Puerto Vallarta’s Boca de Tomatlan trail: five points for the hike, ten points for the coconut

This winter trip South is an annual trip. Something we do as a family to break up the winter in February, but we’re not 100% resort people so at least a few days are spent elsewhere. This time we ventured out for a hike to see the sites and sweat out the tequila.

The public bus from the hotel took us directly to the top of Boca de Tomatlan where the trail starts. Going down the road through the village a few people tried to sell us a boat tour, a taxi ride, and a few other things. Eventually, a nice man noticed my sister’s hiking shoes and pointed us toward the trail start. At the center of the area, water flows inland like a river, and a small sandy pathway across it is used by people to tan and rest; boats docked on the riverbank and along the shore.

Hiking the Puerto Vallarta's Boca de Tomatlan trail: a man resting on a private white dock, blue ocean in the background
Hiking the Puerto Vallarta's Boca de Tomatlan trail: a secluded sandy beach with tall palm trees and clear blue sky

The hike is well-marked with maps and directional signs throughout. Quick five minutes into it I had to change out of the flip-flops into hiking shoes. Another few minutes up the hill the hair went up and the sweat began to form. It is not a complicated hike but it ain’t no beach walk: up and down steep stairs, hills, climbing over rocks and trees, down to the sandy beaches, and back up again. And again and again.

The route takes you to Colomitos, a small hidden beach otherwise only accessible by boat. A couple of street vendors make food on land but the Ocean Grill Vallarta restaurant, across the bridge, seemed like a great idea. Sadly, it didn’t quite turn out as expected and resulted in mild food poisoning. Back up and around the hill, past a couple of smaller beaches, the path takes you to Cabo Corrientes. This is a stunning beach with tall palm trees, volcanic rocks, and waves gracefully crashing into the sand.

Near what looks like an eco-resort is a fun bar that I desperately wanted to relax in and cleanse my palette after that terrible lunch. But sadly we were running out of daytime. Up the road from the bar, a man watering the plants agreed to sell us a coconut from a neat pile near him. Filled to the top with clear coconut water this was the most delicious and reviving sip of liquid I’ve ever had and still cannot stop thinking about. Best 3 dollars ever spent.

Hiking the Puerto Vallarta's Boca de Tomatlan trail: fishing boats in front of a busy beach

The trail ends at the Las Animas beach. Being the most popular stop on the hike this beach is packed with shops and restaurants. Crowds are flocking to the dock in search of a ride home. There is no organization or order here, it’s a kind of a free-for-all. Anything that looks like a line is likely a tour or a cruise ship crowd waiting for their ride. Boat taxis swim up and call out various destinations, including Boca, one of those will take you home for cash money.

What I loved most about the hike is nature. The trail gives you an opportunity to spot less populated beaches, wildlife, smaller and more interesting resorts, and stunning views of the ocean. It’s different here, quiet, almost tranquil.

Quick link to trail details here.

In the gear bag: Fujifilm X-T100 with an XF50mmF2 R WR lens and occasionally iPhone X. To see the trip on Instagram look up #xoVallarta19

Hiking the Puerto Vallarta's Boca de Tomatlan trail: a bird of pray sitting on a rock with wings spread open
Hiking the Puerto Vallarta's Boca de Tomatlan trail: fishing boats out on the blue water

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