Bid on Travel.com

Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens Reviewed

.
Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens Reviewed

"Best hotel search engine" - Frommer's Travel Guides

Over 1 million lodging choices worldwide.
--------

A little gem of a spot, the Vallarta Botanical Gardens (Los Jardines Botánicos de Vallarta) sits on a hill overlooking a river south of Puerto Vallarta.

Although much beloved by local American and Canadian long-term residents, who often dine there, most visitors overlook this Mexican garden and that is a shame.

Flowers at Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens

In this post, you will of course find directions to the Vallarta Botanical Gardens, as well as information about its seasons, collections, and dining options, but most of all I hope that you will enjoy the photos of this beautiful place, which hopefully will encourage you to visit.

Seasons

Moss on trees at Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens

Puerto Vallarta enjoys a tropical climate, whose summers and autumns are very warm and humid, with frequent heavy rains that usually last just a short time. Winter brings much cooler temperatures with nearly no rain or noticeable humidity, a season most visitors find extraordinarily pleasant.

Summer or winter, Mother Nature thrives in the Puerto Vallarta climate making the garden worthwhile to visit all year.

Flower at Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens

Flower at Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens

Surprisingly, this botanical garden may seem even more lush and its flowers even more abundant during the long dry winter season. That’s when the main building in the first photo gets covered in flowers.

Lushness of Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens


Rio Horcones at Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens

On the other hand, summer rains fill the river rapids below the dining room, which envelopes the garden in a wonderful sound. With fewer visitors during summer, you may have the garden almost to yourself.

Especially during summer, you may want insect repellent. The garden usually sells a natural repellent at the entrance, but bring some if you want to be sure.

Special touches

Lily pond at Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens

Special touches at Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens

This garden heavily depends on donations and volunteer labor. You’ll notice delightful influences provided by the year-round and winter Puerto Vallarta expatriate community and others.

View from washroom, Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens

Above: With no one around, I could not resist snapping the view out of the window over the washroom urinal.

Painting in washroom, Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens

Nor this painting hung just to the right of the urinal. The garden takes pride in its spotless and tasteful washrooms.

Layout and collections

View from Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens, Mexico

Vallarta Botanical Gardens provides an extensive natural area in a ravine, with a swinging bridge, as well as cultivated gardens featuring local and other flora, which look out at the surrounding mountains. However, there are no formal gardens in the French or Italian style per se.

Even though the garden sits on a small hill, most but not all of the paths are rather gentle, with the key exception of one leading down to the Rio Horcones, where some visitors swim. Washrooms are wheelchair accessible.

Although it features the tropical forest typical around Puerto Vallarta, the garden location is also high enough in the mountains to offer the oaks and pines of Mexico’s coastal range.

Opened in 2005, the garden remains very much a work in progress. Do not expect the seemingly endless variety of Royal Botanic Gardens near London or the shock and awe displays of Butchart near Victoria.

Nevertheless, there is a lot to enjoy. Some highlights include

  • Carnivorous plants display,
  • Chocolate, coffee, and vanilla garden,
  • Endangered plant nursery,
  • Native tree collection,
  • Tree fern grotto,
  • Cycad and palm walk,
  • Tropical butterfly garden,
  • Medicinal and sacred plant collection,
  • Cactus and arid plants collection,
  • Rhododendron garden,
  • Rose garden, and
  • more.

In many parts of the garden, you will notice orchids growing on trees.

Cactus at Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens, Mexico

Greenhouse and gift shop

Greenhouse view, Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens, Mexico


Another greenhouse view, Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens

I love the greenhouse. It displays several orchids and other plants that I have never seen before

The garden also features a gift shop, as well as a nursery.

Remember though that you may not easily be able to bring back plant materials legally to Canada or the United States, especially ones intended for growing. See the link here for U.S. regulations. Maximum Canadian fines run even higher.

Hacienda de Oro Restaurant

Dining room view, Hacienda de Oro Restaurant, Puerto Vallarta

Overlooking the garden, the Hacienda de Oro Restaurant, draws in the local “lets do lunch” crowd and lucky tourists. I really like this place.

Hacienda de Oro Restaurant, Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens

Hacienda de Oro Restaurant, Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens

Hacienda de Oro, open for lunch only, serves local Mexican specialties, as well as items like wood-baked pizzas, with enough variety to satisfy most diners. In my experience, the service has been warm and friendly.

Prices range from inexpensive to moderate, as judged by Puerto Vallarta costs.

