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Exploring Banderas Bay In Puerto Vallarta

Oct 25, 2007
While Puerto Vallarta is known for its charming architecture and majestic scenery, the city has always relied on Banderas Bay for survival. Resting in the middle of this sprawling bay off the Pacific Ocean, the city supported itself with the fishing industry long before the tourists arrived. Today, the vibrant culture of this unique destination still relies on the recreational possibilities of the bay's calm waters. From the beaches lining the bay to all the water sport activities possible off the coast, visitors to Puerto Vallarta shouldn't miss Banderas Bay.

In one way or another, all of the activities in Banderas Bay start with the beaches. The bay boasts 34 miles of coastline, 26 of which are beaches. From Puerto Vallarta in the middle of the bay to the northern surfing village of Sayulita, the beaches are typically wide and sandy - perfect for relaxing and water sports alike. South of the city, the beaches tend to be rockier and more secluded. However, these beaches represent the exotic ideal known to travelers through movies and magazines - where the mountains spill into the sea and jungles rest above the water.

Lining the bay in Puerto Vallarta, you will find the famous boardwalk - the Malecon. This waterfront walkway is lined with shops, restaurants and the city's unique sculpture collection. The Malecon is a popular destination for visitors of all ages, as families can enjoy the scenery and festival-like atmosphere while couples can shop the luxurious boutiques and hit some of Mexico's best nightclubs.

Out in Banderas Bay, one of the most popular family-friendly activities is a whale watching tour. Each year, families of humpback whales migrate to the warm waters of Banderas Bay from their Artic homes. Here, the whales breed and raise their young in the bay's protected waters. Conveniently, the whales visit the bay during the peak of the tourist season - December to March. There are plenty of tours available tailored to both whale watching and photography. Each tour company will offer unique options for travelers, from privately chartered sailboats to group tours perfect for families with young children. As sorting through the options for whale watching can be difficult, contact your resort for recommendations and reservations.

Not to be outdone by the humpback whale, dolphins also offer plenty of fun for tourists. In addition to boats that tour the bay allowing visitors to observe bottlenose dolphins in their natural habitat, some organizations even offer trips to the Marietas Islands for scuba diving and snorkeling with these friendly mammals. Banderas Bay is also a hotspot for dolphin research, so you will be able to interact with gifted marine biologists able to answer all your questions about this vibrant ecosystem.

Puerto Vallarta and Banderas Bay are also great spots to start a scuba diving or snorkeling expedition. There are plenty of great reefs within the bay's calm waters that novice divers and families can enjoy. At the edges of the bay - where Banderas Bay meets the Pacific Ocean - experienced divers can test their skills in the waves. Regardless of where you dive, you will be able to spot numerous species of exotic fish, coral formations and underwater plant life. It is even possible to take scuba diving lessons and earn certification while in Puerto Vallarta.

From sailing and fishing to jet skiing and surfing, pretty much every water sport is possible in Banderas Bay. Even if you aren't the adventurous type, you can still relax on the bay's white sand beaches or on the deck of a boat cruising the calm waters. Just make sure that when you visit Puerto Vallarta, you don't miss a chance to enjoy the peaceful waters of Banderas Bay.
About the Author
Justin Burch writes articles about Puerto Vallarta for the Marriott Resorts.
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