vallarta botanical gardens -- a wonderful day
i spent a wonderful afternoon at the vallarta botanical gardens, which are in the hills south of puerto vallarta. to be completely honest, i have to admit that i didn't get very far in the gardens themselves because my knee was acting up that day, but i had a terrific lunch at the restaurant in the visitor center, hacienda de oro (loosely, "golden ranch" or "golden estate").
i ordered a burrito "texas-style," which turns out to mean "two enormous burritos." i couldn't eat both at one sitting, so i took one back to where i was staying. i can't remember now, but i think rice came on the side, possibly with refried beans. and of course tortilla chips and really good salsa, plus a nice cold beer. i don't remember the prices, but i thought that everything on the menu was very reasonable. the waiter was attentive without being intrusive. i sat at the bar and read for about an hour, but none of the staff seemed to object. in addition to the bar, they have tables and a comfy selection of stuffed chairs and sofas. the restaurant is on a slight but very walkable slope from the entrance, which meant that there was a light breeze from the gardens thru the restaurant; it made for a pleasant temperature inside the restaurant even tho it was a very hot day.
the gift shop has an excellent collection of items of all types with prices that are quite reasonable. i got three very small rocks of different colors for about $1.70 and a lovely tablecloth and napkins for less than $25. i had read that not all of the vanilla extract sold in puerto vallarta is genuine, but i figured that the botanical gardens were a relatively likely place to have genuine vanilla extract, so i bought four bottles for friends who are good cooks; the bottles come in several sizes, but i got the ones with roughly 4.25 ounces for about $7.50 each. they also have t-shirts of many different designs for about $12.50; these are nice soft t-shirts, not cheapy thin ones. in addition, you can buy flowers, coffee, books on plants, and various handicrafts.
to get to the botanical gardens, you can take a bus from the south side (also called the "romantic zone," or "old town") of puerto vallarta at the corner of venustiano carranza and aguacate. the bus runs approx every half an hour and is marked "el tuito" or "botanical gardens"; it costs 20p (about $1.65) each way. a taxi from the south side costs about $25 each way (confirm this before you get in the taxi). the ride takes approx 45 minutes and becomes a thrill a minute once the road starts winding thru the hills!
the admission fee plus a small container of insect repellent (signs are everywhere recommending that people bring or buy some) is a little over $7. the trails are marked "easy," "medium," and "difficult." there are three places to swim, one reachable via a "medium" trail and two reachable via "difficult" trails.
you are not supposed to bring outside food or drink. i can't remember whether they take credit cards. take note that the only restrooms (clean and well looked-after) are in a small building next to the visitor center.
open sunday thru wednesday and friday and saturday from 9 am to 6 pm, thursday from 8 am to 6 pm, december thru march (except for christmas day and new year's day), and 9 am to 6 pm on sunday and tuesday thru saturday (closed monday), april thru november. altho the bus schedule says that it returns to puerto vallarta every half-hour until 6 pm, a sign at the gardens says that the 6 pm bus is not always reliable, so i advise taking the one at 5:30 pm if you are there late in the afternoon!
in addition to the website shown below, the facebook page for the gardens is at https://www.facebook.com/vbgardensac.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Hiking and Walking
- Budget Travel
Buy the "swim with the dolphins"
Buy the "Swim with the dolphins" package instead of the "Dolphin Encounter" at the Aquaadventuras. The package has more stuff to offer than just the encounter.
With the swim with the dolphins, the trainers will allow you to swim with a surf board, your feet being pushed by the dolphin, swim with the dolphin and being carried on his stomach, go underwater to hear and see the tricks of the dolphin underwater, touch the dolphin, kiss the dolphin, perform tricks like flipping its fins, stand-up with the dolphins with its fins, say good-bye with the dolphin, etc.
With the encounter, you are only limited to touching the dolphin and kiss it.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Theme Park Trips
where to surf? NEXPA!
hmm... i've been to PV three times and i never once saw anyone surfing. BUT, down the coast, there's a small town called nexpa. it's barely on the map. that's where all the mad surf is. small town, you stay in a little hut for ten dollars and surf, eat, surf, nap, eat, surf, drink.... you get the picture. it's on my travel pages.
yelapa, getting away from puerto vallarta
if you want to get a little gritty, there's always yelapa. you take a bus from puerto vallarta to boca de tomatlan (1/2 hour south from the corner of bodillo and constitucion (an intersection in zona romantica just south of the river cuale). then, you take a 35 minute boat ride to the far away beach of yelapa. there, you will find a calm beach, not so crowded, clean, and local vendors. there are a few places to sleep, but just know that there are no cars or buses there. you will be walking, and some people even use mules and horses to get around. there are no big hotels there.
there are a lot of places to stay, some guesthouses, some palapas, some little hotels/spas, some just simple accommodations in someone's home. just do a google search for guesthouses, yelapa and you will find them.
i have a yelapa page on my travel pages if you want to read it.
have a blast!
