A gaping hole in the surface of the lush green island exposes a secret beach, with ample shade, sun, and crystal-clear water.
The Marieta Islands are an archipelago, a chain of islands that exist as a result of volcanic eruption. The islands themselves are natural wonders, but it was something else that caused the burrowed beach to be shown the light.
Playa Del Amor, more commonly known as the Hidden Beach, is a structure of one of the Marieta Islands, located west of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, at the mouth of Banderas Bay. It is rumored that the hole revealing the Hidden Beach was a result of deliberate bombings. The Marieta Islands have always been completely uninhabited, leaving them vulnerable to be used by the Mexican Government. In the early 1900s, the government began using the islands as military testing sites. Test bombs are the known cause for many caves and rock formations on the island, possibly including the Hidden Beach.
In the 1960s, scientist Jacques Cousteau led a protest against harmful human activity on the islands. In 2005, the islands were finally named a national park, Parque Nacional Islas Marietas, making swimming, kayaking, and sunbathing the only legal human activity. Extensive military testing damaged flora and fauna on the island for decades, but many years of peace have replenished the islands' pristine waters and marine life.
The Hidden Beach is invisible from the outside, and is only accessible through a long water tunnel that links the beach to the Pacific Ocean. There is approximately six feet of space above water level, so visitors can arrive at the beach by swimming or kayaking. The islands are still uninhabited, but are frequently visited by tourists who come to enjoy the diverse marine wildlife and the unique tropical Eden of Playa Del Amor.
Know Before You Go
The islands are an hour long boat ride northwest from the coast of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. There are ample tour companies that provide day excursions to the Hidden Beach.