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About the Boca de Tomatlan to Playa Las Animas hike
Relatively unknown, but becoming more popular over the past few years, the Boca de Tomatlan to Playa Las Animas hike is the perfect secluded getaway from the stunning port city of Puerto Vallarta. This day long adventure will take you through coastal jungles and leave you relaxed on notably stunning beaches.
Completing the hike straight through, without stopping, will take you around 2 hours. The Boca de Tomatlan to Playa Las Animas trail is an easy mixture of cobbled paths and jungle dirt trails. Even though the hike is not long, roughly 2.5 miles you should plan for a full day’s adventure, because what’s the point of hiking to multiple secluded beaches if you do not take the time to relax and enjoy them!
How to get to the start of this Puerto Vallarta day trip
There are two ways to get to Boca de Tomatlan from Puerto Vallarta. The first, and more expensive option, would be to take the water taxi from the Los Muertos Pier or you can take the local bus from the corner of Basilio Badillo and Calle Constituction. Located just past Nacho Daddy, in front of the OXXO, this bus is orange and white and runs every 20 minutes. The bus will cost you 8 pesos and takes around 20-30 minutes to arrive to Boca de Tomatlan.
Not only will taking the bus to Boca de Tomatlan save you money, it lets you experience a little more of Mexico and this unique area. Most likely you will be taking the boat back to Puerto Vallarta from the end of the day hike at Playa Las Animas.
You can always hike back to Boca de Tomatlan but I recommend enjoying your time on the beaches and getting the sunset boat ride back to Puerto Vallarta. It’s quite nice, and you then get to experience and see another side of Mexico, on the water.
Items you might need for this Puerto Vallarta day hike
Being such an easy and short hike you will mostly only need the beach essentials, sunscreen, snacks, sarong and water.
If you don’t have anything packed in Puerto Vallarta, you are able to purchase food and snacks in Boca de Tomatlan. At the end of the day in Playa Las Animas, there are beachside restaurants and food stands, so you don’t have to worry about packing lunch.
As for hiking equipment I did the hike in my trail running shoes and my girlfriend did it in sandals. Shoes are not absolutely necessary, if you are comfortable enough walking in sandals it should be fine, there are only a couple short parts of the hike that real shoes would be preferable.
The beginning of the trail is cobbled from Boca de Tomatlan, there is a little section in the jungle, that goes up and down and then after that its mostly finishing along the beach.
The AMAZING Beaches you will explore
Starting with Boca de Tomatlan there are 5 or so beaches that you pass before arriving to Playa Las Animas.
As you make your way to Playa Las Animas the beaches get progressively larger and nicer.
Colomitos Cove is the first and most popular beach, due to its closeness to Boca. A lot of people only walk to here and then stop. Also if its the weekend be prepared for the beach to be full! Colomitos Cove is small, it literally is a cove, and if you stop your hike here you will miss out on way nicer beaches.
The next beach, just after Colomitos Cove is slightly bigger and it has some nice shade. This beach is completely secluded and usually avoided by the boat tourists, making it a good spot to stop, swim, and rest for a while.
From here the beaches get larger and are more built up with bungalows and resorts dotted along the coastline.
Playa Los Animas is the most developed of all the beaches. It is also the most popular, due to boat-day-trippers that come strait from Puerto Vallarta.
About the Hiking trail - Boca de Tomatlan to Playa Las Animas
Starting out at Boca de Tomatlan’s bus stop, you walk strait down the road towards town and the ocean. Along this road you will be bombarded by guys asking if you need a boat ride, which you can take if you don’t want to hike, but for those of you that are hiking that is all you need to say and they will let you be.
When you get to the end of the road on the right hand side is the beach, boats and ocean. On the left is where you turn to continue walking. You walk along this road until you come to the concrete pedestrian bridge, that you cross to start the main trail. The bridge is located past a parking lot on Calle la Cascada and there will be signs for the La Posada Pacifica hotel.
