This small scenic cove put Puerto Vallarta on the map.
Playa Mismaloya (Mismaloya Beach) is one of Puerto Vallarta’s best-known beaches and the location where director John Huston famously filmed The Night of the Iguana starring Richard Burton and Ava Gardner. When the movie was released in 1964, Puerto Vallarta was still a small fishing village home to just over 12,000 residents.
These days, Puerto Vallarta is a bustling resort city with a population of more than 250,000. And while Mismaloya Beach must look a lot different now than it did almost a half-century ago when the movie was filmed, the setting is still spectacular — a 500-meter golden stretch of sand backed by lush tropical jungle.
Mismaloya Beach is located seven miles south of Puerto Vallarta’a old town. A pathway lined with small tourist shops leads down the hill from the main road to the beach, where there’s a luxury resort and the remains of the old film set on the south side of the cove and seafood palapas lining the rest of the beach.
If you want to see the cove at its least crowded then you’ll need to get there early; the beach begins to fill up with people by mid-morning. But even with the crowds, Mismaloya Beach is still a great place to spend the day. It’s one of the best beaches in the area for swimming and serves as a base for boat trips out to the rock formations and other more remote beaches, not to mention that its interesting history makes it a must-see.
Getting there: frequent buses to Playa Mismaloya leave from the old town south of the Río Cuale. The ride costs six pesos (about $0.50) and takes 20 minutes.
Photo credit: via flickr