Located near Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific coast, Banderas Bay (Bahía de Banderas) is famous for its 42-mile (68-kilometer) stretch of picturesque coast. Jungle, sandy beaches, and rich aquatic life define this area, which is ideal for watersports and land adventures alike.
Most tours exploring Banderas Bay’s terrestrial and aquatic offerings leave from Puerto Vallarta. Explore the bay’s waters on a snorkeling excursion, some of which also include kayaking and a visit to Marietas Islands National Park. If you’re a certified diver, you can opt for a scuba diving tour to explore undersea tunnels, hidden caves, and reefs brimming with tropical fish. Sailing tours are another option for experiencing the picturesque bay. On land, you can pedal along the coastline on a biking tour, delve into local culture on a taco-tasting tour, or explore the jungle on a day trip to nearby Las Caletas.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Banderas Bay is a must-see for nature and beach lovers.
- Remember to bring sun protection and plenty of water for outdoor excursions.
- Proof of PADI certification is required for certified dives.
- Be careful not to touch or disturb aquatic or terrestrial wildlife.
When to Get There
April through June is the best time to visit Banderas Bay, when rain is scarce and there are fewer tourists. January through March is the best time for whale watching, although the area tends to be crowded during this time.
How to Get There
Part of the Pacific Ocean, Banderas Bay borders Puerto Vallarta and stretches between Punta Mita in the north and Cape Corrientes in the south. Puerto Vallarta is the main jumping-off point for tours and activities in the area. The closest international airport is Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport, located roughly three miles (five kilometers) from downtown Puerto Vallarta.
Whale Watching in Banderas Bay
Among the most popular outdoor activities in Banderas Bay, whale watching tours provide an opportunity to see humpback whales, which travel to the bay in early December for mating and calving. Most of these excursions leave from Marina Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta.