The Best Off-Peak Animal Encounters in Puerto Vallarta
People of all ages love animals, and Puerto Vallarta offers some of the best ecotourism opportunities in all of Mexico. Owing to its rich and varied natural environment, the area is home to many species of fascinating and friendly animals.
Some of the unique and lovable animals that inhabit the area include prehistoric looking iguanas, the recognizable 'blue footed booby' and four different types of big cat, including the elusive jaguar. In the sea, you'll find more animals including dolphins, sea lions and stingrays.
Being home to all of these animals mean that Puerto Vallarta is a great place to learn about conservation and different species of flora and fauna, as well as just make some fantastic memories with the family. Here are our best picks for the animal encounters in Puerto Vallarta.
1. Turtle hatchlings (July – November)
Puerto Vallarta is home to five different species of sea turtles, making it one of the best places in the world to see turtle hatchlings as they make their journey to the sea. Many different tour companies run excursions to watch this amazing sight, which begins in about July and runs through to November and sometimes beyond that.
Visitors can actively help in the conservation efforts by helping to release the baby turtles into the sea, making sure none are lost to any predators. Kids who contribute to this important effort are often given the honor of getting to bestow names on the baby turtles!
2. Horseback Riding Through the Jungle (Year Round)
One of the best ways to take a jungle safari is on horseback – not only is it a lot of fun, but it minimizes your impact on the environment and is quieter than travelling by jeep or ATV, thereby increasing your chances of spotting the shier species of animals. There are many companies in Puerto Vallarta that run horseback riding tours of the jungle, including many that stop at other sights such as beautiful waterfalls.
The rides are suitable for people of all ages and abilities, and are sure to add some fun and excitement to your trip. Make sure to bring your camera and a keen eye for spotting jungle residents such as iguanas, hummingbirds and monkeys.
3. Swimming with Dolphins in the Wild (Year Round)
The warm waters around Puerto Vallarta are home to thousands of bottle nosed dolphins, who are known to be extremely intelligent and curious about human beings. While there are places to see dolphins in captivity, we think it is more fun to see them in their natural habitat. Luckily, there are a number of tours that will take you out to see the dolphins and snorkel around. If you're lucky, the naturally curious mammals won't be able to resist meeting you!
Of course, since they're wild animals, there are no guarantees. However, even if you don't get to swim with the dolphins, just watching them play from afar is a lot of fun and sure to bring a smile to your face!
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