Huge numbers of the resorts lease or loan snorkeling gear and have beginner classes at their pools.
The ocean preserve encompassing Los Arcos, a rock formation off Playa Mismaloya, is a famous spot for jumping and snorkeling. The bay at Quimixto, something like 32 km (20 mi) south of Puerto Vallarta and available just by pontoon, is a great snorkeling spot. Pangeros situated in Boca, Mismaloya, Yelapa and others can take you to spots less touristy.
On the north side, Punta de Mita has the Marietas Islands, with lava tubes and coves and no less than 10 great spots for snorkeling and diving, including spots for experienced divers. El Morro Islands, with their enormous fish hiding in the submerged pinnacles and hollows, is suitable for advanced divers.
In spite of the fact that its fine throughout the entire year, June through September is the best time for snorkeling and scuba diving. In summer, the water is the warmest and calmest and visibility is best—80 to 120 feet. You can spot enormous manta beams, a few types of eel, ocean turtles, and numerous types of bright fish. In winter’s less favorable conditions, some fortunes will yield orca and humpback whale sightings, a magnificent experience.