Where to Go Snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta

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    Discover The Best Places to Snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta

    There are many places around Puerto Vallarta where you can snorkel and discover the underwater life of the beautiful Bay of Banderas. This bay is home to bottlenose dolphins, eels and stingrays, as well as schools of colorful tropical fish and even whales. Although the Pacific does not compare to the Caribbean coast in terms of clarity and visibility, it is worth putting on a mask, snorkel and some fins, and marveling at all the fascinating life that lives below the surface of the ocean.

    1. Los Arcos National Marine Park

    Los Arcos (which means “the arches” in Spanish) is the name given to a trio of rocky islands in the ocean about 12 miles southwest of Puerto Vallarta, off the coast near the beaches of Mismaloya and Las Gemelas. . These small islands have tunnels, passageways, and a variety of arches in the rock that are home to a variety of marine life. The area is a government-protected marine reserve and one of the most popular diving spots near Puerto Vallarta. Water conditions and visibility can vary greatly, but on a good snorkeling day, you can see angelfish, clownfish and pufferfish, eels, rays, and sea urchins. Due to its popularity, Los Arcos can be crowded, especially between 10 am and 3 pm during winter.

    How to get there

    The easiest way to get to Los Arcos is through a snorkel or sightseeing tour, and there are many. Serious divers may prefer to take a private boat and start early, rather than go on an organized tour. Jet’s Boat Tours offers a private tour of Los Arcos. Or if you are on a budget, you can take a bus to Mismaloya beach and rent a panga (water taxi) from there. However, you will need to bring your own snorkeling gear.

    2. Marietas Islands

    At the northern end of Banderas Bay, about 20 miles northwest of Puerto Vallarta, there is a group of four islands (two large and two small) called Las Islas Marietas (the Marietas Islands). These uninhabited islands are located where three streams of water converge and therefore have an abundance and variety of birds and seas, making them an excellent place for bird watching and snorkeling.

    How to get there

    You can take an excursion such as the Marietas Islands Tour from Dressel Divers or the Marietas Ecological Discovery from Valletta Adventures to the Marietas Islands. Or you can rent a private boat. The boat ride from Puerto Vallarta takes about an hour, or you can take a bus or car to Punta de Mita and rent a boat from there.

    3. Colomitos

    Colomitos is a small beach in the Bay of Banderas, south of Puerto Vallarta, just after Boca de Tomatlán. The beach has rocky outcrops on either side and you can see hundreds of fish swimming around the rocks. There is a wide variety of tropical fish and other forms of marine life in this picturesque cove, as well as colorful plants and small urchins. There are no facilities on this beach, so you will need to bring all your gear.

    How to get there

    Hire a water taxi to take you to the beach or take a ride from Boca de Tomatlán. The walk will last about 45 minutes. Eco-Tours Vallarta offers a combined hiking and snorkeling tour that visits this site and provides snorkeling equipment.

    4. Majahuitas

    The beautiful Majahuitas cove is further along the coast, past Las Animas beach, but before Yelapa. Surrounded by lush forest, in this small protected cove you can see dolphins, whales, sea turtles, tropical fish and more. It is a hotspot for spotted rays, octopuses, and even eels. There are no public facilities here, so if you go alone, bring your own snorkeling gear and whatever else you need for the day.

    How to get there

    Take a boat trip on the Marigalante pirate ship, which includes a snorkeling stop at Majahuitas, or participate in the Yelapa & Majahuitas tour of Vallarta Adventures. Alternatively, hire a water taxi to take you there and schedule a late pick-up time.

    5. Pizota

    Yelapa is usually the furthest place most tourists go, but the beach tends to be crowded and there is a lot of boat traffic coming and going, so conditions are not the best for diving. Go a little further from Yelapa's main beach and find Playa Isabel (near Casa Isabel), which offers good snorkeling, or go even further to Pizota, the next town on the coast. Due to its location, Pizota receives few visitors and has excellent conditions for snorkeling.

    How to get there

    Take a water taxi to Yelapa, where water taxis usually turn around and back, but you can ask the driver to take you to Pizota. Just be sure to make an appointment for them to come back to you! Alternatively, rent a boat from Mike's Charters and Fishing to take you there and make other stops along the way.

    We hope you enjoy watching this video about the most beautiful places to snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta

    Source: Marietas Islands

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