The Bay of Banderas, Mexico’s largest bay, is known globally for its stunning beaches, vibrant restaurant & nightlife scene, artist galleries, and seasonal farmer markets. But off the tourist track, the bay provides dozens of hiking trails that attract nature lovers and trekkers to the mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and scenic vistas.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Boca de Tomatlán to Las Animas
The most popular hike in the Bay of Banderas is the one between Boca de Tomatlán and Las Animas. This intermediate-level hike takes you from the picturesque town of Boca de Tomatlán over several passes providing glimpses of hidden beaches and turquoise waters. Along the five-kilometer hike, you will find restaurants, boutique hotels, and beach clubs.
Once at Las Animas, enjoy the beach and all types of water activities before catching a stunning water taxi ride bike to Boca or all the way to Los Muertos Beach.
El Salto Waterfall
Departing from Paso Ancho, this challenging, out-and-back hike takes you across the Rio Cuale twice and up steep hills into the tropical jungle that surrounds Puerto Vallarta. Along the way look for tropical birds, steers, coatis (a cute, long-tailed cousin of the raccoon), and local flora.
Breathtaking views of the bay await you as you reach the top of the trail. Your destination is El Salto waterfall which provides the perfect place to cool off by leaping into the cool, sweet waters of the Cuale. Reward yourself with a delicious Mexican lunch at Moro Paraiso on the banks of the river at the end of a perfect afternoon.
El Cerro del Mono
Located in Nayarit, this adventurous trail will take you to the top of El Cerro del Mono offering sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean.
You will depart from the community of Higuera Blanca and trek uphill to the 1,150 ft high peek which offers unobstructed, 360-degree views of Punta Mita, the Marietas Islands, Sayulita and the unspoiled beaches of Nayarit. Once you have descended, stop off for lunch in Punta Mita to treat yourself to a margarita and delicious seafood.
Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, these adventurous outings will get the blood pumping and provide lasting memories that will have you dreaming of your to Vallarta
Pro-Tip: Download the Trailblazer App to guide you to an amazing way to spend the day.