Summer is a season full of vibrant colors and long sunny days, and in the Vallarta area the warm weather comes with sudden rains, creating a pleasant and special environment in nature. The roads are lined with vibrant green and blooming trees as you head south, toward a place to enjoy nature at its best. I highly recommend the Botanical Garden of Puerto Vallarta, recently named the 4th Best Botanical Garden in Latin America. This dreamy place is just 30 or 40 minutes from town – you’ll love it!
What will you see?
Upon entering, you will see several sections; divided mainly into trails, gardens and specific areas.
The trails have different levels of difficulty and are clearly marked. For example, the Jaguar trail and the Chachalaca trail, for more adventurous hikers, provide a great hiking experience. When walking through the trees, you will appreciate the different types of trunks, leaves, flowers and fruits. Cacao trees, coffee trees, plants with pine cones, among many other species can be found within the gardens. Every plant is identified with labels, so in addition to hiking, you will learn many interesting facts about the great variety of flora.
On Thursday mornings, there is a special tour for bird and butterfly sightings. Get ready to enjoy the many species you will encounter!
My favorite section is the orchid greenhouse. The Botanical Garden is home to thousands of species of this beautiful flower. It seems like a a place from a fairy-tale; with a large structure in the middle of mountains and impressive trees, surrounding you in an atmosphere of classical music and colorful corridors.
The section of desert plants is also worth visiting. Take a walk and discover the different species – you will be amazed by the many types of cactus. By the way, you will want to take home everything you see, but the good news is that the Botanical Garden has an extensive souvenir shop as well as a nursery to buy your favorite plants.
Next to the nursery is a charming patio with a water flower garden and a hacienda-style building. Here comes my second favorite place: the restaurant. Located on the second floor, it offers the best view of the Sierra Madre. Imagine walking for several hours and then sitting to rest around around a rustic table, with a refreshing drink; and as you enjoy the beautiful landscape, the wind caresses your face, and birds sing. This is a place to relax and take in the wonderful nature around you. And if all this wasn’t enough, a delicious pizza arrives at your table as more magical moments continue.
Well, I will not give you more details; organize your family or a group of friends and discover it for yourself. The gardens also feature a pond, a river, a small chapel, a butterfly area and more sections of wild flora. It is also pet-friendly, perfect for taking your dog for a walk.
Everyone can choose their preferred trail, but it is good to take into consideration the experts’ advice: wear comfortable or athletic clothes, a good pair of tennis shoes, a cap, sunblock, and mosquito repellent. Food and drinks are not allowed.
How to get there?
Puerto Vallarta’s Botanical Garden is located on the Barra de Navidad Highway, Km. 24, just a few minutes from Mismaloya and it is easy to reach by car, taxi or public transport.
It opens daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. but by November it will be closed on Mondays.
The entrance fee is $200 pesos per person and children under 4 years old are free.
I really hope you soon have the chance to visit this hidden jewel in Puerto Vallarta! It is amazing to connect with nature, and it is a great way to help forget about the daily routine.
By Lucía de la Parra.