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Highest Rated Puerto Vallarta Snorkeling Tours to Book in 2024

Highest Rated Puerto Vallarta Snorkeling Tours to Book in 2024

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Puerto Vallarta is a tropical paradise nestled on the beautiful shores of Banderas Bay, surrounded by the Sierra Madre Mountains.

This popular vacation destination is not only known for its pristine beaches and vibrant culture but also for the incredible snorkeling experiences it offers.

With a variety of snorkeling tours available, you can explore colorful underwater worlds, discover diverse marine life, and even visit hidden gems like secluded beaches and secret restaurants.

While it might not seem like it compared to places like Tulum or Hawaii, Puerto Vallarta is teeming with small coves that offer warm crystal-clear water full of aquatic life perfect for snorkeling.

These sites can only be reached via snorkeling tours, ensuring an exclusive and eco-friendly adventure for everyone.

Here are the highest rated Puerto Vallarta snorkeling tours that we’ve enjoyed over the last few years.

This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click through and make a purchase I may make a small commission. I only share information about things I know, love and trust!

Marietas Islands & Hidden Beach Snorkel Tour

This is the highest rated Marietas Islands tour because of their hidden beach access

Why you’ll love this tour: 

  • Visit the Marietas Island, famous for the Hidden Beach
  • Operated by Eco Explorer, which has the most permitted boats than any other provider to access the Hidden Beach
  • See dolphins throughout the day
  • Chance to see whales from December to March
  • Lots of chances to go snorkeling to look for octopus, pufferfish, stingrays, eels, and tropical fish

Important to know: 

  • Maximum 16 people on this tour
  • As this is the highest rated Hidden Beach tour, it books up fast, so book your spot in advance
  • Meeting time is 9am
  • Half day tour

Book the highest rated Marietas Island snorkel tour here

Wild Dolphin Snorkel & Swim 

The only snorkeling tour to offer the chance to swim with wild dolphins

Why you’ll love this tour: 

  • Marine biologist guides will take you to several spots where dolphins are spotted
  • Visit Los Arcos for snorkeling and other areas where it’s most calm 
  • Maximum of 10 people on the tour
  • Boxed lunch included

Important to know: 

  • You’ll have to get yourself to the meeting spot at the Marina Vallarta
  • Meeting time is 8:30am
  • 4 hour duration

Book the dolphin snorkeling tour here

Luxury Yacht & Snorkeling Tour

Enjoy a luxury snorkeling experience that gives off Tulum vibes

Image credit: Vallarta Adventures

Why you’ll love this tour: 

  • Board a luxury catamaran
  • Unlimited open bar included
  • Visit Majahuitas Cove, a secluded beach with clear turquoise water
  • Lunch & snacks included
  • Group is limited to 30 to 40 travelers
  • Paddleboarding, water lily pads and banana boat rides included

Important to know: 

  • A port fee of 40 pesos must be paid in cash before boarding the boat
  • You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.
  • Duration: 5 hours
  • Vallarta Adventures operates this tour, the largest tour company in Mexico

Book this luxury snorkeling tour here

Los Arcos Small Group Snorkel Tour

Closest tour to downtown Puerto Vallarta

Why you’ll love this tour:

  • Los Arcos, a group of granite islands located within a protected marine park, is one of the most popular snorkeling spots in Puerto Vallarta. 
  • Crystal clear water
  • The area also offers tunnels, caves, and arches to explore
  • Maximum of 10 travelers (Los Arcos is a busy spot, so a small group is the best way to experience it)
  • Depart at 9am to avoid the crowds who show up at 11am
  • You’ll be accompanied by a marine biologist 

Important to know: 

  • You can meet your guide in either Puerto Vallarta or Nuevo Vallarta
  • Meeting time is 9am
  • Easy access to meet your guide from Zona Romantica
  • Duration: 4 hours

Book this small group Los Arcos snorkeling tour here

6 Beaches Snorkeling Tour

Hike to several hidden gem beaches and snorkel directly from them

Why you’ll love this tour:

  • Combines hiking & snorkeling
  • Visit 6 different beaches
  • Something different to try if you’ve done the more popular boat tours
  • Learn how to ride the local bus system
  • Stop for a delicious local seafood lunch & fresh mango and coconut drinks

Important to know: 

  • Choose from 3 departures (8:30, 9, or 9:30am)
  • Meeting point is in the Zona Romantica (old town)
  • A moderate hiking skill level is preferred 
  • Full day tour

Book this highly-rated hiking & snorkeling tour here

Yelapa Waterfall & Snorkeling via Mega Yacht

This is the highest rated tour in Puerto Vallarta that includes snorkeling & other surprises

Why you’ll love this tour:

