Located a short 10-mile cab ride north of Puerto Vallarta is the beach village of Bucerias – “place of the divers”.
The town square, dominated by its large whitewashed church and spire, is the cultural and religious hub of Bucerias. It is also the center of businesses in the town square. The taxi stand and school are nearby, as are any number of small shops, storefront merchants, and street vendors. The ice cream stand is especially popular at nighttime, as are the string of open-air and patio restaurants and bars along the beachfront. Walking along the beach and cobblestone streets in Bucerias is quite safe, day or night; the residents welcome the courteous traveler, and will shyly say “hola” as they pass you on the street.
There is little known about the history of the Bay of Banderas (Bay of flags) which occupies the coast of Nayarit and Jalisco. This is due to the fact that throughout most of its existence the region has been occupied by various tribes indigenous to the area who did not keep written records of their endeavors. It is known that the Bay was traversed by the Filiacion Nahuatl tribes during their pilgrimage to the Valley of Mexico. Archeological evidence also proves the presence of the Aztec and the Toltec Indians in the areas of Sayulita, Higuera Blanco, Punta de Mita, San Juan de Abajo and Valle de Banderas. Unfortunately, since none of these tribes kept much in the way of written records it is difficult to determine who arrived in the region first.
The Bay of Flags plunges to around 1800m (5900ft), has 160km (100mi) of sensational shoreline and comfortably makes it into the list of the 10 biggest bays in the world (it’s number seven). Ostensibly the submerged crater of a long-extinguished volcano, Bahía de Banderas is an environmental wonderland populated by giant manta rays, dolphins and (during their birthing season from November through March) humpback whales. It’s also inhabited by humans, occupying themselves by diving, fishing, water skiing and generally dipping their collective big toe in the bay’s waters.
Banderas Bay (Bay of Flags) is a horseshoe-shaped bay theorized to have been formed by an ancient volcanic crater. It is the largest natural bay in Mexico and the second largest in North American – surpassed only by Canada’s Hudson Bay.
Banderas Bay measures nearly 20 miles across with over 40 miles of coastline and is considered one of the deepest bays in the world with depths of up to two miles. The waters of Bahia de Banderas are protected from the inclement weather of the open seas because it faces west and is framed by the Sierra Madre mountain range.
With its deep, calm waters, Banderas Bay offers some of the best sport fishing in the world. Humpback whales, dolphins, sea turtles and giant manta rays are also inhabitants. At one time, great pearl banks were found, which caused much greed among the early Spaniards who first settled on Banderas Bay.
The highlights for divers and snorkeling are Los Arcos, a grand tangle of environmentally protected rocks just south of Playa Gemelas, and the Islas Marietas, a maze of reefs, tunnels and underwater caves at the mouth of the bay that’s regularly attended by marine wildlife. Fortunately for those who get Steven Spielberg flashbacks and still aren’t sure if it’s safe to go back in the water, this doesn’t include sharks, which are kept out of the bay by resident dolphins intent on protecting their young.
GMT -6 hours
Central Standard Time
Spanish is the main language.
Services are also offered in English.Electrical system
Local voltage is 110 to 120 volts AC.
Monday to Sunday 8:30 am to 9:00 pm
Monday to Sunday 8:30 am to 6:00 pm