Our first adventure of 2016 was a work conference which was held at the end of January at an all inclusive resort in sunny Puerto Vallarta Mexico. The trip was one week which included 2 travel days and 3 work days, leaving only 2 free days to explore the area. In between the busy work schedule we enjoyed chilling on the beach loungers just watching the ever so graceful Frigate birds floating by the surrounding palm trees.
Palm Trees and Frigate Bird, Puerto Vallarta Mexico
MARIETAS ISLANDS WITH PEGASO TOURS
I can only handle the resort scene for so long before I’m craving some off-property exploration. We were interested in getting on the water for some whale watching, snorkelling and checking out the Hidden Beach in the Marietas Islands. I had heard about the sailboat tours with Eco-Sail by Pegaso which have a maximum load of only 24 passengers. This appealed to us far more than the typical “booze cruise” style catamaran tours that carry somewhere in the neighbourhood of 150 people. Been there done that, and eating fins for an hour after the cat unloads 150 drunk tourists with snorkels all at once is not my idea of a good time.
Onboard the sailboat with Pegaso Tours
We were to meet our tour leaders bright and early at the Marina which was a 15 minute cab ride from our resort. We even regulated our tequila intake the night before so as not to miss the 7:30 alarm in order to make it to the marina for our 8:45 meeting time, hangover free. We were the first passengers to board along with a lovely young couple from Vancouver. We all settled in at the front of the sailboat as the crew promptly distributed coffees and pastries which we enjoyed while making our way through the marina and out into Bandaras Bay, the sun just peeking up over the mountains.
Pre-dawn in the Harbour, Puerto Vallarta Mexico
We made one more stop in Nuevo Vallarta to pick up the rest of the passengers which totalled only 20 onboard for the day. As the Captain started heading out of the marina towards the more open expanse of Bandaras Bay, the crew came around with sea-sick prevention pills for everyone which we thought was an excellent practice. If you’ve ever been sea sick, it’s the worst feeling and will really ruin your day. As the crew explained, it’s best to take the meds early because they work great as a preventative measure but once you are already feeling sea-sick it’s too late and the meds will not help you.
Setting Sail with Eco Sail by Pegaso, Puerto Vallarta
Once everyone had been medicated against sea-sickness (except for one defiant woman who later tossed her cookies overboard) the crew got on their radios to the other boat operators in the area to find out if there had been any whale sightings in the bay. Before long, we were enjoying stunning views of a pair of humpback whales blowing as they surfaced for air followed by their majestic tail flukes as they dove deep below.
Humpback Whale Fluke, Bandaras Bay, Mexico
Before snorkelling off the coast of the Marietas, the crew prepared a lovely fruit snack for everyone including banana, papaya, pineapple and melons and they were routinely coming around with fresh cold water as well. It was clear that they were doing everything to ensure that their guests had a fun day by keeping everyone well fed and hydrated as well as passing out the meds for anti-sea sickness and reminders about sunscreen application. Once we had reached the Marietas Islands it was time to get our masks and fins on and get in the water. We spent about an hour exploring along the rocky coast of the Marietas Islands where we saw numerous species of colourful tropical fish including an almost transparent needle-nosed fish as it hunted the smaller fish. So phenomenal to see. We also saw loads of seabirds that nest on the Marietas Islands including the Blue Footed Booby.
Blue Footed Boobies, Marietas Islands, Mexico
Once the snorkelling was over it was time to start swimming through the tunnel into the Hidden Beach. This is where we very surprised to see literally hordes of tourists and mostly locals thrashing frantically against the tidal currents inside the tunnel.
View of the Small Tunnel Entrance to Hidden Beach
We had no idea until now that this particular day was a national Mexican holiday (Mexican Independence Day) so the Hidden Beach was super crowded with locals enjoying their holiday. Nevertheless, it’s quite a unique location and we were happy we got to see it, crowds or not.
Hidden Beach, Marietas Islands, Puerto Vallarta Mexico
Once we got back on the sailboat the crew served up a delicious lunch of sandwiches, salads, nacho chips, guacamole & spicy peppers along with a round of very strong drinks! We really respected the fact that they did not start serving any alcoholic beverages until after everyone was safely back onboard after snorkelling and visiting the Hidden Beach. The rest of the afternoon was spent enjoying a few more bevvy’s while taking in yet another breath-taking whale sighting on our way back to the marina. We were very lucky to see any whales at all as the knowledgable crew had explained that due to the El Nino year, ocean waters in the area are much warmer than normal and there are only 5 humpback whale cows with babies in the bay where normal years see around 15.
Humpback Whale in Bandaras Bay
This day on the water definitely gave us our money’s worth and then some which helped to make up for the busy work schedule! The tour is advertised as 7 hours but we received 9.5 hours for $95 US each, fully catered with an open bar to round off the day. The crew at Pegaso were so fun while at the same time very professional and responsible, ensuring both the safety and good times of their passengers. If you are ever in the area I would highly recommend this tour company.
Sailing on Bandaras Bay
Pegaso Crew Member Carlos
Pegaso Crew Member Caesar, going home after a great day
OLD TOWN PUERTO VALLARTA MEXICO
The only other free time we had on this trip was spent walking around Old Town Puerto Vallarta and enjoying delicious Mexican food and margaritas at Cafe de Olla. Below are some photos from around Old Town Puerto Vallarta.
Beach Seafood in Old Town Puerto Vallarta
Fresh Oysters on the Beach in Old Town Puerto Vallarta
Sunset at the Pier in Old Town Puerto Vallarta
Beach Twilight in Old Town Puerto Vallarta
Night scenes in Old Town Puerto Vallarta
Margaritas at Cafe de Olla, Puerto Vallarta
This was my 7th trip to Mexico and I always enjoy the food, music, people and of course the cervezas and margaritas. So far I have visited Cozumel, Cancun, Tulum, Cabo San Lucas, Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta. If I ever go back to Mexico I would like to book a condo for accommodations as I’m really over the all-inclusive scene. Maybe one day!
What is your favourite Mexican destination? Please let me know in the comments below. Gracias mi amigas!
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