Although large Bahía de Banderas and towns to the north and south have lots of beautiful beaches to explore and wildlife to see, there are few sailing adventures for the public. Most boating companies don't want to rely on the wind to get to area beaches for the day's activities.
For insurance reasons, companies or individuals here don't rent bareboat (uncrewed) yachts even to seasoned sailors. Those who want to crew the ship themselves can do semi-bareboat charters, where the captain comes along but allows the clients to sail the boat.
The winter season brings foreign vessels and lots of racing and boating activities, including the five-day Banderas Bay Regatta. There are cocktail parties, charity events, receptions, seminars, additional races, and boat parades as well as competitive races among boats designed for coastal and offshore cruising. Puerto Vallarta. 322/297–2222. www.banderasbayregatta.com; www.vallartayachtclub.com.
The five-day Annual Sports Classic invites amateurs, pros, and semipros to compete in basketball, soccer, and bowling; some years they also offer events in tennis and beach volleyball. Most events take place at the Agustin Flores Contreras Stadium, Los Arcos Amphitheater, or the beach in front of the Holiday Inn. Puerto Vallarta. 322/226–0404 Ext. 6038 [Veronica Alarcon at Sheraton Buganvilias]. www.puertovallarta.net/news/sports-classic-2008.php.
The Puerto Vallarta International Half Marathon, held in early November, gets bigger each year. There's a 5K run, too, and a big pasta dinner on the beach the day before the race. Puerto Vallarta. www.maratonvallarta.com.
The International Puerto Vallarta Marlin & Sailfish Tournament celebrated its 55th anniversary in 2010. The entry fee is nearly $4,000 per boat (up to four fishermen), but the prizes and prestige of winning are great. Categories are dorado (mahimahi), tuna, marlin, and sailfish, the last catch-and-release. Puerto Vallarta. 322/225–5467. www.fishvallarta.com.