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12 Things to KNOW About Snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

12 Things to KNOW About Snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

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When it comes to the best places to snorkel in Mexico, which places come to mind? Cancun, Playa del Carmen, or maybe Tulum? While all three of these spots on Mexico’s Caribbean coast are amazing snorkeling destinations, one of my personal favorite (and pretty underrated!) snorkel spots is actually Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific coast.

I have such fond memories of Puerto Vallarta – after all, I actually lived there and continue to visit to this day. The snorkeling and scuba diving in Puerto Vallarta is absolutely fantastic. Honestly, it gives the Caribbean coast a run for its money!

So today, I wanted to shine a little light on the snorkel scene here, giving you the low down with all you need to know to have an epic, snorkel-filled trip. Let’s dive in – just don’t forget to bring your waterproof camera!

1. About snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta

Bailey snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Hey!

With over 3 and a half million international visitors in 2022, it’s safe to say that Puerto Vallarta is one of the most popular destinations to visit in Mexico!

With tons of incredible things to do, including visiting some of the best beaches in Mexico, going on an ATV tour, and trying out a food tour, you might forget that Puerto Vallarta has a wonderful snorkel scene as well.

From mysterious shipwrecks to stunning underwater archways (and let’s not forget the reefs at sites like Los Arcos!), there’s a whole other underwater world just waiting to be explored.

As Puerto Vallarta is on the Pacific coastline, the water temperature can fluctuate a bit, depending on whether you’re traveling during the summer rainy season or winter dry season. Generally though, you can expect water temps to range between 22 and 30 °C (71 and 86 °F), which is still pretty warm all things considered.

No two snorkel trips are ever the same here, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that what you can see also changes depending on the season you’re visiting in… But more on that later!

2. Why I love snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta

Fish swim under a rock that we saw while snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Dive down to find them!

One of the best parts about going snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta (and many other areas in Mexico!), is that snorkel trips and tours are a lot more affordable than they might be in other countries.

While it’s totally possible to try to snorkel straight from the shore from beaches like Conchas Chinas, to reach many of the best spots like Los Arcos and the Marietas Islands, you’ll need to take a boat. Going as part of an organized tour can be a great option in this case, as you know exactly what you’re getting for the price you pay.

I also love that the authorities have thought to protect stunning locations like Los Arcos, which has a huge and diverse array of marine life. Imagine snorkeling and seeing giant Pacific manta rays, turtles, colorful marine fish, and so much more!

While there are many more reasons why I love snorkeling here in Puerto Vallarta, one of the biggest draws for me has to be how friendly the snorkeling (and scuba diving!) scene is here. All of the tours and organized snorkeling activities I’ve joined have been run by super passionate individuals who genuinely care about the marine environment – it’s honestly infectious!

3. When is the best time to go snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta?

Bailey above the water with a snorkel on during a tour in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Hey!

The best time to go snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta honestly depends on what sort of snorkel experience you’re looking for. Some might say that the best time is during the winter dry season (December to April), as this is when underwater visibility is at its highest thanks to the clear weather conditions and lack of rain.

On the other hand, many incredible creatures can be found migrating into the Bay of Banderas during the warmer summer months. At this time of year, the water temperature is much higher than in winter, however the chance of rain is higher, meaning a higher chance of weather disruptions.

For the best of both worlds, I’d suggest going in the shoulder months (October and November), as water temperatures are still pretty warm at 25 – 30 °C (77 – 86 °F), while the chance of rain drops a lot down after September.

Another bonus of visiting before the winter season is that you can enjoy lower accommodation prices before they increase in the winter months. Speaking of accommodation, don’t forget to check out where to stay in Puerto Vallarta!

Tip: If you want to visit during the wet season, I’d suggest going snorkeling in the morning, as the weather tends to be better than during the afternoon.

4. What can you see when snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta?

Fish and corals while snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Lots of fish!

One of my favorite things about snorkeling here in Puerto Vallarta is that what you can see changes depending on when you visit! Winter brings a huge surprise (literally!), with blue whales, humpback whales, and more. You also have a better chance of spotting giant manta rays, spinner dolphins, and even hammerhead sharks at this time of year.

Towards the end of summer and into fall, you’ll likely spot more sea turtles in the waters around Puerto Vallarta, as this is when they make their way to the beaches to lay their eggs! August to October is the high season for turtle hatching – so it’s also the perfect time to get involved with a turtle release event, which is such an incredible experience.

