Vallarata Botanical Gardens

The Vallarta Botanical Gardens were created in 2004,  on 20 acres of what was previously half overgrazed cattle pasture and half deciduous forest. The ongoing mission of this non-profit organization is to create Mexico´s foremost Botanical Gardens for the propagation, study, discovery, conservation, and display of native mexican plants that both  local residents and visitors will be able to enjoy.

As of now, the Vallarta Gardens main attractions are the orchid conservatory, mexican plant collections, butterfly gardens, tree fern grotto, jungle trails, mountain river swimming, tropical fruit trees and atv tours. In addition,the Hacienda de Oro inside the Visitors Center is one of Vallarta´s most famous destination restaurants famous for brick-oven pizza and fine mexican cuisine.

The Balandra Bioshpere, Baja California Sur, Mexico

The Balandra Bioshpere is a complex of beaches, hills, dunes, and mangroves on the sea of cortez. It is one of many protected environments in Baja California Sur about 20 kilometers from La Paz, Mexico. The  bay of balandra is very shallow with clear, warm water  ideal for snorkeling and kayaking. It also forms several beaches but the main beach offers palapa´s and barbeque pits, in addition to, campsites.

The Sierra Laguna Bioshpere Reserve in Mexico

 

 

The Sierra Laguna mountain range is located in the cape region of Baja California Sur  and as a bioshpere reserve this area is  a protected environment which prohibits development. At higher elevations, the sierra laguna´s also qualify  as  a cloud forest during the summer months when the peaks are consistently shrouded in mist or rain. This type of climate supports a mix of desert, tropical and sub-alpine flora which are unique in North America. Likewise,  a variety of fauna such as deer, coyote, tree frogs and mountain lions can also be found in this area.  As a result, the Sierra Laguna´s are a popular destination for hikers and backpackers who come to enjoy the impressive scenery which surrounds the numerous mountain trails of this reserve.

San Pedro Martir National Park, Mexico

Located in Baja California about 3 hrs drive southeast of Ensenada is the Parque National Sierra San Pedro Martir which was founded in 1947. It is about 170,000 acres and has a variety of flora and fauna similar to the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the USA.   As visitors start the ascent to this national park off the main highway from Ensenada the terrain changes rapidly from arid coastal plains, to high chaparral and once above 1500 meters it becomes  thickly forested glens with many trails and campsites for hikers and backpackers. In addition to a recreational area, the Mexican  government selected this site for its national observatory and largest telescope because of its exceptionally clean air.

Bahia Pulmo, Baja Sur, Mexico

Bahia Pulmo is both a national marine preserve and UNESCO world heritage site found on the East Cape of Baja California Sur about 60 miles from the Los Cabos resort area of Mexico. Bahia Pulmo is unique in that it has the only hard coral reef in the sea of cortez and is one of only 3 living reefs in North America. The abundant coral growth on the rocky reefs provides plenty of shelter for a variety of colorful reef fishes, many of which are not found anywhere else. This in turn is what attracts many scuba divers and snorkelers from all over the world to the Cabo Pulmo area.

Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida

 

 

 

 

If you are traveling in Baja California Sur in the vicinity of La Paz, Mexico, don´t pass up the chance to see the islands of Espiritu Santo and Partida. Both of these islands are connected by a narrow isthmus and  can be reached by arranging a powerboat tour or by a kayak trip which is about 4 miles away from the La Paz area.  These islands  are protected by UNESCO as bioshperes and are popular eco-tourism destinations.

While there are a variety of recreational opportunities both in and out of the water; the highlights include diving, snorkeling, kayaking, sea lion colonies and hot springs.  In addition, Isla Partida has  one of the world´s top 12 beaches called Ensenada Grande which has spectacular red rock formations, white sands and clear water.