Vallarta Beach Crawl

I don’t do the Vallarta Beach Crawl often; however, it’s fun to expose first time Puerto Vallarta visitors to a small variety of easily accessed Banderas Bay beaches that they may not get to otherwise and they do always seem to request a repeat expedition in following visits. Over the years, I have fine tuned a route. 

Karen's Place, BuceriasTo be honest, this crawl is really about eating and drinking so, depending on hunger levels, we sometimes start at Karen’s Place in Bucerias for a late breakfast.A long time favorite of both visitors and locals, Karen’s Place is on the beach in front of Costa Dorada Suites.Karen has lived here for many years and she knows how to operate a restaurant.

The ambiance is thoroughly pleasant, the food is great and there is a choice of seating: either outside soaking up the sun, or under the roof and fans.  The beach palapas do somewhat impede the bay view, so enjoy the food and the view will improve at the next stop.

Next stop: Playa Destiladeras . 

I read somewhere that the name   came from a freshwater waterfall, now extinct.  Literally translated, it means ‘Distillers Beach’, so perhaps it was once a source of Mexican moonshine, otherwise known as Raicilla, (rye-see-yah) Side note: this is a homegrown version of tequila or mezcal that has just recently begun to become ‘legitimized’ through branding and flavoring.   Regardless of the name origin, this is a spectacular setting, not easily captured in a photograph. 

Destiladeras Beach - 1Playa Destiladeras is located about fifteen minutes north of Cruz de Huanacaxtle. It is an easy beach to miss, so keep your eyes peeled for the sign which denotes a new development called the Nahui Resort, marking the south end of the beach. This commercial and residential development has never actually materialized and most locals are grateful.  Bask in the glory and vastness of the ocean, while scanning the horizon for breaching whales.

The sales presentation tables at Destiladeras Beach are still here and we can sit at a nice table and order an ice cold Pacifico.  I say ice cold because I have been clever enough to bring an insulated beer sleeve.  I have lived here long enough to know that unless you drink fast, it won’t be an ice cold Pacifico for long.

Head for the ocean, by all means!  I might call out, “Watch for the undertow!” or simply observe. Destiladeras Beach -2 Isn’t it every seventh wave that’s the biggest?    

Or I may ignore you and take in the unsurpassed view… unsurpassed until we get to the next beach, that is.

Next stop:  Punta Mita. 

Punta Mita Beach - 2Punta Mita, 14 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, is an interesting small town dichotomy of wealth and poverty.  The Four Seasons Resort is unobtrusively located right next door. Thierry Blouet, of Café des Artistes fame, has a boutique hotel and restaurant on the beach here and this has long been the weekend retreat of the more affluent locals.    

Yet, the ubiquitous Mexican beach restaurant is easily found and that is where we stop.  We will only stop for a cold beverage here and perhaps a quick swim…for you, that is, I will sit under the palapa in the nearest restaurant and enjoy yet another Pacifico accompanied by yet another spectacular view.

Heading to Sayulita:

Sayulita has a curious eclectic quality and is frequented by native Cora and Huichol peoples, traveling craftsmen, as well as international tourists.  A Mecca for beginner surfers of all ages, this quaint town attracts upscale tourists with its numerous art galleries Sayulita Beach -2and restaurants as well.  Unless you want to shop, we will avoid the main town and head over to the less populated north side of the river, to my favorite beach restaurant, La Terrazola.

They advertise, “Terrazola has had a presence in Sayulita for many years, after you visit us once, you will return again and again.” 

I concur.  This is my favorite stop in Sayulita.  Let’s while away a few hours playing cards or dominoes here and enjoy one of their delicious shrimp quesadillas for lunch.

We will leave Sayulita in time for a Puerto Vallarta sunset, if only to avoid the winding highway back to PV in the dark.  Alternatively, we might want to watch the sunset from Bucerias at El Brujo’s beach chairs; your choice.

It’s your vacation. It’s your choice to stay in your area, to go exploring, to drive, to be driven.  Let us know.  At, ‘Drucillas Rentals’ team will do whatever we can to make this a most memorable vacation for you and your group.