However, there are plenty of marine life who stick around throughout the year, including puffer fish, eagle rays, and bottlenose dolphins. No matter when you visit, you’re guaranteed to spot something amazing beneath the waves!

I’ve really only scratched the surface of what Puerto Vallarta offers. Coming in summer versus winter really does give you a completely different experience – kind of like two destinations in one!

Related Read: Akumal Beach is one of my all-time favorite places in Mexico to snorkel with turtles. If you’re ever looking for things to do in the Yucatán, you can’t miss out on this!

5. What are the best snorkeling spots in/near Puerto Vallarta?

A snorkel tour group surrounded by fish at Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
The shallow areas are fun!

Conchas Chinas Beach

Just a few minutes south of downtown Puerto Vallarta, you’ll find Conchas Chinas Beach with its golden sand and mysterious rock pools. Although it’s not a huge beach, it’s quite popular with locals and is also a big hit for snorkelers.

Its name actually means ‘Chinese Shells Beach’ in English, thanks to the thousands of wavy shells that wash up here!

Conchas Chinas is also a certified “Blue Flag” beach, which means that the beach and surrounding waters are actively cared for as part of this international program. And the results speak for themselves – when we visited, we saw huge schools of colorful fish just a little way out from the rocky area that sticks out into the sea.

Los Arcos National Marine Park

Los Arcos National Marine Park is a protected paradise that you can actually see right from town! Made up of four small granite islands with some super impressive arch formations, Los Arcos is only accessible by boat, but is definitely worth a visit while you’re in town.

In my experience, it’s best to visit as part of a tour, as these include round-trip transportation, and often all the equipment you need to enjoy some awesome snorkeling. When I was last here visiting Los Arcos, I had a blast exploring the rocky reefs that all sorts of tropical fish call home. I was also super lucky and got to see some moray eels and manta rays!

This half-day Los Arcos snorkeling experience was tons of fun and I really enjoyed getting to learn all about the area from Rodrigo, our local guide. The ride there from the marina was super scenic, but I think my favorite moment had to be checking out the hidden beach and seeing all the amazing animals I mentioned earlier!

Tickets for this tour cost $79 USD per person, which includes all transport, snacks, bottled water, and all the snorkeling equipment you need. Keep in mind that there is an extra boarding fee of 50 MXN ($3 USD) that needs to be paid in cash in person. You can book your spot on this tour here!

Las Marietas Islands

Alongside Los Arcos, the Marietas Islands are another super popular destination for snorkelers in Puerto Vallarta! These islands are about an hour’s boat ride from Puerto Vallarta, but the journey there is totally worth it, with crystal clear water, white sandy beaches, and hidden coves just waiting to be explored.

If you love learning about all things marine life, then you’ll definitely want to check out this full-day eco-tour at the Marietas Islands! From dolphin spotting to going kayaking (and snorkeling of course!), you’ll get to explore these incredibly diverse islands while learning about the amazing wildlife that lives here.

Whales, manta rays, and sea turtles are honestly just the start, so don’t forget to take plenty of photos to show your family and friends back home! Tickets for this tour cost $99 USD per person, which includes access to the open bar, as well as lunch plus snorkel and kayak equipment. You can check out available dates and book online here.

Colomitas Beach

When it comes to beaches, size doesn’t always matter! In fact, Colomitas Beach is a super secret (or maybe not so secret now) cove, which is actually tucked away down a fun hiking trail around a 45-minute drive from town. Although it might be a little far to walk, this beach is seriously unmissable if you’re serious about snorkeling – the amount of wildlife you can find here truly blows my mind!

One of the easiest ways to reach Colomitas Beach is by taking a guided tour, like this full-day trail experience to 6 hidden beaches. As you might have guessed, Colomitas Beach isn’t the only beach on the menu, but it’s definitely one of the most memorable, as you hunt for some of the best snorkel spots around.

Dan and I love going on trail hikes, and after giving this tour a try, we’d recommend being okay with medium-difficulty hikes before giving this go. That said, it was a super fun experience right from the beginning, just make sure to bring plenty of water! Tickets for this tour are very affordable at just $38 USD per person and can be booked here on Viator.

Playa de Los Muertos (Sayulita)

Our next pick actually comes from the town of Sayulita. It’s about an hour’s drive from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita, but honestly, I couldn’t leave this one out.

