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One of the most famous places in Puerto Vallarta is Los Muertos Beach. It’s right in the city’s bustling Zona Romantica, the center of tourism in PV.

Featuring the iconic sail-shaped pier, some of the best restaurants in town, and several happening bars, Playa Los Muertos is one place you definitely want to put on your Puerto Vallarta itinerary.

Let’s take a closer look at Los Muertos Beach and all it offers.

Los Muertos Beach puerto vallarta mexico
An aerial view of Los Muertos Beach. Image by Sasha Savinov

How do you get to Los Muertos Beach?

Heading south from El Centro, you cross the Rio Cuale and the small island, entering Old Town.

If you’re walking the Malecon, the first beach you arrive at is technically Playa Olas Altas (Beach of High Waves).

Keep heading south until you arrive at the aforementioned pier (click here for the location). That stretch of sand from here down to the rocky outcrop is Los Muertos.

You can also access the beach from many streets in Zona Romantica if you’re walking through town. Every single cab driver knows this place, and many bus lines end just a few blocks away, so it’s easy to come and go.

Los Muertos Pier
The iconic pier from above. Image by Sasha Savinov
Why is it called Los Muertos Beach?

Los Muertos Beach translates to ‘beach of the dead.’ There are various legends as to why it was given this name.

Some say it was because pirates came there years ago to steal goods which led to a big battle, while others say it was because the beach was once a cemetery, but as PV grew in popularity, development was made on it.

Things to do on Playa Los Muertos

A lot is going on at Puerto Vallarta’s most popular beach. The beach is packed with locals and tourists alike if it’s a weekend or holiday.

As such, the first order of business is typically finding a spot. There are several restaurants and bars on the beach with chairs and umbrellas. As long as you’re ordering, you’re good to stay.

The good news is that the food and drink options are actually pretty solid and reasonably priced. More on that in a bit…

Otherwise, it’s a DIY operation. Some go-getters bring their own chairs, umbrellas, coolers, and all that jazz. That’s far too much work for us. I’m happy to take a seat and order a margarita and fish tacos.

Los Muertos Beach puerto vallarta
Los Muertos is the place to be in PV! Image by Sasha Savinov

If you’d like a bit more excitement than just sitting in a beach chair, you’re in luck! Los Muertos is a hub of activity – both for water activities and on the sand.

There’s usually a big game of beach volleyball going on just off the beach near the pier. At the end of the pier, people always jump into the water.

You can also rent a jet ski, get pulled along in a banana boat, or even go paragliding. It’s also easy to get on a boat tour for snorkeling or fishing.

Water taxis are always available at the pier for trips south to other towns around Banderas Bay like Mismaloya, Boca de Tomatlan, Las Animas, or Yelapa. Basically, the world is your oyster here.

Where to Eat and Drink

Speaking of oysters, you’ll find them here. In particular, you’ll find one local legend walking up and down the beach selling oysters with a shirt that reads “Mexican Viagra.”

There are several other guys hawking oysters on the beach as well. They keep them iced down and always have lime and hot sauce available.

I know it seems a bit weird at first, but they’re damn good. Plus, even if you have a table somewhere, they don’t care if you grab some oysters or fish/shrimp kebabs from the roaming vendors. It’s always a team effort in Mexico.

If you’re not ready for the street food, beach edition, never fear. There are several restaurants to choose from!

food from La Palapa
One of the best restaurants in town. Image by Sasha Savinov

One of the best restaurants in the city is here. La Palapa is worth all the hype and always delivers, whether it’s a hangover-cure brunch or a romantic candlelit dinner.

Another popular beachfront place is Si Señor. It’s a little on the pricey side and isn’t a place I frequent, but they get good reviews.

Our business usually goes to Swell, which is definitely a swell place for beach days. Bad jokes aside, the staff here rocks and always takes great care of us. Drinks are reasonably priced, and they also make some great food here.

If they’re full, the places on either side are both solid choices – El Dorado and La Carreta both have plenty of seating on the beach and full menus.

el dorado bar in puerto vallarta mexico
Sunset from El Dorado

At the southern end of the beach, you’ll find Ritmos and Mantamar. The latter is famous for its massive pool parties and is one of the most popular LGBTQ+ hangouts in the city. But It’s #straightfriendly as well, and everyone has a good time there.

Los Muertos Beach Hotels

If you’re hoping to stay on the beach, you have a few options. Here are some of the best places to stay in Playa Los Muertos:

Emperador Vallarta has a location that’s hard to beat. It’s next to the pier, so you’re steps away from the beach and stumbling distance from the best bars and clubs in town.

Almar Resort is a luxury resort and a top choice among LGBTQ travelers. Their rooftop bar with hot tubs is one of the coolest spots in PV to party, and they always have fun events.

PV Rooftop Bar
Rooftop parties are the best. Image by Sasha Savinov

Tropicana provides excellent value for a hotel that’s right on the beach. Guests can enjoy a private stretch of the beach with palapa umbrellas for shade.

Vallarta Shores is at the south end of the beach and features a fabulous infinity pool. A room with an ocean view and balcony is the way to go here.

That’s about it for options for accommodation on the beach. There are plenty of excellent choices just a few blocks away in Zona Romantica. The Conchas Chinas area just south of town also makes for a great base.

Sunset in Puerto vallarta
A beautiful sunset on the beach. Image by Sasha Savinov

I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to Los Muertos Beach. It’s one of the first places we ever hung out in PV and has become a weekly staple when we’re in town.

There’s nothing quite like meeting up with friends for some ceviche, oysters, and margaritas on a beautiful sunny afternoon.

It’s a place where the day melts away and turns into night, usually with a blissful sunset over the ocean. This is the life, mis amigos.

Planning a trip to Puerto Vallarta? Don’t miss these posts!

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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 Gypsies, where they write about teaching ESL, digital nomad life, long-term travel, live music, and more.

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