The crocodile sanctuary in Puerto Vallarta is a haven for this widely feared animal that is, however, essential to the ecosystem. Seeing crocodiles in Nuevo Vallarta is one of the best ways to get closer to natural wildlife. The intimidating appearance of crocodiles shouldn’t hold you back from better understanding how they look and behave. So, during your stay in Puerto Vallarta, plan a day to discover and learn more about them.

Where to find the Crocodile Sanctuary in Puerto Vallarta

The environment that the crocodiles call home in the sanctuary enjoys a rainy tropical atmosphere. The Banderas Bay area in Nayarit is an excellent location for crocodiles in Vallarta. Here they can live with the specific features of their natural environment; that is, lowlands with a humid tropical atmosphere.

The sanctuary takes advantage of all these characteristics, while also enhancing and optimizing them so that the crocodiles don’t feel tempted to migrate. The main reason for these efforts, however, is to prevent these animals from going extinct due to illegal hunting. This setting is protected through sustainable land use and conscious tourism.

The Nayarit crocodile sanctuary is set in a humid area surrounded by nature. It is located 9.3 miles from Puerto Vallarta. To reach the Vallarta crocodile sanctuary, you will need to travel almost 2 miles down a country dirt track, sticking to the Tepic-Vallarta road.

To be more specific, you can see crocodiles in Puerto Vallarta if you stick to one side of the Mexico 200 highway. In other words, at the 164-yard mark on the south side of the Flamingos Golf Club. In this area, you will find a sign with a picture of a crocodile that says “Cocodrilario El Cora” (El Cora Crocodile Sanctuary), which will lead you to the magical haven of wildlife.

Characteristics and habitat of the crocodiles at El Cora

In Puerto Vallarta, crocodiles possess very specific characteristics. Out of the 23 known species in the world, three can be found at the sanctuary. Namely, they are the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus), Morelet’s crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii), and the caiman (Caiman crocodilus).

The one that is most commonly found in Nayarit is Morelet’s crocodile. However, it is important to examine the features of all three species.

Morelet’s crocodile

They can grow up to 11.5 feet long. Adults only share space with their female partner in mating season, since they are very territorial. Their head is flat and wide, while their snout is rather short and rounded at the tip. Their tail is also rounded, and their habitat is characterized by slow, shallow waters surrounded by lots of vegetation.

Cocodrilo de pantano

American crocodile

Their length can range between 13 and 24.5 feet. They are semi-aquatic and nocturnal creatures, thanks to their visual capacity. While they are carnivorous, they also feed on insects or snails. River estuaries or mangroves are their natural habitat. Their snout is long with teeth, and as adults they turn a greyish color. As for their reproductive tendencies, they are a polygamous species.

Cocodrilo de rio


Also known as the yacare caiman, it is the smallest species, growing up to 6.5 feet long. Their size, as well as their long tail, makes them strong swimmers in their freshwater habitat. Their color can vary between the dark, green tones on the upper part of their scales and the yellowish hue around their lower abdomen, which is not protected by bone.


Experiences in the Nuevo Vallarta crocodile sanctuary

One of the most memorable experiences for anyone who visits the crocodile sanctuary in Puerto Vallarta is the chance to touch a baby crocodile, taking all the necessary precautions. Not only this, you can also walk along the trails, guided by the sanctuary staff and following all the safety measures. What’s more, if at any time you want to delve even deeper into the ecosystem, you can have a bite to eat at the restaurant in the middle of the swamp. Here, you can enjoy seafood specialties in a setting surrounded by biodiversity.


And as if this were not enough, you can also take a kayak or boat to explore the mangroves that feed and sustain much of the local fauna. On this journey, you will pass through narrow canals that lead to Quelele Lake. This is a place where you can see a variety of migratory birds in flight.

All of this translates to adventure and nature: the best combination for a fun and educational experience. When you visit the crocodile sanctuary in Nuevo Vallarta, you will learn how to promote conservation, not only for your own knowledge, but for that of your family and friends, too. Indeed, there are plenty of reasons not to miss the one-in-a-million experience of exploring a crocodile ecosystem.

Cocodrilos nayarit

Discover new crocodile species in Nuevo Vallarta

Visit the crocodile sanctuary when staying in Puerto Vallarta. As you can see, this is a unique and highly educational experience. Of course, here at De Mar Boutique we offer you the best accommodation for your stay.