A great way to spend a day in the bay
Although I love to scuba, there are other day’s that are so much fun during the summer months, and they are the beach hopping days. I usually do 2 per week, and I never get bored of them.
We leave the marina and head off to the Marietas islands. On a clear day, you can see these islands sitting 22 nautical miles out to the west of Vallarta. These islands were once used as a firing range by the Mexican navy until Jaques Cousteau petitioned the government in the 1960´s. The Marietas were finally pronounced a national park in 2005, and rightly so. They are the fantastic result of volcanic activity many thousands of years ago, and I think it hosts one of the most stunning beaches in the world, the Hidden Beach. The only way to access this beach is to swim through a tunnel, but don´t be alarmed, it is a large tunnel with breathing space above the water line. Swimming through the tunnel, you will notice the water is crystal clear and icy blue in color. Once inside the island, you will find a pretty little beach and some tunnels to investigate. The really bizarre thing here is the huge crater in the roof, allowing sunlight in! It really is a must see.
Asides from this, the islands are stunning underwater and on land. The missiles have created some superb tunnels and caves underwater, while on the surface, it is a sanctuary for many thousands of birds, including the unusual Blue Footed Boobie. Google these birds and you will find some amazing facts. My favorite fact is about their blue feet. As the birds get older, their feet become a lighter shade of blue, so the birds with the brightest feet are the most sort after by the females, proving cougars exist in all species!
Anyway, when we leave the Marietas, I like to go to my favorite place on the south shore, Caballo (horse) beach. We moor the boat up here and take lunch to the beach. There are no restaurants on this beach, in fact, there is nothing there. Just soft golden sand, palm trees and the back drop of the jungle. There are large granite boulders to sit and do nothing on. The ocean is calm here, so I always take a paddle board to play on. The contrast of these 2 beaches makes for a perfect day out on the ocean. From one of the most unusual beaches in the world, to a beach you usually only see in travel magazines.
No one is ever in a hurry to leave Caballo, but when we do, we are forced to head back to the marina where we see Vallarta from the ocean, which is in my opinion, it´s best angle. Seeing the mountains fall into the ocean, with the bay hugging the town is pretty special. Trying to point out your hotel, condo or your favorite restaurant is always a great game to play.
Vallarta has so much to offer. Take time to explore and create some great memories.
Sue Keevil, PADI Master Instructor, PV Sea Dive, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico