Puerto Vallarta emerald waters remain warm and clear all year round, hovering around 85 degrees Celsius in the summer months, and maintaining lukewarm temperatures of approximately 75 degrees Celsius in the winter months, making your snorkeling adventures a warm and comfortable one. There are many peculiar and strange creatures that call Vallarta’s waters home and you will likely meet a variety of exotic tropical fish and other sea creatures during your snorkeling expedition. Some of the best places for snorkeling include the southern shore of Banderas Bay, Las Caletas Beach, Marietas Islands, and Yelepa Beach.
Snorkeling in the Puerto Vallarta area is usually best between June and December when the waters are clear and visibility reaches around 100 to 130 feet. In contrast, visibility typically hovers around 15 to 60 feet between January to May.
Although there is no coral reef here, Puerto Vallarta has a plethora of marine creatures living in its warm sea waters. These emerald waters feature beautiful blends of tropical fish, large sea turtles, and sleek dolphins, just to name a few. Late November to early December is the beginning of Vallarta’s whale watching season and fortunate snorkelers may just hear those tremendous humpback whales singing their hearts out or catch of glimpse of them gliding past while underwater.
There are several hot spots near Puerto Vallarta that offer great snorkeling adventures while visiting Mexico; Los Acos, Marietas Islands, and the Majahuitas coves.
Los Acos is a protected marine park near Mismaloya, in Banderas Bay, that is a snorkeling paradise. Here, you can expect to find brightly colored tropical fish and mysterious underwater tunnels, amongst other wonders of the sea.
Marietas Islands, located near Punta de Mita, is also a protected aquatic ecosystem thanks to the hard work of French conservationist, Jacques Cousteau. It is home to the rare Blue-Footed Booby bird and is a fantastic spot for snorkeling with the small, curious marine life of Banderas Bay.
Majahuitas coves, another popular snorkeling spot, stretches along the southern shore of Banderas Bay, just south of Puerto Vallarta, and is well known for hosting an assortment of species, such as the eel and spotted eagle ray, as well as other exotic sea creatures.
If you would rather have your snorkeling adventure within Puerto Vallarta and the Banderas Bay area, you can choose from the following 2 hot spots; Las Caletas or Playa Los Colomitos.
Las Caletas is in Banderas Bay and features calm waters, schools of tropical fish, and sea lions. In contrast, Playa Los Colomitos is suited to the snorkeler looking for a more personalized and private adventure, snorkeling in their own secluded island within Banderas Bay.
You can purchase your snorkeling tour from almost any of the hotels in Puerto Vallarta, online, or directly from a tour company within the area. Prices depend on the length of the tour, typically starting at $35, and increase with duration of the trip. Many tour guides will arrange transportation for you, (including this in the booking fee), picking up and returning you to your hotel room on the day of the trip.
It is recommended that you bring an underwater camera with you to capture the fascinating underwater marine life you will see while snorkeling. Underwater cameras can be purchased locally for around $12 if you do not have (or forget to bring) your own camera. Biodegradable, eco-friendly sunscreen is also recommended while snorkeling, and if you own your own snorkeling equipment you are welcome to use it. If you do not have your own equipment, you can simply rent equipment from the tour guide or from your hotel for a nominal fee. It is very important that you do not touch the marine life while snorkeling. These little (and big) guys are protected by the Mexican government and any physical contact with them is prohibited.
Above all else, get out there, get down there, and have fun while enjoying the experience of a lifetime, snorkeling in beautiful Puerto Vallarta!