Puerto Vallarta is a famous holiday destination on the Pacific coast of Mexico that has been drawing visitors for many decades. Its tropical climate makes it a superb year-round destination (if you don’t mind the rainy summer months) and the warm water makes it the perfect playground for all ocean lovers: sun worshippers who love to sit back and relax flock here all year from both the US and Canada, surfers look for that perfect yet elusive wave, and there are those who simply want to watch whales jumping out of the water during the winter months. To summarize, there is something for everyone to do in Bahia de Banderas, or the Bay of Flags.
The question is: where do you start? Many tourists come here for only a week or too, are not very sure about where to begin and sometimes are not aware of all the activities they can enjoy. Mexican food is anywhere and everywhere, the beaches are right in front of the hotels, and renting a waverunner or bodyboard to play in the small surf are options that are easily taken care of by the hotels. What is not so obvious is that there’s good surf a mere 30 minute drive away from most hotels, there are some superb snorkeling and diving spots not too far either, and outdoor activities such as horseback riding, bungee jumping, whitewater rafting or zip-lining can also be enjoyed. Apparently that lay-back-and-do-nothing holiday is not that much fun any more right?
I was recently invited by Vallarta Adventures to participate in their Sea Safari outdoor program, one of their outdoor adventures in which during one day (7 hours) I was able to ride a speedboat, ride a horse to a waterfall and get wet (the amusing guides will make sure nobody doesn’t), I was able to snorkle at a secluded reef and enjoy a superb buffet in one of the best beaches of the area where kayaks are also available. You might be thinking that all these activities can be enjoyed independently and thus save some money right? I’m sorry to say you’re wrong, unless you have a boat, know where the good snorkeling spots are and know where to rent a horse somewhere in the jungle.
The Sea Safari begins at 10 am at Vallarta Adventure’s headquarters, time at which the group (about 20 ppl) will hop on the speedboat and skim over the ocean for 35 minutes to Quimixto, a small fishing village south of Puerto Vallarta. Once there everybody will be taken to the stables where the horses are and from there the 20 minute ride to the waterfall will begin.
The horses are well trained and pretty much know their way: the ride is quite simple, with some very nice views and you have plenty of time to enjoy the surroundings.
At the waterfall food is available at a cost, and after resting and enjoying the swim the group will ride the horses back to Qumixto where it will jump on the speedboat and make it to the snorkeling spot of the day. The weather did not cooperate when I took part in this activity, and the lack of sun and persistant rain did not make this one of my best snorkeling experiences. However many people in the group were snorkeling for the first time ever and were having a blast.
About an hour after jumping into the water we were then taken to Pizota, another small fishing village only accessible by boat and it is here that the superb beach is located, as well as the great buffet meal. After the mandatory tequila shots you are free to eat as much as you want, swim in the ocean, lay on the beach or kayak as you please until it is time to go back, about an hour after getting there.
Our way back was again done in the rain, making the activity more of an adventure and certainly entertaining than other tours you might have done. We were again at the HQ 7 hours after the trip had begun and I had certainly enjoyed the time, as had the whole group. This might sound obvious, but it is not easy to keep a group of 20 happy for seven hours when it has been under the rain for the better part of them- this says a lot about the superb staff Vallarta Adventures has.
Is this adventure aimed to everyone? Certainly not, and Vallarta Adventures is well aware. The Adventure (visit the Sea Safari webpage for more information) covers many activities in one day and a fun time is almost guaranteed, yet at 110 USD/person it certainly isn’t cheap and it’s not as thrilling as some of their other adventures. I would recommend the Sea Safari to families with small children or couples who want a day of activities but don’t want anything physically demanding nor too challenging. However if you’re traveling solo, are on a tight budget, want something adventurous or have snorkeled and ridden a horse elsewhere this adventure is not for you- save your money and spend it in one of their other adventures or elsewhere (visit the Vallarta Adventures website and read my Outdoor Adventure review) Thank you Vallarta Adventures for letting me participate in this activity!
Note: I was invited by Vallarta Adventures to participate in this activity at no cost, however my review is completely unbiased and was in no way conditioned to their offer.
Is this your kind of fun? Do you have any questions? Comments are welcome below, and please share this post if you liked it!