With its name meaning “Beach of the Dead” in English, Playa de Los Muertos gets its name from the graveyard that you pass on the way down to the beach. But don’t let that spook you! Playa de Los Muertos is far from scary – it’s a gorgeous beach that’s popular with surfers and snorkelers from around the world!

The water here is very calm, making it ideal for families, and if you strap on your mask you can even see schools of colorful fish surrounding the rocky outcroppings.

As a side note, the area around Playa de Los Muertos is also a hotspot for celebrations during the Day of the Dead in Mexico. So if you find yourself in town at the beginning of November, why not join in?

6. Is snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta safe? 

Water sports on the Chica LoccaTours Catamaran in Puerto Vallarta
Photo credit: Chica Locca Tours

Snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta is very safe thanks to the typically calm currents, especially in the dry winter season!

Talking wildlife, out on the reefs you may encounter very small sharks, but these are not considered threatening to humans. During the spring and summer months, you might also spot the occasional jellyfish, but these aren’t particularly dangerous (though it’s best to keep an eye out for them on the beach to avoid a painful sting!).

If you don’t quite feel ready for snorkeling further out at sea just yet, there are some great beaches where you can snorkel straight from the shore (like Colomitos Beach and Yelapa). When swimming from the beach, be sure to keep an eye on the flag warning system and only enter the water when conditions are safe for your abilities.

Booking a tour with a reputable operator is a great option too. They’ll take you to snorkel sites suited to your skill level, and you’ll also have a boat nearby, so you can take breaks as needed. Snorkel tours also will supply life jackets as well as a professional guide, which is helpful for those a little nervous about snorkeling.

Related Read: The small fishing village of Yelapa is one of our favorite Puerto Vallarta day trips!

7. Can beginners snorkel in Puerto Vallarta?

few dolphins swim underneath us during the dolphins swim in Mexico
Dolphins!

If you’re new to snorkeling, Puerto Vallarta is a fantastic place to give it a try. Getting the hang of breathing through the mouthpiece is actually a lot easier than you think – you’ll be a snorkel pro in no time!

Don’t worry about looking silly as a beginner, either. The fish don’t judge! Once you get to see Puerto Vallarta’s magical underwater world up close, I’m sure you’ll be hooked (pun intended!).

I think that the calm currents, especially in the dry season, are ideal conditions for beginner snorkelers to get comfortable swimming along the surface. If you’re a little unsure about swimming out at sea just yet, then starting off at a beach where you can still see plenty of marine life can be a great alternative!

8. What are the best snorkeling tours in Puerto Vallarta?

Boat and Snorkel Tour to 5 Islands of Los Arcos

A turtle on the sand floor of the ocean in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
We saw a turtle!

This half-day Los Arcos snorkeling experience is a dream come true when it comes to learning more about this incredible marine park. Joined by an expert local guide, you’ll learn all about Los Arcos’ native wildlife, from the birds that nest up high to all the incredible marine life that swims just below the surface.

My favorite part about this tour is that it’s limited to a small group of just 12 people. This means you’ll have plenty of time to ask questions – something we highly recommend you do! Of course, don’t forget to take photos too – Los Arcos is super picturesque after all.

Tickets for this boat and snorkel tour cost just $45 USD per person, which we think is a pretty great deal considering you’re not packed onto a boat with 30+ people! You can check availability and book your spot on this tour online here.

Wild dolphins encounter & snorkeling

We approach dolphins in the water while in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
So cool!
Dolphins swim in the water during the Puerto Vallarta mexico
They swan right around us!

Who doesn’t love dolphins? Well, you’re in the right place to see them!

This small-group dolphin and snorkel tour lasts around 4 hours and gives you the chance not just to see dolphins, but to actually get in the water and swim with them. With just 12 people per group, this is such an amazing way to learn all about our flippered friends, from what they eat to their quirky social behaviors and so much more!

Joined by a professional biologist, we really couldn’t have asked for someone better to guide us around the Bay of Banderas, and it’s always such a special feeling being able to swim alongside these gentle and gorgeous animals. I also think this is a wonderful experience for kids, helping to nurture a lifelong passion for nature.

You can grab tickets for this tour for $95 USD per person, which also includes a boxed lunch, soft drinks, as well as all the snorkeling equipment you’ll need. It’s worth noting that this doesn’t include the $3 USD port fee which will need to be paid in cash on the day.

Full-Day Private Cruise in Puerto Vallarta with Snorkeling (Group)

Fish swim around a lady snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta
So many fish!

