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Published: February 26th 2010
The Vallarta Botanical Gardens is a display of the typical plants found in the jungles of this area, and is found south of Puerto Vallarta, in the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountains. The plants range from palms to cacti, and flowers such as orchids, hibiscus and bougainvillea. Actually, not much was flowering when we went, so it was mostly green, but a good representation of the area. The trip there was an adventure in itself. We had to take 4 different busses - Bucerias to PV, a bus through PV “centro”, the bus to Mismaloya, then another inland to the gardens. Along the way we saw the really big expensive houses in the hills south of PV in the area known as the Beverly Hills of Puerto Vallarta. And we also got a really nice view of Los Arcos, the rocky islands just off shore south of PV that are supposed to harbour lots of fish, and so are good for snorkelling and diving.
The first part of the gardens was a nice, easy trail through one side of the park. Then we stopped at the park’s restaurant for a bite to eat, and a nice rest, cool drink,
A view of Los Arcos
Well known rock formations south of PV. A good place to dive and snorkle.
and bathroom break (bathrooms are not always easy to find, so you take advantage of the ones you do find!). Then, we saw the “river trail”, involving lots of stairs and ending up by a river at the bottom of the valley. It was an overcast day, and we thought it would be ideal - meaning cooler - for walking around. Wrong! It was so hot and humid, even with the overcast skies, that Steve sweated buckets - even his shorts were soaked by the time we were done. Part of that may be because when we came to the end of the trail at the river, Steve found another trail leading up another hill. Even though the sign said “End of trail. Go back”, we thought we would see what this trail led to - maybe a different way back to the restaurant or to the highway where we could catch the bus. This trail was about a foot wide, carved into the hill in switchbacks due to the steep grade. We were deep in the jungle, and all we could hear were the birds - we saw some wild parakeets who squawked loudly whenever we got too close.
At one point, Steve stopped to rest, then started to laugh. Off behind us, on the top of a different hill, was the restaurant. To one side, in a different direction was the highway. By this time we were stepping over huge anthills, inching past washed out portions of the trail, and ducking under overhanging branches - some with nasty thorns. Stubbornly (or stupidly), we continued on till the trail just kind of petered out. Hot, tired, sweaty and thirsty, we turned back and went down again. Somehow, it didn’t seem as far down as it was going up, but then we had to go back up all those stairs to the restaurant. We made it, rested a bit, then made our way back to the highway to catch the bus.
We stopped in PV on the way back for a much needed beer and bite of supper before catching the next 2 buses back to the apartment. This was probably the most difficult day of our trip so far. It is amazing how much the heat and humidity takes out of you. And this is winter!
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