Ecological Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta is a natural for eco-activities. Although Puerto Vallarta is often associated with spring break adventures and as a party town, it’s geography is perfect for outdoor ecological interests. Surrounded by lush tropical jungle and clean rivers on one side and the abundant Banders Bay on the other, Puerto Vallarta has it all.
From the Sierra Madre mountain foothills to the coast you can find an extraordinary collection of wildlife including four-foot-long iguanas, butterflies, and 366 bird species. Have a look at this fantastic article about wildlife in the area.
Naturally, there are a wide variety of eco-tours from nature hikes to wild rides on quad bikes. You can find ranches offer horseback rides, often with lunch and a chance for a dip. Jungle Jeep Safaris use specially adapted all-wheel-drive Mercedes trucks and travel in convoy through the jungle and beyond. Another way to view the densely forested slopes is to soar above it all in a light plane. An airplane expedition is an excellent way to take fantastic photos of the mountains and get to a Huichol Indian Village and San Sebastián del Oeste, a mining town in the high Sierras.
The warm, tranquil waters of the Banderas Bay are perfect for ocean fun such as kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, and sailing. You should not be surprised to see dolphins, turtles and giant mantas swimming close to shore; they often appear to see what’s going on. Underneath, the bay is like a natural aquarium brimming with colorful tropical fish.
Ecological Activities in Puerto Vallarta
From December to April each year, Banderas Bay is also the birthplace of the Humpback Whales. Humpbacks visit each year to mate and give birth while showing their calves the ways of the world. Puerto Vallarta residents are concerned for the welfare of these gentle giants, so the local tour operators are licensed by the National Environmental agency to ensure respectful whale watching. See more info about whale watching here.
From June to September, Puerto Vallarta is a breeding ground for sea turtles and the hotels and government sponsor conservation programs to help to protect them. Each year, children and adults release the baby turtles from buckets and applaud as the hatchlings scurry across the sand and plunge into the ocean.
The Banderas Bay is dotted with many small islands, craggy islets and beautiful tropical beaches, which offer excellent scuba and snorkel opportunities. For example, the Marieta Islands are home to dolphins and giant mantas and a large volume of tropical colorful fish. Read more about snorkeling here.
For a complete guide to the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta, click on the image below