(This article was written for Vallarta Tribune, edition # 1160.)
The United Nations designates June 29 as International Day of the Tropics, an annual celebration of the diversity contained in a region of the Earth, roughly defined as the area between the tropic of Cancer and the tropic of Capricorn. According to the United Nations, the Tropics account “for 40 percent of the world’s total surface area and are host to approximately 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity and much of its language and cultural diversity.”
While we are not aware of specific celebrations taking place in the region, we offer the following suggestions, should you wish to remind yourself of our beautiful tropical surroundings:
- Hike from Boca de Tomatlan to Las Animas. While not for the faint-hearted, this popular hike is a great way to take in a great combination of ocean and jungle exploration. You can find several detailed accounts of this excursion by visiting our website, vallartatribune.com, and searching for “las animas” in the home page. In addition, Las Animas beach was recently voted among the “Best Beaches for Eating and Drinking” in our 2nd Annual Reader’s Choice Awards.
- Visit the El Salado Estuary. Estuaries are coastal bodies of water that form where rivers meet the sea. Like many others around the world, the El Salado Estuary provides critical habitat for a variety of species, from migratory birds to crocodiles. It is easy to take it for granted as you drive north along Fco. Medina Ascencio Ave., but a guided visit will reveal the importance of this particular ecosystem.
- Go birdwatching. According to local biologist Peter Myska, Banderas Bay harbors a very rich avifauna, with more than 300 species, making the region extremely appealing for birdwatchers. Whether you are a novice or advanced watcher, connecting with Birding San Pancho Network (birdingsanpancho.net) will allow you to learn more about birdwatching tours and other nature-oriented activities.
- Go on a turtle beach patrol or release. Two issues ago, we told you about the sea turtles of Mexico’s Pacific coast. With turtle season in full swing, official agencies and many oceanfront hotels, such as The CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, establish activities to patrol local beaches by night to find and protect sea turtles attempting to lay their eggs in the sand, and/or hatchling release activities by day that are perfect for the entire family.
- Visit the Vallarta Botanical Gardens. Regarded as one of “The Best Places to Take Out of Town Guests” in our 2nd Annual Reader’s Choice Awards, is a perfect place to learn about the regions endemic flora and fauna, not to mention the important efforts this popular attraction has put forth to help protect the military macaw (Ara militaris), a vulnerable wild species.
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