Traveling as a large group can be tons of fun, although it can definitely be a bit difficult to organize fun experiences at times! That said, this full-day private cruise couldn’t be more straightforward, with the entire experience catered to exactly how you want to spend the day.

Kicking back with your family and friends, you’ll get to enjoy some of the best snorkeling around (Los Arcos here we come!), as well as plenty of fresh guacamole, snacks, and drinks along the way, mmmm…

Chartering this boat costs $662 USD for 6 hours, with a maximum of 12 people per group. If you were to split that between each of you on a full boat, that would work out to a little over $55 USD per person! You can check available dates and reserve your epic day of snorkeling fun here.

Jet Ski Safari in Puerto Vallarta

Jet skiers from Eco Explorers in Puerto Vallarta
Exploring on a jet ski is like and ATV tour but on water! Photo credit: Eco Explorer

Wherever we go, Dan and I are always on the lookout for fun and adventurous activities to try, and this 2-hour jet ski safari was exactly what we were looking for in Puerto Vallarta! With a maximum of 6 people per tour, you’ll get to ride your own jet ski, and don’t worry if you’ve never ridden one before, as your guide will give you the full run-down before you set off.

After setting off, keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, turtles, and manta rays, but don’t forget to have fun! Jet skiing is tons of fun, especially when you’re joined by an experienced guide who can point out interesting sights along the way.

If you’re planning to ride solo, you can grab tickets for $127 USD per person, but if you want to double up, this will cost just $143 USD in total! Don’t forget to check dates and book in advance, as this is a popular tour that books up quickly.

Luxury Yacht & Snorkeling Experience

Bailey on a sunset cruise in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (2)
Oh the views!
People snorkel on a sunset catamaran cruise in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
People snorkel on a sunset catamaran cruise in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Who said you can’t go snorkeling in style? This 5-hour luxury yacht experience is such a fantastic way to experience the gorgeous Bay of Banderas – not only is the catamaran itself super comfy and spacious, but with lunch and an unlimited premium open bar included, there’s a whole lot to smile about!

Don’t forget to keep an eye out for dolphins, turtles, and schools of tropical fish as you cruise throughout the bay – plus the extra activities like paddleboarding are a must-try. My tip? They serve awesome Mojitos here that go down a treat, so don’t miss out on these!

Tickets for this tour cost $119 USD per person, which I think is pretty good considering the generous portions you get for lunch and the included open bar. Make sure to check out which dates are best for you and book your spot online in advance to avoid disappointment.

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, read our complete Viator review to learn more about what we think about Viator.

9. Is a trip to Sayulita worth it for the snorkeling?

Fish swim around some corals in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta is a fantastic launchpad for exploring other nearby areas, and a trip to the sleepy but popular surfer town of Sayulita for snorkeling and other fun activities is 100% worth it!

Just over an hour’s drive northwest of Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita is packed with tons of local charm. It’s one of my favorite places to relax and unwind, although there are plenty of other fun things to do in Sayulita!

Some of the best snorkel spots can be found a little way outside of Puerto Vallarta, and this beautiful beach town definitely delivers. Two of my favorite local spots are Carricitos Beach, which has epic jungle views, and Playa de Los Muertos, where you can find huge schools of colorful fish over towards the rock island! 

Getting to Sayulita is super straightforward. We rented a car in Puerto Vallarta (really helpful for getting to the more remote spots outside of town), but you can also take the COMPOSTELA bus, which takes around 1 to 1.5 hours. It leaves from outside the Highway 200 Walmart, heading to Sayulita and costing around 46 MXN ($2.70 USD) each way.

You can also visit Sayulita as part of an organized tour like this 6-hour Sayulita private tour, where you’re joined by an expert local guide and can completely customize your itinerary.

These tours from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita are a great way of saving time (you don’t end up wasting time trying to find the best spots yourself), plus all of your transport is prearranged!

10. Is snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta suitable for children?

A group of people snorkel in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
A group of people snorkel in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Absolutely, snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta can be a blast for kids! Even further out to sea, the currents tend to be gentle, making it a breeze for them to explore wearing life jackets. Plus there are no dangerous predators around like we mentioned earlier.

For younger or less confident swimmers, snorkeling at one of the beaches in or near Puerto Vallarta can be tons of fun! Not only are the beaches beautiful (think white powdery sand!), but there are lots of beaches where you can see fish without having to go very deep.

One beach I’d personally recommend for snorkeling is Conchas Chinas, and I’ve seen loads of kids with their families having an amazing time hanging out here.

