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Chasing waterfalls in Puerto Vallarta is one of the best things to do here.
While the city is most well-known for its stunning beaches and luxury resorts, it’s also home to some gorgeous waterfalls you can swim in.
If hiking through the jungle to pristine waterfalls sounds like your kinda fun, you’ll want to keep reading.
Best Time to See Waterfalls in Puerto Vallarta
The best time to see Puerto Vallarta waterfalls is at the start of the dry season in October when the falls will still have a steady flow of water from the rainy season, and the jungle will be lush and green.
As the months go on into the dry season, the volume of the water won’t be as impressive.
That said, I visited most of these waterfalls in May and still found them refreshing to swim in.
If you visit during the rainy season between June and September, the waterfalls will be more impressive, but it also means you might be hiking in the rain (which is its own kind of unique experience).
Read more: When is the best time to visit Puerto Vallarta?
Puerto Vallarta Waterfalls
Palo Maria Waterfall
Palo Maria is one of the best waterfall hikes in Puerto Vallarta. It’s home to 12 waterfalls, but they get increasingly difficult to reach after the main one and require some rock climbing.
Though well worth it, as the waterfalls are hidden in the luscious jungle of the Sierra Madre mountains.
The entrance to the trail is across the street from Hacienda Palo Maria, on the left side of the highway if you’re coming from the city.
You get here on your own by taking the orange bus from Basilio Badillo in Zona Romantica, or getting an Uber for about 200 pesos (10 USD).
Many people get a guide for the Palo Maria waterfalls hike, but you can also get here on your own by taking the orange bus from Basilio Badillo in Zona Romantica and getting off at Puente Palo Maria by the bridge.
The hike to the first waterfall at Palo Maria is relatively straightforward. It’s a 2.7km out and back trail that follows along the river, and takes less than an hour.
I visited the waterfall for the first time in April when it was essentially dried up, and then again in late June after the rain had started, which was a completely different experience as there was actually a waterfall to swim under (although, the pool is still a great place to beat the heat anytime of year).
If you’re an experienced hiker or feel like an adventure, you can climb up to several more above.
You can also hire a guide to take you Palo Maria waterfall. This tour is one of the best, which included guided transportation on the bus and photography!
When booking, use code EXPLOREWITHLORA10 to get 10% off your tour!
El Eden Waterfall
El Eden is an ecoutourism park in the jungle where you can find waterfalls, natural pools, and endless adventure. It was used as film set for predator, and is one of the top tours around Puerto Vallarta.
They offer canopy tours, zip lines, and natural waterfalls and pools to relax in afterward, as well as a riverfront restaurant.
There is a hiking trail that takes you from Mismaloya to El Eden de Mismaloya park, as well as day tours that will take you straight to the park for a full day of adventure.
This fully customizable half-day tour takes to El Eden and you get to choose your own adventure. Swim in rivers, waterfalls, and enjoy the landscape exploring by ATV.
El Salto Waterfall
El Salto waterfall is a unique phenomenon. It completely disappears during the dry season, and comes to life again once the rain starts.
Don’t miss the chance to see it if you’re here at the right time, as I’ve been told it’s one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the region (I’ve yet to see it myself).
It’s also one of the closest waterfalls to the city center, but the trail is a bit complicated, so you should be an experienced hiker or with someone who knows the way.
You can also go with this tour, which is an ATV ride on Jorullo Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in Latin America. On the way to the bridge, enjoy a splash in scenic El Salto waterfall.
Yelapa is without a doubt one of the best places to chase waterfalls near Puerto Vallarta.
While you can visit as a day trip, I recommend making it a weekend getaway and staying at one of the fabulous eco-hotels. It’s one of Mexico’s best beach towns!
Yelapa is only accessible by boat or a LONG hike, so you’ll need to take a water taxi from Playa de Los Muertos or Boca de Tomatlan. This guide has more information on visiting Yelapa from PV.
There are three different waterfalls you can visit in Yelapa.
One is just a 10-minute walk from the beach through town, which has colorful and photographic streets to explore along the way.
There isn’t much to the waterfall during the dry season, so this is one you’ll want to visit right after rainy season.
There’s another waterfall further inland that takes about an hour to hike too, which is what most people do.
But if you really want an adventure, there’s a third waterfall DEEP in the jungle. Like, I’m talking 12-hour all-day hike.
This was one of my favorite adventures in Puerto Vallarta. It took us about four hours to get there, and then we spent several hours hanging out in the waterfall and natural pools above with no one else around but the macaws. It was incredible.
However, getting here involves nine river crossings, and the trail is not marked at all, so I definitely recommend going with a guide who knows the way (and pack lots of food and water). We went with one of the staff from Los Naranjos.
If you want to visit as a day trip, you can join this tour which takes you to Majahuitas for snorkeling and then to Yelapa, where you’ll get the chance to see the smaller waterfall and relax on the beach!
Quimixto Waterfall Puerto Vallarta
Quimixto is one of my favorite day trips from Puerto Vallarta.
Like Yelapa, there are no roads here, so you’ll need to go via boat from Boca De Tomaltan.
Once you arrive in Quimixto, follow the La Puerta river inland for about a mile – you should see signs pointing towards the waterfall trail. I have more detailed directions in my Quimixto day trip guide.
If you can’t find it, ask any locals at one of the restaurants. They are friendly!
It’s about half an hour’s hike to get to Quimixto Waterfall. The pool under the falls is large, so it’s the perfect place to cool off from the heat and spend the day with friends.
There’s also a restaurant right before the waterfall, offering good food and an incredible view.
After the hike, spend some time chilling in Quimixto. The beaches here are beautiful, and there are several restaurants and beach clubs.
There’s also a great guided tour to Quimixto, so you don’t have to worry about any of the planning and can just sit back and enjoy the scenery. Use code EXPLOREWITHLORA10 for 10% off!
The waterfalls at Chico’s paradise was one of the first places I visited after moving to Puerto Vallarta. The name is referring to a restaurant, but next to it are some beautiful waterfalls.
Bring a swimsuit and spend the day adventuring and sunbathing on the rocks here. It’s a beautiful area!
You can either rent a car to get here and head up Highway 200, grab the local bus from Zona Romantica, or join this day tour.
The waterfall is nearby to the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens, so a great idea is to combine the two activities into a fun day trip.
Playa Colomitos is my favorite beach in Puerto Vallarta. It’s got emerald green water, golden sand, and is secluded by palm trees and exotic flora and fauna.
As if that can’t get any more dreamy, there’s also a waterfall you can see there. However, by the spring, it’s mostly dried up, so this is best done right after the rainy season.
The best way to get to Colomitos is by hiking; it’s an hour from Boca de Tomaltan (follow the signs for Las Animas). You could also get a boat to drop you off at the beach.
This waterfall hike is uphill from the beach, off the trail from Boca de Tomatlan to Las Animas.
We didn’t bother to go as it was dried up, but I’ve been told you can hire a guide from the local vendors on the beach if you can’t find the trail. Either way, Colomitos is worth visiting on its own!
There you have it, the best waterfall hikes in Puerto Vallarta!
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