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I wasn’t expecting much from the hiking in Puerto Vallarta. 

But, after trekking and climbing through national parks all over Mexico, I can still surprisingly say that that the hiking in Puerto Vallarta is some of the best in the country! 

I did nine hikes in Puerto Vallarta during my six-week stay, and documented every detail so you can follow in my footsteps. 

These step-by-step hiking guides include how to get to the trails (even if you don’t have a car), important landmarks to look out for (so you don’t get lost or confused in the jungle), what to pack, how much money we spent on the day trips, and more. 

Basically, if you want to hike in Puerto Vallarta on your vacation, bookmark this article because it has all the info you need to know to climb mountains, discover hidden coves, and visit waterfalls on the best trails in the city. 

This Puerto Vallarta hiking guide will take you on nine, yes NINE, awesome hikes to discover:

  • Yelapa Waterfall 
  • Quimixto Waterfall 
  • Nogalito Waterfall 
  • Monkey Mountain
  • Sayulita to San Pancho Hike
  • Boca to Animas Beach Hike
  • Vallarta Botanical Gardens
  • Amapas to Lindo Mar Beach Walk
  • and the Mirador La Cruz Viewpoint

So enough with this intro, let’s get to the goods!! (For your convenience, hikes are listed by location, with four to the south of Puerto Vallarta, two to the north of Puerto Vallarta, one to the east, and two that begin in the city center.)

Want more of the outdoors? Join our new Sustainable Hiking Collective on Facebook to connect with the international hiking community, discover new destinations, join virtual trail cleanups, and take part in monthly sustainability challenges! 

 

couple swimming at the Yelapa Waterfall

 

1. Yelapa Waterfall

Where: 2 hours south of Puerto Vallarta
Difficulty: Easy

Yelapa waterfall is ones of the easiest hikes in Puerto Vallarta.

From Yelapa beach (which took the number one spot on my ranking of the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta) it’s just a quick 20-minute walk up the stairs and through town to the waterfall.

But, there’s also a second, farther, and even more secluded waterfall in Yelapa for those of you looking for more of a challenge. What can I say, Yelapa is a crowdpleaser!

Hike to Yelapa waterfall with my step-by-step guide (or visit it on a guided Yelapa tour from Airbnb).

 

Quimixto waterfall, swimming hole, and restaurant in the jungle

 

2. Quimixto Waterfall

Where: 2 hours south of Puerto Vallarta
Difficulty: Easy

I like Quimixto more than Yelapa because the hike is a little more work (which I enjoy) and the beach is even more secluded (read: completely empty).

The hike to Quimixto waterfall takes about 30 minutes on well-maintained trails through the jungle. You might have to pass a horse or two but you’ll be rewarded with cold beer at the picturesque waterfall restaurant and an even colder swimming hole to take a well-deserved dip!

Hike to Quimixto Waterfall with my step-by-step guide (or visit it on a guided Quimixto tour from Airbnb).

 

Casitas Maraika resort, one of the stops on the hike from Boca to Animas beach

 

4. Boca to Animas Beach

Where: 1 hour south of Puerto Vallarta
Difficulty: Moderate 

If you only have time for one of the hikes in Puerto Vallarta, the Boca to Animas Beach trek should be it.

This hike starts in the small town of Boca de Tomatlan and takes you on a four-mile journey down the coast to hidden coves that are only accessible by foot or boat, like the tiny Colomitos Beach and the picture-perfect Casitas Maraika beach resort.

Then, it all culminates at Animas Beach where you can swim, eat, drink, and catch a water taxi back home!

Hike from Boca to Animas Beach with my step-by-step guide (or do it on a guided Animas tour from Airbnb).

 

Large boulders and river swimming hole at the Nogalito Waterfall

 

3. Nogalito Waterfall

Where: 20 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta
Difficulty: Moderate

Leave the beaches behind on this upriver excursion to the Nogalito Waterfall.

The small town of Nogalito is easy to reach on a 15-minute bus ride from downtown Puerto Vallarta, but the hike is a little more difficult. Most of it goes over the rocks in the river itself (rather than a trail), so wear shoes that can get wet!

I gave the Nogalito hike a moderate rating because of all the climbing up and down the boulders, but being stuck in the river is also nice because the cold water and shaded banks kept us cool the entire time.

Plus, we were the only ones out there (even in high season) so we got the tiny beach and waterfall swimming hole all to ourself 🙂

Hike to Nogalito waterfall with my step-by-step guide (or do it on a guided Nogalito tour from Airbnb).

 

View of the Puerto Vallarta coastline from the top of Monkey Mountain

 

4. Monkey Mountain

Where: 1.5 hours north of Puerto Vallarta
Difficulty: Moderate 

Monkey Mountain is a 5.8 mile out and back hike about 1.5 hours north of Puerto Vallarta.

On one hand, Monkey Mountain has the best views of the coastline from anywhere in Puerto Vallarta, but one the other hand, there is that there is no river or beach to swim in – so this trek is HOT. But fun!

There’s a rock scramble at the top and a real feeling of satisfaction that a lot of the the other easier / flatter hikes in Puerto Vallarta just don’t give you.