  • Yelapa, a charming fishing village, is only accessible by boat. 
  • Visit calm beaches & turquoise water for snorkeling and the waterfall in Yelapa
  • Ride on a 100-foot mega yacht (that means smooth sailing & lots sun loungers on board)
  • Unlimited alcoholic drinks included 
  • Free massages
  • Traditional Mexican lunch and snacks included 
  • If you’re traveling with a group who all want different things, this tour is the perfect choice

Important to know:

  • If you only have time for one tour in Puerto Vallarta, this is the best choice
  • Wheelchair and stroller accessible
  • Meeting time is 8:30 am
  • Duration: 6 hours

Book this Yelapa snorkeling tour here

Marietas Islands Party Snorkel Cruise

See Marietas Islands with more of a party atmosphere 

Why you’ll love this tour: 

  • Enjoy a fun day touring Marietas Islands with a lively crew
  • Lunch and open bar with alcoholic drinks included
  • Kayaking and paddleboarding included
  • Great tour if your group wants to do more than just snorkel

Important to know: 

  • Full day tour from 7 am to 3pm
  • Meeting point is at the Puerto Vallarta Marina

Book the Marietas Islands party snorkeling tour here 

Hire a Boat at Boca de Tomatlan

If you’re adventurous enough to go out on your own, this is the cheapest and most up close snorkeling you can do!

Boca de Tomatlan

This isn’t a tour per se, but if you want a private snorkeling experience, get yourself to Boca de Tomatlan.

You can take a bus for 10 pesos or a taxi ride from downtown Puerto Vallarta – the journey is 30 minutes.

At the small beach village of Boca de Tomatlan, you can hire a local panga boat and tell them you want to go snorkeling and see some marine life.

The panga boat operators are out on the water every day and know all the good spots.

Tips for Snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta and the Banderas Bay area is one of the best places in Mexico to go snorkeling due to the clear water, multiple calm coves & inlets, diverse marine life and stunning underwater landscapes.

But if you’re planning to go snorkeling, either with a tour or on your own, there’s a few tips you should keep in mind. 

Bring Your Own Snorkel Gear

While all snorkeling tours provide snorkel equipment for guests, I always question how clean they are.

Nowadays, you can find easy to pack and carry snorkel gear, like this 2-in-1 mask and snorkel

It’s a full face mask (more comfortable than the old style goggles) and comes with an attached snorkel so it’s easy to carry. 

They come in both adult and kids sizes and 15 colors. 
View the new style snorkel masks here.

Bring Water & Electrolytes 

Your tour guides will supply water, but I recommend bringing some added electrolytes to add to your water.

It will be hot and sunny on any of these tours, and the added electrolytes will help keep you energized and hydrated (especially if you’re consuming alcohol). 

I like Liquid IV

They’re little powder packets and also work great as a lifesaver in the morning if you had too much fun the night before 😉

Carry Small Change

Many tours that depart from Marinas require a small port fee from each traveler.

This is usually around $30 pesos and is not included in your tour fee.

Carry small change with you and don’t be surprised if this is asked of you when you arrive at the Marina. 

The Secret to Taking Epic Snorkeling Photos

If you have a GoPro (or similar action camera), the way you get those awesome underwater shots is by using a housing dome

Attaching this to your GoPro is how you get those cool half-water photos.

Best Time of Year to Snorkel in Puerto Vallarta

The best time for snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta is during the dry season, which typically spans from November to April.

This time frame offers the clearest visibility due to the absence of rain and calmer waters.

The weather is generally sunny, and the water visibility is at its best during this time.

However, Puerto Vallarta can be visited year-round for snorkeling.

During the rainy season (May to October), the water might be a bit murkier due to increased rainfall, but snorkeling can still be enjoyable.

Whale Watching Season

Snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta from December to March is the best time of year because Puerto Vallarta witnesses its whale-watching season, attracting a variety of species including humpback whales.

In addition, snorkelers can expect to see numerous marine animals such as sea turtles, manta rays, moray eels, sea urchins, bottle-nosed dolphins, angelfish, and an array of colorful corals.

Best Time of Day to Snorkel in Puerto Vallarta

The best time of day for snorkeling is typically in the morning when the water is calmer and visibility is usually better.

The wind tends to pick up in the afternoon, which might make the water choppier.

Best Beaches to Snorkel from in Puerto Vallarta

You can snorkel directly from the following beaches in the Puerto Vallarta area:

Conchas Chinas

Punta Negra

Playa Mismaloya (where the Barcelo resort it located)

Playa Animas

Playa Majahuitas

Playa Madagascar

More Puerto Vallarta Posts:

Travel Planning Guide to the Best Puerto Vallarta Beaches

14 Unique Day Trips from Puerto Vallarta with Itineraries (+ hidden gems and secret spots)

Puerto Vallarta Off the Beaten Path: Hidden Gems Travel Guide

10 Waterfalls and Hot Springs to Visit Near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta First Time Visitors Guide (Essential Information)

49 Things to Do in Puerto Vallarta (the complete list)