Without a doubt, contact with nature is one of the activities that more and more people are enjoy during their vacations, it can be a walk through the woods, the beach or the mountains, a horseback ride or simply wearing a bathing suit and diving into the depths of a river, lake or the ocean.
Feeling your body float under the water, like a bird in slow motion, is relaxing and stimulating. Who has not dreamed of flying? Who as a child did not enjoy spending all day in the water? Well, if you really want to enter a world of adventure, full of new things or that you don’t usually see, there is no better choice but to experience and enjoy the sensational experience of scuba diving.
When you jump into the sea, you’ll enjoy the experience of seeing and maybe even touching multicolored fish, corals, anemones, coral, jellyfish and other creatures that you won’t even recognize, you’ll marvel over the textured sands formed by the currents, caves and underwater mountains and reefs that provide shelter for small creatures from other predators.
In Puerto Vallarta there are many places where you can practice scuba diving, the most famous and popular attraction, no doubt about it, is Los Arcos, a beautiful rock formation protruding from the sea surface. It is located near Mismaloya 5.5 nautical miles south of Puerto Vallarta. This place is adequate for divers of all levels, from novices to experienced divers. The depth of the so-called Aquarium, is approximately 60 feet around Los Arcos, where you’ll find all sorts of tropical marine life in the reefs, including the entertaining garden eels that look like shy ribbons sticking out of the sandy sea bottom, waving demurely back and forth with the invisible waves. Its unique feature is an 800 ft vertical wall on the west side of Los Arcos where you can enjoy a descent into the Canyon (El Cañón) and the famous Devil's Jaw (La Quijada del Diablo), which are only for experienced divers. Here you’ll see schools of bright fish, turtles, manta rays and moray eels. Another good dive site “El Bajo”, with an underwater peak and several submerged volcanic formations that offer lots of marine life including parrotfish, snappers, moray eels, nudibranchs and many other surprises. Other dive sites are Las Lajas and the Great Wall (El Paredón) where you can enjoy turtles and rays in large quantities.
There are many other options for this sport, not just the beaches and sea in the state of Jalisco, but also in the sea of Nayarit, some recommended places are:
Majahuitas, a beautiful beach that is accessible only by, it’s located between Los Arcos and Yelapa, a beach 10 nautical miles south of Puerto Vallarta. Here the Sierra Madre sinks into the sea and generates a series of shallow bays. You can dive here all year round and enjoy a very diverse and rich marine life. The underwater visibility is up 80 feet from July to December. You’ll find shy garden eels living in the sandy bottom, the largest school of yellow surgeon fish, rays, octopus, seahorses, green turtles and more.
Mismaloya, is one of the most visited scuba diving locations due to its proximity to downtown Puerto Vallarta and you can get there by sea and land. The bay 6 nautical miles long and is located to the south of the city. The sloping sea floor offers large boulders with depths between 10 and 20 meters, where you can see moray eels, lobsters, snappers and king angelfish.
The Marieta Islands, off the coast of Nayarit in Banderas Bay, was made famous by Jacques Cousteau, the oceanographer, in the 70's and today is one of the most popular dive sites in the Mexican Pacific. It is part of an underwater mountain range and is located at the entrance of the Bay of Banderas. Here you can find an impressive descent, reefs and caves, filled with tropical fish, sea turtles, manta rays and even whales when they are visiting the bay, normally between November and March.
El Morro, a place for advanced divers with a rock formation cavern at 70 feet under water.
Las Viudas, where you can also go hunting underwater and catch large sized commercial species that you can later on enjoy in a delicious dinner.
There is also a place called El Malinal, which happens to be a favorite for those who love sea life. This site is not well known and this makes it a great place to enjoy an impressive amount of sea life and biological underwater diversity. It is definitely a great experience you should not miss.
The Chimo, this place is highly recommended for divers that already have some experience. It's a beautiful place where you can find black and white coral, many different tropical fish species, turtles, giant manta rays and more.
La Corbeteña, one of the best sites for underwater scuba divers. Here you can find stingrays and sharks, but you must have some type of diving certification, because you’ll inevitably require some scuba experience to explore its waters.