The Botanical Gardens
One of my favorite ways to spend a day is to visit the Botanical Gardens, about 45″ south of Puerto Vallarta in the wild Sierra Madre. This is truly a visionary landmark and a huge asset to the area. You don’t have to even like plants to enjoy this trip. The array of cocoa plants, orchids of all sorts, mezcal (tequila) plants, bouganvilla, greenhouses, will leave you speechless. It also offers hiking trails around the perimeter. Walk down the path to the river, and swim in the fresh, clear water around granite boulders. Butterflies, iguanas and birds of all descriptions will accompany you. It’s shallow enough in parts to wade across to the islands and rocks in the stream. You’ll sense the primeval Eden that this place was, and has preserved.
Here’s how to get there, as copied from their website. For complete information about the Gardens, please see http://www.vbgardens.org/. Admission to the Gardens is just 60 pesos, or about $5. Bring bugspray, especially if you plan on swimming or hiking in the area.
The Vallarta Botanical Gardens are located at the Km. 24 marker of Highway 200, Carretera Puerto Vallarta a Barra de Navidad,the only road that goes south from Puerto Vallarta (PV). The drive to the Gardens takes approximately 30 minutes from Old Town PV.
Public Transportation- (From Old Town PV) You can arrive by catching the bus to “El Tuito” at the corner of Carranza and Aguacate streets, in the Romantic Zone. This bus leaves every half hour or so. This bus will also return you to PV. Bus fare is 20 pesos (about 1.50 USD) each way. Note: You can also hail the bus from the Mismaloya highway just two blocks from the front entrance of Selva Romantica.
Taxi Service- A taxi ride to the gardens (one way) should cost only 225 pesos (about 17 USD) from Old Town and 400 pesos (about 30 USD) from the airport. Note: Ask first.
Be sure to stop in at the Hacienda. This huge, beautiful, graceful building looks like it has been there forever, but it fact was built just seven years ago when the Gardens were created. Its open, airy structure houses an expansive lounge area and gift shop on the lower level and a full restaurant above. The margaritas and mojitos are outstanding, and the lunch offerings top quality. They won’t mind if you take a dip in the river and enjoy lunch with a little sand on your feet. The waiters are beyond friendly and helpful, and the staff generally speaks English.
There are photos on their website, but here’s some of mine from a recent trip. Special thanks to my friend, artist and photographer Wendy Rasmussen for the photos.