Puerto Vallarta has a lot more to offer than lovely beaches and friendly, welcoming people. This popular Mexico beach vacation destination is one of those few places on earth where travelers can enjoy nature's richness and diversity at its best.
The rich natural surroundings of this unique ecological zone offer outstanding natural attractions. Although this might make you think of the whales, dolphins, manta rays, tropical fish and turtles that inhabit Banderas Bay, look up! Puerto Vallarta is also a great place for bird watching due to the extraordinary variety of species that can be seen here.
With over 350 different species that either migrate to, or reside in, the Banderas Bay area, you don't need to be an expert bird watcher, or even have any birding experience at all, to experience the thrill of seeing these lovely creatures in their natural habitats.
The observation of birds in Puerto Vallarta is a great experience due to its great variety of habitats and ecosystems, ranging from mountains, rivers and creeks, marshy lagoons, tropical forests, mangroves and shorelines. What does that have to do with birds? Well, depending on their usual habitat, behavior and diet, different species choose different areas to live and nest in.
This guarantees that, no matter where you are at the moment you decide to take part in this incredible activity, you can do it successfully.
One of the most emblematic places for bird watching is Los Arcos de Mismaloya, where you will witness the flight of white herons, pelicans, sea gulls and magnificent frigates. Las Islas Marietas also offer an excellent option for observing marine birds in flight, as well as the thrill of sighting a beautiful blue footed booby bird, which only inhabits some areas of the American Pacific.
Bird watching can also be combined with 'trekking' in the mountains and jungles of the Sierra Madre Occidental near communities such as Paso Ancho or El Jorullo on the upper part of the Cuale River, and in the areas of Mismaloya and Boca de Tomatlán, south of the city. As you go up in altitude, Military Macaws may be sighted; resting in a tree or flying in pairs, and their strident unique voices will surely attract your attention.
If you prefer flat terrain, the adventure is just as exciting on the banks of the Pitillal, Cuale and Ameca rivers, where you can easily find San Blas Jays, Green Jays, Yellow-winged Caciques, Barn Swallows, White-winged doves, and, if your lucky, you'll even spot an Elegant Trogon, which displays, most vibrantly, the colors of the Mexican flag: Green, white and red.
No matter which environment you choose, the best time to observe the birds of Puerto Vallarta is in the morning; the earlier, the better. If you've never been bird watching, try it, you won't be disappointed. And don't forget to take your binoculars and your camera!