Once a degraded scrape on a hillside in Cabo Corrientes, the now lushly foliated and welcoming Jardín Botánico Vallarta (Vallarta Botanic Garden) is a keystone natural landmark in Cabo Corrientes and a must see destination for any visitor to Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit!
Well established fruit and nectar feeders maintained by the VBG for years, now regularly attract a plethora of exciting regional birds… all of which are conditioned to expect a literal smorgasbord of high quality fruit and hard boiled eggs lovingly put out for them twice each day by staff at the VBG.
West Mexican Chachalaca (endemic); White-tipped Dove, Golden-cheeked Woodpecker (endemic); Green and San Blas (endemic) jays; White-throated Thrush and Yellow-winged Cacique, are all regulars at the feeding station and can be easily seen and photographed from above while you stand comfortably shaded on the cheerful first story verandah of Restaurante Hacienda del Oro enjoying the frenzied antics of the fearless birds below you!
This is one of the best places to see the extremely colorful Jalisco Race of Green Jay—which is usually very skulky and shy, but comes out in the open to feed here and is much more brightly colored than the race seen by US birders in South Texas!
Have your cameras at the ready!
VBG’s open-air Hacienda del Oro restaurant comes complete with several active hummingbird feeders hanging from its eves, and a stunning view of the Preserve’s verdant hillsides and canyon of the Rio Los Horcones below it, to boot!
If we decide to eat here we will compile our checklist, enjoying the regional dishes served up there, while taking in the thrilling sight of a variety of hummingbirds attracted to the VBG’s nectar feeders.
Plain-capped Starthroat, Broad-billed, Ruby-throated and Violet-crowned hummingbirds are the most common seasonal regulars at VBGs hummingbird feeders.
For a full list of birds recorded at VBG please press here
Please realize that BIM offers separate full and half day birding options at VBG. The full day option also visits The Military Macaw Sanctuary. The difference is that the current tour focuses more intently on general viewing at a variety of habitats and the full day VBG tour focuses on exploring the trails at VBG, which are not visited on the current tour out of time considerations.
Whichever you choose, you’ll be glad to know that according to the Garden’s monthly periodical, El Papelillo / The Leaflet — VBG is one of North America's premier botanic gardens—now designated among the “Top 10 North American Gardens Worth Traveling For" by the North American Garden Tourism Conference (a program managed by the Canadian Garden Council)!
Highlight birds to be expected at VBG are those inhabiting the interface between three biomes at VBG—the upper edge of the Sinaloan Thorn Forest, lower Encinal (Pine-Oak Woodland) and Riparian ecosystems associated with the still wild Rio Los Horcones which bisects this keystone wildlife sanctuary in Cabo Corrientes. There are plans for the Garden to expand its preserve by 50% by 2021.
Seasonally common birds here include West Mexican Chachalaca, Golden-cheeked Woodpecker, Russet-crowned Motmot, Plain-capped Starthroat, Violet-crowned and Broad-billed hummingbirds, San Blas and Green jays, Ferruginous and Colima pygmy-owls, White-throated Thrush, Yellow-winged Cacique, Rusty-crowned Ground-Sparrow, Rosy Thrush-Tanager and now Military Macaws have been documented occupying nest boxes strategically placed for them on natural pines at the highest extremities of the property!
Even Black-and-White and Black hawk-eagles have been definitively identified soaring over the property, and camera traps have documented wild Jaguars mere kilometers away on the wild Rio Los Horcones!
This trip does not stop after our visit to VBG. Not by a long shot!
Rather, it does double duty by also finishing the day’s exciting birding by visiting The Military Macaw Sanctuary (aka Rancho Santuario) nestled in the pine-clad highlands of Cabo Corrientes.