Chances are that, if you arrived to our destination by air, the plane’s approach allowed for a brief glimpse of the lush vegetation that surrounds Puerto Vallarta. Indeed, and that can be appreciated all around Banderas Bay. (If this was not the case, simply have a look at a Google map of the region!) Nestled all over the bay you'll find a number of unique destinations that are only accessible by boat. And while there are a variety of vessels with sizable passenger capacity available for touring and exploration around the bay, hopping on a water taxi is the best choice if you wish to get somewhere quickly and efficiently. We call them pangas, and keeping a few tips in mind will help you explore exotic destinations around Puerto Vallarta in true local style. In addition, a panga ride will truly allow you to enjoy the beautiful vistas of the entire bay that are only available from the water.

What They Are

Water taxis or pangas are nothing more than small motor boats, some of which can fit up to 20 or-so passengers. Most pangas are hooded, an important consideration—it's unlikely that any panga ride from one point on the bay to another will take over an hour to complete, but if you are sensitive to the sun, a hooded panga along with a hat are a definite plus.
Most pangas feature a crew of two: a captain in the back, steering the boat, and another person standing in front, keeping an eye for the waters ahead. Regulations call for pangas to carry enough life vests for each passenger. Beyond that, you will not find any other features or amenities on board.

Where To Catch One

The beauty of pangas is that they are beach friendly, such that they can pick you up and drop you off just about anywhere you want. That said, there are specific places where pangas are commonly boarded, particularly, those that offer regularly-scheduled departures:

What To Bring

More often than not, you'll want to hop on a panga if you are spending a beach day away from the hustle and bustle of Puerto Vallarta, such that you will only want to carry what you ordinarily would if you were going to the beach in town. However, if you are planning to overnight in Yelapa or any of the small hotels located along Puerto Vallarta's South Shore, the panga crew will gladly help you with your suitcase. And when you consider that many locals do live in these destinations year-around, it's not unusual to see an occasional stove or refrigerator hauled along for the ride!

Keep in Mind