Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Marieta Islands, Mexico

Remember how i think 35th birthdays are kind of a big deal, and remember how we went to Riviera Nayarit, Mexico for mine? Well, since it's cold and windy up in here, i thought now's a good time to show you all the pictures from our trip in October.

First, Mexico is hot and humid in October. So any time you actually spend in the water is a relief. Second, as much as this was a lolling around and relaxing vacation, i can't know this hidden beach exists and not try and see it. The Marietas are only accessible by boat, and the tide has to be low enough to enter the hidden beach. Unless you had a small watercraft that could take you all the way inside, i don't recommend that you do this on your own because the current was absolutely ridic. We chose the tour company Vallarta Adventures, and  this was the Marietas Eco Discovery Tour.

The tour met at their location in Nayarit, which was ideal for us as that is where we stayed. They also had an office in Puerto Vallarta, about 20 minutes away, with tours that left from there. The price included a breakfast buffet before we left, plus lunch and open bar on the boat.  We saved 15% by ordering tickets online, and hoped the weather would cooperate, as October is also the rainy season.


The Marietas are their own eco system like the Galapagos Islands, and have rules about travel there. They are protected by the Mexican government and foot travel, hunting, and fishing is not permitted. 

While i didn't have a great camera for zooming, these are blue footed boobies, a bird species only found along California gulf coast and down into Peru.


Apparently this is a popular resting spot. But here you can kinda see the blue feet.
 marieta islands mexico

Ok, so hopefully this visual helps you understand that this is a lot of swimming to access the tunnel, and it is totally dependent on the tide. The day was supposed to start with the hidden beach, but the tide was too high for us to access the underwater tunnel.  In fact, the excursion stated it was for strong swimmers only-of which i am not-but with the life jacket you must wear, i thought it could be done.

Since we couldn't access the tunnel first, the crew switched the snorkeling/kayak/cove beach to the morning. Those orange dots are life vests, and though the snorkeling wasn't all that great in terms of fish, it was great in terms of location. It isn't often you get to snorkel amongst interesting rock formations.
There were lots of tiny jelly fish, so after snorkeling we boarded the little boat that took you to the cove for a relaxing swim. Not relaxing was trying to exit the boat from the sides gracefully as the current pulls the boat back and forth.


But certainly it's beautiful.

Friends, i thought, you can't be in a place this gorgeous, with kayaks at the ready, and included in the price, and not participate in them. What commenced was panic, as this girl has never kayaked in her life, and remember the whole "not a strong swimmer" thing? And the whole, trying to be graceful when getting in and out of a sea vehicle? Combine that with no upper body strength, and you have me, being ever so panicked and still as to not rock the kayak at all, while still trying to document that we.are.in.a.kayak. It goes without saying that the boyfriend did all the work, at his suggestion. Fine by me. Lemme take pictures.

Outdoorsy right here! Holla!!!!

Slightly panicked about hitting the rocks, but still trying to get a picture. And still trying to barely move.

There we go, we leaned back even further, and those are my toes. The only proof i could muster that it was, in fact, me in that kayak.

After that nail biting endeavor, we boarded the boat and made our way to our ultimate destination, the hidden beach.  I was concerned, again with the strong swimming need, but now it's after physical exertion since the order was switched and snorkel/swim/kayak came first.

After seeing other people getting no where with regular swimming because of the strong current, i side swam my way in there.  Arms up, pick the apple, put it in the basket, legs scissor, and gliiiiiiide.

We're talking swimming from the boat drop off, to the tunnel, then through the tunnel. It was a work out.
This is an excellent shot to show how you are inside something, you see how the earth wall is all around you. Neat, right?

And this is where you came from.

We didn't swim while we were in the hidden beach, it was more about getting into it, and just being amazed at what it is. You couldn't even stand in the shallow water there without being pulled back in and out.

The islands themselves were formed by volcanic activity years ago, and were used as bomb testing since they were uninhabited. Jacques Cousteau discovered these caves, and eventually the government declared it a national park.
The underside. So so dark in the tunnel, and so so low.

Then i side swam my way back out, through the low, dark tunnel, to the boat.

Truly a unique and unforgettable experience.


Has anyone ever gone to the Marietas before? Did you make it to the hidden beach? 

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