Spending the day on this beautiful jungle trail in Boca de Tomatlan is one of my favorite things to do. If you’re visiting the Puerto Vallarta area and have time for a day trip I highly recommend spending a day adventuring to Boca de Tomatlan! This trail leads to a few “secret” beaches and ends at Playa Las Animas, a fun family friendly beach.
About Boca de Tomatlan
Boca de Tomatlan is a small fishing village located about 30 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta. This is a picturesque paradise untouched by resorts and commercialization (for now). I hope this area always keeps the genuine small village vibe, but with such a beautiful location it probably won’t be like this forever. Enjoy it while you still can.
How to get to Boca de Tomatlan
Options: bus, taxi, or Uber. If you choose to take the bus it’s under 50 pesos but don’t expect anything fancy. Catch the bus from the corner of Basilio Badillo and Constitución Street in Puerto Vallarta’s romantic zone. Taking a taxi is easy, all of the drivers will know how to get to Boca de Tomatlan but it will be more expensive than Uber. Tip: If you take an Uber to Boca de Tomatlan you will not be able to request one back to Puerto Vallarta, there is no Uber service that far south. Plan ahead accordingly. I have always taken the bus back to Puerto Vallarta or I’ve had my own car. Another option is to ask the Uber or Taxi driver for their number and see if they’re willing to come back and pick you up.
This trail in Boca de Tomatlan is arguably the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. I’m still taken away every time I go on the trail, it’s what I always pictured my “paradise” to look like. Total time to get from Boca de Tomatlan to Playa Las Animas is about two hours depending on how much you stop to take in the views.
How to find the Jungle Trail
Once you arrive to Boca de Tomatlan the entrance to town is at the top of a hill. The village is built around the bay with gorgeous villas built into the cliffs overlooking the ocean. There are a handful of places to get Mexican food and drinks which is a great start to the day. You’ll also find a few tiendas if you need to grab water and snacks for the trail.
The trail starts the opposite side of the bay that you’ll arrive on. If the water levels are low enough sometimes you can walk to across a sandbar to the trail. If this isn’t the case walk east along the bay past all of the parking. Then you’ll see a small walking bridge over the river with signs directing to the trail (pictured above).
The start of the trail will feel a bit strange because you’ll be walking right next to local houses. Continue on the path along the bay, you’ll likely make friends with some dogs or cats that will show you the way! The trail will have signs pointing you in the right direction but it’s super easy to figure out because you just follow it along the ocean.
The first beach you’ll run into is Playa Colomitos. This has become a very popular “secret” beach in Boca de Tomatlan over the last few years, it’s bittersweet for me because three years ago it really did feel secret. There’s no use in hiding how to get there anymore because tour companies are cashing in on boat trips to Colomitos from Puerto Vallarta daily. There’s an upscale restaurant that overlooks Colomitos Beach called Ocean Grill. You need to have a reservation ahead of time and there’s a minimum spend. It’s not really meant for stopping at while you’re on a hike.
Maraika Beach Club
About halfway through the trail, just when you’re ready for a cold drink you’ll run into Casitas Maraika. This is a boutique glamping hotel but they also have a restaurant/day club that’s open to the public. Casitas Maraika is what my dreams are made of! There’s plenty of daybeds to lounge on and sip a martini or nap in a hammock. The food and drinks are a little on the pricey side by Mexico standards, they’re more like U.S. prices, but I’ll pay premium for that view any day. Casitas Maraika caters to a crowd that usually arrives by yacht or fancy tourists, so maybe this is your scene maybe it’s not. If you’re on a budget or want awesome cheap Mexican food, hold off on eating lunch until you get to Playa Las Animas.
After leaving Casitas Maraika the trail leads through a small resort but the trail continues along behind the resort. There were signs directing to Playa Las Animas last time I was there.
Playa Las Animas
Playa Las Animas is a fun beach lined with restaurants and umbrellas. There’s a dock in the center to transport visitors from Puerto Vallarta by boat. Once you get further down from the dock it’s a great place to swim in the warm ocean water. If you have kids or just want to act like one this beach is very family friendly. Playa Las Animas offers options to use floating waterslide, rafts, and jet ski rides.
Getting Back to Boca de Tomatlan
Now, getting back to Boca de Tomatlan is actually really easy. If you don’t speak Spanish ask your server if they can help you get a boat ride back to Boca from the dock, they’ll usually flag someone down and tell you how much. Make sure to ask your server what a fair price is so you can negotiate (they will absolutely try to charge you more.) If you speak Spanish just ask any of the locals docked in the bay and you can negotiate a price. I’ve always split it with other people at the beach that wanted to leave around the same time and that works out well for everyone.
Thanks for Reading! Feel free to ask me any questions on instagram @madyinmexico and I’ll get back to you when I can!