One-of-a-kind adventures outside Puerto Vallarta
Take a sailing trip to the quaint fishing village of Yelapa, which didn’t even have electricity until about 10 years ago. The village can only be reached by boat, but the trip is part of the fun. One option for transportation is Pegaso Chartering, for a relaxing cruise that includes a snorkel stop on the way to Yelapa.
Once you arrive, a cobblestone path leads past a workshop where villagers carve rosewood statues, and on to a waterfall that pours into a deep freshwater pool perfect for cooling off after the walk.
Another option is the Vallarta Botanical Gardens, which is located a mere 11 miles south of Puerto Vallarta and houses more than 3,000 species of plants. The 250-acre preserve is made up mostly of natural tropical forest, and even has short hiking trails to a river where visitors can take a swim. Keep an eye out for birds and butterflies that flit overhead.
Other highlights of the gardens include roses and orchids, a field of 6,000 blue agaves and a collection of carnivorous plants. If you’ve worked up an appetite exploring, the outdoor Hacienda de Oro restaurant is good for a bite and a refreshing beverage.
Nature lovers should also consider visiting the uninhabited Marietas Islands, a protected UNESCO marine sanctuary. One of the few places on earth where travelers can see a blue-footed booby, Marietas is also home to underwater sea caves, lava tubes and corals, sea turtles, colorful fish, eagle rays and sea horses.
For adventure seekers, the tour company Vallarta Adventures offers an Outdoor Adventure tour that includes a jungle drive, a mule ride and a rappel down waterfalls, among other activities. The tour takes a high-speed Zodiac ride to the tiny fishing village of Boca de Tomatlan, where guests board open-air vehicles for a bumpy ride into the tropical forest. Visitors take a 30-minute mule ride on an agave cactus plantation, before heading out to go waterfall rappelling and ziplining.
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