Located 35 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta along Carr. 200 Sur, the Vallarta Botanical Gardens offer the unique opportunity to get close to the rich variety of fauna and flora available in the region. The living museum features a restaurant, walking and hiking trails and swimming in a nearby river.
The Vallarta Botanical Gardens were started in 2004 with a vision of becoming Mexico's greatest botanical garden. They occupy approximately 20 acres of land in the tropical Jalisco highlands. Since its inception, and thanks to many grants and generous donations, the Gardens have continuously improved their grounds and plant collections. The facility features a large visitor's center (Hacienda de Oro) where you can get acquainted with the many plant varieties available through the grounds while you enjoy a relaxing meal at their own restaurant. Ongoing expansion includes nurseries for plant propagation, a statuary making facility, a number of hiking and walking trails along the grounds, a gift shop and a plant shop.
The view from the visitor's center is spectacular. One side faces the nearby Vanilla and Orchid Conservatory, with a rotating array of exquisite orchids and other stunning flowering plants. Further away, over 6000 blue agaves (Agave tequilana) adorn a nearby hill while the area is being re-forested with native tropical hardwood trees.
The opposite view offers unobstructed views of the nearby Horcones river, where guests of the Gardens are encouraged to enjoy swimming at their own risk. Several hummingbird feeders suspended from the balconies at the restaurant offer visitors an added plus, particularly appealing to those that enjoy birdwatching or nature photography.
The Gardens are located right along the highway and parking is available for those traveling on their own vehicle. Public transportation is also available from Puerto Vallarta, where clearly marked buses can be boarded through the day at the corner of Basilio Badillo and Constitución in Emiliano Zapata. The scenic route heads south next to the ocean, offering spectacular views along the way, and heads toward the mountains upon reaching Boca de Tomatlán.