Playa Camarones—meaning Shrimp Beach in Spanish—is one of the quieter and less crowded beaches in the Puerto Vallarta metropolitan area. It is located just north of one of the busiest beaches, Los Muertos Beach, which is located in the downtown area where much of the city’s famed nightlife is located and where there are many hotels, restaurants, and other attractions. Camarones Beach is quite popular with the locals who live in the city , probably because there are fewer tourists here, so you can get a real feel for the local people while enjoying the beautiful beach.
Playa Camarones in Puerto Vallarta has almost no vendors or palapas (thatched roof) stalls renting out beach and sports equipment as Los Muertos does. So, you usually need to bring your own snorkeling and scuba diving equipment if you plan on engaging in any of those kinds of activities. However, Camarones Beach does have a wide selection of dining spots to choose from, and one of the specialties served in them is the shrimp from which the beach gets its name.
In addition to being a long, sandy, and flat stretch of sand, Playa Camarones has the added attraction of being parallel to the popular Malecon, the oceanfront promenade that is popular with locals and visitors alike. This promenade stretches for a mile, and is embellished with a number of superb and famous public statuary. The Malecon is also an excellent shopping spot, with many boutiques and shops selling everything from beachwear to souvenirs.
Playa Camarones has a lifeguard during the high winter season and you will also see some vendors renting beach equipment during this time. The waves here are gentle, making it great for body surfing and boogie boards, but it has some variable currents. Do ask before venturing far out, as sometimes it is suitable only for strong swimmers. You will see local men and boys on Camarones Beach surf casting, so you can also get in some fishing if you like.
There are a few beach hotels on Playa Camarones that range from good basic two- and three-star properties that range from some of the best cheap hotels on downtown beaches to excellent four-star luxury hotels. One of the better hotels on Playa Camarones is the Villa Premiere Hotel and Spa. This is an adults-only accommodation, with a minimum age of 16, so it is a good place for singles and couples who do not want noisy children running around. Here, you can book a room on the European Plan—no meals, drinks, or activities included—or the American Plan, which provides all meals and drinks. You can even take your drinks voucher across the street to one of the property’s sister hotels, the Buenaventura Hotel and Beach Club. The all inclusive American Plan also includes complimentary use of the hotel’s kayaks, snorkeling gear, and boogie boards.
If hotels on Playa Camarones are not for you, you will find a few good vacation rentals here. Most of these beach rentals are small villas with one or two bedrooms and fully equipped kitchens.