Diving and Snorkeling In and Around Puerto Vallarta
Concierge.com's insider take:
The sea life along Mexico's Pacific Coast is more robust than in much of the Caribbean: Whales, rays, turtles, and gigantic billfish appear here regularly, and closer to shore than you might think. The best places for diving and snorkeling tend to be near islands and rocky points where the water is shallow, calm, and clear.
Some of the best diving around Puerto Vallarta is off the Islas Marietas, about a half-hour boat ride from the coast of Punta de Mita, or an hour's boat ride from downtown Puerto Vallarta. Giant manta rays, dolphins, and wahoo congregate around these islands, which are a protected marine reserve, and orcas and humpback whales can be spotted here from November through March.
Another top dive destination is Los Arcos National Marine Park, whose reefs, rock arches, caves, and tunnels lie just offshore from Mismaloya, eight miles south of Puerto Vallarta. Tours to these and many other underwater adventures are available through Chico's Dive Shop (772 Paseo Díaz Ordáz; 52-322-222-1895) and Pacific Scuba (2486 Blvd. Francisco Medina Ascencio; 52-322-209-0364), which operates as Vallarta Undersea in the Riviera Nayarit (152 Héroes de Nacozarí, Bucerias; 52-329-298-2364).—Maribeth Mellin