Boca de Tomatlán, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Boca de Tomatlán, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Take a 30-minute drive along the coast from Puerto Vallarta and you’ll reach Boca de Tomatlán. A gateway to hidden coves, boutique hotels and ocean-side restaurants, this secluded fishing village is Mexico’s best-kept secret.

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.

Don’t miss…

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
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.