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Puerto Vallarta / Sayulita Diving

Discussion in 'Mexico' started by filmguy123, Feb 18, 2017.

  1. filmguy123

    filmguy123 Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Pacific Northwest
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    I know these aren't world class destinations and to go east to Cancun or the Caribbean for better diving. However, we have free plane tickets, so need to choose between Cabo & Puerto Vallarta. Thoughts?

    In addition the trip isn't a completely dedicated Scuba trip - planning to do 2 days of diving (probably 2 boat dives, 4 tank total) and I do not have my advanced yet so am limited to 60 feet.

    With that in mind, any thoughts on the best 2 dive trips to do in this Puerto Vallarta / Sayulita area? The los marietas islands looked to be a highlight? Also, reputable Scuba shops? Vallarta Adventures (or Punta Mita adventures, another location of same company) seemed to be the big reputable one?

    Finally, on the topic but non Scuba: leaning away from Cabo (going next month in early to mid March, will beat the majority of the spring break crowd but being anywhere close to "spring break in Cabo" doesn't sound appealing) - but open to it! And if flying into Puerto Vallarta can't decide between staying in Puerto Vallarta or out in Sayulita (or even further north i.e. rincon de guayabitos)

    Looking for a great place to chill out and relax for a week, 2 days of which would be scuba. Budget friendly, relaxed, GF doesnt want super touristy so is more inclined towards a more authentic experience (and I usually don't lik touristy either, but I'm so beat down from work right now sitting on a beach and staying in someplace clean and quiet and relaxing is all I really care about). So someplace that's a good balance so we both win would be best.

    Any help on locations would be great, and of course advice on the best 2 dive trips to take from those locations (even though we wouldn't pick it as the ideal scuba destination, still want to do the best diving we can since we are going there anyway!)
     
  2. Ongrade

    Ongrade Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: California
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    Either location will have cool water temps in march. Also a good chance of mediocre visibility due to plankton blooms. PV has the better dives, contrary to what people who haven't been there think Banderas Bay(PV) has some fantastic dives. Las Marietas islands was a favorite of Jacques Cousteau. Los Arcos can be amazing if you dive the wall of Devils Mouth. PV Ocean Tours is a well run six pack boat and the owner Marc Pearsey is a great DM/guide. If you want a big boat party atmosphere then Vallarta Adventures trip to Marietas is fun, lots of snorkelers but the divers are given a separate set up area and they run a panga out as a chase boat for the diving. They also try to get in a bit of whale watching. As far as where to stay, you won't escape the people trying to sell you stuff, Sayalita is a surfers and artists town but the street merchants still abound. Bucerias is a more traditional town but the street merchants are still there. The town square is fun in the evenings. If you want to relax on the beach and not be bothered the best hope is the big resorts in Nueva Vallarta. With a bit of effort you can find a nice condo on the hills overlooking old town PV for a decent price and be near the restaurants and bars without being caught up in the resort tourist scene.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
    Ayisha likes this.
  3. blewgrass

    blewgrass Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Cotati, CA
    191
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    good information,

    I have done the vallarta adventures "big boat" experience to marietta... agreed it is a great dive and snorkel scene... oceanic white tips were in the area when I was last there. I snorkeled a bit in Sayulita, and the water was a bit murky... but fish abounded... I found a wash rock near "playa de muerros" Very nice place to play in the ocean.

    I will be in PV in late April... will be looking for some nice dives...

    Steve
     
  4. filmguy123

    filmguy123 Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Pacific Northwest
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    Great info!

    Regarding Vallarta Adventures, it's a bit of a drive from Sayulita but I can't seem to find any PADI 5 stars in Sayulita (not that that is what it's all about, but it's a good quick indicator...). Are there any good, reputable and trustworthy dive centers direct out of Sayulita that come recommended? Or is it best to stick with Vallarta Adventures and suffer the morning commute time/cost from Sayulita?

    Also, any decent shore diving around Sayulita?
     
  5. Ongrade

    Ongrade Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: California
    60
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    Sayulita doesn't have a marina, any boats will be out of PV, Nueva Vallarta marina or maybe La Cruz. Except for Las Marietas all diving in that area is at the south end of Banderas Bay.
     
  6. Booyakasha

    Booyakasha Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Chicago
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    There is a newer dive shop called Dressel divers located in the Iberostar resort in Punta Mita. Does anyone have any experience? I have contacted them and they have been very nice to deal with so far.

    B.
     
  7. Trailboss123

    Trailboss123 Divemaster ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Pacific Northwest, USA
    2,282
    2,639
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    Dressel is a well known and established dive operation world wide. They have long standing operations in Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Spain. They are partnered with the Iberostar chain of hotels and are their exclusive dive operator world wide.
     
  8. Ongrade

    Ongrade Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: California
    60
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    One thing to consider with a dive op in Punta Mita is the distance to dive sites. With the exception of Las Marietas all the dive sites are at the south end of Banderas Bay. Long ride by boat to Los Arcos, Mismaloya or Yelapa.
     
  9. jonhall

    jonhall Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Indianapolis
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    Dove with Vallarta Adventures when we stayed at Paradise Village in Nuevo Vallarta which is just north of Puerto Vallarta. Paradise Village is right at the opening of a marina where VA can be found. The beaches along this stretch are really nice. With VA, expect a scuba trip to be tied into an island/snorkeling trip and in some cases only a 1 tank dive unless you ask ahead of time. I did the 1 tank dive in Las Caletas, so I could spend time afterward on the beach with my wife and friends. The dive was actually from the dock where the VA catamaran ties off. From Nuevo Vallarta, it was about a 35-40 minute trip. Las Marietas would be about a 50 minute trip (the reason I didn't dive it), same as from Puerto Vallarta. I found it hard to find any dive ops nearby NV and PV when doing some research. Even the PADI dive guy that had a little shack at Paradise Village didn't go out daily and mainly was taking new divers when he did go out.

    Think your limitation will be wherever they take you. The Las Caletas dive, albeit from the dock, had a depth of 105 ft. and I was only OW certified. I also was the only diver. Having planned ahead, I only took my BC/reg, mask, and dive computer. Knew they would supply a 5 mm wetsuit (which I don't have) and fins (full foot.) The water was 70 degrees in March.

    I only did one dive in 10 days because I decided I didn't want to take a taxi to a dive op that was at least 30 minutes away, and after doing that one dive, I was a little bummed out by the poor visibility and wasn't excited about what I knew the length of the boat ride with VA (think day trip with snorkelers) to be. Los Arcos is also a dive and snorkeling site closer to NV and PV.

    I will say that we had some great adventures with VA and would recommend them - they offer quite a few.
     
    Milkman670 likes this.
  10. Milkman670

    Milkman670 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Red Deer AB Canada
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    Thanks jonhall, heading up to PV to visit family on tues and was thinking about packing my gear and get a dive in, but now i don't think will bother. Water temps in low 80's here in Manzanillo so will leave gear here i think.
     

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