Visit the Palo Maria Waterfall with Pause the Moment

Ryan takes you to the Palo Maria Waterfalls of Puerto Vallarta.

If you’re ever in Puerto Vallarta and you’re looking for a great place to cool off, be sure to make the short trip out to the Palo Maria waterfalls, also known as the Cascada de Palo María.

Start by taking one of the orange buses that sit alongside the OXXO store on Basilio Badillo. The bus will say Boca-Mismaloya on the front. Upon boarding the bus be sure to tell the driver you want to be dropped at “Rio Palo Maria”. Try to sit near the front in order to remind the driver if necessary.

Once you arrive you’ll need to cross the street and hike about 25 minutes up river until you reach the first waterfall. There are several pools and cascadas to choose from depending on how adventurous you want to get. The first watefall is easily accessible and requires no climbing. Getting to the second one takes some effort and requires you to climb a pretty sketchy and slippery section of rock. Once you get over the other side, you’re rewarded with a larger pool to swim in. After that, you can decide to keep climbing in order to get to the remaining cascadas or stay put and go for a refreshing swim like we did.

6 Responses
  1. Ryan, Great Vid! its almost too experiential as I feel like some of the adventure is lost. We’ll be there in May updating our travel guide. Keep doing what you do and happy travels!

  2. Stacy O.

    Hello from Minnesota!
    Palo Maria is exactly what I am looking for as a little adventure while in PV. The thought of cold, clear water on a hot sunny day sounds heavenly!

    I’ve taken the bus to Mismaloya before, so that part is easy. Can you give me a few more details on finding the trail head once off the bus? Is it well marked? Also, I am a solo traveler. Is this something safe to do on my own?

    Thanks for the great info! Your videos are helping me past the wintery days until I head South again in February.


    1. Hey Stacy. Greetings from PV! Yes, as soon as you hop off the bus you’ll need to cross the road. If you’re looking straight at the bridge that crosses the river, the trail is off to the right. Basically, you’ll want to walk down the right hand side of the river and a good chunk of it will be a path that runs alongside a fence to some private land on your right hand side. Walk as far as you can along the right side of the river until you can’t go any further and have to cross over. The crossing is no probem this time of year because it’s not nearly as high as it can be when it rains here. Once you cross over, it’s all about sticking to the left edge of the river until you reach the first pool. It took us about 25 mins to get out there once we started the walk.

      Note: There is a small swimming area before the first pool. You’ll notice it as you’re walking down the right side of the river because all of a sudden you’ll see a wooden deck and a place to swim. That’s a nice little spot, too. Either way, I recommend you trek out to at least the first pool and take a dip. If you can make it to the second pool, kudos to you!

      Best of luck!

      1. Stacy O.

        Thank you! The climb to the second pool looks ‘interesting’! I’ll have to see how I feel that day. :-)

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