I’ve been to Puerto Vallarta several times. We’ve never really adventured too much around the area though.
One thing I’ve always wanted to do was visit the Marieta Islands. We can see them in the distance from our hotel and always talked about visiting, but never actually did. This year though, I was turning 21 and wanted to go for my birthday. It worked because we went.
The hotel was selling tours through Vallarta Adventures for around $85 a person. We didn’t like that, so we decided to do it our way. Another family on our trip had gone to the islands the previous summer, so they felt experienced enough to do it solo.
On March 18, we caught a couple of cabs to Punta Mita (about 20-30 minutes away) and walked onto the beach. We found several people trying to sell us tours, and we almost bought from one of them until one of our group members ran up and said “We found someone selling tours from Wichita Falls!” Of course we ended up buying from the guy from our hometown. We did the trip for around $25 a person.
The boat ride was about 20 minutes long from the beach to the island. It was pretty bumpy but it wasn’t bad at all. At one point, we drove through a flock of birds. That was scary because I was afraid that birds would hit me, but nothing happened. Our guide told us a bit about the islands as we rode to them, but it was too noisy to hear well.
At the island, we were told to jump out of the boat. We weren’t allowed to take anything other than a camera onto the island. It was about a ten minute swim onto the beach. We didn’t see too much marine life because of a huge thunderstorm that had hit Puerto Vallarta a few days prior. They had to close down the bridge from Puerto Vallarta to Nuevo Vallarta because the river flooded. The water was very murky because of all of the rain.
The tunnel was a lot bigger than I thought it would be. Based on reviews I’d read, I expected to be deathly afraid of being bounced around the walls and surrounded by people. I swam through without any fear of the walls and there weren’t a lot of people there at all. Total, there were maybe 20 people on the beach and 12 of them were in our group.
Our guide warned us that the walls are coated in sea urchins, so you don’t want to get anywhere near them, but that was the only danger he alerted us to.
Once we made it to the beach, our guide took a few pictures of us as a family and then walked us a small bit into the cave. He talked to us about the sea urchins and other birds and fish that live there. We also went through a small passage from one side that took us back into the main tunnel.
We got back into the boat after the beach and then road around the island a bit. The water was too rough to go to a few of the places, but we saw most of the spots.
We looked around Punta Mita a bit after we finished the tour, but we were exhausted so we wanted to get back to the hotel quickly. It was a cute little town and a lot of signs were in English. I wish we could have stayed longer and explored. Sayulita was a bit busier, but Punta Mita had several shops we didn’t get to go into.