Surrounded by lush mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit have always been idyllic ecotourism destinations, areas on Mexico’s west coast where travelers feel completely immersed in nature and have options for sustainable travel and tourism. Within the Bay of Banderas, there are plenty of things to do in Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit activities where you’ll learn about the local environment in an eco-friendly way.
Activities of ecotourism teach you about wildlife and their habitats, and there’s no better place for that than El Cora Crocodile Sanctuary. This sanctuary has become a safe area for crocodiles, preserving their habitat from construction and danger, and it’s one of the Puerto Vallarta excursions that takes you into the heart of the mangrove forests and along the canals. Here, you’ll learn about crocodiles and even get the chance to encounter some small ones up close, and supporting projects like the sanctuary is one of the most important activities in ecotourism.
In ecotourism destinations, the best mode of transportation is bicycling, and it’s one of the most popular Riviera Nayarit activities. The main road along the resorts of Nuevo Vallarta has a lush bike path down the middle lined by palm trees, and there’s a number of Puerto Vallarta excursions on bike. Bici Bucerias offers bike tours to local taco places and longer trips into the mountains, some of the best places for ecotourism in Mexico where you’ll get to see small-town life and eat traditional dishes.
The Bay of Banderas is filled with marine wonders, and to preserve the best places for ecotourism in Mexico, the government regulates national marine parks, protecting spots like the Marietas Islands. Located at the northern tip of the bay, these islands are home to the famous blue footed booby birds, and sailing out to birdwatch and snorkel is one of the most popular things to do in Puerto Vallarta. Underneath the water's surface, scuba divers can swim through rocky tunnels and alongside schools of tropical fish. Scuba diving is one of the best ecotourism activities because of its low carbon footprint and since it gives travelers a deeper appreciation for protecting the oceans.
Volunteering is one of the unique activities of ecotourism that connects you to the local community and allows you to give back. There are several options for these sorts of ecotourism activities, and when you’re in Nuevo Vallarta, you can volunteer to walk shelter dogs at a local rescue. Here, you’ll get to see a different side of the city as you walk along country roads and get to meet the dogs who have been rescued off the street.
Sampling homemade Mexican chocolates is one of the most delicious Riviera Nayarit activities, and at Planeta Cacao, you’ll participate in several activities of ecotourism as you explore the gardens, experience traditional chocolate practices, and support a local business. During their tasting, tour, and workshop, you’ll learn about the cacao plants and their important role in Mexican history. Afterwards, pick out some chocolates to take home since one aspect of activities in ecotourism is shopping for souvenirs that are sustainable and usable.
Botanical gardens are the best places for ecotourism in Mexico, and just outside Puerto Vallarta is a lush area of the jungle with gardens that will take your breath away. It’s one of the best Puerto Vallarta excursions for those who love nature. Begin your journey with a stroll through the various greenhouses, and stop by the tranquil peace chapel before hiking through the jungle to the river. After a quick dip in the water, enjoy a delicious lunch at the hacienda restaurant. On your way out, pick up a souvenir to commemorate your trip. Through all these ecotourism activities at the Vallarta Botanical Gardens, you’ll learn about the local environment, flora, and fauna.
Of all the things to do in Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit, the best are activities in ecotourism that connect you with the environment and community, helping you experience the city like a local. With all this to explore in the jungle and at sea, this is truly one of the world’s great ecotourism destinations.