Playa La manzanilla
Playa La manzanilla is very close to Puerto Vallarta but way better than the ones out there.. sand is softer, shallow waters as well the color tends to be a more turquouse than Bluer,, great for kids or people who really want to swim...all services around from toillettes, beach reastaurants and hotels...you have to take Bucerias road, You´ll pass La cruz de Huanacaxtle bech after that you´ll see all signs, you have to park and enjoy it´s around 15 min from Marina Vallarta
boca de tomatlan and yelapa
boca de tomatlan is only a half hour busride away and costs $1.20 to arrive. it is where the mouth of the tomatlan river meets the ocean. there are no accommodations, but you can ask someone local and there may be a room somewhere. BEWARE. these rooms are small and cellar-like. i wouldn´t stay here if you don´t need to.
from boca, take a water taxi ($10 r.t.) to yelapa, about 25 mintues away. it´s a part of mexico only accessible by boat, and it is a stretch of beach, surrounded by luch forest and jungle, with houses on the hills that overlook the small bay. you can as roberto at chico´s restaurant for accommodations. there are also some to be found online. but i would just ask around. you are most likely to find a better deal if you 1. speak some spanish, 2. are willing to stay more than one night and 3. use a smile and be polite.
According to my experience, the best spot to take a quick yet interesting amateur scuba diving is at Joya de Mismaloya beach, Los Arcos underwater national park.
Drive or take a bus and stop at the La Joya de Mismaloya Barceló Hotel. Walk towards the beach and there you will find the diving shop where you can buy a 1 hour tour to the diving spot. No PADI licence required.
At the end of your dive, you can take a relaxing massage at one of the various places by the beach which are abundant there. Enjoy!Related to:
- National/State Park
- Diving and Snorkeling
Hook up with New friends
We met these 2 gals on the boat ride from Puerto Vallarta down the southern coast of Banderas bay to go snorkeling, then hike the waterfall, they were from Chicago, and found that most the other members on the boat were locals, most come to the coast to cool off, it's the off season for tourists like us, but for the locals it was hopping!
Ride a Horse
These were the horses the small village people had to rent for tourists like ourselves to ride the 15 minute trek to the waterfall, it was very dry and hot, we hiked from the ocean salty water, and I couldn't wait to dunk into the waterfall, which was very refreshing!
This is the famous waterfall used in the movie "Predator" w/Governor Arnold Schwartznegger, it's a 15-20 minute walk inland from Las Animas beach, which is a 2hr boat ride north of Puerto Vallarta. We opt'd to hike in rather then ride the horses, which they were charging $16 for the horse ride.
As we were driving to the peak of this mtn, there was a shrine off the side of the road and we decided to take a look, then discovered this beautiful waterfall, then we decided to trekk it. Next time I'd have better footwear, pull my hair back. This seemed to be a very off the beaten place, because we were the only ones down there for hours and there were no signs or trash. It was very nice, and waded in the stream at times to cool off.
Take a Walk to a Creek
Ok, we took the rental car and drove down south passed Mismaloya beach and up into the mountains thinking we were going to hit a peak and look out over Puerto Vallarta. But we stopped to see a restaurant and find this refreshing creek to take a break.
Serenaded again....Not only...
Not only is the Night of the Iguana movie set a perfect place to stop to eat or have a drink, but if you get lucky like we did, you'll be serenaded Mexican style.
Hm,....well, here's a picture...
Hm,....well, here's a picture of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton's old house when they were married. It wasn't quite what we expected, as it was very close to downtown and in a weird, congested area. It definitely wouldn't have been MY choice in all of Puerto Vallarta to live....
There are alot of souvenir shops in this small town. There are places where you can have a bite to eat-have a cool refeshing beverage, or hang out on the beach with the hackers.
Puerto Vallarta Hotels
We had a DREAM VACATION at the Marival Resort. We will be going back once or twice a year. The...more
Clean well maintained and on a very nice private beach setting. Several restaurants on the property....more
Stayed here for four nights in December. It is a wonderful place to stay and relax but you are very...more
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