Beachfront properties are a huge draw for investors and renters alike. It’s probably one of the top reasons that people move to and visit Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit. Seeing that the Bay of Banderas is amazingly diverse, and HUGE, your beachfront property options offer something to satisfy any lifestyle. From the surfers, who wants to spend their days swinging in a hammock between forays on a surfboard to billionaires who wants a safe, and secluded retreat from the madness of the business world— you can find it here in Vallarta.
Downtown Puerto Vallarta
Playa los Muertos and Playa Olas Altas
Playa Los Muertos and Playa Olas Altas, located in front of the Romantic Zone in Colonia Emiliano Zapata, are all about action. There are always a lot of people enjoying sand and surf during the high season (December- April), and restaurants and businesses abound. Though, surprisingly, the low season (May-November) can feel tranquil and even private. Los Muertos and Olas Altas are the perfect spot for taking your daily morning walk or run, and having a leisurely breakfast, lunch or cocktail in the afternoon. An amazing location for people watching, and enjoying the flavor of Mexico: Mariachis, beach vendors (I have a friend who visits every year and only shops for gifts on the beach), fresh sliced mangos, barbequed shrimp on a skewer, a foot massage, parasailing—you can get whatever you want and never leave the comfort of you beach chair and your cocktail. As real estate investments go, a condo on Playa Los Muertos or Playa Olas Altas is an excellent one. Resale is a breeze, and if you want to rent it out, it will rarely sit empty.
Playa Camarones is located at the foot of Colonia 5 de Diciembre, and is comparatively quiet. Fewer restaurants and vendors, though there are a couple of favorite spots. El Barracuda is a great brunch and cocktail hour restaurant. Here you can still be in town, but there is not the high level of activity that you have on Playa los Muertos and Playa Olas Altas. Playa Camarones is conveniently situated near shopping, and buses, so you can easily get to other parts of town. More street parking options are available, which means that owning a car is much less of a headache. The beach is very pretty and open, though, for swimming it is a little more treacherous, with some odd tides. This is where the lifeguards train, so that might give you some idea recommended swimming level. Property investment in this area is also great—with a number of smaller, seasonal units available. Here, too, you will have a brisk rental business, with a lot of repeat clients, as many visitors want the convenience of being in town, but also want a more quiet beachfront experience.
South Shore of Puerto Vallarta.
Playa Conchas Chinas
Just south of town is the gorgeous hillside above the bay known as Conchas Chinas. The beaches here are rocky and very scenic. With beautiful tide pools, and a variety of currents. Much of the actual coastline is populated with hotels and resorts, but there are a plethora villas, and condos, as well. The views here are unbeatable! Much more quiet, and mellow than being in town, with some pretty restaurants, such as the ever popular Lindo Mar Resort, which is always packed for their massive Sunday buffet brunch. The highway is busy, so owning a property next to it can be loud. Though, a property up the hill, or facing the ocean, will be much quieter. Investing here can be pricey, as many of the properties are more luxury oriented. Also, expect to do a fair amount of hiking up and down hills and stairs. You will probably also want a car, if you live in Conchas Chinas, as there are very few local services. If you plan on renting your property, expect a decent amount of interest, since many people know and love the area.
Playa Punta Negra
A personal favorite—the swimming here is excellent—with a nice cove making the tides less forceful than some of the other Bay of Banderas beaches. There are some very beautiful condos available in Punta Negra. With superb views, parking, and a great feeling of getting away from it all. You’re farther out of town, though, so car ownership is pretty much a necessity. That, or you can rely on the local buses and taxis, as there are no services at all in this area. An investment here is great, since it’s still close to town, but the vacation rental market is a little sluggish, seeing that transportation is an issue.
Playa Garza Blanca
Pretty white sand beaches, and a luxurious residential club with full ownership and fractional ownership options. This is an exquisite resort, which is very private and highly secure, for owners and travelers who want to enjoy a feeling of safety. The area is also surrounded by vast jungles, with great hiking, for taking a break from the beach. Five star dining, impeccable service, and all the amenities you can imagine, which means you never need to leave the resort area. Though, you are still only about 15 minutes from Puerto Vallarta.