Unfortunately, the dining room does not provide wheelchair access, although meals could be brought to a lower level.

Hours and Fees

Birds nesting at Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens

10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Closed Mondays April through December)

Sixty Mexican Pesos (under 10 free)

Above: On one of my visits, this charming sight greeted diners from the restaurant.

Directions

By bus:

Take the “El Tuito” bus from the northeast corner of Venustiano Carranza and Aguacate streets in the Puerto Vallarta Romantic Zone, not far from the cathedral, for an interesting and  fun way to each the gardens.

Although Mexico likely enjoys the most deluxe inter-city bus services in the world (some companies offering meal service and first-class airline legroom), the El Tuito bus does not belong to that genre to put it mildly. Instead, expect a bumpy ride, with great people watching.

Have 20 Mexican Pesos for the fare each way, including exact change for the return trip. You are riding to “El Har-din bot-tan-e-cal.” Buses are usually scheduled every 30 minutes.

The bus drops you off in front of the garden, but on the way back as you exit the garden, cross the highway, turn right, and walk up a slight hill to where coaches can more easily and safely pull over.

By car:

From Puerto Vallarta, take Mexican federal highway 200 south along the coast.

After the village of Boca de Tomatlán, the highway climbs into the mountains.

After passing Chico’s Paradise Bar and Grill, watch for the garden entrance on the right, which I believe comes about 2 and ½ miles (4 kilometers) further.

By Taxi:

A taxi from Old Town costs some Mexican pesos 225 each way. Confirm a rate before getting in.

Resources:

The Vallarta Botanical Gardens

Los Jardines Botánicos de Vallarta

John Huston’s Las Caletas beach estate near Puerto Vallarta

How safe is Mazatlan for travelers?

BidOnTravel blog home

Comments

TravelDesigned
January 2, 2012

We love visiting botanical gardens and now this one will be on our list!

.
Craig Zabransky
January 2, 2012

Thanks for the details, I am putting this on my list for my next visit to PV… Merci.

Stay adventurous, Craig

.
Don Nadeau
January 10, 2012

Hi Craig @StayAdventurous & Stephanie @TravelDesigned, thank you so much. Hope that visit comes soon.

Stephanie, I know you like the Dreams resorts in Mexico and, if I remember correctly, the “El Tuito” bus to the gardens stops right in front of the Puerto Vallarta Dreams on the main highway.

.

Leave a Response

required
.
always kept private
.
.
required
.
.

Most Popular

Isle of Skye Travel Guide
Isle of Skye Travel Guide

"Best hotel search engine" - Frommer's Travel Guides Over 1 More

.
Our Kicks on Route 66 - I
Our Kicks on Route 66 - I

Route 66 is the most celebrated highway in the USA. More

.
South Jersey Shore - Visitor Tips
South Jersey Shore - Visitor Tips

"Best hotel search engine" - Frommer's Travel Guides Over 1 More

.
Rental Car Tips 101 - Tips, Cautions
Rental Car Tips 101 - Tips, Cautions

These tips give you basic information that every rental car More

.

Archives
sort by

.

Latest Posts

In Loving Memory of Billie Frank

I am so very sorry to report the passing of Billie Frank, whom I loved and whose blog posts were More

.
Following the Fred Harvey Trail

Very sadly this is author Billie Frank's last post. Readers loved her and I will miss her very much. I've More

.
My Cheech & Chong Ride & Other Car Rental Risks

Well, I opened the door of my new Alamo rental before driving off its Albuquerque airport lot and was hit More

.
Time Tips for Best Peak Season Travel Values

"Best hotel search engine" - Frommer's Travel Guides Over 1 million lodging choices worldwide. -------- Finding significant travel discounts during More

.
View the Archives
.
You might also enjoy...
5 Places in Santa Fe to Breakfast with the Locals
5 Places in Santa Fe to Breakfast with the Locals

"Best hotel search engine" - Frommer's Travel Guides More

.
Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless at Chicago O’Hare Airport
Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless at Chicago O’Hare Airport

"Best hotel search engine" - Frommer's Travel Guides More

.
Bolivia: Picacho Organic Farm
Bolivia: Picacho Organic Farm

"Best hotel search engine" - Frommer's Travel Guides More

.
Good Travel Health - Tips to Keep You Well
Good Travel Health - Tips to Keep You Well

"Best hotel search engine" - Frommer's Travel Guides More

.
.