South of Puerto Vallarta
Just like its northern counterpart, Carretera 200 Sur (Federal Highway 200 South) passes through a couple of oceanfront destinations before heading inland, making for a truly scenic drive from Puerto Vallarta. The first stop along the highway is Mismaloya, made popular by the movie set for John Huston’s Night of the Iguana. While the film’s set is not open to the public, the town is a popular getaway among locals looking to enjoy one of several beachfront eateries while burying their feet in the sand.
To get to Mismaloya, take a bus just two blocks from the Hotel Posada de Roger.
Farther south, Boca de Tomatlan is the departure point for water taxis that can transport you to a handful of destinations only accessible by boat along Banderas Bay´s South Shore, Las Animas, Quimixto and Yelapa, all featuring great beaches and overnight options. From Boca de Tomatlan, Carretera 200 Sur veers toward the mountains along what is increasingly called Puerto Vallarta’s Palms to Pines Highway. The popular Vallarta Botanical Gardens (www.vbgardens.org) are located along this route and make an excellent daytrip, with hiking paths, a swimmable river, restaurant, and bird-watching opportunities.
South of the gardens, El Tuito is a small farming town where organic produce and artisan cheeses can be purchased. A road from El Tuito heads east and back down to sea level, leading to Mayto, Tehuamixtle and Villa del Mar, three small, popular beach destinations in the neighboring municipality of Cabo Corrientes. Continuing south from El Tuito along Carretera 200 Sur you’ll find Cajon de Peña, a freshwater reservoir surrounded by pine trees, ideal for sports fishing and paddleboarding, before eventually reaching Costalegre, a beach destination of its own.
Whether you favor a peaceful, pine-scented retreat in Jalisco’s mountains, a radical spearfishing experience in the deep blue sea, or surfing at one of the popular spots, the opportunity to complement your stay in Banderas Bay with alternative nearby experiences awaits you.