Mismaloya and Beyond
This underappreciated jewel in the crown of the Bay of Banderas, is a little farther south on Highway 200 from Vallarta, by about 20 minutes. Living out here has a dreamlike quality. A great beach, nestled in a calm cove; gorgeous views all around with the Sierra Madres as a backdrop, and beautiful Los Arcos floating out in the Bay. You can almost imagine that you’re basking in Sorrento on the Amalfi coast of Italy. People who live down here, are passionate, and will tell you about the great little eateries; the zoo, (where you can feed the hippo and giraffe!) and the quaint and friendly town. You don’t have all of the action and nightlife of Puerto Vallarta, but this is the perfect paradise getaway. Reasonably priced condos are available directly above the beach, and, for the more intrepid, there are extraordinary villas and condos just up the hill on Lomas De Mismaloya, with mind-blowing views. Vacation rentals are not as brisk out this way, but the people who know it, LOVE it!
Boca de Tomatlan
There are houses and villas around Boca, but this area is mostly known for boat and water taxi arrival and embarkation to Yelapa and other spots not easily accessible via car. Some interesting villas dot the hillside, but most tend to be more rustic. Also, a few vacation rentals and B&Bs can be found, which are fun and offbeat. Beach restaurants offer some interesting people watching, and you’re also at the mouth of the Rio Horcones, with some lovely hiking opportunities in the area. This is definitely a choice for the visitor who wants a simpler Mexican experience. More isolated but, but still only about 30 minutes from Vallarta.
Yelapa, Las Animas, Quimixto, and Caletas
For utter and complete seclusion, Yelapa, and the surrounding little villages are an excellent choice. No traffic, a slower pace and lush vegetation everywhere you turn. Just hang your hammock and dream the island dream. Internet and some modern amenities are available, but you’re definitely choosing a more rugged lifestyle. Supplies are all brought by water taxi, so you need to coordinate your week around periodic boat trips back and forth to civilization. Lots of artists, musicians, and spiritual folk choose Yelapa, making the locals far from boring. These areas are ejidal (part of the indigenous concession) meaning that technically you cannot own the land, though you can apply for a long-term lease. Properties range from a luxurious resort to simple casitas.
Hotel Zone and the Marina
Playa Tranquila, Playa Las Glorias, Playa de Oro, Playa Los Tules
These are the beaches that line the coast of the Bay of Banderas between downtown and the Marina Vallarta. This stretch is more hotel and resort oriented. Properties are primarily condos, or fractional ownership arrangements. That being said, these beachfront spots are particularly terrific for investment purposes, as vacation rentals tend to be very brisk, since the sand and surf is right at your doorstep and you are minutes away from downtown and the airport. Many families and high-season visitors love the feel of a resort area and these beaches really fit the bill.
Playa Tranquila is in front of the Sheraton Buganvilias Hotel, and lives up to its name. Softer surf, and more sedate.
Playa Las Glorias does not have easy street access, so it tends to be frequented primarily by the visitors and owners at the hotels and resorts. Family oriented with good swimming in the Bay. Very much the resort feel—all-inclusive hotels abound. Plaza Pelicanos and Plaza Las Glorias are nearby, with easy access to transportation and shopping.
Playa Los Tules and Playa de Oro are wide and accommodating beaches that lie at the foot of the Holiday Inn and the Peninsula condo complex. Easy public access via a well used road running along the Rio Pitillal. Because of this, you have some more activity from local residents, and the wildlife around here is varied and exciting. In addition, a fair amount of horseback riding can be found along the beach.
Playa el Salado at the Marina, is very condo resort and hotel oriented, but due to this, these beaches are very well maintained. Quite sedate during the low season, but busy during the high-season with snowbirds and vacationers. The proximity to the Marina is terrific, for boat rentals, shopping and dining. Some excellent restaurants are in the area, ranging from high-end, such as the Sonora Prime Grill to yummy salads and paninis at one of my favorites, Barra Light. The Marina has a completely different feel, with a golf course, immaculately maintained gardens and homes, good shopping— a very San Diego, California-like atmosphere.
