Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - For those in search of aquatic adventure in an idyllic beachside local, there's no better spot than the Puerto Vallarta-Riviera Nayarit region, which skirts the deep sapphire-and-turquoise waters of Banderas Bay.
The two neighboring communities encourage visitors to make the short crossover during their stays to take advantage of all there is to experience along this idyllic stretch of Mexico's Pacific coast.
The warm waters of Banderas Bay and the destination's tropical climate enable visitors and locals alike to enjoy near-endless, exciting water activities year-round. And there's no shortage of options when it comes to finding a type of oceanic encounter that strikes your fancy.
Opportunities abound for guided tours, instruction and equipment rentals to enjoy activities like boating, kayaking, paddle-boarding, flyboarding, windsurfing, parasailing, jet-skiing and more; and there are many gorgeous beaches where you can practice your skills.
Puerto Vallarta boasts eight Blue Flag-certified beaches: Palmares, Camarones, Playa de Oro, Amapas, Conchas Chinas I, Conchas Chinas II, Garza Blanca and Sheraton. Having been awarded and maintaining this global distinction means that they're not only clean and safe for swimming and water activities, but also sustainable and eco-friendly.
Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit are also home to several world-class marinas, where boat owners can dock, and visitors can rent a vessel or charter a sailing.
Surfers will find some of the world's best surf locations and reef breaks in Nayarit, particularly near Sayulita. Ideal wind conditions on Flamingos and Bucerķas beaches make them ideal places to practice kite-boarding skills or take a class from one of several schools.
Those who come to wonder at the effusion of majestic marine life that resides in the Bay of Banderas might jump right in by taking snorkeling or scuba-diving tours, or going swimming among dolphins, sea lions or whale sharks.
One highly recommended activity is swimming among free bottlenose dolphins in open waters, so that you may interact with them in their own environment, while learning about and observing their natural behaviors firsthand.
Vallarta Adventures also offers ethical opportunities for guests to get up close and personal with pods of bottlenose dolphins at its two American Humane-Certified Dolphin Adventure Marine Centers in Puerto Vallarta. There, the conservation, well-being and happiness of the animals is their foremost priority, as they work to educate visitors about these adorable marine mammals while also providing an unforgettable guest experience.
Others may opt to stand solidly on the deck of a ship in order to spot and photograph breaching humpback whales, who inhabit the warm waters of Banderas Bay from mid-December through March each year for mating and to birth their young before migrating back to the colder waters of the North Pacific. Their incredible displays of acrobatics as they break the water's surface, jumping and twirling playfully, inspire awe in every onlooker.
Those who fancy fishing will find these waters off the pristine, golden sands of Mexico's Pacific coast a perfect vacation spot. Take out a yacht or sailboat and go in search of Amberjack, Bass, Blue Marlin, Striped Marlin, Mahi Mahi, Sailfish, Yellowfin Tuna, Snapper and Wahoo. Some of the best fishing spots for novices and seasoned fishermen are Nuevo Vallarta, Punta Mita, Bucerķas and Sayulita.