Just off the coast of from Punta de Mita, this island is a veritable grand central terminal of bird and oceanic life. After years accidental bird slaughters resulting from target practice by the Mexican Airforce and later massive fires from careless campers, Las Marietas is now a fully protected wildlife preserve allowing only for human biologists to set foot on the island with the exception of a tiny cove for snorkelers. A boat trip here will grace you with the presence of the rare Blue Footed Booby (found in such numbers only here and Galapagos!) and other massive flocks of Frigates, Seagulls, Herons and practically almost anything that can flap its wings over to this non-stop bird bonanza.
Yet, if you’re not the die-hard ornithologist, or if perhaps your mood is hampered by a flying white splat on your head, there is also plenty to also see in and under the water on this biological wonder of the Pacific. During whale season for example, it will be odd to NOT see a whale, but for any other time of the year you’ll have plenty of snorkeling fun observing tropical fish and if you’re lucky… some dolphins! The only annoying part here is that if you’re visiting the special snorkeling cove at the wrong time of the day when multiple tour boats unload their waterborne tourist zombies, you might just feel no different than the squawking flock of birds above you.
So, to fully enjoy this place in the true embark style, book a smaller group with a private boat through a surf shop and get there well before the logjam begins. You’ll have time to enjoy one of the most secluded beaches in the world, and can explore some unique caves without bumping into too many humanoids.
Location:Punta de Mita
Note:Punta de Mita is just 45 mins north of Puerto Vallarta. Bring some binoculars for bird watching, or a big zoom lens for getting those shots that might make that Canon ad you always see in National Geographic. Also, the great Jacques Cousteau came here in the 1960’s and was a major player in making the island a sanctuary.