The state bordering Jalisco to the North. While most of these areas are accessible via public transportation, having a car is really a MUST, for shopping and getting around.
Nuevo Vallarta: Playa Flamingo
These are clean and mellow tide beaches. Highly secured by the hotels and resorts that run the length of Nuevo Vallarta. So, if you’re looking for a location without public access, this is it. Many people prefer this area because of the modern and luxurious feel, and there are numerous beachfront condos available. The developments include a lot of amenities and range from full to fractional ownership properties. Because of the proximity to the airport, and the resort ambience, many vacationers look for rentals out this way, making it a good place to invest if you want to cover the costs of your property maintenance fees, and upkeep.
Friendly and very relaxed, with lots of beach space, good restaurants and bars, and a quaint Mexican village. About 17,000 residents, in Bucerias, mostly Mexican, but a good number of expats, too. A very welcoming feel—many people adore living here. Beautiful condos, and villa properties are available on this 5-mile stretch of beach. Prices range from high to low, but you can find some good deals. It’s a little more off the beaten path, so the vacation renters that you get will most likely already be familiar with this charming area.
La Cruz de Huanacaxtle: Playa la Manzanilla and Playa Destiladeras
La Cruz is situated about mid way between Bucerias and Punta de Mita, and is a 30 minute ride into downtown Puerto Vallarta. This is a quiet community, surrounded by pretty beaches, and with its own marina to dock your boat, making it a great option for sailors. Bustling is not a word frequently used for La Cruz. So, if you’re looking for tranquility, you’ve scored big time! There are some gorgeous developments in this area. Alamar Resort, for example, offers beautiful ocean and jungle views, with an elegant beach club. Too, there are a lot of other options for purchase here in La Cruz from simple casitas to luxury villas. Nice beaches, good restaurants and an excellent Farmers’ Market on Sundays during the high-season. Vacation rentals can be a challenge, though, as there’s not a lot to do here other than to kick-back and relax, since it’s a little far from the action. But sometimes some peace and quiet is just what the doctor ordered.
Punta de Mita: Playa el Anclote
Playa Anclote is a perfect spot for spending the day—or the rest of your life, if you’re lucky! The beach is protected from some of the stronger ocean currents by a peninsula of land hugging the area. Here you can while away the hours at one of the many palapa style restaurants eating perfectly prepared seafood, sipping a drink and utterly and completely forgetting about your worries back home. The children have a gentle beach to swim in, which is always a plus for mom and dad. Punta de Mita has several personalities. One is that of a sleepy fishing village, with easy and less expensive access to boat rental to take advantage of a day on the bay. The other is that of a super elegant and luxurious resort. This is where the rich and famous (or the rich and discreet) come to play and get away from it all. Fabulous condos and villas abound. And, we just heard that Bill Gates bought the Four Seasons Hotel and Resort out this way, to give you an idea of what to expect. Great golfing, exquisite architecture, any amenity that you can imagine—it’s all here in Punta de Mita.
Heading north from Punta de Mita is the exclusive resort area of Litibu. Gorgeous golfing, perfect beaches, with some stronger tides, as you are now directly on the ocean and not protected by the Bay of Banderas, there is a lot of surfing in the area. Also, some very eco-friendly property ownership options are available, which are nestled in the beautiful jungle. You can purchase your own lot at Rancho Litibu and build the house of your dreams.
Punta Sayulita and Sayulita
Punta Sayulita is up from Litibu and is located at the very point on the ocean that leads into the Bay of Sayulita. Another beautiful jungle hideaway, with some spectacular lots and development properties available for purchase and construction. We can’t say anything about Sayulita that hasn’t already been said. A beautiful and totally unique spot on the Riviera Nayarit. Here you can surf, shop, eat, and flashback to 60’s. A little piece of Santa Cruz California tucked away on the west coast of Mexico. The properties here range from simple open-air casitas to luxury villas. Pretty much anything goes on this beach. A great spot for people watching and for letting your freak flag fly!