In June, I had the pleasure of staying at Villa Mandarinas located in Mismaloya, Mexico. Mismaloya is a 20-minute drive south from Puerto Vallarta and the drive down is nothing short of incredible. As I drove the rental car on Highway 200 out of Puerto Vallarta, it truly felt I was entering another world. The road is a twisty, two-lane street that hugs the coast with magnificent views of the ocean meeting the hilly coast of the state of Jalisco in Mexico. The hustle and bustle of the city disappears as you pass fewer and fewer homes and see less people around every turn.
After two days of traveling back and forth from Villa Mandarinas to Puerto Vallarta to tour properties, I really wanted a day to explore the Mismaloya area and everyone I spoke to about this stated that the best way to really see the area was by boat. My group made the short drive from Villa Mandarinas to the small fishing village of Boca de Tomatlan to search for a boat operator for the day. After some negotiations, we settled on a four hour trip that came out to about $25 per person. Our boat left the fishing village and soon, we were seeing hidden beaches and picturesque scenery that can only be seen from the water.
Our boat went along through the picturesque scenery for 30 minutes when the group decided we would like to take advantage of the snorkel gear that was available. Our driver knew a perfect place along a rocky section of the shoreline that had the best spot to see fish. The location did not disappoint and in the refreshing Pacific water, we saw schools of many different varieties of colorful fish. Swimming through hundreds of fish in the bright green waters here will always be an experience that I will remember.
After our swim, we needed some time on one of the many deserted beaches we passed on the ride. Our captain pulled up to the next one that we saw and the hour that we spent here was probably the best time I had on the entire trip to the region of Puerto Vallarta. The only people on this 100-yard sandy beach were the four of us from our little boat. The mix of the sun and relaxing sound of the waves put us to sleep and the day quickly disappeared; but this was some much-needed rest and relaxation for all of us. It really was one of the few places I have ever been that fits that deserted, tropical beach that everyone who ever travels is always in search of. It was so nice not to see other tourists, food vendors, or one piece of trash during our time there.
The day quickly slipped away from us and it was time to return. I could have easily spent the entire day on this tour. Generally, any day on a boat is a great day, but this will truly be an excursion that I will always use as the benchmark for future boating trips that I take when traveling to tropical destinations. For anyone visiting Puerto Vallarta, I would highly recommend getting off-the-beaten-path a bit and arranging for a boat ride to whisk you away to the hidden beaches and coves of Mismaloya that most tourists do not get to!