When vacationing in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, you have to get out on the water to experience some of the top activities of this beach destination. One of the best areas in Puerto Vallarta for snorkeling and scenery is Los Arcos Marine Park. Because crowded catamarans don’t really appeal to me, we set up a private boat tour for our party of eight aboard the Viento Negro (phone: 52 322 198 5586) through Norma at the tours desk at Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort.


We met Captain David and his first mate Martin at a marina just a few minutes from the hotel and soon boarded the Viento Negro and headed out to sea. We saw some of the coastline, including our Hilton resort and even came across a sea turtle on our way out. David offered to cruise along the coastline for more sight-seeing, but we were eager to get to Los Arcos to start snorkeling before the crowds arrived.

Once we got to Los Arcos, Martin fitted us with snorkel gear and gave each of us an orange life vest to use as a float. We jumped in, and Martin led our group through the caves and water, helping the younger kids and making sure we all had a good time. We saw loads of fish, starfish and even a couple of stingrays.


When we were ready to call it a day on snorkeling, we loaded back up and headed to Quimixta. This is a small village only accessible by boat. Martin accompanied us down the cobblestone street to the river. We were planning to “rent” horses to take us up to some scenic waterfalls, but that didn’t work out for us. We thought about hiking to the falls, but the kids were hot and hungry. While it seemed like an interesting stop, we decided to leave Quimixta and move on to our third and final stop.


In a few minutes we arrived at Playa Las Animas where the beach restaurants beckoned to us. While the kids played in the waves, we ordered some great Mexican food and sipped on cool drinks. The boys had fun jumping off the dock into the water below. Just as we were getting ready to leave we saw the crowded catamarans coming in, tendering their groups to shore. We had timed our outing perfectly!

On the way back to Puerto Vallarta, David let the two older boys have a turn piloting the boat, and the younger boys fell asleep on the cushioned bow. Because we had a private boat tour and would be passing right by Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort, we asked Martin if we could be dropped off right at the hotel. They were glad to accommodate us, saving us a little time and cab fare.

We had a great day with David and Martin aboard the Viento Negro, and we were so glad we chose to book a private boat. We were able to spend as much or as little time as we wanted in each area, had a great English-speaking guide with us for the day, and avoided the crowds. This gave us the perfect outing for our group and left us with fond memories of our day cruising and snorkeling in the waters of Puerto Vallarta.

This article was originally published by Hilton Mom Voyage.

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