Marietas Islands: 3 Important Things To Know Before Visiting

Marietas Islands: 3 Important Things To Know Before Visiting

The Marietas Islands are a collection of small, uninhabited islands situated off the western coast of Mexico’s Nayarit state, in close proximity to Puerto Vallarta. These islands are a protected marine reserve, and are known for their abundant wildlife, crystal-clear waters, and stunning natural beauty.

The islands were formed millions of years ago by volcanic activity, and are home to a wide variety of marine and bird species. The waters around the islands are teeming with colorful tropical fish, sea turtles, dolphins, and humpback whales (during their annual migration season). The islands are also an important nesting site for several species of seabirds, including the blue-footed booby and the red-billed tropicbird.

Hidden beach (playa del amor) at the Marietas Islands.
Blue footed booby.

The Marietas Islands are a popular destination for snorkeling, diving, and kayaking, as the waters are calm and clear, and there are plenty of underwater caves and rock formations to explore. Visitors can also take a boat tour around the islands to see the wildlife and the unique geological formations, including the famous “Hidden Beach” (also known as “Playa del Amor”), which is a secluded beach nestled inside a collapsed cave.

To preserve the natural beauty and delicate ecosystem of the islands, there are strict regulations in place for visitors. For example, access to the Hidden Beach is limited and requires a permit, and boats are not allowed to anchor near the islands to prevent damage to the coral reefs. Sometimes tours are altogether stopped and not allowed because of the strict preservation rules.

Crystal clear blue waters in the protected Marietas Islands.

Fact or fiction: Mexicos military performed bombing experiments over the Marietas Islands in the 1900’s?

Fact! The military did use the Marietas Islands as a bombing range in the early 1900s, but this was long after the islands had been formed by natural processes. Over time, erosion and the action of the sea sculpted the islands into their current shape, which includes a distinctive “hidden beach” inside a collapsed volcanic crater. The bombing caused some damage to the islands, but it did not create them. Some argue the holes left in the rock were because of the bombings. However nothing suggests this to be true or otherwise. When you visit, you’ll have to see for yourself.

Marietas Islands: 3 Important Things To Know Before Visiting

Best time to visit the Marietas Islands?

  • The best time to visit the Marietas Islands is during the dry season from November to April, when the weather is warm and the water is clear for snorkeling and diving.

How do I get there/how far is it?

  • First you must get to Punta Mita, where a boat can pick you up. Otherwise the trip will be much longer if you start on a boat in Marina Vallarta (which can still be arranged). The boat ride to the Marietas Islands takes about 20-30 minutes from Punta de Mita or Sayulita, depending on the weather conditions. Its a breathtaking place we highly recommend you visit while you’re here!

At Marietas Islands, you can find a diverse range of fish species due to the unique ecosystem in the area, which includes a mix of tropical and temperate water conditions. Some of the common fish species found at Marietas Islands include:

  1. Yellowtail: A popular game fish with a firm texture and mild flavor.
  2. Red Snapper: A bottom-dwelling fish with a sweet, nutty flavor and firm white meat.
  3. Mahi-Mahi: A fast-swimming fish with firm, flavorful meat often used in ceviche and sushi dishes.
  4. Grouper: A large, slow-growing fish with a mild, buttery flavor and dense texture.
  5. Tuna: A popular game fish with a rich, meaty flavor that can be eaten raw or cooked.
  6. Roosterfish: A tough fighting fish with a distinct appearance and firm, white meat.
  7. Wahoo: A fast-swimming fish with a delicate texture and mild, sweet flavor.
  8. Jack Crevalle: A powerful game fish with firm, white meat and a slightly sweet flavor.
  9. Sierra Mackerel: A smaller fish with a delicate, sweet flavor and soft, white flesh.

These are just a few examples of the many fish species that can be found at Marietas Islands, making it a popular spot for sport fishing enthusiasts and tourists looking to experience the diverse marine life in the area.

Booking your trip. This is the most tricky place to visit when vacationing in Puerto Vallarta because of the strict rules implemented by the Mexican government. If you desire a visit to these incredible islands, contact us at Palmara.co and we’ll help you get there.


One Response

  1. Ok so we had seen a few photos online before booking the trip, and we were a bit skeptical from what people had said about it. Only a short window of time on the actual islands and the water can sometimes be choppy gettin there. But WOOOW it was something like ive never seen before! the hidden beach was unreal and we had a perfect day getting there and back. Our tour guide was super energetic and informative too throughout the journey. Highly recommend

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