Puerto Vallarta and Banderas Bay have unsurpassed natural beauty that attracts thousands of visitors each year. Los Arcos is one of the most interesting and amazing natural landmarks that is located just off shore in the Banderas Bay waters just south of downtown Vallarta. Los Arcos is comprised of natural rock formations that have numerous tunnels that even small vessels can go through, or people can jump in the water to go scuba diving and snorkeling as well. Continue to read below to learn more about the Los Arcos rock formations, which is one of Puerto Vallarta’s main attractions.
Highlight on Los Arcos of Mismaloya PV
The Los Arcos rock formation is located off the Banderas Bay shore, which is only a few minutes south of town. You can reach a nice viewpoint where you can take some wonderful photos of Los Arcos by driving south on the Carretera 200 highway from downtown Puerto Vallarta. If you want to get out on the water to see the rock formations, you can reach them by water taxi. You can take a 10 minute short boat ride from Misamaloya beach, or you can take a water taxi directly from the PV downtown pier which takes longer. Los Arcos rock formations have several interior tunnels that are perfect for swimming and snorkeling, just take care as small vessels will pass through the tunnels as well. There are numerous animal and marine life that inhabit the area including parrots, pelicans, penguins, and native land birds. Scuba divers and snorkelers will especially appreciate the beautiful reefs and vibrantly colored fish that swim through the Los Arcos waters.
Los Arcos of Mismaloya History
In 1975, Los Arcos of Mismaloya was officially designated as a Refuge for the Protection of Marine Life zone by the Secretary of Industry and Commerce. Subsequently, Los Arcos has been protected as a National Marine Park since 1984. The small and unique granite islands are visible above the sea surface, and they can even be seen from downtown Puerto Vallarta. Did you know that several thousand years ago, the Los Arcos of Mismaloya was actually connected to the Sierra Madre Mountains that embrace the coast of Banderas Bay. However, strong waves crashed against the granite and eventually wore down the land connection. When the earth eroded and disappeared into the sea waters, the result was the amazing rock island formations that we can see today.
Banderas Bay Has Deepest Area
The waters surrounding Los Arcos of Mismaloya are believed to be the deepest in the entire Banderas Bay. It is estimated that the deepest parts reach a depth of 480 meters (30-1,600 Feet). A 250 meter vertical underwater wall runs down along the side of one of the rock formations which professional divers love. The top diving spots are known as La Quijada del Diablo and El Canon. Only professional divers should dive in this area, but water sports such as paddle boarding and snorkeling are available for everyone else. Or simply go swimming in the turquoise sea and float in the buoyant waters. The rock formations have natural tunnels that are twenty-five meters high, and from inside the tunnels visitors can see just how powerful the waves are when they crash against the tunnel walls.
Next time you find yourself in Puerto Vallarta, take time to visit Los Arcos of Mismaloya. Who knows, a visit to Los Arcos of Mismaloya in PV may end up being your favorite part of your entire vacation.