Visitors and residents agree that Puerto Vallarta and Banderas Bay have some of the most amazing natural beauty in all of Mexico. Just south of Old Town Vallarta is where one of the most interesting and beautiful natural landmarks can be found, which is the Los Arcos of Mismaloya. Los Arcos is a natural rock formation located right off the coast that has several different tunnels that are big enough for smaller boats to go through, and people can scuba dive or snorkel through the tunnels as well. Keep reading below to learn more information about the PV landmark, Los Arcos of Mismaloya, which is only a few minutes from the Garza Blanca Resort and Spa.
PV Landmark: Los Arcos of Mismaloya
The PV landmark, Los Arcos of Mismaloya, can be found off the southern coast of Banderas Bay. You can reach this incredible spot by driving south on Carretera 200 from downtown PV. You can also take a water taxi boat ride from the Puerto Vallarta downtown pier to Mismaloya beach which only takes ten minutes or so. There are multiple tunnels for swimming and snorkeling at Los Arcos rock formations, and some small boats can go through them with no problem. There are many different marine species that live there along with numerous species of seabirds such as parrots, penguins, pelicans, and land birds. The beautiful reefs at Los Arcos are appreciated by divers and snorkelers that love the amazing colors and variety that is found in the area.
Los Arcos Was Declared a Zone of Refuge for the Protection of Marine Life
In 1975, Los Arcos was declared a Zone of Refuge for the Protection of Marine Life by the Secretary of Industry and Commerce. The Los Arcos sequence of tiny rock islands are beautiful granite rocks that extend up from the surface of the sea. They can even be seen from downtown Puerto Vallarta. Los Arcos has been protected as a National Marine Park since 1984, and the Los Arcos rock formations that you can see today were not always so. In fact, the Los Arcos rock formations were once part of the Sierra Madre Mountains that reach the coastline, but over time strong waves crashing against the rock formations wore down the land between the shore and the rock formations. As a result, the earth then eroded overtime where the rock formations connected with the shore, which created the rock islands we know today as Los Arcos.
Banderas Bay’s Deepest Area
Did you know that the area around the Los Arcos rock formations is believed to be the deepest location in Banderas Bay reaching depths up to 480 meters or 1,600 feet deep. The Los Arcos rock formations also have an interesting feature, which is that there is a vertical underwater wall that goes down about 250 meters on the west side area. These areas are perfect for skilled divers only that are experienced in deep waters. These diving areas are called the El Canon and the La Quijada del Diablo. Snorkelers and paddleboarders can go swimming and skimming, but only experienced divers should dive in these particular areas. Each of the rock formations has an “Arch” that has a tunnel on the interior that is about 25 meters high. The tunnels will give you a chance to see how the waves are so fierce and powerful when they hit the rocks. It is believed that the Los Arcos of Mismaloya areas have depths of more than 1,000 meters in various locations surrounding the rock formations.
You can view the Los Arcos rock formations from a boat or you can get your feet wet and spend time swimming, snorkeling or diving in the water. Whichever you choose, you will not regret a visit to PV’s most famous rock formation. The PV landmark, Los Arcos of Mismaloya, is a must-see during a visit to Puerto Vallarta.