Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens
Several years ago on our way to Chacala, we turned a corner to see a large new structure on the hillside to the west. It looked like a lodge, or possibly a mansion under construction. On our way back to Puerto Vallarta, we intended to stop and investigate, though it did occur to us we wouldn’t be granted admittance, thinking perhaps it was a home being built by a narco or some other cartel-related activity. Obviously we have great imaginations.
What we didn’t expect was what we found. We were warmly greeted and invited to drive down the long road that led to the initial buildings. We met the curator, Bob Price and his mother, Betty. Sadly, The wonderful Betty Price has since past away but we have been, over the years, amazed by what Bob has done on his 20 acres of what became known as the Vallarta Botanical Gardens and Nature Preserve. There are many miles of hiking trails winding in and out of the native jungle/forest. In summer months we have always welcomed a dip in the Rio Horcones, the river below the main house. It’s been more than a pleasure to watch the gardens grow, with additions such as the incredible Holstein Orchid and Vanilla House, a world class development.
The Vallarta Botanical Gardens hosts a number of annual events in the course of the year, a Thanksgiving feast, Valentines dinner, and their festive Member Appreciation Day. Vallarta Botanical Gardens celebrates their tenth anniversary this year with celebrations in mid-November, open to the public. There will be the normal tours and guided hikes, special guest speakers, live music and a gigantic cake.
The North American Garden Tourism Association selected the gardens with one of their coveted “Top 10 North American Gardens worth Travelling for“ Awards in 2013 and the gardens has been the recipient of many more botanical and tourist destination recognitions, too many too list here.
Vallarta Botanical Gardens has developed educational programs for local studies and participates in public environment awareness programs. The gardens is a haven for bird watchers; both amateur and professional botanists will be delighted by the gathering of exotic plants from around the world. The conservation and propagation of orchids is at the heart of the garden’s mission.
We have found it is easier these days to take the El Tuito bus, since parking is limited and the gardens can get crowded. Buses are available and easily marked at the corner of Aguacate and Carranza in the Romantic Zone; there’s one every thirty minutes.
The Vallarta Botanical Gardens is closed on Mondays from April to November but open every other day of the year from 10 am to 6 pm; admission is 100 pesos and school groups can visit at no cost if they have advance reservations. Little ones under four years of age get in for free.
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Thanks to our guest blogger Adam Garcia for this article! (opionons expressed are his own)
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