Puerto Vallarta’s rich natural resources come from the exuberant forests of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range; scatter through the gray, gold and white sands to finally submerge themselves in Bahía de Banderas, thus creating ideal sites for an intense contact with nature; from bird watching to fishing tournaments as well as sports competitions and even extreme sports such as canopy or zip-lining.
The surroundings of this jewel of the state of Jalisco are the habitat for 400 species of birds and 300 varieties of orchids in addition to deer, jaguars, iguanas, lynxes and alligators … on a trek through the forest, the visitor finds cedars, walnut trees, gum trees, Brazilwoods, palm trees, mango trees, avocado and guanabana…
Some of the beaches that make up beautiful PuertoVallarta are only accessible by sea, which allows them to conserve all of their biodiversity to this day, such as:Yelapa, with its beach of fine sand and gentle waves, and Cabo Corrientes, where the sea turtles go to lay their eggs and where you can savor the biggest oysters and shrimp in the region.
Other beaches that offer landscapes that are still free of constructions include Playa Las Ánimas, ideal for going snorkeling; Quimixto, where you can also admire a lovely waterfall and eat delicious seafood; the perfect place to discover the sounds of the forest and to explore an underwater canyon.
Various tour companies offer hikes through the forest for bird- watching as well as installations for canopy adventures or zip-lining. Some rustic and other, boutique-type hotels guarantee you a more intimate and relaxing contact with nature in Vallarta.
To get to these heavenly places where tranquility awaits you; you need to board a water-taxi or “panga” from Boca deTomatlán–a peaceful fishing port where the river waters converge into the ocean and where they offer delicious dishes with a very traditional flavor.
On the other hand, marlin, red snapper, grouper, mahí, sailfish, tuna, tarpon, wahoo, and elephant fish all inhabit the depths of this beautiful bay in addition to the famous hump-backed whales. There’re also various species of turtles; hawksbills, leatherbacks and olive ridleys, as well as dolphins: bottle-nosed, spotted dolphin and spinner dolphins. A favorite spot for scuba-diving and snorkeling is Los Arcos Marine Park, two rocky formations located between legendary Mismaloya Beach and Las Gemelas. From up top, Los Arcos offers a spectacular view of Bahía de Banderas, while down below, deep tunnels, caves and reefs form a beautiful and internationally famous underwater labyrinth. “Cañon del Diablo” is on the west side of Los Arcos. Its 500-meter depth affords the expert diver the fascinating experience of “canyon diving”.
The Marietas Islands are 30 minutes from Puerto Vallarta, a protected species preservation site. After enjoying the picturesque beauty of Old Puerto Vallarta and Gringo Gulch–a complex of lovely American jet-set residences–from afar, the visitor can submerge himself in the waters of the Pacific to admire manta rays, dolphins, porpoises, hump-backed whales and a variety of fish species.
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