is the perfect combination of scenic beaches and jungle. The best part? It leads to a beach with a hopping restaurant scene where you relax after your hike. We really enjoyed this hike and it was our favorite activity we did while visiting the Puerto Vallarta area of Mexico. Here is our guide on hiking from Boca de Tomatlan to Las Animas Beach near Puerto Vallarta.
FYI-This post is written based on a trip/hike taken in early April. For more on our Puerto Vallarta trip and for all our tips when visiting this area, see our What to do in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico guide.
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Boca de Tomatlan to Las Animas Beach Hike Overview
This hike starts in the quaint and colorful local fishing village of Boca de Tomatlan and leads you to the lively Las Animas beach. This hike takes you along stunning coastline and through green jungle to several beautiful secluded beaches south of Puerto Vallarta before reaching Las Animas. The Boca de Tomatlan to Las Animas Beach hike is 2.25 mile with 705 feet of elevation gain one-way.
Boca de Tomatlan to Las Animas Beach Hike Specifics
This hike took us about 2 hours one-way. This is longer than we expected as we had to be more careful with our footing than we anticipated. The trail is very peaceful and makes the extra effort worth it though.
To start your journey from Boca, you cross a makeshift boardwalk over the water (first picture in trio below) to get on the trail on the southern side of Boca de Tomatlan. If you are having trouble finding it, ask a local (in Spanish ideally) where it is and they should be able to show you the way.
We only saw a handful of other people on the path, and it was easy enough to follow. You will pass by some nice houses right outside of Boca and then alternate between hiking through the jungle and across beaches. When in doubt, hug the coastline and cross the several beaches you encounter, paralleling the water, to get back to the trail.
Beware: There is barbed wire fence on parts of the trail. It is usually simple to avoid but be mindful of where it is (especially if hiking with a baby who likes to touch everything and put everything in her mouth).
Las Animas Beach
When you reach Las Animas, stop and relax at one of the beachfront restaurants for food/drink before taking a water taxi back to Boca de Tomatlan. Alternatively, you can hike back the same route if you are feeling refreshed after a relaxing stop.
The restaurants on Las Animas all have nice beach atmospheres and are very accommodating for you to step-up camp for the afternoon. We particularly recommend eating on the beach at Mariscos Tinos. We had not only a table on the beach to sit at while dining but also lounge chairs for us to relax on in front of our table (use of both included with dining). The staff at this restaurant also provided very attentive service. We had a fun afternoon here with our 8-month-old daughter!
After grabbing a bite on Las Animas, you can take a water taxi back to Boca for 100 pesos per person (baby was free). Our waiter helped us coordinate by calling the boat but can also coordinate yourself from the main pier on the beach. Alternatively, you could hike back to Boca de Tomatlan as stated above.
How to get to Boca de Tomatlan from Puerto Vallarta
To get to Boca de Tomatlan, you can easily take a local bus from downtown PV to this southern fishing village. It takes about 30 minutes. The ride is bumpy, due to speed bumps, but goes by quickly as you hug the scenic coastline. The bus costs 15 pesos per person each way. Alternatively, you can take a cab, but it will be over 10x the price and takes the same amount of time as there is only one two-lane road that connects the two areas. We rode the local bus several times during our trip and found it to be both a local and cultural experience. We figured out where to catch the bus through asking locals and recommend doing the same. The people who regularly use the bus are the ones who know it best.
We hope this guide helps you plan your hike from Boca de Tomatlan to La Animas Beach near Puerto, Vallarta Mexico. Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions. Please leave us a comment! For more on our Puerto Vallarta see our What to do in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico guide.
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