If you have the time while visiting Puerto Vallarta, I highly recommend renting a car and taking drives both to the north and south of the city. There are so many wonderful places to explore and experience the real Mexico. If you decide to drive up the verdant coast of Nayarit from Puerto Vallarta towards San Blas, you will not be sorry. The drive is amazing; along a winding coastal highway with spectacular views of the ocean, lush farmland and forests. The tropical flowers and thick vines of the jungle will give you an idea of what this part of Mexico looked like before the condos and hotels appeared.
As you travel north on Hwy 200 , make sure not to miss your chance to have lunch and enjoy the beach at Playa Platinitos (little bananas). This serene cove is located approximately 27 km north of Las Varas (70 miles from Puerto Vallarta), the little town just past Chacala, on the highway to San Blas. Playa Platinitos is a sedate and picturesque place to stop and stretch your legs.
For some amazing photos, head towards the estuary. Once you see the sign for Platinitos, turn and head down the hill, past the parking lot and palapas, and make a left onto the dirt road. You will soon find yourself with an incredible view of gleaming sand and the gently waving palms of Playa Las Tortugas, which is situated on the opposite side of the river mouth. You can get down to the estuary by car but if you keep going around the curve, you’ll find a fantastic photo opportunity of the beach, palms, ocean and probably several snowy egrets or herons.
Heading back to the beach the way you came in, you can park at one of the half dozen palapa restaurants that line the sandy little cove. The beach is clean and the waves are gentle, making this a good location for swimming and for families. Bring your own gear and you can snorkel the nearby rocks.
The chances are unless it’s Sunday, you’ll probably have the beach almost completely to yourself. There’s cold beer, great shrimp plates and clean restrooms in the restaurants and ample parking; what else could anyone want? If you ask nice, you might even be able to camp on the beach.