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Snorkeling, Whale Watching and a Banana Boat Tour

Snorkeling trip Puerto Vallarta
Snorkeling trip Puerto Vallarta (Mary Curry)

Before getting to Puerto Vallarta, my mom said she really wanted to go whale watching while some of the kids wanted to try snorkeling. We found an affordable tour that offered both so set out as a family of 7 with 50 or so of our newest friends on a day trip in the Bay of Banderas. 

The snorkeling was admittedly terrible. Perhaps we have unfair comparisons having snorkeled in the Galapagos, Belize and Hawaii (and for me, the Great Barrier Reef for my first snorkeling adventure), but the water was cold and murky and there were far too many people. 
Snorkeling Puerto Vallarta
Snorkeling Puerto Vallarta (Mary Curry)

We tried to make the best of a chance to get out and explore, but ultimately this was our least favorite activity of the day. There just wasn't enough to see to justify freezing and trying to shelter our heads from the flailing fins of inexperienced snorkelers ahead of us.  I think we were all relieved to get back to the warm ship and set off across the bay to our next adventure.
Snorkeling boat in Bay of Banderas
Snorkeling boat in Bay of Banderas (Mary Curry)

From this point onward, the day markedly improved. We stopped at a beautiful beach where they had kayaks, paddle boards, and my kids' personal favorite, banana boat rides. 
Banana Boat Puerto Vallarta
Banana Boat Puerto Vallarta (Mary Curry)
Banana Boat Puerto Vallarta
Banana Boat Puerto Vallarta (Mary Curry)

Unlike my previous banana boat experience, this one was more of a raft with a banana on each side, adding to the stability and reducing the chance for hitting heads if everyone were to tumble off at the same time. 

My oldest son Matthew can be hard to impress as he's not as excited about multisport activities as the girls, but this was his favorite day! During our time at the beach, I think he rode the banana boat nonstop for a solid hour and it was so rewarding to see his huge smile. 

My youngest, Gabriel, enjoyed the exquisite sand and sheltered waters of the beach. 
Playin on the beach Puerto Vallarta
Playin on the beach Puerto Vallarta (Mary Curry)

On the boat ride back to the marina, the staff hosted a rock show onboard, complete with costumes, dancing, and some fancy lip syncing. The beat of the music seemed to attract a humpback whale who swam up to our boat and 'danced' in front of us, giving my mom the show she had been most excited about!
Musical entertainment snorkeling boat Puerto Vallarta
Musical entertainment snorkeling boat Puerto Vallarta (Mary Curry)
Whale Fin Puerto Vallarta
Whale Fin Puerto Vallarta (Mary Curry)

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