Five Vallarta-Nayarit ‘Winter’ Adventures for Families

Five Vallarta-Nayarit ‘Winter’ Adventures for Families

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Vallarta-Nayarit is a virtual winter wonderland. Mexico’s winter warmth is especially appealing to families seeking holidays that replace Christmas sweaters and eggnog with a suntan and margaritas.

Riviera Nayarit, Mexico – As temperatures average a civilized 75 degrees and clouds rarely dominate sunshine, Vallarta-Nayarit is a virtual winter wonderland for those with an aversion to cold. It’s especially appealing to families seeking holidays that replace Christmas sweaters and eggnog with a suntan and margaritas.

Here are five ways Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit wrap up multi-generational travelers in Mexico’s winter warmth.

Beach It

With a bay resembling a giant swimming pool fringed by fine sand beaches, the one-mile/98-foot wide stretch of Rincón de Guayabitos is bathed by crystal clear ocean. The Bahía de Jaltemba appeals with small waves and a firm, sandy bottom that creates a friendly situation for easy wading.While you can count on the kids wanting to building sand castles, there are plenty of other diversions to lure beach-goers into the gentle surf for a bevy of water sports.

If the latter is considered a swimming pool, then Las Islitas is comparable to a wading pool. For the bulk of the year, this San Blas beach is free of waves and sees only a small tide calmly moving the water. Even more inviting is how adults and kids can venture for nearly 33 feet into the water with it never rising more than three feet in depth. Thatched-roof huts stringing along this beach help visitors refuel with such traditional dishes as fresh fish and regional seafood specialties.

Although Destiladeras in Punta de Mita sees 13-foot waves, the good news is that they break some 50 feet from the shore. As a result, gentle ripples of water make for a mellow place to dip toes.

Also on the family-friendly front is the Northern area of Bucerías and Bahía de Matanchen in San Blas. The latter boasts one of the widest stretches of sand in Nayarit state, plus small waves and light currents appeasing novice swimmers.

Whale Watch on Banderas Bay


Each year from December through March, a half dozen species of whales make their annual migration from Alaska to the warm waters of Banderas Bay to give birth, feed their young and mate.Across the bay, these massive, majestic mammals can be seen breeching, tail and fin slapping, and spy hopping in a “mating ritual.” Whether heading off on a whale watching tour, catching the action from the shoreline with binoculars or spotting spouts as whales surface in the distance, this seasonal event is nothing short of exhilarating.

In Riviera Nayarit, top sighting spots for landlubbers are the shoreline from Nuevo Vallarta, Bucerías, Punta Mita and Sayulita to Guayabitos and further north to San Blas.

When booking a whale watching tour, keep in mind that smaller boats have the lowest impact as operators can go closer without disturbing the gentle giants. Top companies will stress the importance of preservation and protection – especially with the popular Humpbacks that are on the endangered species list.

During the winter months, eco-friendly Wildlife Connection combines whale watching with its dolphin watching tour. These expeditions feature an on board hydrophone that allow you to hear the whale’s songs and dolphin’s communications.

Interact with Dolphins and Sea Lions

Depending on ages, kids can join their parents in a natural, eco-adventure for witnessing dolphins and sea lions at Los Arcos and Las Marietas Islands with Wildlife Connection.

Los Arcos consists of three rock formations and arches that jut out from the water, while Las Marietas Islands on the other end of the bay attract with hidden beaches, unique structures and fascinating wildlife.


In a more controlled environment, Vallarta Adventures’ Dolphin Adventure Center elevates family fun with its Sea Lion Program allowing adults and kids to learn about, interact with and swim with these engaging marine mammals. Following a brief poolside introduction, this hands-on program finds pro marine mammal trainers taking participants nose-to-nose with these whiskered creatures. Interaction ranges from petting to the ultimate affectionate sea lion kiss or hug.Designed specifically for ages 4-9, the Dolphin Kids takes children from a short poolside introduction to petting and hugging the dolphins in the shallow end of the maternity pool. Both encounters find kids wide-eyed and in awe of the intense bond that’s possible between these mammals and humans.

Buckle Up for a 4×4 Adventure

Vallarta Adventures’ Off road Adventure transports families into the Sierra Madre Mountains aboard specially designed Mercedes-Benz all-terrain vehicles. The journey travels to traditional villages of the Mexican outback for uncovering the ecosystem and wildlife of the Sierra Madre’s mountain and jungle terrain.

Explore La Tovara National Park’s Crocodile Preserve


The World Wildlife Fund describes San Blas’ La Tovara National Park and mangrove eco-region as “one of the most important winter habitats for birds in the Pacific.” Roughly four hours north of Puerto Vallarta, this home to 80% of the Pacific migratory shore bird population is a feathered paradise for bird enthusiasts into the potential of gawking at more than 500 species.Among these are the Roseate Spoonbill, Black-Bellied Tree Duck and Great Blue Heron, plus such endemic birds as the Bumblebee Hummingbird and Mexican Woodnymph. The best observation period is from October through April.

Along treks offered by Banderas Bay Tours & Travel, experienced guides share the ruins of the San Basilio Fortress founded in 1530, ruins of Nuestra Señora del Rosario Temple constructed in 1769 and La Contaduria that was built in 1770.

Especially engaging with kids is the Crocodile Reserve in El Manantial of La Camelota, where baby and full-grown crocodiles are viewable in an up-close-and-personal, yet completely safe, manner.

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