A Beach Bum’s Guide to Mexico’s West Coast
Mexico’s Pacific coast offers that unique blend of wonderful weather, soft sand, great food at low prices and a laid back atmosphere perfectly suited for any beach bum. If you’re looking for one of the best regions for great beaches, you’ve found it on Mexico’s west coast and you can spend days or weeks exploring the region and making your way south.
The Best Time for Visiting the Pacific Coast
The best time for visiting any Mexican beach, including those on the west coast, is from November through May. You may want to avoid the tourist seasons, both during the Easter and Christmas holidays and from July through August if you want to escape the crowds and just take in the natural beauty of the region. Avoid staying from August through September, when the weather becomes terribly humid and insects are a real problem. August through November also raises the risk of rough waters from heavy storms, which may be a concern if you plan to take in some diving during your stay.
Puerto Vallarta — also known as PV or just Vallarta — is a beach lover’s dream come true. With palm trees gently swaying, mariachi music playing in the distance and the old-world charm of cobblestone streets, you can’t go wrong in this beach community that’s popular with travelers and tourists from all over the world. PV has some of the most well-known beaches on the Pacific coast, too, the liveliest of which is, ironically, Playa de Los Muertos, or the Beach of the Dead. Puerto Vallarta really became popular after it was used as the background for the 1964 film “The Night of the Iguana,” and it’s where the two stars formed an off-screen romance.
Santa Cruz is for the slightly more adventurous traveler. This small village sits right behind a beautiful rocky beach and surrounded by jungle. Santa Cruz, like PV, is just pure Mexico with friendly locals, adobe homes and cobblestone streets. Santa Cruz beaches are ideal for kids and adults alike as the bay itself is far away from open sea with tranquil, calm waters. Santa Cruz offers, above all else, an unforgettable experience and the ideal setting for any type of water sports you may enjoy, such as jet skiing, windsurfing, snorkeling, swimming and diving.
Barra de Navidad
Barra de Navidad is a small community in the state of Jalisco along the Pacific with plenty of fun beaches to check out. You can fly directly to Manzanillo, just south of PV, and then take a shuttle to Barra de Navidad to soak up the sun on the shore. The main beach here is Playa Principal, where surfers go for great waves along the entrance to the nearby lagoon. The beach has a steep slope which causes waves to break very close to the shore. If you want to do a little beachcombing or fishing, head just south of town to Playa de Cocos.