Experienced divers and snorkelers know it is possible to have a "big-animal" encounter nearly anywhere in the world - if you get lucky!! However certain locations lend themselves to attracting large species, including the Pacific Ocean waters of Brandaris Bay in Mexico near the Grand Nuevo Vallarta, the Gulf of Papagayo, Costa Rica near the Grand Papagayo, and Gulf of Mexico in the Caribbean, off the coast from the Allegro Playacar, Grand Xcaret and Royal Hideaway Playacar.
Big Animal Encounters for Divers
Guests of the Occidental Grand Papagayo, diving with Rocket Frog Divers in Costa Rica are in a prime spot for seeing white-tip reef sharks, bull sharks, manta rays, eagle rays and diamond sting rays. Though less frequently sited, divers may occasionally be treated to appearance of schools containing hundreds of Mobula Rays or thousands of Cow-nosed Rays. During certain times of the year, it is also possible to see spinner dolphins, humpback whales, pilot whales and whale sharks.
Another prime location for big animal encounters are the nutrient rich cool waters of the Mexican Pacific at Branderas Bay, a short distance from the Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta areas. Guests of the Grand Vallarta diving with Vallarta Adventures have the opportunity to dive the Marietas Islands Marine Reserve made famous by Jacques Cousteau in the 1970's when he went in search of the areas Giant Pacific Manta's. Options for blue water dives opens up another whole world of sighing possibilities, including large schools of tuna and jacks and most exciting - where Vallarta Adventures offers our divers the opportunity to dive with sea lions!
Shark lovers staying in the Mexican Riveria Maya can "Dive with the Bulls" winter months from mid November through the end of February when Bull Sharks. Diving with the bull sharks is done in a controled way and with experienced Instructors from Pro Dive Mexico.
Big Animal Encounters for Snorkelers
Divers aren't the only ones who have a chance to get up close and personal with the ocean giants! In fact, snorkelers who are guests of the Allegro Playacar, Grand Xcaret and Royal Hideaway Playacar have their own unique opportunity to snorkel with Whale Sharks! These magnificent slow-moving filter feeding sharks are the largest known fish in the world.
For several years now, Pro Dive Mexico has been offering a Whale Shark Safari during the sharks annual migration (from approximately June 1 - September 15th. Despite their name, the whale sharks are peaceful animals feeding only on plankton. They are often accompanied by dolphins and gigantic manta rays.
Note: To preserve the habitat of these animals Pro Dive Mexico conducts these safaris according to Mexican Government and National Geographic guidelines.
Equally thrilling for our Riviera Maya guests - in more of a "get your adrenaline pumping" way - is a Sailfish Run Snorkel Adventure. During the winter months, generally from December - February or March, sailfish arrive in numbers in the water surrounding the nearby Isla Mujeres where they chase and feed on sardine “bait balls.” This is a get your heart racing, blue water experience and chance to witness some of the most active fish in the world.
Arrangements can also be made for guests staying at the Allegro or Grand Cozumel to take the ferry to the mainland for a day long excursions to participate in either of these activities.