With 300 days of sunshine and average high temperatures of 82 F year-round, Vallarta is a tennis player’s dream. Given such ideal conditions, the bay area has spawned a good number of high-ranking amateur and professional players, who can practice to their respective heart’s delight, honing serves, lobs, backhands and other skills that give competitors a run for their money. In between matches, novice and experienced players visiting Vallarta have the added bonus of the town’s many other amenities — swimming, nightlife, fine dining, whale watching, art galleries and much more.

Tennis facilities abound throughout the area, the most comprehensive being Canto del Sol Beach and Tennis Resort (226-0123) in the Hotel Zone. A fully equipped club, the site offers four inside hard courts and four outside clay courts, six of which are lighted. Guests can also use changing rooms, steam showers and a complete pro shop, offering name brand clothing, tennis shoes, equipment and services such as racket stringing. Tennis enthusiasts can play on a one-time basis, paying for court time (approximately $150 pesos per hour) or, if staying at the resort, arrange for accommodations that include free tennis. Longer-term guests can purchase a membership for one month ($700 pesos), six months ($2750 pesos) or one year ($4500 pesos) per individual. Memberships include court time, but the use of lights carries an additional charge. Four pros are available to teach all levels for approximately $35 USD an hour. Canto del Sol is home to four major tournaments a year, including one for children and a pro-am, which teams up professionals and amateurs in doubles matches. A stadium court provides spectator seating for 500-plus. Single players in search of a comparably ranked partner can use a sign-up board provided by the resort.

Vallarta’s newest tennis facility (July 2005) Sport and Raquet Club El Tigre in Paradise Village ((322) 297-0773) offers residents and visitors in Nuevo Vallarta a state-of-the-art sports center with five hard-surface, lighted outdoor courts, a ball machine, an on-site teaching pro, social memberships and day passes ($185 pesos per person). Private lessons run $50 USD per hour, plus the cost of the pass if not a member.

Most larger hotels in Vallarta also offer outdoor tennis courts, a teaching pro (from $200 pesos and up) and equipment rentals for guests, as well as locals. If not a guest, some offer a day pass, and others rent the courts by the hour (between $50 and $110 pesos in daylight, with an up-charge of about $50 pesos at night for lights). Smooth (non-spiked/non-marking) tennis shoes are preferred, and a few courts require tennis attire. Hours generally run between 7:00 am and 10:00 pm.
In Marina Vallarta, facilities offering tennis courts include:
Marriot Casa Magna 221-0004
Westin Resort and Spa 226-1100
In the Hotel Zone:
Sheraton Buganvilias 226-0404
Los Tulles 226-1030
Holiday Inn 226-1700
North of Vallarta:
Marival 297-0100
Four Seasons Resort (Punta de Mita in Nayarit) 01 (329) 291-6000