Climb Monkey Mountain with my step-by-step guide (or do it on a guided Monkey Mountain tour from Airbnb).

 

colorful flags hanging on a street in Sayulita

 

5. Sayulita to San Pancho 

Where: 1.5 hours north of Puerto Vallarta
Difficulty: Hard

Sayulita to San Pancho is one of the least popular hikes in Puerto Vallarta because it comes with a few formidable obstacles. Namely, the fact that you need to climb a 12-foot fence and walk down the side of a highway (with no shoulder) to complete it.

But, honestly, I still like it because it winds through a super thick jungle, takes a break on a completely empty beach, offers up dope views of the coast (second only to Monkey Mountain), and starts in Sayulita, the coolest surf town in Puerto Vallarta!

If you’re looking for off-the-beaten path hiking in Puerto Vallarta beyond the typical tourist circuit, the Sayulita to San Pancho trek is it.

Hike from Sayulita to San Pancho with my step-by-step guide! 

 

paved road at the entrance to the Vallarta Botanical Gardens

 

7. Vallarta Botanical Garden

Where: 1 hour east of Puerto Vallarta
Difficulty: Easy

The Botanical Garden in Puerto Vallarta covers 79 acres and wants to double its size in 2020. Even though it doesn’t make most lists of hiking in Puerto Vallarta, the garden actually has some legit hiking trails.

It’s expanding to become a better habitat for the jaguars in the area, so although you probably won’t see them (they’re too elusive to even be caught on camera), your entrance fee will support this goal!

At the Vallarta Botanical Gardens you can do a few small loops through curated gardens, a vanilla plantation, and more, but my favorite is on the Jaguar Trail which leads to a small beach and river swimming hole.

Hike the Vallarta Botanical Gardens with my step-by-step guide (or visit on a guided garden tour from Airbnb).

 

Amapas beach from above

 

8. Muertos to Lindo Mar Beach Walk

Where: in Puerto Vallarta
Difficulty: Easy 

Forget the bar crawls, this Puerto Vallarta beach crawl is way more fun.

This walking route will take you to four beaches over only one mile, and – best of all – it starts right on Muertos Beach in the center of Puerto Vallarta!

This is a great place to start hiking in Puerto Vallarta because it requires zero transportation and is  easy enough for all ages and fitness levels.

Walk from Muertos to Lindo Mar with my step-by-step guide!

 

View of Puerto Vallarta at night from the Mirador La Cruz viewpoint

 

9. Urban Hike to the Mirador La Cruz Viewpoint

Where: in Puerto Vallarta
Difficulty: Easy

Last but not least on our Puerto Vallarta hiking guide is the Mirador La Cruz viewpoint. This ‘hike’ is so easy to cross off your Puerto Vallarta bucket list that it didn’t even warrant a separate guide.

All you have to do it put it into your GPS and walk to it from anywhere in the center of the city! From the central Zona Romantica, this urban hike takes about 20 minutes to complete.

Once you make it to the top (one hill and, ok, kinda tall staircase later) you’ll get an insane view of the Bay of Banderas laid out beneath your feet. I strongly recommend going at sunset to watch the the lights come on as the city transitions from day to night.

No guide is necessary for this trip, just follow the steps above to enjoy the view at Mirador La Cruz! (But you can also visit it on this hidden streets of PV tour on Airbnb.)

 

stone pathway through the jungle in Puerto Vallarta

 

Bookmark this guide for all your hiking in Puerto Vallarta!

Follow these nine step-by-step guides to discover the best hiking in Puerto Vallarta.

From jungle trails to freshwater river treks, panoramic viewpoints to hidden beaches, rushing waterfalls to sandy shores, and everything in between, this round up has everything you need to hike in PV on your next trip!

Ready to go?

Explore unique stays on Airbnb – like this open-air earth house with a private pool or this 66 ft. yacht – and the top-rated hotels on Booking.com to plan the perfect night, weekend, or long-term stay in Puerto Vallarta.

Then, check out more food, nature, and cultural experiences on Airbnb to round out your itinerary (or book a multi-day Mexico tour with Intrepid to finish your travel planning in one click!).

Finally, join our new Sustainable Hiking Collective on Facebook to connect with the international hiking community, discover new destinations, join virtual trail cleanups, and take part in monthly sustainability challenges!

 

This article is part of the Puerto Vallarta Planner Series. Read the rest below:

Puerto Vallarta Travel Blog: Plan Your Trip With This Step-by-Step Guide

Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta: A Definitive Ranking

12 Best Beaches in Puerto Vallarta: Ranked

16 Things to Do in Puerto Vallarta at Night (On Any Budget)

6 Best Cheap Eats in Puerto Vallarta (With Map + Prices)

The Complete Guide to Craft Beer in Puerto Vallarta

16 Best Instagram Spots in Puerto Vallarta (for that perfect pic)

How to Change a Pup’s Life with SPCA Puerto Vallarta

Or, check out the complete Mexico Series for 50+ more articles on what to see, do, eat, drink, and discover in the country.

 

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Hiking in Puerto Vallarta Pinterest pin

 

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