You may be surprised that the place that you know as Vallarta is much more than the picturesque town of Puerto Vallarta and the correct name is Banderas Bay (Bahía de Banderas). The bay is one of the largest in Mexico and definitely the deepest one (3000 feet). It is considered one of the most beautiful bays in the world for its aesthetic importance and ecological and biological activities. The Bay is split between the states of Jalisco and Nayarit but as a tourist you will barely notice crossing the border. The states used to be in different time zones, but not anymore. The annual temperature is around 80°F so you can enjoy this paradise all year round.
The Bay extends from Punta Mita in the North to Cape Corrientes in the south and offers warm waters and wide beaches along its 62 miles. It is surrounded by jungle-covered mountains what gives this bay a unique combination of mountain and sea views and attractions. Banderas Bay is popular not only among humans. Humpback whales choose its waters every day from November to March to give birth and take care of their offspring. As a matter of fact, whale watching is one of the most popular attractions of the bay. Dolphins, Manta rays, sea turtles and even little seahorses also love the area, and if you are a fun of sport fishing you can easily fish a marlin or tuna.
The tiny Marieta Islands situated near the area of Punta Mita are home for many bird species such as seagulls, pelicans and frigate birds and inland you can find crocodiles, parrots and numerous iguanas. Banderas Bay offers different kind of vacations according to the place you choose to stay. Punta Mita in the North offers the most exclusive hotels in the area, including the Four Seasons, located in a residential development with 1,500 acre golf course. You can access the area even if you are not a hotel guest by making a previous reservation in one of the gourmet restaurants. Outside the development you can find the best surfing beaches and a laid-back atmosphere.
A little further south there is La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, a fast growing community with the biggest Farmers Market in the region, interesting restaurants and great marina. Continuing our trip south you will find yourself in the town of Bucerias, loved by the Canadians. The town is well known for its artistic vibe, upscale restaurants and shallow waters. It’s a good place to start your surfing lessons. Passing the well known Puerto Vallarta you arrive to Mismaloya, that made Puerto Vallarta famous when John Huston directed there “The night of Iguana”.
The place offers a luxury hotel, palapa restaurants and condominiums for rent. Now you are left with Boca de Tomatlan, a marvelous, quiet cove with rustic bars. The southern beaches are secluded, and mostly accessible only by water. You have to visit Las Animas, Quimixto, Las Caletas, Majahuitas and Yelapa but they all deserve a separate story…