For those of you who are looking for an unusual garden tour—do I have one for you!
The Vallarta Botanical Gardens in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, is a wonderful destination for the gardening enthusiast who doesn’t mind a little travel and who enjoys the experience of different cultures. Let me describe a little bit about what this excursion will entail:
First of all, you will need to become comfortable with using Uber. So, if you haven’t used Uber before, download the app and take a few short rides until you are familiar with the process. Arrange your trip to visit during winter months—that’s when you will want to get out of the dreary Valley, and also when very little is happening in your garden. There are all kinds of accommodations in PV—resorts, time shares, hotels, B & B’s. Check out the map location before you book—you want to benear the downtown area. Two good suggestions if you don’t have time share points to use: the Hotel Rosita and Hotel Posada de Roger. Both are less than $100 a night. Make your reservation well in advance—one year ahead would be good.
A week before you leave, order Mexican pesos from your bank. The exchange rate will be better than that in Mexico.
During the flight to PV, you will be given a customs form to fill out. You will show that form at the airport and they will give you a part of that form you will need to leave Mexico. If you lose that form, it will cost you $30 per person for another form in order to receive your boarding pass to leave. (Yep. That’s what happened.)
Now, when you arrive at the PV airport, you will get your luggage and head for the exit. On the way out, you will be accosted by time share personnel who will try to get you to sign up for a presentation. Do not stop—just keep walking out the doors. Then outside, individuals wearing official taxi outfits will try to usher you into a taxi. This is complete rip off. Walk out of the terminal and turn left with your luggage. Cross over the boulevard on the bridge and make your Uber call to get picked up. You see, Uber drivers are not allowed to pick up on airport property, but they can deliver you when you return—what a racket!
To be safe, avoid drinking water unless it is filtered at upscale resorts. Bottled water can be purchased everywhere, like at the omnipresent OXXO stores.
When you get settled in your new digs, you will want to plan adventures other than the Botanical Gardens. I would suggest a Vallarta Eats Food Tour—all of the guides are fantastic. Walk the Malecon—a beachfront walk with great shops, restaurants, and numerous sculptures. (Eat at least once at Casa Traditional). Rhythm of the Night is a fantastic artistic show and dinner held at a private beach to which you will ferry across the bay. The Canopy Zip Line is a great experience, but you must be fit, because significant climbing is required. At the zip line conclusion, eat at the restaurant, do some tequila taste testing, and visit the tiny marmosets that will climb over you as they lick fruit juice out of a cup. Puerto Vallarta has numerous opportunities for whale watching, fishing and snorkeling. If you never driven an ATV, here’s you chance. Note that it is best to schedule activities on days other than Wednesdays when there are frequently cruise ships in the port.
OK—enough fooling around. It’s time to go to the Botanical Gardens. You could take a taxi or Uber, but instead take the local bus. The bus stop is at the corner of Cananza and Aguacate streets in the Romantic Zone. The bus runs every half hour. It will cost you big 30 pesos—which if my math is right, is about a dollar fifty. When you get to the Botanical Gardens, do not be tempted to walk the vanilla groves—that path is a killer unless you are in great shape. Wander through the impressive grounds and green houses where an unbelievable number of plants are well labeled. Eat at the large restaurant and cruise the extensive gift shop. Use the bus to return to town and get an Uber to your digs.
I hope you will use this garden tour as an excuse to enjoy a wonderful vacation in Puerto Vallarta. It is LaVille’s and my favorite place to visit.
Stan, The Traveling Man