Birds doing laps in the GM’s pool at Puerto Vallarta’s Velas Vallarta resort?

Velas Vallarta Resort PeacocksLove ‘em or hate ‘em the peacocks at Velas Vallarta Resort make an impression. Strolling through the lobby, performing X-rated acts in front of the restaurant, or waiting for some pampering at the spa, the jewel-toned birds were impossible to overlook.

Their pre-dawn calls of “halp, halp” had lights sleepers at the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) conference calling for a peacock barbeque – in jest (I think). But Assistant Manager of Operations, Donald Willis, said, “most people, and especially kids, love the peacocks.”

When the peahens lay eggs, they are gathered by the staff and taken to an enclosure away from predators or bad weather to hatch. “We keep them in the enclosure for two to three months after hatching as some of the older birds can be aggressive to the young ones,” explained Willis.

I shouldn’t have been surprised at the effort staff at this luxury hotel made to look after birds. The hotel participates in the EarthCheck program of environmentally friendly practices and TripAdvisor’s GreenLeaders programme, and General Manager Luis Angarita is a wildlife lover. “Mr. Angarita will foster young ducklings or injured birds in the pool on his balcony until they can be released,” said Willis.

The Velas Vallarta is located on Puerto Vallarta’s Marina Vallarta beach where sea turtles nest from June to December. Camping on the beach for weeks in harsh conditions, volunteers come from across the world to help scientists protect turtle eggs.  “At Velas Vallarta, we share their dedication and support them with shower facilities, three meals a day, and a nursery on our property where the eggs are kept for approximately 45 days until they begin to hatch,” said Willis, “Last year, with our combined efforts we were able to raise and release 23,741 baby turtles!”

As part of their commitment to the local ecology, 340 kilograms of raw food waste is diverted daily from Velas Vallarta to a local hog farmer. Compost created from organic waste has reduced chemical pesticide use by one-half and solar panels heat water for the hotel’s pools and guest showers.

While it might appear at first glance, the hotel is going to the birds; there is nothing flighty about staff intentions to be good environmental stewards. I was able to relax in poolside knowing the environment around me was in capable hands.

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