The colorful Sierra Madre Mountains meet the serene waters of the Mexican Pacific Ocean at the beach of Mismaloya, a quaint fishing village just 15 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta.
Calm emerald waters, gentle to moderate waves, and golden gravel sand make up Mismaloya's rich natural environment. Views from the beach are often spectacular, with the mouth of the small Mismaloya River on one side and the lush greenery of tropical jungle all around.
This cozy beach is only 1,000 feet long. It is lined with a variety of unpretentious, rustic, palapa-style restaurants that offer the basic amenities for a pleasant day in the sun. Most of them offer fresh seafood specialties and other traditional dishes at reasonable prices.
You will also find plenty of opportunities for water activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding and bodyboarding. Private Stand Up Paddle (SUP) lessons are usually available during the high season.
For decades, Mismaloya has been home to Puerto Vallarta families living from fishing and tourism. The village's history is certainly tied to the 1963 filming of "The Night of the Iguana" by renowned American filmmaker John Huston.
The fate of Mismaloya, its inhabitants and Puerto Vallarta as an international tourist destination changed as a result of this seemingly casual act. To commemorate the filming, the people of Mismaloya built a mast topped by the figure of a friendly iguana on the small boardwalk near the site of one of the filming locations.
A small tequila factory and the Puerto Vallarta Zoo are also located in the Mismaloya area.