Ecotourism in Vallarta

César Lozano

Social conscience with respect to global problems such as pollution has been on the rise so nowadays people are more interested in trips where they can have full contact with the destination they visit. As a result, certain sectors have developed responsible, sustainable, ecological, social and cultural experience-of-a-lifetime tourist alternatives.

Yelapa beachPuerto Vallarta is one of the first destinations to develop alternative tourism activities where you can enjoy unique, intense and totally different experiences. Humpback whale watching, canopy, rappel and a visit to Huichol Indian communities are just some of the many options to indulge in.

Puerto Vallarta is, and will continue to be, the ideal place for ecologists because few places in the world offer so much biodiversity and different landscapes. This rugged area of the Sierra Madre, densely covered with vegetation, meets the blue waters of the Pacific, and is home to a number of wildlife, including 3-feet-long iguanas, butterflies and 366 bird species.

Las CaletasThe surroundings offer lots of opportunities to admire the most beautiful aspects of nature such as cascades, rivers, estuaries and beaches. A good example of this is Las Caletas. The conservation of this ecological wealth demands the active participation of locals and foreigners alike. ? Puerto Vallarta is an amazing multicolored mosaic that really stands out, something to truly admire when you are on your vacation. Do something different and off the beaten path. Explore the richness of the surroundings that this city has to offer!

Bicycle tours

The tropical forest and the jungle at Sierra Madre Occidental offer paths filled with natural surprises, where the only traffic you'll find is that of cattle! Visit rivers, cascades, mountains and the people living near by. Direction, speed and length are at the discretion of the cyclist and are adjustable to the biking experience of the rider.


Hiking in VallartaThe jungle canopy is so dense in some places that it completely covers the sky. Explore rivers and waterfalls so beautiful that they are hard to describe. Springs, caves and stones covered with antique drawings are just some of the marvels you'll see along the paths. There are also training sessions for beginners and advanced hikers.


Canopy in VallartaThe lush tropical forest surrounding Puerto Vallarta offers a paradise with an impressive variety of tropical fauna. An adventure in the canopies of the trees will bring you that much closer to a nature experience as you've rarely seen it before. Go from platform to platform on rope bridges and get a bird's-eye view of the treetops. Expert guides will explain the guidelines to follow and help you appreciate the view.

Bird watching

Bird watching in VallartaOne of the most fascinating activities in nature is bird watching and Puerto Vallarta is without a doubt an excellent place to do it. There are a number of bird species in a relatively small area, which offers the opportunity to enjoy an unforgettable encounter with these animals. Biologists of the area can also share with you their knowledge and experience.


Jeep Safari

Jeep safari in VallartaTo be able to see this part of Mexico, you have to leave traffic behind. This expedition into the Sierra Madre will show you something most tourists and many Mexicans don't see. In these vehicles, drive by crystal-clear streams that have been carving canyons for centuries. Go forward through the jungle, where multilingual guides will explain the strange and colorful life forms existing under the jungle canopy.

El Salado

El Salado is an estuary and has widely contributed to Puerto Vallarta's well being as a source of freshwater, as port of call and as home to many fish and birds. Recently, some sections have been developed as marinas and residential areas. What's left is being fiercely protected by its original inhabitants and offers a very interesting and beautiful visit.


Most kayaking tours will offer snorkeling tours as well, a spectacular way to get a bit of exercise while you admire the natural landscapes surrounding you. The crystal clear waters near Punta Mita are the prime spot for this particular activity, where marine life abound.

SCUBA diving and Snorkeling

Scuba diving in VallartaThis region proudly offers perfect conditions and rich opportunities for a unique diving experience for divers of all levels. Have encounters with countless species of colorful fish, sponge formations and exotic coral. You can even see the elegant flight of a sting ray. Snorkeling is also available for swimmers and non swimmers alike.


Whale watching

Whale watching in VallartaBahia de Banderas is ideal for Humpback Whale sitings. From December to April, visitors can observe the whales at play, breeching the water or nursing their calves. The residents of Puerto Vallarta are concerned for the well being of these gentle giants and their protection is at the top of their list. For that reason, tour operators should bear an authorization from the Sea and Natural Resources Administration Ministry to ensure proper observation.

Free a Sea Turtle

From June to September, Puerto Vallarta turns into a sea turtle hatchery. Hotels and government sponsor conservation programs to protect sea turtle eggs and babies. Visitors, adults and kids, take recently hatched turtles and free them to the open sea. Males won't ever return to the shoreline but females will do it every year of their reproductive life to spawn. Only one in one hundred will make it to adulthood.

Written by César Lozano Díaz