Although there aren't many dedicated birding operators here, this region is perfect for the pastime. Vallarta has more than 350 species in a wide variety of habitats, including shoreline, rivers, marshes, lagoons, mangroves, and tropical and evergreen forests. In the mangroves, standouts are the great blue heron, mangrove cuckoo, and vireo. Ocean and shorebirds include brown and blue-footed boobies and red-billed tropic birds. Military macaws patrol the thorn forests, and songbirds of all stripes serenade the pine-oak forests at higher elevations.
Most people come on trips through birding clubs or organizations or hire a private birding guide. Outfitters charge $50-$60 for half-day tours and $100-$125 for full-day tours.
Wings. It's a Tucson, Arizona–based operator that leads at least one weeklong tour each year to the mangroves and tropical forest around San Blas, Jalisco, and Colima. Puerto Vallarta. 520/320–9868; 888/293–6443 in U.S. and Canada. www.wingsbirds.com..
Accion Tropical. All surfers in the area know that the best waves are found in the beaches of Punta Mita on the northernmost tip of the bay. Accion Tropical is one of the most established surf businesses in the area and can hook you up with surf and SUP lessons, snorkeling tours, whale-watching, and more. All staff members are bilingual and will make sure you enjoy the sport of kings! Av Anclote 16, Riviera Nayarit, Punta Mita, Nayarit. 329/291–6633, 329/295–5087, or 322/131–6586. www.acciontropical.com.mx.
Surf Puerto Vallarta. Surf Puerto Vallarta is the most visited website in the area by local surfers and tourists alike. They offer surf reports for the most popular surf breaks, links to surf shops, and recommended hotel stays. They also arrange surf lessons and trips that include pick up and drop off at your hotel anywhere in the bay. Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. www.surfpuertovallarta.com.
Skydive Vallarta. During the winter season particularly, but also year round, you'll frequently see skydivers landing at the beach in Nuevo Vallarta. Thrillseekers at Skydive Vallarta will take off at the airport in Puerto Vallarta and fly for about 25 minutes before jumping in tandem at around 9,00 ft, with three jumping schedules to chose from. Calle Mirlo 109 Int2, Zona Hotelera, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, 48350. 322 189 3909. skydivevallarta.mx.