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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Linda @ A La Carte said...

Oh wow! What a great trip. I've never even heard of this place but it looks amazing. Proud of you for making it in to the beach and back out to the boat.

Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse said...

Such an amazing beach! The colour of the sea is beautiful and I like the idea of a hidden beach. I'm amazed at the number of people, though.

Jessica@CapeofDreams said...

I wish I were there now!

Rachel said...

Wow! That trip looks amazing and some of those pictures look like post cards! I love that you saw blue footed boobies too! They are such neat birds! So glad to hear that you had a good time!

Chrissy @ Adventures in DIY said...
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Chrissy @ Adventures in DIY said...

YAY! Pictures finally!
Never heard of the Marietas until now - looks awesome! And the hidden beach? I.want.to.go.to.there!

Unknown said...

This is so cool- I'm totally jealous! I think that I'm very much like you in terms of upper body strength (or lack thereof)- I'm a decent swimmer, having grown up with a pool, but the concept of going through the cave kind of scares me.

Vashtiqvega43 said...

Hi! That was quite the adventure. I love it! Thank you for sharing with us. I've seen this beach in photos on Pinterest and I've pin a photo of it on my 'Fun Things To Do' board. Now because of your account I'm more excited to do it than ever. Pinning it! :D

annies home said...

what a special trip beautiful pictures
come see what I shared at http://shopannies.blogspot.com

Noel Morata said...

That is a cool place to visit, love the images and wow blue footed boobies, that's pretty cool

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vanessa Morgan said...

Thanks so much for those pictures. The Marieta Islands are beautiful. I didn't know they had their own eco system and travel rules. Have a lovely week.

Out And About Global said...

Very interesting! I would love to go there someday and now I know how to do it.

The Boston Lady said...

These are awesome pictures! What a beautiful place. I'm like you, if I know something exists, I have to go there. Here we are almost 3 years in CA and we haven't even gone to MX!! To cross the border is iffy these days, but I imagine the cruise ships go to these islands. I will have to show this to Mr. T and look for some online specials.

I hate kayaks. you have lived until you've flipped one of those things. Ann TBL

Anonymous said...

This looks so awesome! I am definitely adding it to my list the next time I go to Puerto Vallarta:)

The Charm of Home said...

You have some great vacations! Thanks for linking up with Home Sweet Home!

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Wow, that's so beautiful! And way to conquer your fears. Truth be told, I have a fear of water, so I would have been totally terrified!

Jennifer @ Dimples and Tangles said...

What a dream vacation. I've never seen a hidden beach like that, how wonderful! Your pics are just fabulous to look at on a rainy dreary day like today... Thanks for linking up with us at Best of the Nest!

Marite said...

Wow! This place looks amazing!!!

xinex said...

Oh how fun! What a beautiful place!...Christine

Decor To Adore said...

What a beautiful adventure! Thank you so much for sharing these glorious photos.
Have a beautiful day dear one!

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

What an amazing adventure! It looks like a fun trip.


very cool!!!


Diana Mieczan said...

Boy, oh boy, the trip looks so amazing, lovely! xoxo

Larissa @ Living in Color | A Lifestyle Blog said...

This makes me want to go on a vacation! :)

xo, elle | Living in Color Style.

Something Gold, Something Blue said...

What beautiful pictures! I can only imagine how great it was in real life!! I definitely will consider this for my next vacay destination...

​​Something Gold, Something Blue

Vel Criste said...

This looks fantastic! I wanna go here!!!!