The Vallarta Botanical Gardens started in 2004 with a vision of building Mexico’s greatest botanical garden in the enchanted tropical highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. The twenty acres that are now the Gardens were ranch property, nearly half of which was overgrazed cattle pasture, the other half, old growth tropical deciduous forest.
The first phase of construction was the Hacienda de Oro Visitor Center and Restaurant, the centerpiece structure of the Gardens. Next came the nurseries for plant propagation, trails throughout the property, a statuary making facility, and of course many plants.
Over 6000 Blue Agaves (Agave tequilana) adorn our “Blue Agave Hills” while this area is being re-forested with native tropical hardwood trees. Over 1000 native tabebuia, mountain pine and mahogany trees have been planted in this former cattle grazing area, deforested over 30 years ago. Native oak species are being grown from acorns to establish our Mexican Oak Collection. Considering that Mexico is the world leader in oak diversity with over 160 different species, this is sure to become a prized feature of the Garden.
The Vallarta Botanical Gardens started a US based 501(c)(3) not for profit “Friends of the Vallarta Botanical Gardens A.C.” to allow us to accept tax deductible donations from individuals and foundations.
Grants and generous donations have allowed us to improve our grounds and plant collections. One of the latest expansions that has added to the delight of our visitors is the Holstein Vanilla and Orchid Conservatory with a rotating array of exquisite orchids and other stunning flowering plants.
The success of the Vallarta Botanical Gardens have allowed us to give back to our community in a variety of ways. We provide free admission to the Gardens to over 1,000 visiting school children each year. We have collaborated with Grassroots Natural Resource Conservation and indigenous knowledge proponents including the Maya Nut Institute and the Center For Traditional Medicine. We have participated in tropical plant research with the American Orchid Society and Sam Houston State University.
Our conservation initiatives have been recognized by SEMARNAT (Secretaría de medio ambiente y recursos naturals), Mexico’s Agency of Environment and Natural Resources, which has registered our Garden as an UMA (Unidad de Manejo Para La Conservacion De Vida Silvestre), an official Wildlife Conservation Management Unit.
The Vallarta Botanical Gardens were instrumental in the establishment of the Vallarta Orchid Society which is dedicated to the study, preservation and the understanding of the special cultural practices of native Mexican orchid species. The Vallarta Botanical Gardens were also the driving force behind the birth of the PV Garden Club whose beautification efforts are transforming Puerto Vallarta into the “City of Bougainvillias.”
Our Guiding Principals
The Vallarta Botanical Gardens are members of:
- Botanic Gardens Conservation International of Surrey, England
- The American Public Gardens Association of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, USA
- Asociacion Mexicana de Orquideologia of Mexico City (Districto Federal)
The Gardens are registered as an UMA (Unidad de Manejo Para La Conservacion De Vida Silvestre), an official Wildlife Conservation Management Unit through SEMARNAT (Secretaría de medio ambiente y recursos naturals), Mexico’s Agency of Environment and Natural Resources.
The Gardens are developing a partnership for tropical research with Sam Houston State University of Huntsville, Texas, USA.