Shhh…don’t tell anyone about this place.

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It’s settled.

Cancel any other travel plans you might have because I discovered the most relaxing, birdiest place where you could stay.

Seriously. Dump your other plans and listen to what I’m about to tell you.

Just fly into Puerto Vallarta and head south, going up the mountain to a small town called El Tuito. Just outside of El Tuito you’ll find Rancho Primavera, a 200-acre property that has guest houses (three of them) and rooms for groups in the main building and is owned by mother-daughter team, Pat and Bonnie. There is no one around and the place is carpeted by green grass, flowering bougainvillea and provides majestic mountains as a backdrop.

Rancho Primavera had been one of our stops early last year when we took a birding day trip with Ecotours de Mexico on our first trip to Puerto Vallarta. We spent an hour or so looking for birds there and that’s when we first met Bonnie. When I discovered that there were guest houses on the property I told Steve that we needed to come back, so that’s what we did. We planned another trip to Puerto Vallarta and we booked three nights here. (This is where we were staying when I posted my New Year’s post earlier this year.)

Rancho Primavera guest house

The guest house where we stayed: Villa Carpintero

The best part of the guest house is the back porch that overlooks the pond and the feeders. We spent most of our time on the porch watching the parade of birds appear. That parade, by the way, included 62 species of birds. (See end of this post for the complete list.)

Back Porch Rancho Primavera

It doesn’t get much easier than this.

Back porch at Rancho Primavera

As long as you keep feeding me granola bars I could spend all day here on the back porch. (By the way, I’m still in my pajamas.)

back porch view Rancho Primavera

Our view from the back porch.

Show, don’t tell.

Rather than me blathering on about the birds, how about I show you some of the these birds we got to know during our stay at Rancho Primavera.

Yellow-breasted Chat

Yellow-breasted Chat

Green Heron

Green Heron

Striped Sparrow

Striped Sparrow

Golden-cheeked Woodpecker (male) Mexico

Golden-cheeked Woodpecker (male)

Golden-cheeked Woodpecker (male)

Golden-cheeked Woodpecker (male)

Golden-cheeked Woodpecker female

Golden-cheeked Woodpecker (female)

Orange-fronted Parakeet

Orange-fronted Parakeet

Russet-crowned Motmot

Russet-crowned Motmot

Squirrel Cuckoo

Squirrel Cuckoo

Rufous-backed Robin

Rufous-backed Robin

Green Kingfisher

Green Kingfisher

Collard Lizard

We interrupt this bird presentation to show you this Collard Lizard.

Pacific Slope Flycatcher

Pacific Slope Flycatcher

Blue Mockingbird

Blue Mockingbird

Summer Tanager El Tuito Mexico

Summer Tanager

Yellow-winged Cacique

Yellow-winged Cacique

Streak-backed Oriole El Tuito Mexico

Streak-backed Oriole

Black-vented Oriole

Black-vented Oriole

It doesn’t get much easier than this.

Our guest house had a kitchen and it was wonderful being able to cook our meals and keep fruit on hand to keep the feeders replenished. We were able to get good WiFi and we had superb water pressure and hot water. Booking the guest house was a breeze and Bonnie was excellent in giving us directions in advance, suggestions on where to pick up food in Puerto Vallarta before we made our journey to El Tuito, as well as what we could find in El Tuito. We had rented a car (a Volkswagen Jetta) and it made the trip with no problem. Roads are good.

In the evenings as dusk was beginning to settle in on Rancho Primavera, flocks of  Snowy Egrets and White Egrets flew over the pond then past our porch over to the trees to the left of us, just out of sight, where they would roost for the night. First one group. Then a second. Then a third, and so on. It was this nightly ritual we looked forward to as they settled in after a day of feeding. And as they were hunkering down for the night, the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks skirted over the pond and into the sky, flying off over the field of green, diminishing into little dots in the sky to begin their nocturnal feeding. The gobbling of the egrets as they greeted one another in the trees, and the beating of wings and splashing of the Whistling ducks as they took off to the skies were the evening song of nature as we began to settle into our own rhythm of winding down our night: make dinner, put a kettle on for tea, go through our bird list, post to eBird and read a book as the gecko–our roommate–chirped to remind us that he was there to eat any bugs that made their way in. (The gecko did a find job–I don’t believe I saw one bug in the guest house.)

We didn’t spend our entire time on that back porch. We took advantage of the trails on the property to stretch our legs and see the birds.The property is exquisitely painted with bouganvillia of every color imaginable and a Tom Turkey keeps a close watch on his lady turkey friend, giving you enough attitude as you walk by so you know to keep your distance.

Rancho Primavera

One of the many views as you wander around Rancho Primavera’s property.

Nature first. Humans second.

There is something very special about this place and sometimes I’ll say that I can’t exactly put my finger on it as to why a place is special. But in this case I know exactly why: Pat and Bonnie have nurtured the land here and brought to it a focus on nature and wildlife first and a retreat for humans second.

So, hey. Let’s not tell everyone about it, right? Maybe we should just keep this a secret between us.

Bonnie at Rancho Primavera

Me, Bonnie and Steve

To book at Rancho Primavera, start here to get information on how to do it.

NOTE: Steve and I did not receive any compensation, discounts or in-kind offerings as part of this post. We booked our stay on our own dime. Gushing compliments and reviews here are genuine.

The list

These are the birds we saw at Rancho Primavera.

  1. Least Grebe
  2. Neotropic Cormorant
  3. Great Blue Heron
  4. Great Egret
  5. Snowy Egret
  6. Cattle Egret
  7. Green Heron
  8. Black-crowned Night Heron
  9. White Ibis
  10. White-face Ibis
  11. Black-bellied Whistling Duck
  12. Blue-winged Teal
  13. Turkey Vulture
  14. Black Vulture
  15. West Mexican Chachalaca
  16. Sora Rail (heard)
  17. American Coot
  18. White-fronted Dove (White-tipped Dove)
  19. Orange-fronted Parakeet
  20. Lilac-crowned Parrot
  21. Grooved-bill Ani
  22. Cinnamon Hummingbird
  23. Plain-capped Starthroat
  24. Ringed Kingfisher
  25. Green Kingfisher
  26. Russet-crowned Motmot
  27. Golden-cheeked Woodpecker
  28. Tropical Kingbird
  29. Social Flycatcher
  30. Great Kiskadee
  31. Pacific Slope Flycatcher
  32. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  33. San Blas Jay
  34. Happy Wren (heard)
  35. Blue Mockingbird
  36. Rufous-backed Robin
  37. Orange-billed Nightingale-thrush
  38. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  39. Plumbeous Vireo
  40. Black and White Warbler
  41. Nashville Warbler
  42. Yellow Warbler
  43. Black-throated Gray Warbler
  44. Northern Waterthrush
  45. Common Yellowthroat
  46. Yellow-breasted Chat
  47. American Redstart
  48. House Sparrow
  49. Yellow-winged Cacique
  50. Great-tailed Grackle
  51. Orchard Oriole
  52. Black-vented Oriole
  53. Baltimore Oriole
  54. Streak-backed Oriole
  55. Summer Tanager
  56. Yellow Grosbeak
  57. Striped Sparrow
  58. Black-throated Magpie Jay
  59. Squirrel Cuckoo
  60. Ruddy Ground Dove
  61. Tennessee Warbler
  62. White-winged Dove