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In addition to outdoor activities, Puerto Vallarta is home to a thriving group of art galleries, shops, and eateries

The Area

Exploring the Marietas Islands

The most popular destination for day-trippers in the Puerto Vallarta area is the Marietas Islands. Every day, a catamaran shuttles a host of eager snorkelers and kayakers on the five-hour roundtrip. Because the islands have been deemed an ecological reserve and breeding sanctuary for the endangered humpback, they have become a favorite spot for whale-watchers. But sea turtles, birds, and dolphins also frequent these warm straits.