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June 15, 2023

Capture the Beauty of the Outdoors: Best Spots for Nature Photography in Puerto Vallarta!

If you're an outdoor enthusiast who loves to capture the beauty of nature, Puerto Vallarta offers an abundance of breathtaking locations that will leave you awe-struck.  This Mexican paradise is a haven for nature photographers, from lush tropical jungles to breathtaking coastal vistas. 


So on this #NaturePhotographyDay, we invite you to grab your camera and explore these top spots to capture the essence of the natural wonders that Puerto Vallarta has to offer.

Los Arcos National Marine Park

A must for underwater and coastal photography is Los Arcos National Marine Park.  Located just off the coast south of Puerto Vallarta, these iconic granite rock formations rise majestically from the crystal clear waters of the Pacific Ocean.  Also known as “Los Arcos de Mismaloya,” they provide a dramatic backdrop for your shots.  

Many marine birds, including blue-footed boobies, parrots and pelicans, call this protected area their natural habitat.  Colorful fish such as clownfish, pufferfish, stingrays and octopuses inhabit the reefs at the bottom of the sea.  Whether from the land or from the sea, don't miss the opportunity to capture the raw beauty of this marine protected area.

Cerro de la Cruz Lookout

Head to the Cerro de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross) Lookout for stunning panoramic views of Puerto Vallarta's coastline and Banderas Bay.  One of Downtown Puerto Vallarta's top attractions, this hilltop viewpoint provides an excellent vantage point for capturing stunning sunsets and the city's picturesque skyline.  

Set up your camera and watch the sky turn into a canvas of vibrant colors as the golden hour approaches.  The stunning contrast between the ocean, mountains and cityscape creates a composition that is perfect for landscape photography.  Whether you come early in the day or at dusk, you will be amazed.

Vallarta Botanical Gardens

Visit the Vallarta Botanical Gardens and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.  This 120-acre oasis is located just 30 minutes from the downtown area of Puerto Vallarta, heading south in the direction of Barra de Navidad.  In USA Today's 10Best Readers' Choice Awards 2022, it was voted 3rd among all botanical gardens in North America. 

A vast collection of native and exotic plants, flowers and trees are found in the Vallarta Botanical Gardens.  Capture the vibrant colors and intricate details of the flora as you stroll through the lush gardens.  From blooming orchids to towering palm trees, the gardens and nearby Los Horcones River offer endless opportunities for macro photography.   Get up close and personal with nature's delicate beauty.

Vallarta Botanical Gardens

*Important: Entrance fees shown are for information purposes only.  Prices are subject to change without notice.  We encourage you to book directly at the Vallarta Botanical Gardens website.

El Salado Estuary State Park

This protected natural area is the only urban estuary in the Americas.  It recently reopened to the public after a two-year hiatus.  Located just minutes from Marina Vallarta and the North Hotel Zone of Puerto Vallarta, El Salado Estuary State Park is a 209-hectare ecosystem that connects the land to the sea.

More than 130 species of birds, reptiles and mammals live in the El Salado Estuary.  Crocodiles, iguanas, herons, pelicans and many more species can be found here.  Visitors can experience the area's biodiversity on guided tours for children and adults.

The El Salado Estuary State Park offers a variety of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy, including bird watching, hiking trails, and free guided tours led by expert biologists.  These tours provide insight into the different species of flora and fauna that inhabit the area, including 134 species of birds, 46 species of plants, 29 species of mammals, and 29 species of amphibians and reptiles.

El Salado Estuary State Park

  • Free Guided Tours Hours:
    • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 9:00 am, 11:00 am, 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm
    • Saturday: 9:00 am, 11:00 am and 1:00 pm
  • Closed on Mondays and Sundays | No Admission Fee 
  • More information and reservations at: Estero El Salado | Puerto Vallarta

The Sierra Madre Mountains

Venture into the breathtaking Sierra Madre Mountains to capture the rugged beauty of the wilderness that surrounds Puerto Vallarta.  Explore trails that wind through dense forests, see cascading waterfalls, birdwatch, and enjoy breathtaking views of Puerto Vallarta and the expanse of the Pacific Ocean.  The changing light and dramatic landscapes of the Sierra Madre Mountains make it an ideal location for capturing captivating images of the natural world.

A fascinating option for an immersive, safe and informative adventure into the wilderness, are hikes with local experts.  For example, Puerto Vallarta's tropical rainforest is the specialty of Biólogo Patasalada.  Led by young biologist, hiker and conservationist Roberto Ornelas (aka the Salty-feet Biologist), you will walk through some of the region's most beautiful spots off-the-beaten path while learning to identify the different species of flora and fauna you will observe along the way.

El Eden

El Eden is a paradise for nature lovers in the heart of the Sierra Madre Mountains.  This ecotourism park boasts towering trees, cascading waterfalls and natural ponds, and an abundance of wildlife in the village of Mismaloya, approximately 10 miles south of Puerto Vallarta.  

Discover hidden natural gems that are perfect for photography as you hike through the dense vegetation.  Look for exotic birds, colorful butterflies and enchanting flora.  Capture the tropical ambiance and the vibrant hues of green that make El Eden a magical place for nature photography.

El Edén de Vallarta Ecotourism Park

  • Monday-Sunday 10:00am-6:00pm
  • More information and reservations at: +52 (322) 306-0541


Are you an outdoor photography lover?  Don't forget to share your best photos of nature and the outdoors in Puerto Vallarta on our social media sites (Instagram, Facebook y Twitter) using the hashtag #PuertoVallarta.

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