Biodiversity and ecology in Puerto Vallarta

Biodiversity and ecology in Puerto Vallarta

A 40 kilometer extension of mountains, rivers, coastline and beaches, Puerto Vallarta is one of the most important places in Latin America for biodiversity, because it protects an impressive number of species – both flora and fauna – on land and in the sea.

The Occidental Sierra Madre is an extraordinary place that provides shelter for not only mammals, reptiles, butterflies, but also 400 species of birds of different size and color and 300 types of orchids.

The climate plays a pivotal role in the diversity of the wildlife found here, the summer sun and rains in turn create a beautiful tropical canopy that cover the mountains and bring life to the jungle, enrich their color and the nutrients of the jungles in the mountains.

The vegetation is abundant and diverse. In this zone one can find many types of tree: Chilte, Palo de Brasil, and Amapa; flowers: orchids and bougainvillea; wood: amapa, primavera, parota, cedar and nogal, all of which can be used to make furniture or canoes. For fruit lovers Vallarta offers coconut, banana, orange, guamuchil, mango, guava and avocado.


Animals in the region include deer, ocelots, badgers, raccoons and jaguars, these can all be found deep in the jungle cover. Believe it or not, we have squirrels too!  The local reptile population is made up of green iguanas, thorny-tailed iguanas, and other large lizards, including crocodiles and snakes.

The Bahia de Banderas and Pacific ocean surrounding Puerto Vallarta is teeming with marine life that includes blue marlin, black marlin, snapper, red snapper, sailfish, tuna, and sea bass, among others, and makes it an ideal for deep sea fishing.

At least 5 kinds of sea turtles can be found in Vallarta’s waters, all of them under threat of extinction – though local efforts to save the turtle are now part of the local culture. Sea turtle conservatories and release sites have been established from one end of Vallarta’s coastline to the other.

Dolphins are friends of the Bay of Banderas and among the kinds that can be seen frolicking in it are bottle-nose, spotted, and dusky.

Perhaps Vallarta’s most distinguished visitor is the Humpback Whale, which returns winter after winter to enjoy its warm waters. Lucky visitors may experience mother and calf frolicking in the waters and the occasional observer has been witness to an actual birth!

Don´t miss out on the aquatic and jungle adventures that Puerto Vallarta has in store for you.