|Snorkeling, Stingers and a Blue-Footed Booby with Vallarta Adventures
When I went to the L.A. Times Travel and Adventure show, I made sure to stop by the Mexico and Puerto Vallarta booths for any tips or insider knowledge that might help to plan our upcoming All-Inclusive getaway. As easy as it was going to be for us to lay on the beach all day, Bob and I knew we wanted to get out of the resort at some point and take a tour. The representatives at the travel show handed me dozens of brochures about different activities in Puerto Vallarta. After looking through all the options at home, I decided to wait until we arrived in Puerto Vallarta to book an excursion.
Problem: With snorkeling, zip-lining, whale watching, boating adventures, and off-road safaris, we didn’t know what type of tour to do.
Solution: Vallarta Adventures.
The resort had about seven different tour companies positioned to sell you anything your heart could desire. We met with Vallarta Adventures and within minutes were sold on the snorkeling and boat trip to Marietas Islands, a government protected national park and huge bird sanctuary. The pictures looked gorgeous (as any tour groups photos should) and without much deliberation, we signed up for the tour.
With an hour boat ride to the Islands and the first dive spot, an hour to snorkel or kayak, and an hour or so to sunbath or swim in the ocean, the tour is set up pretty nicely. After a delicious breakfast spread of homemade pastries and fresh fruit, you leave the marina bound for Marietas Islands. My mom reminded us to take Dramamine and I’m so thankful she did. The boat was pretty steady and we found a great spot on the top deck, but I still got a little queasy. As we were making our way out to the islands, dozens of birds decided to fly around the boat and out to sea with us. They took turns diving into the water and catching fish below us. It was almost like the birds were putting on show – each dive becoming more and more dance like and each bird coming up with a bigger prize.
As we got closer to the islands, the crew started telling us about the history of the islands. They were formed by volcanic eruptions creating steep cliffs and caves. Once inhabited by pirates and used as shelter by whale hunters, these islands were used as target missile target practice by the Mexican Army, which reconstructed over 70% of the islands’ natural landscape. In 2005 Las Marietas Islands were named a national park and are now preserved for the animals and wildlife in the oceans.
In addition to the ocean life, there were hundreds upon thousands of birds perched on the rocks and hundreds more flying around the rocks. (It was definitely a sanctuary for them, and a beautiful sanctuary at that.) The rocks of Las Marietas are home to one special bird called the Blue Footed Booby that was previously thought to only inhabit the Galapagos Islands.(We were lucky to spot one right when we pulled up to the side of the rocks- the feet are really blue!)The rock formations were gorgeous and the waves crashing and dramatic blow holes added mystery to the islands. Bob and I probably took 200 photos just at this part- we were so excited to try out the new camera and experiment with different settings.