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Beaches In and Around Puerto Vallarta's insider take:

Puerto Vallarta and its Pacific Coast neighbors have so many outstanding beaches and bays that beachcombers could spend years exploring all of the paradisiacal coves. The most happening beach in Puerto Vallarta is Playa de los Muertos, on the south side of downtown. Locals gather at seafront cafés and jog the mile-long trail beside the sand, while beach lovers play on everything from WaveRunners to boogie boards. Escapists prefer the small coves around Playa Conchas Chinas south of town and the jungle-backed sands at Yelapa, accessible only by boat. Water taxis depart for Yelapa from Boca de Tomatlán, about three miles south of Puerto Vallarta.

Exclusive resorts claim some of the finest beaches north and south of Puerto Vallarta, while barefoot, bikini-clad types congregate at beach bars on long stretches of beige sand in Bucerias, Sayulita, and San Pancho, all north of Puerto Vallarta in the Riviera Nayarit.—Maribeth Mellin

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