Location and History
Puerto Vallarta, which lies on the horseshoe Bay of Banderas, has grown from a small ocean village to one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations. Despite its popularity, it retains much of its “Old Mexico” flair … cobblestone streets, white stucco buildings, red tile roofs and flower-covered balconies.
A tropical jungle surrounds the resort that stretches from the blue Pacific to the Sierra mountains while flaunting 25 miles of beaches.
Located on the Bahía de Banderas, Mexico’s largest natural bay, Vallarta traces its history back to the 1500’s when it was first visited by Spanish explorers. It later became know as a respite for pirates on the Pacific coast.
Puerto Vallarta remained a small village until 1963 when the movie “Night of the Iguana” (starring Ava Gardner & Richard Burton) was filmed here.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton both purchased homes in Puerto Vallarta, thus beginning its reputation as an international getaway.
Things to do in Puerto Vallarta
Walk the cobblestone streets of the town and enjoy the various shops (featuring both International and Mexican wares) and art galleries. Puerto Vallarta also has many fine restaurants to choose from including traditional Mexican, French, Italian, Asian and American fare. The nightlife varies from small piano lounges and sport cafes to all night discos.
For a quiet getaway go south of downtown where you will find a peaceful area of palms and cliffs. Or visit North of Old Vallarta where one will find the Hotel Zone … and exquisite sandy beaches. Further north (about 30 minutes), Nuevo Vallarta offers the latest in modern complexes and lodging.
Hitch a ride on the Marigalante, a replica of a 15th-century Spanish Galleon. This well-known historical attraction offers sunset tours and pirate-themed tours.
Other day-cruises are available: some going nearby to Mismaloya Beach, with snorkeling at Los Arcos rock formation, and others for the horseback ride to the waterfalls at Quixmito.
Most sports and water activities are available along Puerto Vallarta’s sandy shoreline … fishing, diving, sailing, jet skiing, parasailing, golf, horseback and much more. For the golf enthusiast head over to Marina Vallarta which boasts championship golf. There are many Puerto Vallarta lodgings nearby to the golf courses.