Wild Guide: Playa Del Amor, Marieta Islands

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OVERVIEW

A gaping hole in the Surface of the Marieta Islands exposes a secret and very hidden beach with pristine waters and white sand. It cannot be seen from the outside and is only accessible through a long water tunnel that fills up when the tide is high, making it difficult to get to.


SKILL LEVEL

Moderate

COST

No entrance fee

WOW FACTOR (1-10)

It’s pretty fascinating. I give it a 9

WHAT TO PACK

  • Swimsuit
  • GoPro
  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Stand-up paddle board
  • towel
Wild Guide: Playa Del Amor, Marieta Islands

ACCESS

Playa Del Amor, better known as “Hidden Beach” is located in the Marieta Islands off the coast of Nayarit, Mexico. To get there, fly into PVR and then take a boat. Vallarta Adventures offers a group tour, or you can charter your own boat. My favorite luxury boat in the area, the Modrian, can be chartered by the day and is a wonderful way to get to this beach. However, you should know that when the tide is high the only way to reach the sand is to swim or paddle board in from your boat. 

TIME REQUIRED

This is an all-day adventure.

DISTANCE

About 23 miles from the mainland (one way)

WHEN TO GO

Peak season is Jan-March. Spring is my favorite time to visit because there are less tourists. Summer is hot and rainy.

ELEVATION

Sea level

NAYARIT & THE SURROUNDING AREA

The Hidden Beach is good reason to visit the Puerto Vallarta area, but there are many other places close by that are worth exploring too.

  • Sayulita
  • Punta Mita
  • Yelapa Village & Waterfall
  • San Sebastian
  • Playa Chacala

Hidden Beach Satellite Map

Luxury Motor Yacht: Puerto Vallarta
Luxury Motor Yacht: Puerto Vallarta

PHOTO TIPS

Unless you have a fully waterproof camera, I’d recommend using only a GoPro for this.

CAUTION

When I was here, there were jelly fish everywhere. Be careful. When the tide is high, swimming in can be quite dangerous. Make sure you go with a guide. 

My Personal Experience

The ocean is a sparkling clear green. I am crunched down in a ball on the tip of a paddle board peering below at the swarms of jellyfish in the water. They will not stop me. I’ve been waiting to see this hidden beach for years. I made up my mind that I was going to get stung and that it would be worth it in the end. The tide was high but I could still see a horizontal crevice in the rocks leading through to the water tunnel. Our yacht stopped just outside of the caves where we got into a little speed boat, and from there onto a paddle board. This is where we were to paddle in, the path that leads to the much anticipated hidden beach inside of a cave. I went first. Almost smashed between the jellyfish ridden water and the roof of the rocky tunnel, I ducked my head down and we slowly paddled through. In the distance, light coming in through a gigantic circular hole in the top of the cave exposed a pristine sandy beach. There were people in there. How did they all get through? Surely not everyone was brave enough to swim through hundreds of jellyfish.

As I approached the beach the water exposed by the light got greener and clearer. I couldn’t help myself. I jumped off the board, prayed that the jellyfish would leave me alone, and swam to shore. I looked behind me to see my sister, Krishni, crouching down on her paddle board with a huge grin on her face. She did the same thing I did and jumped right in. We were so ecstatic to be experiencing this rare formation of a beach, it was just so fascinating and marvelous. Neither one of us could wipe the silly smiles off our faces. When I looked up I saw my other sister, Nila, making her way through the cave tunnel and to the beach. Three people have successfully made it so far; even though we were warned it would be difficult. But wait, here comes someone else from our group. It’s Lili, my brave seven year old daughter, who had apparently decided that this was something she wasn’t going to miss. I had told her to stay on the boat with everyone else, but I guess the thought of jellyfish didn’t scare her too much. Our yacht with the rest of our group sat waiting for us just outside the caves of the island. If only we could tell them what they were missing. And then one by one, our husbands snorkeled in. As you can see from the photos, we were beyond elated that they decided to give it try, jellyfish or not.

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