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Ahoy, Matey! The Pirates of Banderas Bay

How is your pirate lingo? Ahoy has been used since the early sailing days as a way to get someone’s attention on a ship. Matey is a familiar form of the word mate, which means friend. ‘Ahoy, Matey!’ essentially means ‘Greetings, friend.” But it is more than a hello; it is a call to be acknowledged. 

If you want to live your own swashbuckling pirate adventure, take a tour on the Marigalante Pirate Ship in Puerto Vallarta! All tours meet at the Pirate Boutique across from the A.P.I marina, where you will be assigned your personal pirate and have the chance to buy pirate souvenirs before getting on board a 700-ton authentic Spanish Galleon. The only difficulty you will have is deciding whether to take the Majahuitas Island day tour for nature and beach fun or the Dinner Under the Sea night tour full of entertainment, live music, and a delicious feast fit for kings (or pirates). The night tour is recommended just for adults, but children are permitted. It is just more of a party atmosphere, so if you are traveling with young kids, the day tour is the better option.   

The day tour runs from Monday to Saturday. The excursion lasts all day. You will meet to check in at the Pirate Boutique at 8:45 am and arrive back at the pier at 4:45 pm. You will start the day with a delicious Mexican or American style full breakfast “Under the Sea” in our pirate tavern. Then we will sail across the bay, where you will witness the unmatched beauty of Puerto Vallarta and might even spot some whales during whale watching season (December – March). At 11:00 am, you will be awed by our incredible Pirate Show full of acrobatics, sword fighting, music, dancing and special effects before we stop at Majahuitas Island (Natural Reserve) where you will disembark the ship to do different beach & sea activities, such as snorkeling, kayaking, banana boat tour, beach volleyball and even a treasure hunt! Once back on board, you will enjoy a delicious lunch with eight options to choose from including Surf and Turf skewers, BBQ ribs, grilled chicken or salmon plus a national open bar. We also offer vegan, vegetarian and gluten free menu options as well as a special kids menu with burgers or chicken nuggets. Lunch is followed by a pirate party & contests.  

The night tour is available every night and lasts 3.5 hours. You will check in at the Pirate Boutique at 5:45 pm. As you board the ship, you will be entertained by live music & the Drunken Pirate Show followed by fun activities and the hoisting of the sails. Dinner will take place in two dinner seatings and your dining time will be assigned to you at check in. You will have seven different dinner options including: seared salmon, tuna, stuffed chicken breast, and Surf and Turf. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free menu options are also available. If you want to upgrade your menu, you can purchase a Premium Ticket which includes a premium menu option with lobster tail, filet mignon and a deluxe open bar. Passengers will enjoy watching the beautiful sunset over the bay. The real fun begins with the Pirate Show starting at 9:00 pm, a flag presentation and a Pirate Party with a wonderful fireworks display. You will return to the terminal at 10:30 pm.  

The cost of the day and night tours are $99 USD for adults and $74 USD for children between the ages of 3 and 11. Children under 3 go free. For the Premium ticket, the cost is $130 USD and includes priority boarding, first in line to dine, premium menu and deluxe open bar. Passengers are required to pay the port fee before accessing the sea terminal, which can be done at the Pirate Boutique. The port fee is $28.00 pesos per person (aged 8 years and up). Children under 8 years old are not required to pay the port fee.  

COVID-19 Protocols 

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we have put additional protocols in place for guest safety. The maximum capacity of the Marigalante Pirate Ship is 240 passengers, but we have reduced the capacity to 120 until further notice.  

Upon check in at the Pirate Boutique, guests will have their temperature taken and be offered hand sanitizing gel.  

In our pirate tavern Under the Sea, where lunch and dinner take place, we have put additional social distancing measures in place and every other table will be left empty to allow additional space between diners.  

History of the Marigalante 

The Marigalante was built in Alvarado, Veracruz by non-profit association Mar, Hombre y Paz (Sea, Man and Peace) to celebrate the discovery of the Americas. The ship is a faithful model of the Santa Maria flagship that Christopher Columbus sailed with his crew and was crafted using wood from 30 different species of tropical trees including: Machicle, Rosewood, Ironwood, Guayacan, Paradise Tree, Oak, Pucté, Caoba, and Cedar. Construction started in 1980 and was completed in 1987 in time to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s voyage to the “New World”.  

On September 26th, 1987, the Marigalante set sail from Veracruz to Santoña in Catabria, Spain. Santoña is the birthplace of Juan de la Cosa, a cartographer and navigator, who was not only the owner and captain of the original Santa Maria ship, but he was also known for designing the earliest world map incorporating the territories of the Americas.   

This Marigalante sailed to Seville and up the Guadalquivir to deliver a chest of 10,000 assorted coins collected from 33 countries. This is the reward that should have been paid to Rodrigo de Triana (real name Juan Rodriguez Bermejo), the first man to shout “Land Ho!” when he spotted American landmass. Columbus took credit for this discovery and the Marigalante’s first voyage was a tribute to de Triana. The chest is on display at the La Antigua chapel in the Seville Cathedral, the world’s richest cathedral and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.   

Marigalante’s voyage covered 87 ports and islands around the world, totaling 52,000 nautical miles, which is more than 2 trips around the world. The Marigalante has a colorful history and earned its sailing stripes as a proper sailing vessel before becoming a major tourist attraction in Puerto Vallarta. 

In 1997, the Marigalante made Puerto Vallarta its permanent home and for the past 30 years it has set sail around Banderas Bay providing hours of pirate fun on the high seas. Guests not only get to enjoy the fine craftsmanship, delectable cuisine and lively entertainment, but also an award-winning bathroom! The stylishly decked out bathrooms have been finished with mahogany and marble. We don’t want to ruin the surprise, but for guests who have never been on the Marigalante before, you will not want to miss a bathroom break! 

Tripadvisor Traveler’s Choice Award 2020 

Lastly, we are very excited that the Marigalante Pirate Ship received the Tripadvisor 2020 Travelers’ Choice Award again this year. This is an important achievement which ranks it among the top 10 per cent of experiences in the world!   

The Marigalante Pirate ship is a top excursion for those seeking action-packed adventure on the high seas. Come to join us for one of the most spectacular entertainment shows in Banderas Bay! For members traveling to Cancun, practice your pirate lingo onboard Cancun’s counterpart, the Jolly Roger Pirate Ship. Shiver me timbers!