Although there are many things to do in Puerto Vallarta, there’s one that should be on your bucket list. And that is to explore the bounty of marine life in the tropical waters of the Banderas Bay. It’s deep blue, expansive, and the view from land only skims the surface. These waters seem as tranquil as the peaceful blue sky, but this is deceptive as the Banderas Bay is teaming with life. The floor of the bay mirrors the surrounding land geography of the ridgelines and mountains. But, it’s only when you dive into its depths that you can appreciate all the treasures of the bay. As a dive site, it’s known for the diversity of marine life, stunning underwater vistas, and the superb bliss of swimming with beautiful and extraordinary sea creatures.
The Sights and Sounds of Puerto Vallarta’s Marine Life
Phenomenal Scuba Diving Opportunities
Divers love to listen to the tonal songs of humpback whales that migrate to the bay during the winter months. These whale notes offer a peaceful feeling to everyone within earshot. In the summer, the sea turtles seem to fly past with a speed that belies their labored movements on land. Throughout the year, vividly colorful and majestic fish and other marine life populate the bay.
According to Gordon Sanders, Certified Master Instructor and head of Vallarta Adventure’s dive program, “There isn’t anything more magnificent than to come upon a giant pacific manta, 20 feet wide. These creatures are gentle giants and they want to look at you. If that doesn’t touch your heart, then you’re stone cold!”
He recommends that divers invert every once in a while to see them. Mantas traverse the bay, and so it’s highly likely to see them regardless of the dive site you choose. Sanders claims that he has seen groups of over 100 dolphins in one spot, all leaping out of the water in what seems like a performance for the divers in the boat. This dolphin welcoming party warmly beckons divers into their home in the immense blue waters of the bay.
The notable beaches include Caletas, Majahuitas, and the Marietas Islands. The latter is known for having huge pods of whales congregating in the bay in that location.
While Banderas Bay may not be known as a dive destination, its popularity is steadily increasing. Many dive shops offer quality equipment and great training facilities. These classes cater to the beginner divers and yet the tours offer thrilling adventures for the more experienced divers.
Los Arcos features a steep drop along a wall. This offers opportunities for snorkeling and viewing the region’s vibrant marine biodiversity. There are pinnacles, crevices, and walls that offer interesting hiding places for the wildlife to dart in and out.
Banderas Bay Offers Exceptional Visibility
The winter season brings huge groups of plankton which only affects the visibility a little. However, they also bring more whales and mantas into the bay to have a feast. Summer is spectacular as the water is warm and visibility is clear for 80-120 feet in depth. This makes all water sports more interesting and an absolute treat for anyone who chooses to enjoy the bounty of the Banderas Bay.
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