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5 Fun Things to do in Boca de Tomatlan Jalisco

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Wondering about visiting Boca de Tomatlan Jalisco, Mexico? Let me help! I live in Puerto Vallarta, which is just half an hour from Boca. I visit often, and I’m sharing everything you need to know about this beautiful town in Mexico.

Boca de Tomatlan is a picturesque seaside village nestled between the emerald-green jungle and the blue Pacific Ocean.

Boca, as locals fondly call it, is where the Horcones River meets the sea, creating a scenic bay that’s nothing short of paradise.

While there are plenty of fun things to do in Puerto Vallarta to keep you busy, it’s well worth visiting some of the other towns in Banderas Bay.

Boca de Tomatlan is the main port for water taxis that will take you to secluded beaches along the Bay, but the town is also worth visiting.

In this post, we’ll look at getting to Boca and what you can do there.

Boca de Tomatlan Jalisco

aerial photo of boca de tomatlan. shows boats in ocean docks at the beach.

To be honest, Boca de Tomatlan is easy to miss. It’s a small fishing village just off the highway heading south out of Puerto Vallarta. If you don’t know it’s there, you won’t even notice when you pass it!

Heading south from PV, you’ll pass by Conchas Chinas and Mismaloya before reaching Boca. Those areas are also worth exploring, but I recommend dedicating a day to each.

For the most part, Boca serves as a port for the water taxis that go between Puerto Vallarta and Yelapa.

It seems like most locals here have a boat and make a living by shuttling tourists around or fishing.

The town is just a few blocks between the highway and the sea. There are a handful of shops, restaurants, and a few guest houses, but that’s about it.

aerial photo of Boca de Tomatlan mexico
Boca de Tomatlan | Photo by Sasha Savinov

You won’t find any fancy rooftop bars or rowdy nightclubs here. That’s not the reason to come to Boca. This is a place to enjoy on a day trip from PV or somewhere to disconnect if you want to stay a while.

It’s a very chilled-out place where the most noise you’ll hear is from kids playing in the river or roosters crowing.

I love that it’s just a bus ride away from the chaos of downtown, which brings me to the next point…

Puerto Vallarta to Boca de Tomatlan

Boca de Tomatlan is easily accessible from Puerto Vallarta. The town is just a 30-minute drive south, making it a perfect day-trip destination.

The most convenient way to reach Boca is by driving, Uber/taxi, or taking the bus. By far, the cheapest one is catching the local bus.

It picks up at this corner in the Romantic Zone and costs only 10 pesos. Just a fair warning that it is a very windy road, and bus drivers tend to drive as fast as they can, slowing down for the multitude of topes (speed bumps) on the road.

While it can be terrifying at times, it is a beautiful ride down the coast on Highway 200 from PV to Boca! Once you get off the bus, it’s just a short downhill walk into town.

Boca de Tomatlan River
Boca de Tomatlan | Photo by Sasha Savinov

Alternatively, you can catch a cab or order an Uber/InDriver. The latter is the cheaper option. Just be warned that catching one in the opposite direction is pretty tough.

For this reason, we often take InDriver to get down there and hop on the bus on the way back.

Last but not least, you can take a water taxi to Boca de Tomatlan from Los Muertos Beach.

It’s a scenic trip, but I never take it as it’s cheaper and more efficient to hop on the bus or split a cab.

However, if you’re going to or from Yelapa, it makes sense to take the water taxi from Boca.

It’s a lot cheaper than going there all the way from Puerto Vallarta, and the bus ride is preferable to a boat on days when the water is choppy.

Boca de Tomatlan to las animas Hike
Las Animas Hike | Photo by Sasha Savinov

Things to do in Boca de Tomatlan

There’s not a whole lot of things to do in Boca de Tomatlan, but that’s the beauty of the place. Whereas Puerto Vallarta can sometimes be sensory overload, this is a great place to clear your mind and relax.

1. Boca de Tomatlan to Las Animas Hike

The main reason to visit Boca is to hike to Las Animas Beach. The trail hugs the coast, going up and downhill and passing by some stunning beaches like Playa Colomitos.

This is honestly one of my favorite things to do in Puerto Vallarta. It’s always at the top of the list when we have visitors, and it’s something I’m happy to repeat year after year.

The trail passes by several secluded beaches and offers breathtaking views.

