PV Sea Dive

I am often asked about the best places to dive, snorkel and generally spend a great day in the bay, so here are some pointers.

Everyone who comes to Puerto Vallarta will at some point see or hear about Los Arcos, those great big rocks sticking out to the south of Puerto Vallarta. They are so called because all of the rocks have arches in them, apart from turtle rock, which some people say looks like a turtle, and I say looks like a rock! Los Arcos is quick and easy to get to and is perfect for everyone to jump in and have fun. This marine reserve has plenty of wildlife on the rocks including the rare blue footed boobie birds. The arches are great for photography as well as swimming through and the water is teaming with an array of tropical fish to entice you to jump in it. Above water, there are clearly four larger rock formations, but underwater, there are many different formations and sites to explore. The Devils Canyon is the most popular dive site here, as it has a drop off at 80 ft that drops down to 1800 ft! This is a part of the Banderas Trench that links to the San Andreas fault line, and is a very dramatic dive site.

Going down the coast a tad, there is a favourite site called Majauitas. Covered in beautiful coral, packed with fish and rays, it is home to lots of little critters. There is a sand patch at 70 ft where you can see thousands of garden eels swaying like long grass to the rhythm of the ocean. Majahuitas is literally translated as ‘long grass’, so I think these eels really are at home! It is also a sweet spot to snorkel with its resident school of king angel fish and plenty of other fish to keep you amused. BONUS: You can snorkel along the coast line until you reach a stunning sandy beach to relax on and take it all in.

If you take a boat for one and half hours south, you will hit El Chimo. This is a not a snorkelling site and is only for the more experienced divers as it has currents, but it a sight for sore eyes, above and below the ocean. The tropical rain forest holds you on the surface, but once you are released in the underwater world, the inactive volcanoes are equally as stunning. From the tiny nudibranchs (my favourite pretty little sea slugs), to the giant mantas, you will be talking about this until eternity, of that I promise.

Looking directly out to sea from land, you can see Isla Marieta´s on the right side of the horizon. It takes over an hour to get there, but the islands, fish, birds and coral make the extra effort worthwhile. The Marietas is a protected reserve, and rightly so. Diving there this week was a joy as the water was warm and blue, the fish were in abundance and the coral was healthy and stunning in midday sunshine. The tunnels are a blast to explore with one for the snorkelers that takes you to a secret beach!
So, all in all, get into the water, see it for yourself and spread the word. Vallarta has it all, on land and in that wobbly wet stuff.


  1. One very nice thing I have noticed regarding the Bay Of Banderas water, in lSeptember – October, it is very warm around the shores in front of the resort hotels. One can take a dip and swim during the day and most of the night in bathtub temperature water. This is true for also for the pool water. If you like a cool to cold pool water, early in the morning is a good time, or after a heavy downpour. Myself, I like the pool when it is raining, and if the lightning gets close, I retreat to the portion of the pool under the Palapa (At the Canto del Sol). Actually , my spot poolside for the past 30 plus years has been on a decliner chair under the Palapa for the shade, with a good book. Unfortunately , this will be my last year at the Canto del Sol. Yep, my timeshare contract will be over, and I will miss it dearly, but not the maintenance fees. However , I can be found next door at the Plaza Pelicanos on a decliner chair on the ground floor of the beach front high-rise, where there is shade in the morning , of course , with a book. After so many years teaching and playing tennis on sun drenched courts, my San Francisco fog tenderized and bleached skin can handle just so much of the direct hot sun.

  2. Enjoying the evening better than ever grilling our delicious dinner outside with warm breezes after a nice rain. The only thing that could have made our evening better would be our family here to enjoy with us.

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