Marietas-Islands-Puerto-Vallarta-Mexico (1)Hidden beach is rumoured to have been created by a giant blast from the Mexican government during target practice.
With crystal clear waters and sandy beaches, the origins of this idyllic paradise comes as a surprise – it is in fact the world’s most picturesque bomb site. Or is it? This secluded strip of sand is believed to have formed decades ago when it was used as target practice by the Mexican Government in the early 1900s.
But where you might expect to find ruins and devastation, here there is a sensational, deserted beach on the Marieta Islands in Puerto Vallarta. Located in a world of its own just a few miles off the coast of Mexico, the islands were used to conduct military tests because they were uninhabited.
And now the Hidden Beach, officially called Playa De Amor, or the ‘Beach of Love’, has shot to fame after gaining a huge following across social media. To reach the secluded marvel, visitors have to swim through a short tunnel which opens up into the spectacular beach, which is surrounded by rare wildlife.
Ventura Osorio, who provides tours to the Hidden Beach, said the islands were formed thousands of years ago by volcanic rock activity. Ventura, 34, from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, explained: ‘The beach itself was most likely formed prior to the First World War since the Mexican government had been using the islands as target practice. These controlled bombings have been said to have formed numerous caves and other unique rock formations on the Marietas Islands.
‘It is believed that the Hidden Beach was created as a result of these factors combined with the erosion of the rocks surrounding it due to the local weather conditions.’
Spectacular wildlife including humpback whales, dolphins and manta rays are just some of the stunning marine life visitors get to enjoy when at the beach. Whether the beach was formed naturally through erosion or by controlled bombings, the fact remains it is a spectacular day trip that both locals and visitors can easily enjoy. The islands are safe, easy to snorkel around and the unique experience of swimming through the cave is reason enough to pack a beach bag and head out for the day.
The Marietas Islands are a Natural Reserve protected by the Mexican Government and in order to visit the hidden beach, visitors must have a permit.

Madeline Milne on EmailMadeline Milne on Instagram
Living in Mexico full time since 2011, Madeline is a graphic designer, writer, iPhone photographer and road tripper.


  1. I vaguely remember hearing or reading about this a long time ago. This picture looks like a former volcanic cinder cone , and in a much larger scale, but with the seaward side of the possible volcano cone not yet fully eroded away, it looks like the Bay of Banderas.

    Actually when I first arrived at Puerto Vallarta over 30 years ago, I met a man with a boat who took us on a trip down south of Puerto Vallarta, and landed on a beach were he had built an adobe block house partly on the side of the hill, and on the beach front. When my wife Loretta and I were shown through the small house, we were told that the Bay of Banderas formed when the ocean eroded away the western side of the ancient volcano, and that there were several small sections of the wall remaining on the ocean side of the bay.

    I have not seen him, or heard that story since, and I am not shore which beach it was. It may have been a private beach, I do not remember for sure him saying so? Perhaps some of your readers may know more about this. And perhaps some day, Marietas Island(s) will also have a bay like Banderas Bay, as it already has a beautiful beach like the eastern side of Puerto Vallarta, and the western wall is eroding away.

  2. Keith, you may be right, but the dictionary says: Baja California, peninsula, in Mexico, between the Pacific and the Gulf of California.

    There may be another cause. All along the coasts in the U.S. , Mexico and along other continents, there are half moon shaped bays which are thought to result from eroded asteroid craters eon’s ago, and the ocean side eroded away from storms and wave actions. Oregon’s Crater Lake in California is surrounded by high mountains, is very deep, and not near any coastline.

    With all the volcanos in Mexico, and the few asteroid craters, I favor Banderas bay as an old eroded volcano, with all the lava rock used by the native Mexican tribes in making their Mokajetes.

    1. The tip of the Baja once resided right inside of what we refer to as Banderas Bay today. It’s simple plate tectonics…the geological evidence supports this in both Vallarta and La Paz.

      Take a look at Los Arcos and note that the rock formations are pulled to toward the NW…another indicator of plate tectonics in action. What is now the Baja pulled out of here and moved to the north west. In fact, it continues to move to the north west today.

      Banderas Bay is not the remnant of an ancient volcano…although the lower “mountains” on the north shore, the extension of the continental shelf and the formation of the islands were born from a later volcanic event in the valley between here and GDL. That event flooded this area with lava giving the effect of a caldera. But, the two events are from two different periods of time.

      There are several scientific publications that can be found online regarding this discussion. You can start with a Google of “Jalisco Block” and “Mexican Volcano Belt” to get you started.

      Enjoy the reading!

      1. Great job! I think all will be satisfied with this history description of Banderas Bay and surrounding mountains, and why they are so fertile.

  3. This article “Fact or Fiction: . . .? ” posted by the Editor, is certainly providing much surprising information. But then it is about a conscious quantum universe and planet that has a memory that does not forget any prior information.

    Take for example the Mexican oil, silver, gold , amber and jade so important to the countries economy. With the special Chiapas amber, one can go back between 22 and 28 million years to the Himenaea Coubaril tree forests, that went extinct after being submerged under dirt and a saltwater ocean, that heated and pressurized the tree resin long before the land was pushed back up, and became the mountainous jungle from the State of Jalisco all the way down to Guatemala .

    These jungles contained the Olmec jade trade routes that existed in back of Puerto Vallarta. Jade is produced in various types- jadeite , nephrite empirical green, and serpentine – called California Jade. Jade is formed by land subjection under a crustal plate, that cooks the rock, which is later is pushed up to the surface.

    The gold was formed in a collision between a giant star with a neutron star, and after our planet was forming, the gold dust settled into the Earth’s molten interior. Later it was ejected by volcanism thru cracks in the earth’s crust with quartz to form gold veins.

    Same with silver, except silver is thought to be produced by the explosion of a smaller sized star.

    Oil like amber, is a product of carbon that was formed in the nuclear reaction within a star. When the star burned out and exploded, the carbon accumulated in the Earth’s crust, where it was pressurized and heated to form either oil , or to form amber if first was contained in tree resin, and became associated with saltwater, heat , pressure, and time.

    These additional conditions, can tell us much about Puerto Vallarta and Mexico’s ecological and geological past, and of our galaxy and solar system. Such a big order for such wonderful small article.

  4. The facts are on the internet to do your own research. There is NO need to speculate or debate the facts. The geological records have been researched and conclusions published and peer reviewed. Enjoy your Google search.

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  7. There were several large earthquakes in northwestern Mexico today. It is important to know that Mexico is one of the countries with the highest levels of seismic activity in the world. Mexico sits on the North America tectonic plate and is surrounded by three other tectonic plates in the pacific: The Rivera micro-plate, at the mouth of the Gulf of California; the Pacific plate; and the Cocos tectonic plate that stretches from Colima state south, and effects Mexico City.

    This has resulted in the three volcanic cones on the western rim of Banaras Bay, plus the volcanic lava flows to the north of Banderas Bay. Visitors who have vacationed for any length of time in Puerto Vallarta, have experienced one of the resulting earthquakes , most of which will offer quite a bumpy ride.

    1. Those are not volcanic cones. There are two separate geological and volcanic events spanning millions of years that eventually created what we see of Banderas Bay today and they directly affected the formation of the islands. I could talk for hours about it. There are few things that are true in the posting. However, in those instances, these statements open the way for more discussion that would prove (back to the original posting) that no bombs were killed in the formation of the bay.

  8. Formed by bombs? And the millennia of erosion that can be seen in that beach – also formed by bombs? That’s about as likely as the idea that the tip of Baja was once in Puerto Vallarta.

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