From the verdant hills to the sparkling ocean waves, there’s an abundance of natural wonders on Mexico’s west coast, and in Nuevo Vallarta, you can explore it all. While there’s plenty of exciting exploration at sea, some of the best options for what to do in Nuevo Vallarta are on land, taking you into the mountains to spots less frequented by tourists. By hiking near Nuevo Vallarta, you’ll witness the untouched beauty of the Sierra Madre Mountains, discovering a whole new side of the city to fall in love with.
When you’re in Nuevo Vallarta and look up hiking routes near me, Monkey Mountain is by far the most popular destination. Located about thirty minutes north of the city, you’ll want to drive or hire a car to get to the trailhead in Higuera Blanca where you’ll discover one of the most popular things to do in Nuevo Vallarta. These 2.25 miles of trail up the mountain are clear and well marked. At one point about halfway up, you’ll head right along a small paved road until the trail continues in the jungle. As you near the top, follow the signs for Monkey Mountain, or Cerro del Mono, and you’ll scramble up some final rocks to a sweeping 360° view of the mountains and coastline. Afterwards, cool off with some vegan ice cream in town.
Visiting and exploring the sister towns of Sayulita and San Pancho are popular things to do in Nuevo Vallarta, and while you could easily make the short drive between the two, hiking four miles through the jungles gives you a better chance to explore the environment. From Sayulita, head north along Avenida del Palmar until the street turns into a trail, which will wind its way along the coast and then up into the hills. The trail ends at the main highway, which you can either turn off of and onto a smaller street to get into town or walk along the highway to the entrance of San Pancho. With this option for hiking near Nuevo Vallarta, you can begin your day with breakfast and window shopping in Sayulita before cooling off with a dip in the ocean and icy margaritas in San Pancho, some of the best options for what to do in Nuevo Vallarta.
Getting up to the mirador behind the airport gives you the best view of the whole bay, and there are several popular options for things to do in Nuevo Vallarta that will take you up there. If you have a need for speed, take an ATV or RZR up the mountain, or for more of a workout, challenge yourself with a bike tour to the lookout point. Travelers often choose to hike this trail as well, so no matter how you get to the top, be sure to share the trail with others. Once you’ve taken your photos at the top of the mountain, keep going along the trail to Rancho Las Vegas where you can order lunch and take a dip in the river.
Rincon de Guayabitos is a popular beach town an hour north of Nuevo Vallarta, and if you hike through Las Ayala to Mirador del Toro, you’ll feel like you’re in a secret paradise. The whole route is around four miles, making it easy to do during a trip to Rincon de Guayabitos, giving you plenty of time to relax on the beach afterwards. The trail begins on Avenida del Estero, heading towards Kissing Beach. From there keep heading towards the mirador, or lookout point, a secluded spot that makes for epic pictures of hiking near Nuevo Vallarta.
When you’re staying in Nuevo Vallarta and look up hiking routes near me, you’ll see several in nearby Puerto Vallarta, and during a day of downtown exploring, you can do a quick hike up the Cerro de la Cruz to get a view of the whole city. Less than a mile long, it’s a steep climb with lots of stairs, but the lookout point is worth it. For more of a trail, head up Calle Aldama, and follow the path to the platform at the top. You can also hike up the stairs on Abasolo for an intense workout. Because it’s so accessible from downtown, it’s one of the most popular options for hiking in Puerto Vallarta.
At four and a half miles, the Boca de Tomatlán trail is one of the most frequented spots for hiking in Puerto Vallarta, and as you head through the jungle and come across hidden beaches, you’ll see why. For most hikers, the fishing village of Las Animas is the end point, and after you’ve refueled here with fish tacos, you can catch a quick water taxi back to Boca de Tomatlán or all the way to Puerto Vallarta.
Whether you’re hiking in Puerto Vallarta or Nuevo Vallarta, these trails show off the lush jungles while rewarding you with sweeping views of the sea, so the next time you’re looking for what to do in Nuevo Vallarta, simply search for hiking routes near me to discover the adventure of a lifetime.