Biodiversity and Ecology in Puerto Vallarta are very vast. Starting with the tropical climate that the Sierra Madre Occidental and part of the Bay of Banderas, makes the flora and fauna to live in a true paradise. Likewise, the tropical climate is of vital importance and is the one that stimulates the existing biodiversity. The abundant rain, humidity, sea and sun help sustain a beautiful tropical canopy that covers the mountains and feeds the different inhabitants of the jungle, including humans.
The Sierra Madre Occidental is covered by a thick jungle that grows to the edge of the Pacific Ocean, making the towns and beaches located along the coast, are only accessible by the sea. With an extension of 40 kilometers of mountains, rivers, coasts and beaches, Puerto Vallarta is one of the places with a very high diversity, being one of the most important in Latin America, protecting an impressive number of species, both flora and fauna as on land and in the sea.
Puerto Vallarta offers more than 25 km of coasts, beaches and virgin jungle, what makes this destination perfect for ecotourism, a style of alternative tourism very different from the traditional one. Instead of visiting places of interest, constructions, etc., ecotourism promotes coexistence and respect for the wonders of nature. An example of this is the Vallarta Botanical Garden, a natural park with botanical collections of more than 3,000 species, including flora and fauna, as well as an orchid nursery of 100 different species.
The vegetation is abundant and diverse thanks to the Sierra Madre Occidental, where most of the jungle is dry tropical rainforest. The most common species that you will find in it are, the capomo (Brosimum Alicastrum), the jabillo (Hura Poliandra), the trompera (Cecropia Obtusifolia) and several species of Ficus and Busera, as well as beautiful Palms Cohune (Attalea Cohune) and the Coyul (Acrocomia Mexicana), which when they are in large concentrations transform the jungle into a palm grove. For those who enjoy tropical fruits, the local nature offers coconuts, guamuchiles, mangos, guavas, the Yaka, avocados to mention the main ones.
The rainforest creates a great abundance of food and shelter in an incredible amount for the animal kingdom. Among the most interesting and unique animals in the Puerto Vallarta area are: the armadillo of nine bands, the nocturnal badger, the white-nosed coati; also four important felines: jaguars, ocelots, tigrillos and jaguarundis; and a great variety of reptiles: green iguanas, spiny-tailed iguanas and the enchaquirado lizard, mottled Mexican lizard, acaltetepon, crocodiles and many different species of snakes.
As expected of a tropical place, Puerto Vallarta also offers a wide variety of bird species, such as the Mexican Cacique (Cacicus melanicterus), Copete Magpie (Calocitta Colliei), Yellow Chest (Pitangus Sulphuratus), Blue-fronted Alcatraz (Sula Nebouxii).
Bahia de Banderas and the Pacific Ocean make Puerto Vallarta an excellent place for marine diversity. Many very popular species enjoy protection in the bay and inhabit the area, the blue marlin (Makaira Mazara), black marlin (Makaira Indica), snapper (Lutjanus Campechanus), sailfish (Istiophorus Platypterus), tuna and croaker.
The 5 most common species of turtles in the bay of Puerto Vallarta are the olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys Olivacea), the delicate leatherback turtle (Dermochelys Coriacea), the green turtle (Chelonia Agassizii) and the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys Imbricata). All these species reach the coasts of Puerto Vallarta and are protected to preserve survival, forming part of the local culture and tourist attraction.
Dolphins are also very welcome inhabitants in the Bay of Banderas and among those that can most commonly be seen enjoying the waters of Vallarta are the bottlenose dolphins or bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops Truncatus), spotted dolphins (Stenella Attenuate) and spinner dolphins (Stenella Longirostris).
Among the visitors of the bay that cause more pleasure and amazement are the humpback whales (Megaptera Novaeangliae), which return to the area every winter, to enjoy the warm waters from December to April. The whales migrate to three main areas, the Bay of Banderas, the Revillagigedo Islands and Hawaii.