This small fishing village to the south of Puerto Vallarta is home to spectacular drop-offs and hosts humpback whales and calves from April to December.
At the deepest point in Banderas Bay, Los Arcos National Marine Park features caves, deep tunnels, arches and a healthy reef full of marine life.
With depths up to 150 feet (50 meters), El Morro is more technical than most sites in Puerto Vallarta. It boasts huge manta rays and moray eels.
At the Marietas Islands advanced divers can see larger species who ride the currents from the distant blue, including mantas and whale sharks.
November to May is considered the best time to dive offshore sites in Central Mexico, because the sea conditions in the Pacific are calmest during these months. The weather is good too; generally it’s sunny with occasional rain showers.
Manta rays can be seen throughout the year, but during the winter months, divers also have the chance of spotting a whale shark.
At this time, however, visibility is negatively impacted is by the very plankton blooms that attract the mantas and whale sharks. These are most common around the full moon.
If you love diving with pelagic species, book your holiday between November and May.
Elsewhere in Mexico, November to May is considered high season for general tourism, causing an increase in the prices of flights and accommodation.
June to October are the offseason for liveaboards and diving in the area. However, at this time, the water warms significantly, reaching 84°F (26°C) in August and September. For many divers, especially beginners who will find the open ocean sites difficult to reach, the summer months are an ideal time to dive.
In addition, visibility is at its peak from June to October. It’s also low season for tourism throughout Mexico, meaning you should find excellent deals on accommodation, airfare and excursions. However, you will have to battle the hot and humid summer weather while topside.
If you’d prefer to look elsewhere, try Caribbean diving for a change. The season on the east side of Mexico is year-round.
Puerto Vallarta features a wide range of marine life from tiny to huge. In terms of pelagic species, lucky scuba divers can see whale sharks, eagle rays, hammerhead sharks, sailfish, manta rays, and dolphins at the open ocean sites like El Sequial and El Chimo. You might also see schools of grunts, puffer fish, damsel fish, moray eels, nurse sharks, loggerhead turtles, green turtles and hawksbill turtles around the brightly colored sponges and stony corals. Seahorses and octopus love to hide out in the walls and crevices. Humpback whales and their calves are sometimes seen near El Chimo and Las Marietas from April to December.
For better readability of the table, pass into the landscape mode.