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Marietas Islands or Los Arcos? You will love them both!

Posted by admin on October 4, 2023

The Islas Marietas National Park and the Los Arcos de Mismaloya National Marine Park are two of the most precious jewels of Banderas Bay, and both options are excellent for enjoying nature.

Marietas Islands (Islas Marietas) is an archipelago located on the north coast of Banderas Bay, 8 km from Punta de Mita; It is made up of two islands, 900 meters from each other, which date back about 60,000 years and are the result of volcanic activity. Isla Redonda (where Playa del Amor is located) has an extension of one kilometer and 500 meters at its widest point. Isla Larga measures about 900 meters long and 400 meters wide. There are also two islets and other mounds of lesser importance.


To get to Playa del Amor, you will have to swim through a natural tunnel, so it is advisable to hire a tour with a guide to guarantee your safety. In addition to Playa del Amor, in the Marietas Islands you will also find other places of interest such as La Nopalera beach, El Puente de Piedra, Los Morros or the Mictlán Cave. The waters are crystal clear, ideal for snorkeling, so you can admire the impressive underwater landscape.

Los Arcos, for its part, is a rock formation that emerges from the sea off the coast of Puerto Vallarta. Its official name is Los Arcos de Mismaloya National Marine Park and it is a protected natural area, a refuge for numerous species of flora and fauna, in addition to being a nesting place for birds such as boobies (blue-footed boobies), the sea falcon , some species of parakeets, cormorants, pelicans and many more. The crystal clear waters surrounding Los Arcos are home to a wide variety of colorful tropical fish, manta rays and sea turtles.

Although it is a protected natural area, this area is one of the most visited by tourists, as it is perfect for snorkeling, stand up paddle (SUP), kayaking and diving. However, you must be careful if you practice any of these activities, or do them under the supervision of a professional guide since the area has impressive tunnels, caves and reefs. As if that were not enough, its waters are some of the deepest in the bay, with a range of 9 to 480 meters.

In both the Marietas Islands and Los Arcos you can enjoy the beauty of Banderas Bay, but, if your time is limited, we recommend choosing the destination that best suits your interests. If you like diving and snorkeling, Los Arcos is an excellent option. If you want to explore virgin beaches, the Marietas Islands are for you. In any case, you will not regret visiting these impressive destinations.

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