Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Vallarta Botanical Gardens

Last Monday in November, we were hanging out at the side of the highway waiting to flag down the bus for Boca. The idea was to hang out in the town plus maybe take a water taxi to one of the secluded coves. However, the first bus careening into view was bound for El Tuito which led to a quick change in plans.  Figured we may as well hop on and spend part of the day at the Botanical Gardens rather than wait until later in the week. Twenty minutes later, we arrived right at the gates about 10:05 just a few minutes after opening but it is still locked up tight. Met a couple who had arrived on an earlier bus plus a tour SUV with another two people. It seems we all miscalculated as the Gardens are closed on Mondays from April to December. 

Sure enough! Checked the notes on my Nexus 7 to discover this was true. For a moment I wondered why I research things if I can’t be bothered to read it later. Lucky for us the tour guide phoned somebody  connected with the gardens, so moments later one of the staff showed up to spring the locks on the gate (he also accepted the entry fee). Pretty special for just six people to have the run of the place without the usual hordes of tourists arriving by the busload. For the low price - 60 pesos - it is well worth the visit. Besides the gardens and restaurant (it remained closed), there are also a network of hiking trails and a swimming area in the river. Just before we left, we managed to convince one of the staff to let us buy some local coffee beans and a bottle of vanilla, of course.

If you head out from PV the El Tuito bus is only 20 pesos each way, stops very close by and seems to run quite often. Just remember to check the schedule for the Gardens - they may not always be so kind on closed Mondays.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013










So there you go! New Years Day and off we go to Squamish to view the eagles except the eagles aren't that excited - guess they fail to read the tourist promotional material.  On the other side of the river, 400 feet away, they cling morosely to tree branches and gloomily stare back at the two legged gawkers parading up and down the snow covered dyke. Lots of seagulls winging to-and-fro squawking about nothing while pleasantly defecating in midair.   Mind you, there are a couple of camera types with 8000 mm lenses peering intently for the flash of white heads but failing to spot a bird that isn't comatose or entirely disinterested in putting on a show for the pathetic human audience.
Later on the return journey, we stop off at Porteau Park to take a quick break. Here the seagulls aren't especially friendly, however they continue to sit on the railing even if  you approach to within 5 or 6 feet. Have to give them credit for chutzpah, they appear almost disdainful of  people and not at all worried of our size or bearing. All in all, a good day on the west coast. Sunny without rain - what more could we ask for?