Visiting the Puerto Vallarta Zoo is not like visiting zoos in the United States. You get up close and personal with tigers, lions, monkeys and more. It’s an amazing experience to be almost face to face with a lion or see a trainer pet the head of a giant jaguar as it purrs.
The Puerto Vallarta Zoo is actual located in Mismaloya (near where The Night of the Iguana was filmed). It’s about 10 km from downtown Puerto Vallarta. You can either take a water taxi from downtown and then take a cab or simply rent a car for the day (that’s what we did). The turn into Mismaloya is a bit unmarked coming from PV, but it’s really close to Los Arcos and you should see the turn quickly after that.
Admission to the zoo is 100 pesos (about $10 USD) and a bag of food costs 50 pesos. The bag of food is totally worth it – it comes with carrots, peanuts, pellets, bread, corn and more to feed the animals. The back of the bag contains a chart that will show you what animal eats what.
The food has been careful chosen for the animals based on their diet.
They will also try to sell you various packages that include admission, bag of food, interaction with cubs and more. One of the packages even included a T-shirt. We only bought 5 minutes interaction with a cub for $10 but there were many other options.
The best part of the zoo is that you can feed the animals and they are up close and personal. Be careful though as some of the animals can be very aggressive and you should pay attention to the signs. Some animal exhibits are not as open as other and have signs that tell you not to put your hand in the cage.
There are a lot of baby animals in the zoo – including cubs. The Puerto Vallarta Zoo raises a lot of big cat cubs for other zoos so they have plenty of baby jaguars and tigers. We saw the cutest baby monkey and some adorable baby pigs.
There are also a lot of birds – from ostriches to flamingos. They will just take the food right out of your hand!
The staff wanted us to put a carrot in our mouth and let the giraffe take it – but we decided not to try. This giraffe definitely would have though!
We had a great time at the zoo; it was incredible to be so close to all of the animals! I will never forget the little monkey hands grabbing peanuts from me or the way the llamas took the carrots right out my hands! If you have animal lovers in your group – the Puerto Vallarta Zoo is a must.
*A word of warning – there is a LOT of walking. It is not handicap accessible. Also, some of the animal exhibits many be smaller than what you are used to, but the animals seem very happy and seem to enjoy the human interaction.