Boca de Tomatlan Hike to Las Animas
This post was most recently updated on August 20th, 2020
For our second day in Puerto Vallarta, we decided to do the hike from Boca de Tomatlan to Las Animas. Well sort of decided.
We were actually planning on going to the zoo that day. And a hike later on in the week. But since we missed getting off the bus for the zoo, hiking it was.
Where to Catch the Bus To Boca del Tomatlan
In order to catch the bus to Boca de Tomatlan, you need to go to the Romantic Zone first. Since we were staying in the south Centro zone, it was only about a 15 minute walk.
The bus leaves from the corner of Basillo Badillo and Constitucion in front of the OXXO store. You’ll see a line up of people waiting to get on, and someone else selling tacos and drinks on the street for really cheap.
The bus fare was only 10 pesos each. Which is less than $1.00 U.S. Just make sure you have the right change before getting on the bus. Also it’s customary for the man in the family to get on last and pay for the rest of his family. Just to move things along a little quicker.
The ride will take around 45 minutes. Then the bus will stop at the top of the hill to Boca de Tomatlan. You’ll need to walk down a bunch of steps to the water.
Essentials For Your Hike
- water to drink
- bug spray
- bathing suit & towel
- backpack to carry everything
- good hiking shoes
If you haven’t picked up water yet for your hike, there’s a store at the bottom of the hill where you can purchase some.
Tip * start out early in the morning for the hike so you can get done before the afternoon heat.
To start the hike, when you come to the water at the bottom of the hill turn left. Walk for a couple minutes, then you’ll see this sign.
Cross over the little foot bridge and you’ve started your hike. The first half of the hike is the most strenuous. There’s a lot of uphill climbing.
Most of it being stone steps through the jungle. Jerry and I are not regular hikers and we did it. Just take your time and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Here are some of the houses you’ll walk past. Parts of the hiking trail will take you right through people’s front yards.
Most of the way it’s pretty easy to see where the trail goes. Just stick close to the water. Since the path follows along the shore.
This bridge on the trail is called the Bridge of Joy. With all the loose wood slats, I’m not sure that would be my first name.
First Rest On The Hike: Colomitos Beach
After hiking for about an hour, we came to the sign for Colomitos beach. Now you’ll start a down hill descend until you get to the beach. Definitely a welcoming break to cool off in the water.
Even though the water was really rough and you couldn’t go out far, it felt great. If you’re hungry by now, there’s a really nice restaurant called the Ocean Grill. Since we had started out early on our hike, we decided to wait for the next one.
You can see the Ocean Grill restaurant jetting out over the water. If you’re just looking for something to drink, there’s a vendor on the beach selling fresh coconut water, beer, etc.
Some people chose to end their hike here. Water taxi’s come by regularly and will take you back to Boca de Tomatlan from Colomitos Beach.
We knew that we were at least half way to Las Animas by now. And were determined to finish the hike, so we pushed on.
The stone steps you see in the picture on Colomitos beach aren’t the ones you take to continue the hike. On the opposite side of where you came down from are some rough stone steps close to the water. The first step is a big one, then continues up hill on the trail.
On the second half of the hike you’ll walk by some rocky shores in between beautiful secluded beaches. If you’re looking for a private beach all to yourself, there are plenty. We only ran into 4 other people hiking on the last part. And no one on our first half of the hike.
Second Rest On the Hike
After walking along all the beautiful, peaceful beaches for about another 30 minutes, it was time for a lunch break. This restaurant right on the beach was the first one we came to.
The food and drink selection was great with plenty of options. And you have a perfect view out over the water. They even filled our water bottles for us before we left.
Once you see Hotelito Mio at Playa Caballo in the distance, you know you’re almost there.
And then after walking past a few small Mexican houses, some barking dogs, and a few crowing roosters, you come to Las Animas! Even though the town isn’t very big, you can find some really cheap food options.
When you’re ready to leave just head to the water. It won’t be long before someone comes asking if you need a water taxi.
The water taxi back to Boca de Tomatlan will be anywhere from 50 to 90 pesos each. Which is less than $5.00 U.S. a piece.
Tip * make sure to get a public panga back and not a private one, or it will cost you a lot more.
Once you’re back in Boca de Tomatlan just head back up the hill to the bus stop. The bus will pick you up on the same side as you were dropped off.
For two non hikers, we enjoyed our day outing away from the busyness of Puerto Vallarta. And definitely felt like we accomplished what we started out to do.
All in all with taking our time and stopping for a half hour lunch, the hike took around 2.5 hours. Plus the 45 minute bus ride each way.