Diving Puerto Vallarta – Image courtesy of Vallarta Adventures
Things to do in Puerta Vallarta
Honeymoon couples can discover a choice of outdoor activities in Puerto Vallarta, including scuba diving, kite-surfing, hiking, mountain biking, eco tours and four-wheel drive safaris into the heart of the Sierra Madre Mountains.
Eco – Puerto Vallarta offers a large range of adventure-style eco tours: paddle a sea kayak among Pacific bottlenose dolphins off Islas Marietas, swim with dolphins at the Nuevo Vallarta Dolphin Centre, watch migrating humpback whales from December to April in Banderas Bay and hike through the Sierra Madre foothills.
Perhaps try one of the 300m-long zip-line canopy tours over lush jungle near Mismaloya. Look out for some of the hundreds of bird species that live around Puerto Vallarta, including doves, macaws, hummingbirds, woodpeckers and parrots.
Diving and snorkelling – Watch sea turtles, sea lions, manta rays and cavorting dolphins while snorkelling and diving the underwater caves and canyons of Los Arcos National Marine Park and around Islas Marietas, both of which teem with colourful fish.
Other good snorkelling can be found around the rocky headlands just off Caletas, Mismaloya and Boca de Tomatlán beaches. Numerous operators provide snorkelling and diving tours as well as offer full PADI courses up to instructor level.
Kayaking – Hire a kayak or join a tour and paddle the calm waters off Islas Marietas or Caletas Beach to see playful dolphins and sunbathing sea lions.
Surfing – For good surf breaks head to the beaches around Sayulita and Punta Mita just north of Puerto Vallarta. Further south lies Mexico’s top surf beach– Zicatela Beach at Puerto Escondido. Zicaleta is at its best each September and October when the big waves roll in and the annual surf competitions take place.
Game fishing – Hook up a fishing charter on the 38km-wide Banderas Bay and cast your line for sailfish, dorado, marlin, bonita and yellowfin tuna, roostertail, jack cravel, pargo, red snapper and black, blue and striped marlin.
Hiking – Hike through diverse topography in the Sierra Madre foothills. Explore trails through dense jungle with colourful tropical flowers, past cascading rivers and hidden waterfalls, looking out for local wildlife along the way.
Horseback riding – Saddle up and join a charro (cowboy) on a horseback safari across the El Tuito River, visit cascading waterfalls in the midst of the lush jungle, spotting iguanas and coloured guacamayas. Discover trails through the Sierra Madre mountains on a 2-hour ride or longer. Several ranches offer horses and riding excursions to suit riders of all abilities, with overnight camping trips for experienced riders.
Golf – Puerta Vallarta offers a choice of nine courses including: the 18-hole, par-74 ocean view course at the Marina Vallarta Golf Club located along the Marina Vallarta peninsula; the 18-hole, par-72 Los Flamingos Club de Golf, which weaves through lush rainforest; the Jack Nicklaus-designed course at Punta Mita Golf Club, featuring the only natural-island green in the Americas (3rd hole); and the Vista Vallarta Golf Club, with a choice of two courses (designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jack Nicklaus), at the same location in the foothills of the Sierra Madre.
Or tee-off from the Robert von Hagge-designed El Tigre course at Paradise Village in Nuevo Vallarta, with its feared sand traps, water features and the challenging par 5, 621-yard ‘Tiger’ hole to finish.