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Why Tourists Love This Stunning Park Near Puerto Vallarta That’s Now A Protected Area

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Puerto Vallarta is surely a great place to spend your holidays.

With breathtaking beaches, vibrant nightlife, and plenty of sites to explore, this is a great place to plan your vacation. 

Vallejo Mountain Range Nature Reserve of Riviera Nayarit, the coastal area of Pacific Ocean in Nayarit State of Mexico

Despite this, city life can get a bit too overwhelming from time to time. When this happens, visitors can explore nearby natural areas where to immerse themselves in the unspoiled Mexican nature. 

One of these is the Sierra de Vallejo Biosphere Reserve, which was recently declared a Protected Natural Area by the Government of Mexico. 

But why do tourists keep coming here?

Everything you need to know about the Sierra de Vallejo-Ameca Natural Park

Vallejo Mountain Range

The Sierra de Vallejo-Ameca Natural Park can be easily reached with a 70-minute car drive from Puerto Vallarta. It consists of 63,598 hectares, most of which are located in the municipality of Bahía de Banderas, while the remaining ones are in the Compostela municipality. 

This reserve was established in 2004, but it was categorized as a Protected Natural Area only in the last few days through a decree of the Mexican President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. But what are some of the most popular activities that can be carried out here?

Animal spotting

The Sierra de Vallejo Biosphere Reserve is home to a vast variety of birds.  Some of the specimens that can be spotted here include the Buteo Swainsoni (commonly known as eagle hawk), the Parabuteo Unicinctus (also known as red-black eagle), and the Ara Militaris (green macaw).  

Close Up of a Juvenile Swainson's Hawk

This area is also home to several mammals, among which is the jaguar. This huge feline is unfortunately at risk of extinction, but a few specimens still live in these lands. Experts are still debating the exact number of jaguars that made Sierra de Vallejo Biosphere Reserve their natural habitat, but they seem to range from six to ten. 

Talking about the park’s flora, in this biosphere reserve, tourists will be able to see oak forests, oak pine forests, and induced grasslands. 

Great hikes 

The Sierra de Vallejo Biosphere Reserve also has several paths suiting all fitness levels. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or if this is your first time exploring a natural area by foot, this park will surely have a unique itinerary for you. 

hiking shoes in action on a mountain desert trail path. Close-up of female hikers shoes.

With plenty of observation points scattered throughout the park, you will also get several opportunities to take stunning pictures of your adventure along the way. 

Some people also choose to come here by mountain bike and explore the Sierra de Vallejo Biosphere Reserve on the ride. 

Other popular parks near Puerto Vallarta

If you’ve already seen the Sierra de Vallejo Biosphere Reserve, or you’re looking for more than a natural area where to spend your days, Puerto Vallarta offers plenty of other options to nature lovers. 

arcos de mismaloya aerial sunny day with boats in water

One of the most popular parks in the area is Los Arcos National Park. With several boat tours reaching this breathtaking destination every day, this is the most popular tour in the area.

Not by chance, Luis Eduardo García, one of the many tour operators working in Puerto Vallarta, recently declared: 

“The most recommended [tour] is the Los Arcos de Mismaloya tour, which lasts two hours, includes a vest, [and the possibility to] snorkel and do diving activities to see the colorful fish [typical of this area].”

View at Playa las Animas near Puerto Vallarta in Mexico

This natural area is particularly known for its Arcos de Mismaloya, small granite islands emerging from the sea, and known for being the natural habitat of several bird species, including pelicans and parakeets.

Another popular park near Puerto Vallarta is the Canopy Ecotourism Park. Located in the Ejido El Jorullo, this area is the ideal place for those wanting to fully immerse themselves in nature to get an adrenaline boost. 

The Canopy Ecotourism Park can be easily reached with a quick 40-minute drive by car. With activities such as ziplining and the new Jorullo Viewpoint, a bridge made of glass that gives visitors the impression of being suspended in the air, this is the place to be if you’re looking for an exciting adventure. 

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