As long as your children are comfortable swimmers, they’ll have a wonderful time snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta. The reefs are an awesome adventure for slightly older kids or those who are more comfortable in the water, while snorkeling at the beaches is a wonderful introduction if they’ve never tried it before.

11. Scuba diving vs snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta

Daniel and Bailey scuba diving in Puerto Vallarta Mexico
Discovery Dives are for beginners!

I’ve been asked a few times before whether I prefer snorkeling or scuba diving – honestly, it’s a difficult question to answer! While both Dan and I are scuba diving accredited (it definitely holds a special place in our hearts), I can’t deny that snorkeling is super easy to get into, and it’s generally the more affordable option too.

Snorkeling is also the perfect way to get a glimpse into amazing marine life without requiring certification or a relatively high level of fitness. No matter your age, snorkeling is generally super easy to pick up and second nature in no time!

Here in Puerto Vallarta, there are many fantastic spots that are perfect for snorkeling, from Las Caletas to Los Arcos. You can see all kinds of creatures just from the surface, especially with visibility as high as 100 feet (30 meters).

As for scuba, there’s an awesome diving community in Puerto Vallarta that’s been around for some time now. And if there’s a solid community, that means there’s an equally awesome number of fantastic dive spots nearby!

If you’re thinking about getting into scuba diving, then this full-day discover scuba experience might just be the perfect introduction for you! From the very start of the day all the way through to the end, you’ll work with your friendly PADI-certified instructor, going at a pace that suits you. With mysterious reefs and underwater caves to explore, you’ll grow your confidence to scuba in no time!

For those who already hold their diving certification, you can’t miss out on this 7-hour 2-tank scuba dive, with two tanks included. The best part is that you have several locations to choose from, from El Morrow with its intricate caves, to an amazing night dive at Los Arcos National Marine Park.

12. Is snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta worth it? 

Bailey under the water while snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Yep!

You bet! Snorkeling is such a fun activity, and it’s made even better when you’ve got tons of incredible things to see along the way. There are so many fantastic spots in Puerto Vallarta where you can swim right off the beaches, as well as famous places like Los Arcos and Las Caletas which make for a fantastic day trip.

So whether you’re flying solo, visiting with your family, or traveling with a group of friends, definitely don’t miss out on the chance to go snorkeling while you’re here!

Related Read: On the east coast of Mexico, snorkeling in Cabo San Lucas is also very good!

Other Activities to do While You’re in Puerto Vallarta

Fire dancers on stage at the Rhythms of the Night show in Puerto Vallarta in Mexico
Fire dancers on stage at the Rhythms of the Night show!
Daniel and Bailey on an ATV on the El Eden ATV Adventure in Puerto Vallarta
ATV tours are popular here, too!

Snorkeling is without a doubt one of my favorite things to do in Puerto Vallarta, but why not take your trip up to a whole new level with a few extra activities? From fun and free activities like walking the Puerto Vallarta Malecon to blinking in the lights and sights of the Rhythms of the Night show, here are some of our must-do activities!

  • Enjoy a swashbuckling show on a pirate ship – Ahoy landlubbers! Ever wanted to live out your dream of being a pirate, sailing across the seven seas? Or maybe you’ve got a little one who is swinging around their imaginary cutlass like a pro? This pirate ship cruise includes a dinner fit for a pirate king with cannons, fireworks, and all kinds of jolly entertainment to boot!
  • Explore the jungle on an ATV tour – One of my all-time favorite activities in Puerto Vallarta was going on an ATV tour. Dan and I went on this half-day Jorullo Bridge ATV experience that takes you to some of the most scenic natural spots in the area, as well as over the longest suspension bridge in Latin America!
  • Go whale watching – Going whale watching in Puerto Vallarta is a pretty popular activity (and a favorite of mine!). Not only is it one of the best places to see humpback whales, but you might even see grey or blue whales too. This 4-hour whale-watching tour is ideal for those on a budget but is also capped at just 12 passengers per tour!

Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta

woman relaxing at a rooftop pool in Puerto Vallarta
I loved staying in Puerto Vallarta!

It’s no secret that Puerto Vallarta is a very popular tourist destination, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find some great deals on accommodation (especially if you take a look at hotels early!). You’ll find a whole range of hotels here that cater to an equally wide range of budgets.

So whether you’re a backpacker looking to save money or a family looking to enjoy a little luxury, let’s take a look at some of our favorites!

