Isla Marietas Paraíso de Nayarit
Beginning in the mid ‘80’s in Puerto Vallarta, we began fishing trips on pangas, which are open boats and dot the shoreline up and down the shores of Puerto Vallarta. Floating around offshore, lines trailing in the water, cooler full of ice water and cold beer, it was a beyond doubt paraíso… heaven. To the north of Puerto Vallarta and about an hour’s ride on the panga going at a good clip, we would come to the Isla Marietas. Fishing there was great but we were very conscious of the perimeter and kept an adequate distance. We asked our skipper why we didn’t get closer and was there any way to disembark on this island. He vehemently shook his head and explained Las Marietas were a designated a UNESCO Reserve. There was no denying his pride in this appointment as he went on to expound on the variety of flora and fauna; the abundance of rare sea birds and how this was their romantic nest for breeding and raising their young. It would not just be illegal but extremely disrespectful to breach the beach.
Imagine my surprise when, some years later at a local seafood café, I listened spellbound to a table of tourists describe an adventure to a hidden cove of extraordinary splendor and beauty, abundant with colorful fish, blue-footed boobies and giant tortoises. Leaning into their conversation, I politely inquired the location of this secret destination. Sadly, I was unable to hide my dismay.
Advertising for the Marietas goes something like this: [This group of islands is one of the most bio-diverse sanctuaries in Mexico, which makes them a natural beauty you have to see.] [ Enjoy the tranquility offered by this beach…] [ surprised by the diversity of species] [ you won’t believe what you are about to see.]
In other words, you are about to embark upon a journey of invasion, trespassing on Mother Nature and the destruction of a once thriving coral reef, for the sake of some photos that will linger for awhile as screensavers.
At one time, we considered seeing the preserve with our own eyes but after considerable research into the trip, realizing vigorous swimming was involved, with waves being perfectly timed and lifejackets mandatory for even the strongest swimmers, we decided to snorkel at Los Arcos for the day instead. Los Arcos, minutes from the beach at Mismaloya, south of Puerto Vallarta, is accessible, convenient and much less hazardous both to the fish and casual onlookers.
As of late, it seems the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) has come to their senses and the beach at Las Marietas will be closed, indefinitely, as of May 9, 2016. A study by the marine biology department at the University of Guadalajara has revealed extensive damage to this incredible ecosystem and an amazing amount of garbage, certainly not attributed to the natural inhabitants.
With so many wonderful sites to see and experience in Puerto Vallarta, we are in complete agreement with this governing conclusion and shocked at those who insist on making one final trip.
Que es cómo es.
Thanks to our Guest Blogger Adam Garcia for this great article!
The founder of the company, Vanessa Cole, lived in Puerto Vallarta for 10 years and in Cancun for 2 years. She has worked in Luxury Vacation Villa Rentals since 2001.
Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Vanessa earned a degree from the University of Texas in Austin, majoring in International Business and Latin American Studies. Fluent in Spanish, she has worked and traveled all over Mexico and South America.
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