In October, Beth and I decided to do a long weekend trip to Puerto Vallarta. This was Beth’s fall break and it was a perfect excuse for a beach vacation. We stayed 4 nights at the Sheraton Bunganvillas near downtown Puerto Vallarta. A full review on that hotel later but we loved our stay there. While our main purpose was to be beach bums, we had one hike on our itinerary which from Boca de Tomatlan to Las Animas beach, picture above!
Above is the map of the hike we did from Boca de Tomatlan to Las Animas. We stopped at Los Colomitos for a while as it was so serene. Hattip to Live Dream Discover for outlining all the details of the hike and how to get there!
Boca de Tomatlan
From the Sheraton we grabbed a taxi early in the morning as we wanted to beat the heat. It is very hot and humid in Puerto Vallarta in October. We headed to Boca de Tomatlan, a small fishing village 30 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta. The drive hugged the coast and the driver was friendly but quiet. Once in the small town of Boca we headed along the river away from the ocean to a bridge to cross the river. This is the first part of the trail and we captured a perfect sunrise over the jungle mountains. On the other side of the river we walked back towards the ocean walking past many shanties but also many mansions. It was very strange to see wealthy right on top of poor.
Boca sits in a little bay and as we headed out on the trail we stopped to look back at the little village before the trail turns south and into the jungle. This part of the trail goes through the jungle and mountains. This portion was relativity well kept.
Playa Los Colomitos
Within an hour of starting we arrived on the first of the four beaches, Los Colomitos. Wow, simply breathtaking beach. It is a small sandy beach surrounded by weathered rocks. Right behind the sandy beach was a cool waterfall that drained down into the ocean. Honestly, it was one of my favorite beaches we have been too! Side note, Southwest airlines had a picture of the beach on their in flight magazine in December, even better in person!
We had the beach to ourselves just for a couple minutes. A group came in via boat, the cheating way! They were doing maternity pictures and I don’t fault them as it was a perfect spot. We were also joined by two furry friends, one dog came with the group on the boat while a giant Great Dane appeared out of the jungle. No joke. There is a restaurant at the end of the small bay and we think it must have been from there even though it wasn’t open yet.
To get back on the trail you have to scramble up a rock face that goes along the river. It is not obvious if you look at ground level but if you look up about 15 feet you can see the trail. Be careful on the rock face! When we went up, the Great Dane decided to go out ahead of us. He came back to say good bye when we made it up the rock and he made back down. Truly impressive that the giant dog could do it with ease.
Back on the trail! This section was a little rougher but it meanders along the coast with some amazing views when looking back towards Puerto Vallarta. The trail was pretty slippery with lots of loose gravel so be careful. Both of us slipped and fell which is unusual for us. Definitely wear shoes! The trail goes through a couple resorty places that look like a perfect place to stay at near La Troza. We actually saw the group from the boat again, they took a boat back to one of the fancy resorts. Also we saw only one other person hiking the trail the entire time.
Playa del Caballo
Eventually we made to the third beach which is just before Las Animas. Not a single other person was on it.
Playa Las Animas
From there we took the last bend and made it to Las Animas before the big crowds came in around lunchtime. We setup shop at La Caracol (it means snail) with some chairs, drinks, and food. A perfect way to end a hike.
We ended up lounging around for a couple of hours just people watching. It wasn’t particularly busy when we went but there were still some characters. I only had one margarita but damn it was strong, no need for a second one. It was delicious too!
After spending most of the day there we asked the restaurant for a water taxi back to Boca. The water taxi was a tiny little boat but it was fun getting a different perspective. We could see most of the trail we hiked from Boca to Las Animas from the water. Sure beat hiking back!
If you head to Puerto Vallarta we definitely recommend making a trip to Las Animas! Either hike there or take a boat! Some excursions directly from Puerto Vallarta go there, a perfect day trip.