The superb 350-berth Marina Vallarta (P.O. Box 350-B, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco 48300, tel. 322/221-0275, fax 322/221-0722) has all possible hookups, including certified potable water, metered 110–220-volt electricity, phone, fax, showers, toilets, laundry, dock lockers, trash collection, and pump-out.
Other amenities include 24-hour security, a yacht club, and complete repair yard. It is surrounded by luxurious condominiums, tennis courts, a golf course, and dozens of shops and offices. Slip rates run around $0.75 per foot per day for 1–6 days, $0.60 for 7—29 days, and $0.50 for 30 or more days.
You can also drop by the marina office, open 9 a.m.–2 p.m. and 4–7 p.m. Monday–Friday and 9 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturday. Get there from the airport boulevard, northbound, by turning left at the main marina turnoff (marked by the huge Neptune sculpture on the building to the left). After two blocks, bear left at the fork, onto Paseo Marina. Timón is the next street on the left. The marina office is at the foot of Timón, on the left, beneath the embarcadero-front portal.
The marina also has a public boat-launching ramp where you can float your craft into the marina’s sheltered waters for a nominal fee. If the guard isn’t available to open the gate, call the marina office for entry permission. To get to the launch ramp, follow the street marked Proa, next to the big pink-and-white disco, one block south of the main Marina Vallarta entrance (below the monumental Neptune sculpture on the corner building).
Sail Vallarta (tel. 322/221-0096 or 221-0097), which operates from Marina Vallarta, takes parties out on sailing excursions, as does Vallarta Adventures (tel. 322/297-1212, U.S. tel. 888/303-2653, www.vallarta-adventures.com) for $160 for two. Ask for a low-season discount.
If you’re seriously interested in learning to sail, check out Vallarta Explorer (cell in Puerto Vallarta 044-322/779-7526), who, in addition to taking you on a sailboat ride, offers comprehensive how-to-sail instruction.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Puerto Vallarta, 7th edition