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South of downtown Puerto Vallarta, one of the city’s most iconic landmarks rises out of the sea: Los Arcos National Park. These towering granite rock formations have withstood the winds and waves for hundreds of years, and today, they’re one of the most famous places to visit in Puerto Vallarta and one of the best snorkeling destinations in the Bay of Banderas. Home to a variety of tropical fish and marine life, Los Arcos National Marine Park Puerto Vallarta Mexico is a nationally protected area, which makes it a vibrant and safe place for exploring the sea. 

Location and Getting There


Not only can you see the arches from the city, but it is also one of the easiest places to visit in Puerto Vallarta. Los Arcos National Park is located about 20 minutes south of the city between Mismaloya and Las Gemelas Beach. Most tourists choose to start their trip to Los Arcos National Marine Park Puerto Vallarta in Mismaloya, a small fishing village with several beach restaurants and local tour vendors. Unless you have your own car, there are a few different ways to get here. 

  • Public Bus: For less than $1USD, you can hop aboard the local orange busses in downtown Puerto Vallarta on Basilio Badillo and ride all the way to Mismaloya Beach Los Arcos. The bus leaves approximately every 20 minutes as it fills up, and while it’s not the most glamorous way to get there, it’s very affordable, and you’ll have lush views of the jungle and sea along the way.

  • Taxi: From anywhere in the city, you can hire a local taxi to take you out to the Mismaloya Beach Los Arcos area. When you’re ready to go, head up to the taxi stand on the main road. While it won’t be as cheap as the bus, taking a taxi will be a little quicker and a lot more comfortable without any other stops.

  • Los Arcos Puerto Vallarta Tour: Because Los Arcos is one of the best snorkeling destinations in the bay, many tour companies offer trips here. A typical Los Arcos Puerto Vallarta tour will include round-trip transportation, snacks, drinks, and snorkeling. 

Exploring Los Arcos Underwater Park


Since 1984, Los Arcos has been a nationally protected marine zone, and without fishing going on or speed boats passing by, it’s a safe place for a variety of water sports. After your adventures at sea, you can return to the Mismaloya Beach Los Arcos shores for a meal of freshly caught fish and cold drinks.

  • Snorkeling: Los Arcos is one of the best spots for Puerto Vallarta snorkeling. As you swim, you’ll be able to spot puffer fish, parrot fish, angel fish, and even octopi and sea turtles. While a Los Arcos Puerto Vallarta tour will include snorkeling, there are also local boat drivers on the shores of Mismaloya who will rent you gear and drive you out for a very reasonable rate. 

  • Paddleboarding: Paddleboarding is also an incredible way to explore the arches and go through the tunnels of Los Arcos National Park. This option is definitely a bit of a workout, but the up-close views of the giant rocks is worth it. Just be sure to apply plenty of sunblock. 

  • Scuba Diving: The most adventurous way to see all the wonders of the sea is scuba diving. Los Arcos National Marine Park Puerto Vallarta is one of the most breathtaking dive sites on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. The craggy surface of Los Arcos Underwater Park is teeming with tropical fish, eels, eagle rays, sea turtles, and octopi. If you’re planning on enjoying Puerto Vallarta snorkeling and diving at Los Arcos Underwater Park, summer is the best time of year to visit when the water is warm and clear. 

Of all the places to visit in Puerto Vallarta, Los Arcos is one of the most amazing sites that will fill you with awe. Not only is it one of the best snorkeling destinations, but it’s also a naturally beautiful site, and the sheer magnitude of the rocks is a sight to see. Whether you try Puerto Vallarta snorkeling, paddleboard, scuba diving, or simply just relax on the shores and look out to sea, visiting Los Arcos is a must for any Puerto Vallarta vacation.

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