Hidden beach in Marieta Islands, Mexico.

This Striking Mexican Beach Is Hidden in a Hole

This Striking Mexican Beach Is Hidden in a Hole

Atlas Obscura
Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
Feb. 26 2015 12:35 PM

The Hidden Beach of Mexico’s Marieta Islands

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A gaping hole in the surface of this lush green Mexican 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. In the early 1900s, the government began using the uninhabited 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 activities. 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 accessible only through a long water tunnel that links the beach to the Pacific Ocean. There is approximately 6feet 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.

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