Each day from my balcony in Puerto Vallarta I would gaze out onto Banderas Bay, wondering about the cluster of islands known as Los Arcos. On the first day of 2020, I make my way down to the beach, and get outfitted with a kayak. The time has come to explore these islands for myself.

The beach is empty this early in the morning, as most people are still sleeping from the NYE parties the night before. I help our guide get the kayaks situated for the other guests that will be arriving soon. The sunrise is exceptionally brilliant this morning as I sip my coffee and sign my waiver form.

Two families will be going with us this morning, so everyone is tandem except for myself and the guide. Such is the reality of solo travel, but I don’t mind. It just means a little extra work I’ll need to put in while kayaking.

We soon are on the water. Our guide lets us know that it usually takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get to Los Arcos, although it certainly looks closer than that. As soon as we start paddling though I feel the tide working against me. An unexpected tough early morning workout. I dig deep as we all slowly glide across Banderas Bay.

As we approach the sense of untapped natural beauty washes over me. Birds circle over the prehistoric formations, and you can just feel the abundance of life that is teeming in the ocean below. We secure our kayaks together, then get into the water to snorkel and explore.

Although the day is still somewhat overcast, it doesn’t diminish us from seeing schools of fish and colorful coral reefs. The tide pushes and pulls us around the islands like socks spinning in a dryer.

We climb back into our kayaks and head to one of the islands that has a natural hole formed by wind and water erosion. Nature has created a water slide that lets the tide pull the kayak through the hole in a whip like fashion, pushing us through and out the other side.

Eventually it is time to kayak back to the beach. The morning exhausted me more than I thought it would, and I’m quickly falling behind the group of tandem kayakers.

Our guide is waving his hands in the air at me, motioning for me to turn around. As I do I see the whale, no more than a few feet from me.

It could not have been a more perfect ending to my time in Puerto Vallarta.

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?

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