Thanks to recently introduced direct flights and short travel times, flocks of Canadians and Americans are descending on Mexico's Puerto Vallarta - but any well-travelled adventurer would know to avoid these Orwellian highrises and monstrous resorts. Nevertheless, to miss this place completely would mean never discovering Boca de Tomatlán, a tiny fishing village sequestered between jungle and tumbling waves.
Situated just a short bus journey from Puerto Vallarta's historic centre, this tranquil jewel remains relatively undiscovered - a secret kept between locals and only the most daring of tourists. Once here, a small mismatch of coloured houses and boutique hotels jostle between palms and pines. Three mountains dip together to form a valley. On the shore, rows of white-and-blue painted boats bob on the water waiting for visitors - take one of these pangas (water taxis) to other remote spots along the coast, including beaches such as Playa Las Ánimas and Yelapa.
In the sky, the green feathers of macaws flash by and, from the shore, you can spot pods of dolphins jumping in the distance. The spot is popular among hikers and people from the main village, as it's only a short distance to Colomitos Beach, a slither of white sand shaded by tropical vegetation. If you venture farther west along the coast and you'll discover the cascading Cuale Waterfall, with a pool perfect for washing off the midday heat.
Lunch at Ocean Grill. Take a panga to this surprising oceanside restaurant situated upon the rocks at Colomitos Beach. Here you can sit in the open air or under a stylish palapa roof. Sparkling waters lap against this luxury cliff-side treehouse and you can watch bathers splash about in the nearby cove. Try the signature dish of octopus with roasted rosemary potatoes, asparagus and a salsa garnish. The octopus flesh is succulent, smooth and soft to the bite. Wash this down with a salt-rimmed margarita and drift to sleep in the shimmering sun.
Who to take with you
A cocktail-lover - only in Mexico can you order a piña colada before noon without anyone batting an eyelid. This fishing village is best enjoyed with your favourite drinking partner. Expect days of sunbathing, reading and many shots of mezcal.
When to go
Visit in late November or early December, when the monsoon rains have dissipated and the winter sun has begun to shine. These days are warm but not sickly hot. Visit in November to miss the crowds or chance your luck and come in early December with the start of the whale-watching season.
Where to stay
Stay at The Casita at Villa Maroc. This guesthouse is situated next to Ocean Grill at Colomitos Beach and is the only luxury accommodation in the vicinity. It's reachable by boat and offers a delightful slice of paradise with unbeatable views out to sea and onto the silver beach below. Unlike the main villa, which takes its design cue from Morocco, The Casita goes for more laid-back beach chic. Guests must stay for three days, with the hosts curating a unique itinerary.
Most likely to bump into...
An ornithologist - the surrounding jungle is a playground for bird-lovers. This region is famed for its military macaws but the brightly coloured birds have been subject to poaching. Conservation efforts are now taking place to rectify numbers.
Essentials to bring with you
We recommend heading down to Colomitos Beach with this sarong by Australian designer Mirador. It's made from 100-per-cent cotton and will provide light relief between bathing in the salty sea.
How to get there
From London, take a long-haul flight to Mexico City and a short internal flight from Mexico City to Puerto Vallarta. From here a half-hour taxi or bus journey will take you to Boca de Tomatlán.