Vallarta Botanical Gardens: a PV must-see

There’s nothing more energizing, yet serene, than meandering through a beautiful botanical garden. The Vallarta Botanical Gardens in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, are no exception.


I really loved the lily pond at the Vallarta Botanical Gardens.

The Vallarta Botanical Gardens have repeatedly been named to the “Top 10 North American Gardens Worth Travelling For” list and I can see why. I was impressed with the natural layout and variety of flora that the PV Gardens offer. “We really love being able to preserve and conserve the puzzle of local ecology here,” says Neil Gerlowski, executive director of the Vallarta Botanical Garden.


Executive Director Neil Gerlowski (right) receives a delivery of confiscated illegal orchid trees from the Secretariat of Natural Resources for Mexico during our visit. The Garden will rehabilitate the plants and return them to the wild when they are ready. Only one third are likely to survive.

“We’re the stewards and caretakers of these plants and will return these illegally acquired plants back to the wild when they are ready. People think it’s alright to plant them in their home gardens, but it definitely is not,” says Gerlowski.

The Vallarta Botanical Garden is located in a tropical dry semi-deciduous forest, so you can expect quite a variety of trees, plants and flowers to please and educate you.


The amazing view from the Visitor Centre and gift shop at the Vallarta Botanical Gardens.

I was thrilled to see a sampling of cacao trees in the garden and to be asked to be a speaker at the first annual Cacao and Chocolate Festival. In addition to learning from a terrific lineup of speakers, take a tour of the garden’s own cacao trees, sample a great selection of local chocolate on hand to purchase, and have a look at the interesting variety of books featuring chocolate including copies of volume I of Chocolatour. (There will be a robust chapter on Mexico in volume II of Chocolatour.)


The Vallarta Botanical Gardens offer a good variety of Mexican-grown organic chocolate and have cacao trees on site as well.

Have you been to the Vallarta Botanical Gardens? Do you enjoy visiting botanical gardens when you visit different places?

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

37 Responses

  1. Sushmita says:

    The Botanical Garden you have visited seems to be an amazing place to visit! Being a Biotechnologist I have had a lot of chances to visit such amazing places before changing my career path and have always loved it myself too 🙂
    I loved the amazing view of the lily pond and the one from the visitor and gift shop area you have shared 😀

  2. We just came from a visit to the Phipps Conservatory and the orchid room is my favorite, so I’m sad to hear they get stolen! The gardens are lovely.

    • Hi Rose: I truly love orchid gardens. I am waiting for Neil from the Vallarta Botanical Garden to write me and explain why people cannot grow orchids in their yards in Jalisco, MX. I will research this topic further. Cheers, and I hope that I soon get to visit the Phipps Conservatory. I recall you posting about it, and it sounds lovely. Happy weekend! 🙂
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…exploring Hato Mayor in the Dominican RepublicMy Profile

  3. I love going to botanical gardens. Not only can they house local plants, some can include plants from other countries that would not grow in your local climate. I would love to see a cacao tree somewhere near me in one.
    It must of been wonderful to be given the honor of speaking at this festival.

  4. Hi Doreen,

    amazing photos & nice post.
    I just wonder how you manage to find enough time for traveling in all these amazing places 🙂

  5. I don’t often visit botanical garden but this looks stunning, but I’m curious about the comment concerning illegally obtained plants. Anyway, if I ever make it back to Puerto Vallarta I will definitely include a visit here!

    • Hi Marty and thx for your comment. If you read the caption on the photo with the 2 men, you will see that the director of the VBG was receiving a load of orchids from a fellow with the Natural Resources Dept who obtained the plants from people who planted them in their own yards. In Mexico, orchids are a protected species that are only permitted to be grown in state-run gardens. I have not investigated to see whether this policy is common outside of Mexico.

  6. Emily says:

    First of all, congratulations on being asked to be a speaker at the Cacao and Chocolate Festival, let alone the very first one. What an achievement and a great opportunity.

    The gardens seem so beautiful. I love the idea behind it, to help preserve local ecology and flora, and to rehabilitate the plants. Though I am surprised that orchids can be planted illegally!

  7. Erica says:

    I’ve never visited a botanical garden while travelling (but to my defense, I rarely ever travel.) But I do enjoy them in my own hometown. And living in an urban area, there are quite a few. One of the most amazing ones is a free one right off of the UCLA college campus. You can just walk right in. And I bet a lot of people living in Los Angeles don’t even know it is there.

  8. Phoenicia says:

    I have not visited a botanical garden. Judging by your photographs I am missing out! I love beautiful gardens and yearn to explore the outside once the sun rears its head.

    • Phoenicia, if you love flowers and plants, you will love visiting a botanical garden. I have been to a number of them now, and each is so different, depending on the location and its local plants. I truly was impressed and inspired by the lovely setting of the Vallarta Botanical Gardens and the amazing collection of plants they have in their collection.

  9. My friend has just told me how decent the Van Botanical Gardens are, never something on my radar when I travel but looks as if they are pretty special around the world!
    Gemma Two Scots Abroad recently posted…Wolfing Around with West TrekMy Profile

  10. Irene says:

    Great post! You have an amazing blog:)
    What about following each other on Instagram, Bloglovin, Twitter? Let me know:)

  11. Interesting read, Doreen and what a beautiful place. Congratulations on being asked to speak at the festival! 🙂
    Gabby | The Globe Wanderers recently posted…Travel Nightmares: Gridlock Traffic, Forgotten Essentials and a Fit at 35,000 FeetMy Profile

  12. I’ve still not visited Puerto Vallarta despite being here for nearly 4 years! I do love botanical gardens (there’s an amazing one in Oaxaca) so I’ll definitely visit as and when we get to PV!

  13. I love botanical gardens! That one looks amazing.
    Marta Grilo recently posted…LJUBLJANA: CITY GUIDE #1My Profile

  14. Catarina says:

    The Vallarta botanical garden looks fantastic from you pictures. If I go there I will definitely pay a visit. Love the fact that there’s chocolate as well:-)
    Catarina recently posted…Crisis management – can you handle it?My Profile

  15. i always enjoy botanical gardens – you’re posts on PV are definitely making me want to go back there!!! Thanks for another good one Doreen:-)
    Kathy Andrew recently posted…6 Steps to Start Your #Publishing Company & Printing BooksMy Profile

  16. Linda Paul says:

    I had no idea that it was illegal for individuals to plant orchid trees. I enjoy visiting tropical gardens because they are so completely foreign to what I’m used to seeing in my semi desert region.
    Linda Paul recently posted…ReflectionsMy Profile

  17. Elizabeth says:

    Botantic Gardens are a great place to learn about the local flora. Fascinating places really. And congratulations on being asked to speak at the Cacoa and Chocolate Festival! That will be fun and a perfect match for you!
    Elizabeth recently posted…Mai Chau Confessions and Blissful Beef Noodle PhoMy Profile

  18. I visited Vallarta Botanical Gardens while at the NATJA conference and loved it!
    cindy ladage recently posted…Canton offers up some Farmall Red historyMy Profile

  19. I like visiting botanical gardens when I travel, especially if they focus on local ecosystems. I like that the Valhalla Botanical Gardens works to return illegally acquired plants back to the wild. I hope all goes well at the Cacao and Chocolate Festival. Enjoy.
    Donna Janke recently posted…London from the ThamesMy Profile

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