The warm, crystal-clear waters of Banderas Bay and the Mexican Pacific are home to a vast array of sea life, making Nuevo Vallarta one of Mexico’s best scuba diving locations.
November through May is considered the best time to dive offshore sites in Central Mexico, as the sea conditions in the Pacific are calmest during these months. The weather is good too; generally it’s sunny with occasional rain showers. Besides the regular surfing safari or whale watching experience, manta rays can be seen throughout the year, but during the winter months, divers also have the chance of spotting a whale shark.
That being said, of all the things to do in Nuevo Vallarta, here are the 5 most popular dive spots off its coastline.
Anegados features labyrinth-like rocks to swim through. And an archway covered with corals and sea fans house all kinds of nocturnal species like squirrelfish, soldier fish, octopi and remains of a shipwreck. In the sandy bottom, with some patience and a good eye, there are some interesting symbiotic relationships to observe, and there are also important populations of nudibranchs and sea hares.
2. El Morro
El Morro is a rock inhabited by marine birds outside of the Bay, at the edge of the Pacific. It is surrounded by a rocky and sandy area with depths down to 160 feet. Its landmark is a 200-foot-long sea cave formed by the action of waves through thousands of years.
3. El Chimo
El Chimo is an old fishing village located outside Puerto Vallerta, and the area off its coast is named in its honor. This site is located at the remote southern end of Banderas Bay and offers absolutely spectacular drop-offs as well as glistening white sandy slopes. There are strong currents here, which make it very attractive to larger pelagic visitors. Here, you can see whales and their calves between April and December, and whale sharks between May and July.
4. Las Tres Marietas
At Las Tres Marietas you an see octopus, many different species of fish, manta rays and reef formations. This is an easy dive for the most part, and is highly recommended for beginners.
5. Los Arcos
At Los Arcos, granite formations rise from the depths, carved by the force of the ocean. The continental platform begins from the main arch, on a wall that sinks 1800 feet deep. This spot is also home to several species of Rays, Mantas, Eels, Morays and lots of other marine life.