Featured in Vallarta Lifestyles Magazine, Winter/Spring 2011 issue.
If you’ve ever explored a map of Banderas Bay, chances are you’ve identified Punta de Mita as the uppermost tip of the bay. Located just south of Punta de Mita are two small, adjoining towns, Emiliano Zapata and Corral del Risco, that share El Anclote, the best gateway in the bay to a host of aquatic activities that include surfing, fishing, diving, whale watching and paddleboarding, not to mention a variety of spectacular restaurants located along Avenida El Anclote, its own promenade.
Driving to El Anclote from Puerto Vallarta takes approximately an hour along Carr. 200 Norte, taking the Punta de Mita/La Cruz exit right after Bucerías. Some of the best fishing in the bay can be enjoyed near El Anclote, a number of vessels available to you at the ideal spots for you to enjoy a good catch, and many of the local restaurants will eagerly grill it for you afterward!
Surfers have been flocking to El Anclote for decades. After all, it features five different surf breaks on the entire point, more than anywhere else in the bay. At the same time, the peaceful surf right on El Anclote beach is ideal for beginners, and a number of providers offer lessons and equipment rentals to practice both long board surfing and the increasingly popular stand-up paddle surfing, or SUP.
Whale-watching season in Banderas Bay takes place from early December to late March, and these impressive creatures pass between El Anclote and the nearby Marietas Islands on a regular basis, such that you can actually sit on the shore and watch them playfully breach the water. And for a closer encounter, a number of officially sanctioned providers are located right in El Anclote. A protected sanctuary, the Marietas Islands themselves are a haven for birdwatchers and those wishing to explore its unusual caves created by the constant pounding of the waves. And if being underwater is your thing, you’d be surprised at the number of divers who travel to the region from many parts of the world to enjoy the sport here.
When it’s time to enjoy a nice meal by the ocean, be it breakfast, brunch or dinner, many beachfront towns near Puerto Vallarta feature a number of restaurants offering traditional food. By contrast, the dozen or so eateries along Avenida El Anclote feature unique and diverse gastronomy for every taste and budget. You will be able to access the beach from just about any one of them, or you can use one of the three public beach accesses located in town.
Start your day early, driving from Puerto Vallarta. Once you reach El Anclote, a parking lot is available right on the highway, or you can park right on Avenida El Anclote. By the time you get there, most restaurants will be ready to offer you a hearty breakfast and a spectacular view of the entire bay—the drive from Puerto Vallarta very scenic as well. If you are an early riser, Cielo, located on the Hotel des Artistes roof deck, begins offering breakfast as early as 8 am. Strolling down Avenida El Anclote from end to end will take you less than 10 minutes, allowing you to visit the various activity providers and restaurants located along the way and thus plan a perfect day to your very own liking.
(HINT: Look for the free El Anclote Fun Map at many businesses located in town to learn more about the town’s layout!)