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Beautiful Banderas Bay

Published Jul 2, 2008 - (Updated Jun 21, 2012)

A natural complement to the beautiful bays of the world club

We’ve known it all along, and now the word’s out: Mexico’s largest bay–Puerto Vallarta perfectly positioned at its center–is one of the most beautiful bays in the world and a member of the association of the same name.

The Most Beautiful Bays in the World club, formed in the late 90s in Berlin, Germany, supports sustainable development in some of the world’s most dramatic topography. But good looks alone don’t guarantee membership. To qualify, potential members must demonstrate their commitment to protecting their privileged patrimony for the enjoyment of future generations, as well as be willing to share knowledge and experiences with others facing similar challenges. How to preserve the ecological balance of these waters while advancing an area’s economy through tourism, for example.

Ireland’s Bantry Bay, for one, shares how it has successfully harmonized thriving fishing and mussel-farming industries with the businesses of oil and tourism. While the specifics for other bays will differ, several aspects of the process won’t.

And the club’s a PR vehicle, inspiring both Beautiful Bay representatives and vacationers to experience the sense of awe that results from exposure to such spectacular scenery by visiting as many of these trophies of nature as possible.

We're an impressive company

The head office in Vannes, France, handles the international media and administration for its 31-and-growing members. Europe currently boasts about half, with France having the highest number of Beautiful Bays in any one country: Mont Saint-Michel, Somme and Morbihan; Corsica’s Porto and Girolata; New Caledonia’s D’Oro; and Guadelupe’s Terre de Haut.

Other member bays include Madagascar’s Diego Suarez, South Africa’s Saldanha, India’s Kerhala Backwaters, the Philippines’ Taytay, Vietnam’s Halong, Russia’s Finland, Sweden’s Stockholm, Norway’s Geiranger, Turkey’s.

Antalya and Bodrum, Greece’s Santorini, Italy’s Venice Lagoon, Spain’s Santander, Germany’s Westerland, England’s Du Mont, Scotland’s Inverness, Venezuela’s Paria, Chile’s Corcovado, Brasil’s Todos los Santos, Canada’s Georgie and Tadoussac, and the United States’ Cape Cod and San Francisco.

Both Berlin and London host annual business meetings. The association’s First World Conference was held last year in Vannes, with our mayor, Pedro Ruiz Higuera, and the Director-General of the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), Carlos De Leon, visiting three Beautiful Bays in France.

Among the duo’s objectives was to increase awareness about the incredible beauty and facilities Banderas Bay offers, as well as initiate an Americas Congress. Their mission was so successful, club members voted unanimously for this event to be held May 16 to 20 right here in Vallarta. What a great opportunity to strut our stuff to our international peers who know beauty when they see it!

And what about bounty

Embraced by lushly undulating mountains with long sandy beaches to the north and secluded coves to the south, the bay offers the perfect spot for every mood or activity. Happily, dolphins are frequently spotted, along with giant manta rays and the humpback whales who consider our bay a nursery from November to March every year, as do Olive Ridley Turtles who make babies like clockwork here June to December.

Beyond depth measurement at some points, the bay’s plentiful and diverse life forms are such a national treasure that the government has designated two areas marine parks. While unobtrusive activities like supervised scuba diving and snorkelling are permitted at Los Arcos near Mismaloya and Las Marietas at the Banderas Bay entrance, fishing definitely is not.

However, that certainly doesn’t deter avid anglers from flocking here to tackle record-sized billfish including Marlin–Blue, Black and Striped Sailfish, Wahoo, Yellowfin Tuna, Red Snapper, Dorado and more.

During the 46th and most recent sailfish tournament here, for the first time, catch and release policies were respected, an ecouraging and environmentally responsible step.

CVB’s De Leon explains, “We as a UNESCO-favored club (the group met at the UN in Paris last year) are attaching ourself to the Earth Summit agenda that was held in Rio in ’92. The Summit produced Rio Agenda 21, twenty-one points that should be analyzed in the growth of any community for its sustainability, including, for example, development and ecology education and bio-diversity.”

Held in alternate years, the Second World Conference will be in 2003 in Tadoussac, Quebec.

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