Oasis Hostel – $

Who said you couldn’t live the dream on a budget? The Oasis Hostel offers both dorms and private rooms, which all have air conditioning with traditional Mexican decor. It’s around 5 km (3 mi) to get downtown, but that’s really easy with a taxi, or you can also rent a bike straight from the hostel.

Rooms here are super affordable, starting at just $19 USD including breakfast! Whether you’re backpacking through Puerto Vallarta or prefer to spend your money on experiences over accommodation, this is a great choice. You can book your space on either Hostelworld or Booking.com.

Posada de Roger – $

Another superb budget choice is the Hotel Posada de Roger that’s right in the heart of the Romantic Zone. All rooms here have AC, and they even have an outdoor pool that gets tons of sun. If you fancy making up some packed lunches, they also have a shared kitchen which is free for guests to use. No wonder it’s our go-to place to stay in Puerto Vallarta!

A one-night stay here at Posada de Roger starts at $64 USD per night, but it is pretty popular, so I’d recommend making your reservation in advance on Booking.com. You can always cancel the stay for free if you change your mind, so it’s a win-win!

Amapas Apartments Puerto Vallarta – $$

The Amapas Apartments in Puerto Vallarta are a series of adult-only, self-contained apartments, located in my favorite area of town – the Romantic Zone. It’s really close to the beach, restaurants, as well as tons of shopping and nightlife options. They even have a pool, with all rooms being air-conditioned too!

With one and two-bedroom apartments available, a stay here typically starts around $96 USD per night, which I think is a great deal considering the size of the apartment and its location! This is another really popular spot though, so don’t forget to book your stay online in advance.

Hilton Vallarta Riviera – $$$

The Hilton Vallarta Riviera is one of the best resorts in town – it’s all-inclusive, so you’re free to have plenty of peaceful downtime. They also have 7 restaurants, a private beach, a pool, a spa, and a gym. Rooms have super comfy beds and can include a terrace, balcony, and a private jetted tub overlooking the ocean! There’s evening entertainment and a kid’s club to keep the little ones happy

Rooms here at the Hilton Vallarta Riviera average around $350-$650 USD per night, but you can often get a good deal (on the lower end of that range) if you book in advance.

Renting a Car in Mexico

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie while driving around Mexico
A rental car means freedom to go to the beach whenever you want!

Undoubtedly, one of the best ways to get around Mexico is in a rental car. 

I struggled to get around by bus and taxi for the longest time. But after renting a car in Cancun in 2023, I never looked back. It allowed me to explore the country without worrying about tours or taxis. It was why I fell in love with Mexico and eventually decided to live here periodically. 

I refuse to use local services whenever I rent a car in Mexico. The truth is they sometimes can’t be trusted or come with hidden fees (or costly insurance that doesn’t make sense.) There are even rental car scams! So instead, I use Discover Cars, the company most experienced travelers or ex-pats in Mexico recommend. 

The rates on Discover Cars are cheap, too, with the average rental costing around $25 USD per day. Full coverage insurance can be added for an extra $10 USD a day too. 

Driving in Mexico also only requires a driver’s license using the Roman alphabet. If yours uses another like Japan and China, you simply need an international driving permit. 

Insurance is required, but if you book with Discover Cars and get the full coverage, that’s all you need! Oh, and being over 18 is required, and if you’re over 25, your rental will be much cheaper! 

Don’t get Caught without Travel Insurance!

We never travel without travel insurance! We’ve had a few instances during our travels when one of us has ended up in the hospital, and travel insurance has saved us thousands of dollars over the years!

SafetyWing is our go-to insurance, we both have policies with them whenever we travel.

They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!)The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.  

We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!) While most travel insurance companies left people stranded, SafetyWing fully reimbursed us for our last-minute, pricey flights!

Also, because it is so affordable, there really is no excuse not to take out a policy. Check prices and get a quote online here with SafetyWing (you can even take out a policy if you’re already traveling!)

Thanks for Reading!

Bailey poses with a bunch of Salsa on a food tour in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Thanks for reading!

Puerto Vallarta holds a special place in my heart, and when it comes to snorkeling in the Pacific, it’s one of my favorite places to visit! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog, and don’t forget to check out our blog on the best things to do in Mexico if you’re looking for some more fun activities to get stuck into while you’re here.

We’d love to hear what your travel plans are, so please let us know in the comments! For a little extra inspiration, I’ve also included three useful blogs below. We hope you have a wonderful time snorkeling here in Puerto Vallarta!

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