Leaving behind the Marina and hotel zone of Old Puerto Vallarta, we sail into Bahia de Banderas. Costa Sur (the Southern Coast) stretches out before the eyes of the traveler, Puerto Vallarta’s adventurous horizon, where the sea melts into the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range to create stunningly beautiful spaces that inspire exploration and wonder.
In this environment, offers for adventure are many and varied: from horseback riding or all-terrain vehicles, to turtle camps and zip-lines, as well as cultural tours and scuba-diving.
Puerto Vallarta’s Botanical Garden is an ideal trip for nature lovers. Visitors can admire over three thousand species of autochthonous Mexican flora: palm trees, orchids, agaves, cactus, roses, ferns, flesh-eating plants…if you’re traveling with family, then the turtle and crocodile camp is a highly recommended experience because, in addition to exploring Bahia de Banderas’ mangrove swamps; it also allows us to share the moving experience of observing while the turtles lay their eggs and set their hatchlings free in the sea.
Puerto Vallarta is located very close to quaint, picturesque towns like Mascota y Talpa and Pueblo Magico, which can be reached by an exhilarating ride on horseback or by all-terrain vehicle. San Sebastian del Oeste, a small town nestled in the summit of the Sierra Madre, preserves the charm of colonial Mexico and offers the most beautiful views– both of the mountains as well as of the lovely bay in Jalisco.
Close to these towns or to some of the beaches in Costa Sur, you can go hiking or horseback riding to observe the region’s flora and fauna. Adventurous visitors will be glad to know that in Costa Sur you can go climbing or practice rappel descents, as well as go rafting down nearby rivers.
Snorkeling and scuba diving are the star activities of Puerto Vallarta due to the variety of its beaches and underwater nooks, rich in fauna. The gentle waves of Mismaloya, Yelapa and Majahuitas allow you to practice snorkeling or kayaking along with family. Los Arcos National Marine Park and Las Islas offer various diving experiences–some specifically for experts–although there are also courses available for obtaining certification levels awarded by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).
Another of the most popular activities in Puerto Vallarta is humpbacked whale-watching during the winter. These enormous and playful mammals descend from the cold northern waters to give birth to their calves. Moreover, you can watch the dolphins leaping on Bahia de Banderas’ horizon practically year-round. Speaking of dolphins,Puerto Vallarta also has aquariums where the visitor can swim and play with these marvelous creatures.
From Puerto Vallarta’s Marina, you can also take tours or excursions by yacht to different beaches with different activities: spa, snorkeling, fishing, luxury tours and romantic dining. If the traveler is seeking a cultural experience, our recommendation is a flight to San AndrésCoamihata, a small Huichol town where a visitor can have a peek into this disconcerting culture that hangs on resolutely to conserve its identity and displays it with an art that’s full of color and magic.
There are also airplane trips available toGuadalajara, the state of Jalisco’s capital, a magnificent city for admiring colonial as well as contemporary architecture, going shopping, visiting museums, listening to the traditional mariachi and tasting the traditional tequila.
Recommendations for your outings in Puerto Vallarta: Make sure you know everything that is included in the tour that you’re going to purchase beforehand. *Check out several options on the internet before you make your decision. *On adventure tours; ask about restrictions as well as the required minimum age.
For any outing by yacht or other vessel: Always take your bathing suit, sunblock and suntan lotion, as well as a towel, hat and money to buy handicrafts or souvenirs. *All passengers boarding at the Puerto Vallarta Marina must pay a $15 MXN (pesos) tax. *On snorkeling or kayaking tours; a deposit is sometimes required for the use of the equipment, which is refunded upon finishing the activity.
For any trip through the Sierra Madre mountain range: Always take your bathing suit and a towel, a sweater or light jacket, insect repellent, comfortable closed shoes and money for purchasing handicrafts or souvenirs.
If you scuba dive: Remember not to go scuba diving if you are boarding an aircraft within 24hrs.
Shopping suggestions: We recommend that you shop in galleries that hire Huichol artisans *When purchasing tequila; make sure that the label states 100% agave.