Rick and I went on a grand adventure yesterday, taking public buses all the way to Puerto Vallarta’s Botanical Gardens. We walked over to the Sayulita bus stop and caught the bus next to a fruit and vegetable stand. Three buses, two transfers, many bumpy roads, and 4 hours later, we arrived at the lush and colorful Puerto Vallarta’s Botanical Gardens! Thankfully, we started out early. We are in manana land and well rested from sleeping in every morning, so we enjoyed the process of getting there, meeting interesting people along the way, including a very sweet couple from California (Sara is first generation Iraqi-American and her husband is first-generation Iranian-American!).
When we arrived at the Botanical Gardens, this is the sign that greeted us and we immediately fell in love with the place:
Dedicated to those who work to preserve the beauty of the Earth and who labor to teach others the value and wonder of their environment.
We spent the day walking through the various gardens, admiring tree ferns, tropical flowers and trees. We walked along the many paths and down to the Emerald Pools which are along a pristine river. We admired the colorful birds, laughed hysterically as Rick tried unsuccessfully to photograph the most extravagantly long-crested, red-headed, long-beaked woodpecker either one of us had ever seen, talked to the lively staff working at the Hacienda, the dining area of the gardens where we had an early dinner before heading back to Sayulita, and marveled at the hundreds of butterflies fluttering around us.
I just have to include what I learned about VANILLA:
- The vanilla plant is an orchid (and there were many growing in the botanical gardens).
- There are approximately 110 species of vanilla orchids, but only 2 of these species are used to make commercial vanilla. About 15 species are found in Mexico.
- Vanilla was first discovered in Mexico and used by its early inhabitants in ancient times.
- Today vanilla is grown around the world in tropical areas.
- Madagascar and Indonesia are the top producers of vanilla today, although Mexico still produces large quantities for export.
- Vanilla is the most labor intensive food crop in the world!
- Vanilla is the world’s most popular food flavoring.
I leave you with a slide show from yesterday’s excursion to the Botanical Gardens. Enjoy!
OK, time to put the computer away! And off to the beach we go (a few steps away). A day of boogie boarding and waves awaits us!
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