Once you are across the bridge you follow the path towards your right. This path weaves through houses and follows the coast around to the point of the bay. Just keep to the coast and you will be fine. If you need help ask for Colomitos Cove.
Outsidevibes Travel Wild Tip
The stretch from Boca to Colomitos Cove takes about an hour. Once you get past the first point, through all of the houses, the trail opens up to the jungle. This leg is also the hardest part, with the most up’s and down’s. On the actual jungle path you will find signs marking how far you have gone and what the next beach is.
At Colomitos Cove the trail picks back up on the opposite side of the beach via high concrete steps. After heading up the steps you then pass through the jungle for a few minutes until you arrive at Playa Escondida. This beach is very secluded, shaded, and my favorite of the hike.
Once you get past Playa Escondida you are done with the hardest parts of the hike and onto the final jungle stretch leading to Playa las Animas. Upon finishing this short jungle section you will start walking across stunning beaches and bungalow filled resorts until you reach Playa los Animas.
My experience of this beachside hike
I wanted to title this post Hungover Hike because that is what this was for my girlfriend and I. We may have went out the night before the hike and enjoyed a few too many 16 peso margaritas. I am always the early riser, even with that, but Emma is not. So I was surprised that I got her up, breakfast done and a few errands ran, before we caught the 10am bus to Boca de Tomatlan.
I had been looking forward to completing this hike since my mother and I attempted it 6 months prior, but we never made it past Colomitos Cove. By the time Emma and I got to Boca Emma’s energy was quickly turning. The next few hours were full of struggle and sickness as we crept along this beautiful jungle coast, only looking forward to the next beach to sit and rest.
We spent way too much time at the beach just past Colomitos Cove, even though it was desperately needed. By the time we got further along and saw how stunning these later beaches were, we had no energy or ambition to truly enjoy them. The only thing on our mind was to make it to Los Animas so we could be done.
We arrived to Los Animas with just enough time to enjoy a fresh coconut and short swim before catching last boat of the day back to Boca. There were no more directly to Puerto Vallarta otherwise we would have gladly paid the extra to do that. Just so we could get back to our hotel earlier for a bed and food.
Final thoughts about the Boca de Tomatlan to Playa los Animas hike
I am a sucker for any hike but the hike from Boca de Tomatlan to Playa los Animas hungover was not what I had in mind. The hike took us way longer than planned, we had a few unexpected pit stops and not as much beach time. Even hungover the beaches are stunning and the hike itself is nice and chill. Anyway fresh air always makes my head feel better.
For other great activities around Puerto Vallarta check out my budget post for the city or visit the Destination Mexico page to learn more about this area of Mexico.
Great post thanks! We went to playa caballo (the first one north of las animas) by boat from voca de tomatlan, had I read this before I would have hiked it instead of the boat we took. Again great post thanks
Ooo thats a nice beach also! And thank you for the kind words! Yeah the hike is really nice, will have to do it next time haha. That’s what I did! I was so happy to come back to Puerto Vallarta just to finish the whole hike. Happy Adventures!
We did this hike last year, IN Reverse! From Boca, we took a water taxi to Los Animas by 11:30 am, ate lunch, swam, then set off on the hike back to Boca. That way we didn’t worry about getting stuck there if we missed the last taxi back. The hike took way longer than we thought and we got back to Boca around 5 PM.
Great day, awesome memory!
That is such a smart idea, Jennifer! haha, I did not even think about doing it backward. Yeah, it definitely gives you a bit more time and flexibility to go slow and make your way back. Plus the better beaches are in the middle. Happy Adventures!
Do you happen to know what time the last boat from Playa Los Animas to Puerto Vallarta is? I don’t imagine me and my girlfriend will be in the same shape as you and Emma were. But I like to keep an eye on the clock regardless. Thanks!
It is not an easy trail…. Wear damn good shoes and bring your bravery cuz it is a hike not a walk.
We bailed at the second beach as it was awful. It is a hike with a capital H!!