Diving in Puerto Vallarta is known for close encounters with giant mantas, dolphins and schools of jacks. Lucky scuba divers can swim with whale sharks, eagle rays, hammerhead sharks and sailfish in the open ocean.
Schools of grunts, puffer fish, damsel fish, eels and nurse sharks may accompany your dives. Seahorses and octopus love to hide out in walls and crevices, while humpback whales and their calves are sometimes spotted on the surface. Swim with loggerhead, green and hawksbill turtles - your logbook fills up quickly while diving in Puerto Vallarta.
Offshore, you can dive shipwrecks, caves and underwater mountain ranges - most of which are suitable for beginners. Cruise along impressive stretches of reef, swim-throughs, plateaus, pinnacles and drop-offs teeming with critters.
The best time for diving in Puerto Vallarta depends on what you’re hoping to see. Some say the best time is between November and May when sea conditions in the Pacific are calmest and pelagic encounters are at peak (including humpback whales and their calves).
June to October on the other hand feature the warmest water temps (85°F/30°C) and best visibility (40m). Manta rays can be seen all year, but during winter you may also spot a whale shark or two.
Currents are mild year-round and perfect for introductory dives. Those looking for a challenge can travel to offshore islands where currents are heavier but the reward is greater. Conditions for diving in Puerto Vallarta are always good: plan your trip when it's convenient for you and you'll find great dives.
Find local PADI dive shops and explore the top dive sites with our map.
With its prime location on the Western Coast of Mexico, the beach resort of Puerto Vallarta is a jumping off point for dive sites in the sparkling Banderas Bay. For most, the easiest way to access diving in Puerto Vallarta is to fly into its international airport.
Puerto Vallarta Airport is well-connected to major airports in the US and Canada including: Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Montreal. Travelers from Europe and Asia can fly to Mexico City (the country's main gateway) and take a connecting flight to Puerto Vallarta (1h 20m). From the Puerto Vallarta airport it's a 12-minute taxi to the town center where your diving adventure begins.
It's easy to get around Puerto Vallarta using public transport, taxis or by hiring a car. Most of the diving in Puerto Vallarta is done around offshore sites in Banderas Bay. From town it takes a while to reach the best dive sites, but that’s half the fun. Boat trips feature postcard-worthy scenery aplenty.