Sunday, December 6, 2020

Vallarta Botanical Gardens--We Can't Get Enough!

What a Delightful Place to Take a Fresh-Air Walk!

The Blooming Orchids Change Each Time We Visit
     We typically visit the Vallarta Botanical Gardens once or twice a year at different times of the year to see what is currently blooming. We always look forward to their delicious fish tacos and Margaritas at the restaurant in the Hacienda del Oro.

     This year we decided to attend the Thanksgiving Event and it was wonderful! We made our dinner reservation for 4:00 in the afternoon so we had time for a walk through the gardens beforehand. Our stroll in the fresh jungle air and sunshine was delightful, a perfect way to work up an appetite for their delicious turkey dinner. Masks were required, but once we were distanced from others, we could remove them and breathe the floral garden scents.

Signs Say, "For Your Safety, Don't Touch the Plants"
This Flower, Imported from Africa, is Toxic
     The orchids that are blooming change each time we visit. We always spend the most time in the Rhododendron House where many orchids, hanging baskets, Tropical Rhododendrons, and other tropical plants are artfully displayed. Signs posted throughout say "For Your Safety, Don't Touch the Plants", as some are toxic.

Our Lady of the Garden Chapel
Beautiful Stonework Path Up to the Chapel
     Our Lady of the Garden chapel, previously the family chapel, is now used for weddings. I enjoy sitting inside for a few minutes of peaceful reflection and prayer. The beautiful stonework path up to the chapel is worth seeing.

The Pineapple Garden Accented with Coleus Plants
One of Many Varieties of Exotic Coleuses 
     We could hear the river flowing over rocks down the hill and decided to hike the Rio Path down. On the way, we passed the Pineapple Garden accented with coleus plants. We had never seen this garden on previous visits, so it might be new, and we found it very interesting to see pineapples growing. I fell in love with the many varieties of exotic coleuses on this trip.
The River At the End of Rainy Season
View of the Back of Hacienda del Oro from the River Path
     In November, it’s the end of the rainy season so the river was still flowing well, adding a musical sound to our walk. Some people were playing in the pools near giant boulders upriver, but it looked too cold for us to dip our toes in. On the way back up we caught a view of the back of the Hacienda del Oro and hoped we would get to dine at our favorite table on one of the balconies overlooking the valley and the river.

     We strolled through the butterfly garden looking for the newly arrived Monarch butterflies. The butterflies arrive at their roosting sites in this area of Mexico in November and remain during the winter months before migrating north again. We thought we saw a Monarch, but he flitted away so quickly we couldn’t be sure. It was time to browse in the gift shop for glass hearts to hang in our garden at home and then check in for dinner. Our stomachs were growling in anticipation of turkey, dressing, gravy, and pumpkin pie.
Wood-burning Oven Where the Fresh Bread was Baking
We Did Get to Sit On the Balcony Overlooking the River!
We Were Entertained by the Golden-Cheeked Woodpecker
     Dinner was delicious, the pumpkin pie with sweetened whipped cream was exquisite, and the setting was perfect. The hummingbirds and woodpeckers entertained us and the sound of the river drifted up to our table. We enjoyed the water gardens and giant coy on the way out and then rested on a bench in the Vallarta Conservatory of Orchids and Native Plants. 
One of the Water Gardens Viewed from the Hacienda
An Orchid Inside the Conservatory
     The staff was extremely helpful in calling a taxi to pick us up. After we each had two Margaritas with our dinner, it was great to relax and let someone else chauffeur us to our Airbnb condo in Puerto Vallarta. Even the drive along the ocean is a pleasant experience. 
     I wonder what will be blooming next time we visit the Vallarta Botanical Gardens.

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