If you’ve ever seen a picture of a waterfall, then you know how magnificent they can be. Experiencing the beauty and power of a waterfall up close is one of the most fun outdoor activities you can do in your lifetime, and if you’re heading out on one of the diverse Puerto Vallarta excursions that take you to the waterfalls near Puerto Vallarta, it may be one of the most memorable. If you find yourself visiting the city, one of Mexico’s most popular destinations, visiting a Puerto Vallarta waterfall is a must, especially since hiking in Puerto Vallarta is one of the best free and fun outdoor activities. Not only will you find the best waterfall hikes that take you through the stunning emerald-green jungles that blanket the coastal city, but you’ll also get a glimpse of what life is like outside the touristy town.
Of the different waterfalls near Puerto Vallarta, the closest is part of the Palo Maria river, just south of the city. The Palo Maria river runs from high in the mountains down to the ocean, with several cascades along the way. To get to this Puerto Vallarta waterfall, catch the orange bus downtown, and hop off at Puente Palo Maria, the Palo Maria bridge. The Palo Maria Puerto Vallarta hike waterfall trail starts off on the south side of the river, but depending on recent rains, you’ll have to cross back and forth across the shallow river and over large rocks to reach the waterfall. When you do get there, you’ll be able to jump in the water and cool off.
While Colomitos is a popular beach for both locals and visitors, few people who are hiking in Puerto Vallarta to Colomitos head inland to the waterfalls. However, these magnificent waterfalls near Puerto Vallarta are best seen in the fall after the rainy season. By spring and summer, you’ll likely only see a small trickle of water. This Puerto Vallarta hike waterfall trail is less clear than the others, and it may take you a few tries to find the best way to climb up towards the biggest fall. Along the way, you’ll pass several smaller falls, but at the final one, you’ll be able to jump in the cool water before heading back down to the beach. If it’s your first time exploring the Puerto Vallarta waterfall at Colomitos, ask one of the local vendors on the beach before you get to Colomitos for a guide to help you make the climb.
Spending the day in the small village of Quimixto is full of fun outdoor activities, like surfing, playing on the beach, and hiking to the local waterfall. Here, the trail for hiking in Puerto Vallarta is flat and clear, making this one of the more accessible Puerto Vallarta excursions, and if you’re not up for the mile-long hike, there are local vendors who provide horseback rides to the waterfall. Like many of the other best waterfall hikes, the best time to see the full power of the Quimixto waterfall is in the fall and winter.
At the southernmost point of the Bay of Banderas, Yelapa is a popular fishing village, and with its various hotels and beach clubs, many tourists enjoy visiting the city as an escape from Puerto Vallarta. Here, there are two waterfalls, and while one is just a 20 minute walk, the big one is further inland and is reached in a little over an hour. In both Yelapa and Quimixto, these Puerto Vallarta hike waterfall experiences are one of the major attractions in the small villages, so the trails are easy to follow whether you hire a local guide or head out on your own.
Because the best waterfall hikes follow the natural flow of rivers, you’ll want to wear sturdy shoes that won’t slip on the rocks, but because you’ll be crossing through the rivers at times, hiking sandals are the best option. Once you reach the fall, you’ll want a swimsuit so that you can jump in the idyllic pools of water. For these Puerto Vallarta excursions, it’s recommended that you pack bug spray, sunblock, water, and a camera to capture your memories.
In a bay where the mountains meet the ocean, you can discover dramatic waterfalls along the rivers, and because these trails run along the river, you’ll have plenty of chances to hop in and cool off along the way. Adding a waterfall hike into your vacation will show you another side of Puerto Vallarta in all its natural beauty.