Our last day in Nuevo Vallarta we planned a sailing tour to the Islas Marietas, a group of small islands off the coast of Punta Mita. Although the islands are known and visited mostly for the Playa Escondida (hidden beach), they also make up a national park and ecological sanctuary. In fact, a very diverse group of species inhabits the islands and surrounding water. It is because of this “sanctuary” status of the island, however, that humans are not allowed to actually step foot on the island.
But, how do you get to the hidden beach, then? Well, you have to swim there.
I found Ally Cat Sailing by browsing around online and on TripAdvisor. There are several companies that offer guided tours to the Islas Marietas, but I really liked Ally Cat’s tour video and their reviews on TripAdvisor could not have been better. We booked one week before our trip and I can honestly say now, it was the best decision we made.
The day started out a bit gloomy and we almost missed the boat (they were literally leaving the dock), but everyone on board was so nice and welcoming that it was easy to forget about everything else. The ship was also the perfect size; roomy but cozy, with all the comforts you could ever need (including an open bar!).
After a quick breakfast and one or five margaritas, we were there. The islands were incredible! We anchored and they prepared the smaller boat to transfer the first group through the island tunnel to reach the hidden beach. The tide was high that day, and so transfer was a bit more complicated than usual. Even from the boat we could see that the cave almost completely filled with water every time the waves rolled in. I was a bit nervous, but I guess it wouldn’t be an adventure if there never were any surprises!
I went with the first group and entrance was challenging, but not impossible. If anything, it makes you appreciate the beauty of the hidden beach even more. It was small, but unbelievable and beautiful. Once we made it, everyone just sprawled out on the beach in complete awe that it simply existed. I sadly couldn’t bring my camera with me, as it isn’t waterproof, so if you go I definitely recommend some waterproof housing for your phone or a GoPro! Here’s a google aerial view of what we were dealing with.
We lingered there for a bit, in undistracted wonder, admiring everything that was around us and thinking how fortunate we were for being able to witness it. My father, who has a bad knee and needed a little help getting there, felt extra lucky for making it to the beach. He said it was “a once in a lifetime view.”
After returning to the boat, we hung around for a while for some of the other activities they offer; like snorkeling, paddle boarding, and kayaking. The sun finally came out and it made for a great way to spend the rest of the afternoon.
The rest of the images are from our way back to the marina; I was able to get some shots of the coastline!
We honestly couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend the day. I was sincerely so impressed with Ally Cat Sailing that I would go back to Nuevo Vallarta just for their tour! It really was that incredible.
The ticket price affords you food throughout the day, an open bar, and plenty of activities, but the real value comes from the crew. They truly go out of their way to get to know everyone on board and are constantly checking in to make sure you’re having nothing short of an incredible time. Even if going to see the islands isn’t your cup of tea, I would recommend checking them out for their other tours (including whale watching and seeing Yelapa) if you’re ever in the Riviera Nayarit area.
Thanks for reading and happy travels!