Was This 'Hidden Beach' Near Puerto Vallarta Formed by Government Bombing?
When we mentioned the Marieta Islands in our basic overview of Puerto Vallarta and the Bay of Banderas last week, a reader chimed in to say that its "Hidden Beach" -- aka the incredible scene you see in the photos in this post -- formed when the Mexican government used the island as a bombing range in the first half of the 20th century. Well, we did some research and guess what? It could be true!
The Marieta Islands were formed by volcanic activity and were never inhabited, prompting the Mexican military to use it as a place to test bombs. The explosions are rumored to have created the islands' caverns and rock formations, the most dramatic in the form of Hidden Beach. But, because the islands were never inhabited, there's really no documentation or official eyewitness account that confirms what was already there and what was a result of the bombings and explosions (if anyone knows otherwise, please let us know!).
Regardless of how it came to be, Hidden Beach definitely got its name from its unique formation - you have to swim through a small "tunnel" that then opens up into the cavern. Because it is a national park, access is restricted to only a handful of tour operators, so if you want to go, you have to jump on an organized excursion and go with a boatload of people (which means it is very doubtful the beach will feel very hidden when you go).
But, the national park tag also prevents any sort of fishing, preserving the Marieta Islands as an excellent snorkeling area. And given that the islands are an hour boat ride from Punta Mita (hour and a half from Puerto Vallarta), getting there on your own would be challenging, anyhow.
Given the potential backstory and the obvious natural beauty, we proclaim this as a no-brainer for a day trip on your next jaunt through Vallarta.
[Photos: Vallarta Adventures]