The Mexican coastline conceals many places of impressive beauty, some of which are difficult to reach while others can be easily visited. One of these easier places to visit is the Parque National Marino Los Arcos, just 12 kilometers from Puerto Vallarta marina.
Los Arcos can be easily reached by launch from Puerto Vallarta or by small craft from Mismaloya, the community that became famous as the location of the film ‘The Night of the Iguana’. This turned Puerto Vallarta into a tourist destination since Mismaloya is only 1.5 kilometers from Los Arcos.
Los Arcos are part of the south coast of the Bahia de Banderas and consists of five islets, three of which have ‘arch’ shaped caves, which give the marine park its name. Frigate and other marine birds nest on the islands, which are protected by high escarpments that are almost impossible to climb.
The constant squeaks of the bats can be heard in its caves and fissures. These small bats can be seen when they come out of their hiding places at sundown. However, the importance and the attraction of this unique park can be found under the water, close to the islets. Normally, visibility is good and is perfect for snorkeling and even diving because it is locat- ed on the edge of an underwater canyon of up to a mile deep at its deepest point a little beyond the south west of Los Arcos, although next to the largest island, on the exposed side to the east, there is a wall that descends abruptly dozens of meters.
Los Arcos is a favorite places with divers. It is perfect for beginners because they can stay in the shallower parts where there is a large abundance of different fish species. More experienced divers can dive in the deeper areas where, above all in winter, giant rays of up to six meters wide can be observed. And for the most expert, there is the option of night dives; obviously only accompanied by expert guides, an experience offered by several div- ing companies in Vallarta.
Text: Eduardo Lugo ± Photo: Eduardo Lugo