Check out some highlights of this epic hike in our short video:

2. Chill on Boca beach

Besides that, the main thing to do in Boca is kick it on la playa. There’s a tiny beach here (or no beach at all in the rainy season sometimes) and a few restaurants overlooking it.

When I think of hanging out in Boca, I picture myself sitting at one of those places with a plate of ceviche, some fish tacos, and an ice-cold Pacifico. That’s about all you need for a good afternoon, mis amigos.

aerial view of boats passing by mountains in puerto vallarta
Can you spot the Ocean Grill? Photo by Sasha Savinov

3. Eat fresh seafood

While the Boca de Tomatlan restaurants and taco stands have some of the best seafood around Puerto Vallarta, there’s also a fine dining experience to be had over here.

The fantastic Ocean Grill is just around the bend from Boca, and reservations include the boat trip from town. This is one of the top restaurants in the Bay with a view!

4. Go snorkeling

Speaking of boats, hiring one for the day here in Boca is easy. If you have a group, it’s worth splitting a boat rental for a few hours to visit the beaches south of Boca and do a bit of snorkeling.

Sergio and his tours come highly recommended, and he charges a reasonable rate. Click here to check out his options.

5. Vallarta Botanical Gardens

The Vallarta Botanical Gardens are also just a 15-minute drive away, so you could visit them easily on the same day.

Boca de Tomatlan hotels

Most people visit Boca on a day trip, so there aren’t a ton of options for accommodation here.

I’ve walked around town a bunch and poked around on both Booking and Airbnb, so I at least have a few recommendations for Boca de Tomatlan hotels.

If you want to stick around for a night or two, I’d check out La Posada Pacifica. I walk by it every time we do the hike to Las Animas, and it looks like they have a really lovely terrace there.

The Casa Cereza Apartments also look great. Their decorations are beautiful, and they have plenty of good reviews on Booking.

It’s also worth it to check out the options on VRBO. There are many options in and around Boca, including full houses if you have a group.

white sand beach by ocean in boca de tomatlan
Beach near Boca | Photo by Sasha Savinov

FAQ: Boca de Tomatlan

How long is the hike from Boca de Tomatlan to Las Animas?

The hike from Boca de Tomatlan to Las Animas typically takes around 2 hours, depending on your pace and how often you stop.

What does Boca de Tomatlan mean?

Boca de Tomatlan translates to “Mouth of Tomatlan,” referring to its location at the mouth of the river.

How to get to Boca de Tomatlan?

You can reach Boca de Tomatlan by a 30-minute taxi or bus ride from the Zona Romantica in Puerto Vallarta.

What animals are in Boca de Tomatlan?

Boca de Tomatlan is home to various wildlife, including tropical birds, and iguanas, and with luck, you might spot humpback whales offshore during their migration season.

Can you swim in Boca de Tomatlán?

Yes, you can swim in Boca de Tomatlan. The Bay is generally calm, making it suitable for swimming, but as always, be aware of local conditions.

What is the closest airport to Boca de Tomatlan?

The closest airport to Boca de Tomatlan is Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR), located in Puerto Vallarta, about 24 kilometers north of Boca de Tomatlan.

How far is Boca de Tomatlan from Puerto Vallarta?

Boca de Tomatlan is approximately 16 kilometers (around 10 miles) south of Puerto Vallarta. By road, it typically takes about 30 minutes to reach

Is Boca safe?

Yes, Boca de Tomatlan is generally considered safe for tourists, and it’s a popular day trip destination from Puerto Vallarta.

Final thoughts: Boca de Tomatlan

Boca de Tomatlan is a hidden gem that offers a genuine taste of Mexico’s Pacific coast. It’s a place where time slows down, allowing you to disconnect and soak up the beauty around you.

Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, Boca de Tomatlan is the perfect place to unwind and experience Mexico’s natural beauty.

Looking for more day trips from Puerto Vallarta? Check out these guides!

boca de tomatlan with overlay text that reads how to visit boca de tomatlan from puerto vallarta
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  • Sasha Savinov

    Sasha is a teacher, writer, and video producer from Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from Michigan State (Go Green!) and has since lived in China, Indonesia, Mexico, and Colombia. Sasha and his wife Rachel run Grateful Gnomads, where they write about teaching ESL, digital nomad life, long-term travel, live music, and more.

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