By Haydé Escalante
Aside from being a spectacular beach destination Puerto Vallarta is also an excellent place to learn all about the flora and fauna of the Mexican Pacific.
The Puerto Vallarta’s El Salado Estuary is a protected area, home to countless animals and plants protected by Mexico’s Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources. It is considered an Urban Estuary, as it is located right in the middle of the city.
The estuary mainly protects the mangroves and marshes –it is also home to various aquatic specimens as well as underwater and thorn forest vegetation.
Puerto Vallarta’s El Salado Estuary is permanently connected to the Pacific Ocean by a natural channel that flows into the bay. These characteristics make it the ideal habitat for birds, mammals and reptiles.
Experts have identified over 100 species of birds, 29 amphibians and reptiles and 10 species of mammals as well as invertebrates and fish here. Among the reptiles you’ll find the green iguana, the garrobo and the river crocodile. Some of the other animals one can observe are mammals such as raccoons and opossums; you can also identify populations of fiddler crabs and stone crab.
Best of all, you can visit El Salado and see all of its inhabitants daily (except for Sundays). Tours led by a biologist aboard “La Aventurera” boat will explain to you all about the animals and different mangroves in this ecosystem. If you’re adventurous, you will be surprised how close you can get to the crocodiles!
At the end of the tour you will have the opportunity to see the whole area from above in the observation tower. The tours last two hours and is offered three times a day.
For more information visit the El Salado’s information page.