Except on calm, glassy days, the open ocean is really too rough for enjoyable kayaking unless you’re based in the southern end of the bay, and the few kayaking outfitters there mainly offer this activity in combination with snorkeling, dolphin-watching, or boating excursions to area beaches. The best places for kayaking-and-birding combos are the mangroves, estuaries, large bays, and islands off the Costalegre coast, south of Puerto Vallarta.


Many of the larger beachfront hotels rent or loan sea kayaks to their guests. Double kayaks are easier on the arms than single kayaks. Since the wind usually picks up in the afternoon, morning is generally the best time to paddle. Stick to coves if you want to avoid energy-draining chop and big waves. Kayaks range from $10 to $15 an hour or $27 to $35 per day. All-inclusive hotels like Dreams, just south of Puerto Vallarta, usually don't charge their guests for kayaks.