Have You Seen Puerto Vallarta's Green Flashes?
Perhaps you're among those fortunate enough to have witnessed a green flash at the instant the sun sets; however for most, they've only heard of the phenomenon. One such area for viewing the green flashes is Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where, during the "high season" of November through May when the average daily temperature is 73°F with virtually no chance of rain, thousands of people religiously watch for this rare instantaneous event every evening at sunset.
According to most physicists, green flashes involve physical optics as well as physiological optics. The factors contributing to the high frequency of green flash sightings in Vallarta can be categorized as follows:
Okay, now that we have a better understanding of exactly what green flashes are and what causes them, let's determine how best to witness them.
Research data indicates that under ideal conditions, green flashes are so inconspicuous that even the trained eyes of experienced green flash observers will witness only one green flash out of every six sunsets; they will pass virtually unnoticed by most novices. Those that study the green flash phenomenon always use optical aids such as binoculars or telephoto lenses, thereby greatly enhancing their odds of seeing the flash.
Although beautiful sunsets are worldwide, certain conditions must be ideal in order to increase the chance of seeing a green flash. They include weather, air quality, viewing surface (water or land), latitude, and time of year. Sunsets are best viewed over large bodies of water. Green flashes are most often seen in the lower latitudes during the winter months when water temperatures are slightly higher than air temperatures and obviously, the air must be free of dust, smog, and other pollutants. Some might also include the prerequisite of being under the influence of their favorite beverage for seeing the green flash!
Puerto Vallarta, located on the innermost beaches of the 25 mile diameter Banderas Bay on the Mexican Riviera, provides the perfect location for viewing sunsets with or without green flashes. During the seven month "high season", we are assured of at least 210 consecutive magnificent sunsets. There are hundreds of beautiful restaurants, lounges, and cantinas scattered along a 30 mile stretch of shoreline where thousands of visitors watch the sunset every evening in Vallarta. The majority of these beachfront establishments face to the west or southwest, i.e., directly toward the setting sun, thus providing an endless supply of colorful evening skies; no two alike. Of course, almost all retirees living in Vallarta reside in seaside condos, also facing to the west or southwest, where they never tire of watching the majestic sunsets.
The evening skies in Vallarta are so spectacular that a number of boats are dedicated for "sunset cruises"; where tourists dine out in the center of Banderas Bay with music and a picture perfect sunset as a backdrop. Also, the evening departures of the huge passenger cruise ships are always in a southwesterly direction from the maritime terminal, thus providing thousands of tourists a beautiful photo-op as they cruise away from this wonderful tourist destination. In fact, it would probably be safe to say that very seldom do any tourists leave the area without taking a number of glorious sunset photos as reminders of their vacation in Paradise.
Since most of us have never really witnessed the elusive green flash
at sunset, where better to have our first such sighting than on the beach
in Vallarta during a comfortably warm winter evening with a frozen margarita
in hand? Who knows, perhaps with an adequate consumption of your favorite
beverage, you might even witness a blue or violet flash!
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