Snorkeling at Los Arcos, Baya Banderas, was a lot of fun, although colder than we had expected. We had no exposure suit, so we didn't stay in as long as we might have otherwise. Los Arcos is a wave-formed rock formation near Mismaloya. The rocks are a federal eco-preserve and named after the arching grottoes channeling through some of the rocks. Besides the rocks themselves there are many algae, coral and fish to see in and around the rocks. It is a popular spot for snorkelers and scuba divers alike, and there were several other boats when we went.
Instead of going with a tour, we took a bus south to Marina Vallarta from where we were staying in Nuevo Vallarta. At the marina we hunted around for a boat who would take us out for the day and rent us snorkeling equipment. Eventually we found someone who drove us to another harbour and got us on a very nice small boat with a couple of guides for several hours. The beauty of hiring your own boat is that you can go wherever you want. We headed south first, past Puerto Vallarta and Cabo Corrientes, and did some snorkeling in a secluded cove in the vicinity of Mismaloya Beach. It was surprisingly cold water but the fish sightings were good and the water very clear. Downsides: because the boat wasn't really set up for snorkeling there was no ladder or dive platform, so getting back on the boat meant being hauled unceremoniously up over the back. We went to Yelapa beach for lunch, where we had a couple of cold drinks relaxing at a beach cafe before heading to Los Arcos to snorkel some more.
Equipment: Bring your swimsuit, sunblock, hat, towels and camera (underwater if you can get one!) Bring your own fins and snorkel or it's easy to rent them. We haggled quite a bit over the cost for the day. It cost us about $120 US for the day, including beer and lunch. The operator actually offered us a great deal in exchange for a timeshare presentation but we opted to pay instead!
Book a day on a sportfishing boat. You get scenery, wildlife, entertainment, information and a fish for the BBQ! My inlaws even came along and caught their first fish EVER. They being Danish I expected that they had fished before. They had a great time. It was so much fun that my father-in-law booked and paid for a larger boat just for the two of us. We saw whales breaching, acres of Porpoise and , of course, caught some fish. Do your homework, shop around and you'll get a price and package that'll be worth every dime.
Equipment: Because you leave early in the morning, wear warmer clothes or layer your clothes so you can relieve yourself of layers as the day heats up.
Jet skiing on the Bay of Banderas can't be beat. However, the price can be steep. Don't be shy and don't just accept the initial price --- haggle and compromise. My husband got a deal for a 30 minute rental just by holding off and haggling with the price.
Equipment: These people will provide for all necessary equipment including life vests.
When the waves where not to big at Flamingo Beach like real early in the morning, it was great for sea kayaking!!! It was very relaxing and peaceful just floating there at time watching the fish jump right beside you!!!!
The Flamingo Beach in Bucerias was great for bugy boarding!! You would get crashed hard by the waves and it was amazing but you had to be sure not to get hit to hard, my buddie got a black eye from it and I hit my head off the bottom several times, luckily it is a great sandy beach!!!!
Equipment: Buggie Board!
I seriously recommend renting a seadoo and going nuts driving in the waves, it's so much fun. If you're a little chicken, then have somebody else drive you so that way you get the thrill of it.
If you already know how to windsurf, you can try doing that in the ocean, but there's a lot of wind and a lot of waves. If you're a begginner, I suggest taking a class to make sure you don't get carried out to sea.