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Bay Of Banderas

This stretch of Mexican coastline has sandy beaches, quaint fishing villages and ideal spots to swim, surf or snorkel.

The Bay of Banderas (Bahía de Banderas) is a 62-mile (100-kilometer) stretch of beach on the west coast of Mexico. The bay region includes beaches, quaint cities and villages, and wildlife protection areas.

Rent scuba diving equipment, snorkeling gear or a kayak from Puerto Vallarta and head out into the water. Many types of sea life make the bay their home, including manta rays, sea bass and dolphins. Humpbacks and orcas give birth in the bay and can be spotted from the shore. Take a whale-watching trip with one of the many tour boats; try to join a tour that has a boat with devices that let you listen to whale sounds.

Los Muertos, in Puerto Vallarta, is the bay’s most popular beach. Swim around El Púlpito and Las Pilitas, two iconic rock formations at the south end of the beach. Surfers will enjoy a trip to Playa Olas Altas, a beach just north of Los Muertos that generally gets bigger swells. Playa Conchas Chinas, “Chinese Shells Beach,” is considered the city’s most secluded beach. Try Playa las Gemelas, too, for a quieter spot.

Walk through the historic old town of Puerto Vallarta. The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, built over the course of 50 years starting in 1903, is the city’s central landmark. The church spire is topped by an elaborate green crown, which is believed to be modeled on the crown worn by Carlota, wife of the Emperor Maximilian. The church is open daily and has services in English on weekends.

Stroll through the Romantic Zone of the old town and try an authentic Mexican meal. Visit the Los Arcos Marine Natural Area, to the south of Puerto Vallarta. This protected zone is popular for snorkeling and bird watching. Swim just off the shore to find coral beds, manta rays and various types of fish.  

The Bay of Banderas runs north from Puerto Vallarta to the headland at Punto de Mita and south to the headland at Cape Corrientes. The bay is serviced by local buses, which are cheap and come frequently.

Popular Activities at Bay of Banderas

You won't believe how many things there are to do at Bay of Banderas. Here are some ideas to get you going:

For many more activities, peruse our Puerto Vallarta things to do page.


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Bay of Banderas

See all 2,959 Properties near Bay of Banderas
Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa $82
Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa

Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa

Avenida Paseo De La Marina 435, Fracc. Marina Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta, JAL
     
    4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Puerto Vallarta, this beachfront resort is next to a golf course and within 1 mi (2 km) of International Convention Center, Marina Vallarta, and Bay of Banderas. Cruise Ship Terminal is 2.1 mi (3.3 km) away.

    Krystal Vallarta $74
    Krystal Vallarta

    Krystal Vallarta

    Avenida Las Garzas, Puerto Vallarta, JAL
       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Nestled on the beach, this Puerto Vallarta resort is within 1 mi (2 km) of La Isla and Cruise Ship Terminal. Malecon and Bay of Banderas are also within 3 mi (5 km).

      The Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta $76
      The Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta

      The Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta

      Paseo De La Marina Sur 205, Puerto Vallarta, JAL
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Nestled on the beach, this Puerto Vallarta resort is within a 10-minute walk of Marina Vallarta and Bay of Banderas. Cruise Ship Terminal is 2.3 mi (3.7 km) away.

        Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta & Spa Hotel - All Inclusive $240
        Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta & Spa Hotel - All Inclusive

        Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta & Spa Hotel - All Inclusive

        Av. Francisco Medina Ascencio km 2.5, Puerto Vallarta, JAL
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Nestled on the beach, this Las Glorias property is within 1 mi (2 km) of La Isla and Cruise Ship Terminal. Malecon is 2.3 mi (3.7 km) away.

          Crown Paradise Golden Puerto Vallarta All Inclusive $183
          Crown Paradise Golden Puerto Vallarta All Inclusive

          Crown Paradise Golden Puerto Vallarta All Inclusive

          Av. de las Garzas, Puerto Vallarta, JAL
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Nestled on the beach, this Puerto Vallarta property is within a 15-minute walk of Cruise Ship Terminal and Marina Vallarta. Bay of Banderas and Malecon are also within 3 mi (5 km).

            Fiesta Inn Puerto Vallarta Isla $58
            Fiesta Inn Puerto Vallarta Isla

            Fiesta Inn Puerto Vallarta Isla

            Blvd. Francisco Medina Ascencio 2477, Puerto Vallarta, JAL
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Las Glorias, this eco-friendly hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of La Isla and Cruise Ship Terminal. Malecon is 2.5 mi (4 km) away.

              Meliá Puerto Vallarta All Inclusive $163
              Meliá Puerto Vallarta All Inclusive

              Meliá Puerto Vallarta All Inclusive

              Paseo De La Marina Sur Lot H-7, Puerto Vallarta, JAL
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Puerto Vallarta, this beachfront property is next to a golf course and within 3 mi (5 km) of Bay of Banderas and La Isla. Malecon and Vallarta Adventures are also within 12 mi (20 km).

                Vamar Vallarta All Inclusive Marina and Beach Resort $119
                Vamar Vallarta All Inclusive Marina and Beach Resort

                Vamar Vallarta All Inclusive Marina and Beach Resort

                Av. Paseo de la Marina Sur S/N, Marina Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta, JAL
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Puerto Vallarta, this beachfront property is next to a golf course and within a 15-minute walk of Marina Vallarta and Bay of Banderas. Cruise Ship Terminal is 2.2 mi (3.5 km) away.