Hidden Beach (Playa del Amor)
The Marietas Islands, off Mexico’s west coast are home to one of the most unusual beaches you will find anywhere. Whilst it wouldn’t rank on a top 10 list of beaches for its modest stretch of (albeit very nice) sand it is has to get a mention just because of how weird and wonderful it is.
Imagine a large cave with a beach in it - difficult I know! Now imagine a huge circular hole in the roof to let the sunlight in and you have Mexico’s “Hidden Beach”. To make things even more interesting, access is through a narrow tunnel from the Pacific ocean which you will need to swim through at low tide.
While you may think this would put most people off, such is the draw of this unique beach that there is the opposite problem - the beach may be hidden, but it is no secret. In fact back in 2016 the Marietas islands were closed to the public due to the damage to the fragile ecosystem being caused by all the visitors. At one point there were over 2,500 visitors to the islands every day, the vast majority of whom came to see the famous beach.
Visitors are once again allowed to visit the beach, but in limited numbers. Only 100 people a day are permitted now and the islands are designated a UNESCO MAB Biosphere Reserve.
It is still something of a mystery as to how this unique beach came into existence. It is known that in the early part of the last century the islands were used extensively for military testing. Explosives and artillery were tested here causing untold damage to the environment. One of the most likely explanations for the formation of the hidden beach is it was actually created by a bomb blast. This practice came to end after international pressure lead by legendary naturalist Jaques Cousteau in the 1960s.
As the Islas Marietas lie around 22 miles off the coast of Puerto Vallarta you will need to get here by boat, which take about an hour. You will also need to be in possession of a wristband to allow entry to the beach.
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