Marieta Islands National Park Mexico | Riviera Nayarit, Mexico | Today I spent my full morning exploring the area of Bahia Banderas, and Marieta Islands National Park in the state of Riviera Nayarit, Mexico, waters of the Pacific Ocean. A group of small uninhabited islands a few miles off the coast with two main volcanic formations dating from 60K years ago, each called Redonda (Rounded) and Larga (Long). The photo above is an aereal photo (not taken by me) of the hidden beach located on the rounded main island. The access is only through a very narrow tunnel, since nobody is allow on the island anymore these days. Just SPECTACULAR. The beach was under a formation of volcanic rock which served as a sort of a roof, which collapsed long time ago, leaving this unusual beach out to be admired by all of us. Boats stop at the main entrance of the tunnel and you have to snorkel and swim your way into it.
Top destinations for the abundant birds and marine fauna populations due to the islands being protected from fishing and hunting by the Mexican government, since it became National Park. Nowadays nobody can disembark on the main island, and you may only access to the side beaches of the long island.
Other than seeing the Humpback Whales during the mating and birth seasons (not the time I was there), the other leading stars at the show of nature, are the beyond cute and adorable Blue footed Boobies, found not only in the Galapagos, as many think, but also here at the Marieta Islands, with a total population of approx. 30K among the different types of Boobies in the island. The natural breeding habitat of the Blue-footed Booby is tropical and subtropical islands of the Pacific Ocean. Their range extends from the Gulf of California down along the western coasts of Central and South America to Peru. This bird if fully monogamous.
The Marieta Islands were originally formed many thousands of years ago by volcanic activity, and are completely uninhabited. The islands are about 20 minutes boat ride from my hotel the Four Seasons Punta Mita coast of Punta Mita and are visited daily by hundreds of tourists, yet no one can legally set foot on the islands. In the early 1900s the Mexican government began conducting military testing on the islands because no one lived there. Many bombings and large explosions took place on the islands causing amazing caves and rock formations to be created.
Thanks to Jacques Cousteau, in the late 1960s, the government eventually decided to label the islands a national park and therefore protected against any fishing, hunting or human activity.
One of the water activities and ways to explore the islands are by Paddle Boards, and so I did, or at least tried my best to and to stay on it. The big bonus of staying on top of the board, is that you will not have to deal with the hundreds of jellyfish in the water. Trust me a big big plus, and motivation to speed learning.
Scuba Diving or Snorkeling as most definitely some of the favorite activities to do around, inside and under the island. The underwater vision is pretty incredible and the marine fauna just overwhelming in such an amazing way. Unfortunately I was not carrying my underwater camera on this trip, but my guide has taken a few snapshots of me, which I will upload as soon as he send them to me. Again the Jellyfish made the experience a bit more limited, but FYI this only happens during the month of May and June, not the entire year.
The tour company used for this experience was Punta Mita Adventures, highly recommended by the Four Seasons Punta Mita. It was a private boat with me, my bilingual guide/instructor and the captain of the boat. The whole trip took approx. 2 hours with several stops and lots of interesting information. The tour departs right from the marina at the Four Seasons. Beverages, full scuba/snorkeling equipment included.
See why Jacques Cousteau fell in love with these islands and started the movement to protect them. As the premier scuba diving and snorkeling location in the bay, you’ll have the opportunity to swim with more than 100 species of fish as well possible encounters with octopus, lobsters, rays, turtles and more – with colorful coral formations as your backdrop.
Located just a few kilometers off of Punta Mita, these islands, formed by volcanic activity during the Cretaceous period, were designated as a National Park in 2005. An important migratory bird sanctuary, they act as a refuge for at least 92 species of aquatic birds, including the colorful Blue-footed Booby – which also nest in the famous Galapagos Islands.
During whales seasons, seeing and hearing a Humpback whale breach 25 yards away from your boat is like no other experience. It is truly a jaw-dropping experience that should not be missed. During the winter months, you are likely to see these whales during you ride to the islands. Our guides will work hard to locate the whales to add this experience to your already amazing day of nature. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. See more photos at Snorkeling the Marieta Islands. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends
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