Bird-Watching in Puerto Vallarta
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Although there aren't many dedicated birding operators here, this region is perfect for the pastime. Vallarta has more than 350 species in a wide variety of habitats, including shoreline, rivers, marshes, lagoons, mangroves, and tropical and evergreen forests. In the mangroves, standouts are the great blue heron, mangrove cuckoo, and vireo. Ocean and shorebirds include brown and blue-footed boobies and red-billed tropic birds. Military macaws patrol the thorn forests, and songbirds of all stripes serenade the pine-oak forests at higher elevations.
Most people come on trips through birding clubs or organizations or hire a private birding guide. Outfitters charge $50-$60 for half-day tours and $100-$125 for full-day tours.
Ecotours. Ecotours runs three six-hour tours ($80 per person each) to different ecosystems, plus an overnight excursion to San Blas ($350). Bring plenty of insect repellent, especially in the rainy months. Ignacio L. Vallarta 243, Col. E. Zapata, Puerto Vallarta, 48380. 322/223-3130 or 322/222-6606. www.ecotoursvallarta.com..
Wildlife Connection. Biologists lead a three-hour birding tour ($56) through a variety of different environments. Calle Francia 140, Dpto. 7, Col. Versalles, Puerto Vallarta, 48310. 322/225-3621. www.wildlifeconnection.com..
Wings. It's a Tucson, Arizona–based operator that leads at least one weeklong tour each year to the mangroves and tropical forest around San Blas, Jalisco, and Colima. Puerto Vallarta. 520/320–9868; 888/293–6443 in U.S. and Canada. www.wingsbirds.com..
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