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Puerto Vallarta Mexico History

Puerto Vallarta History, and
Puerto Vallarta Today


PUERTO VALLARTA'S HISTORY is not very long...

The first recorded settlement was in 1851, when the Sánchez family came and made their home by the mouth of the Río Cuale where it empties into Banderas Bay. (The origin of this name is in reference to the bandaritas (small flags) that the thousands of indigenous people carried so that the Spanish could find their way to the bay in the 16th century.) Farmers and fisherfolk followed. By 1918, enough people lived around the Río Cuale to give the settlement a name on the map. The name Vallarta was chosen in honor of Ignacio Luis Vallarta, former governor of the state of Jalisco. It was called Puerto (port) because farmers had been shipping their harvests by boat from a small port area north of the Río Cuale.


Tourists began to visit Vallarta in 1954 when Mexicana airlines started a promotional campaign and initiated the first flights to Puerto Vallarta, landing on a dirt airstrip in Emiliano Zapata, an area which is now the center of Vallarta. But it was not until a decade later, when John Huston chose the nearby deserted cove of Mismaloya for the shooting of the film version of Tennessee Williams' play The Night of the Iguana, that the town was put on the international tourist map.


During the film's shooting, the paparazzi of Hollywood descended to report on every development of romance between Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Burton's costar Ava Gardner also raised more than a few eyebrows, and Puerto Vallarta suddenly became world-famous with an aura of steamy tropical romance. Tour groups began arriving not long after the film crew left and they've been coming ever since.


Since then, Puerto Vallarta has grown at break-neck speed and is noted as one of the top vacation destinations in the world, that which is PuertoVallarta Now. And in fact the film crews keep coming too.."PV" is constantly host to movie and TV shoots from the U.S., Canada, and even globally.

The area can effectively be considered as consisting of 4 major zones:

THE SOUTHERN ZONE, from the city of Puerto Vallarta South to Mismaloya and Boca de Tomatlan

PUERTO VALLARTA (the city itself in Jalisco State)

NUEVO VALLARTA, North-West of Puerto Vallarta and just across the state-line in Nayarit State

NORTH BAY, from Nuevo Vallarta to Punta Mita along the Northern shore of the bay.

Each area has something different, from mega hotels to quaint bed-and-breakfasts, and whatever you desire for your vacation, you're likely to find it here.

EL CENTRO ('Downtown') is the home of Puerto Vallarta's famed Malecon, the ocean-side 'boardwalk'. As you walk the palm-planted Malecon, you'll fine a huge variety of shops and restaurants on one side, and huge Banderas Bay on the other. The Malecon is also home to a whimsical collection of sculptures, possibly surpassing Puerto Vallarta's 'trademark' Church of Guadalupe as the most-photographed art in Vallarta.

THE HOTEL ZONE, north of El Centro, is home to a variety of hotels and resorts, large and small, simple and luxurious. You'll also find a wealth of dining and shopping possibilities here, and miles and miles of sandy beaches.

THE MARINA is, of course, the place for all you boaters and fishermen and women, and a worthwhile visit for the landlubber. Hundreds and hundreds of motorized and sailing vessels visit us from around the world, and you can enjoy the view of these beautiful crafts as you shop and dine waterside. If you're arriving by cruise line, here is where you'll disembark.this is also the place to meet most of the boats for bay-cruises, day-long parties at sea that include visits to several remote beaches.

Spend some time here on VallartaSource.com and you'll find how easy it is to find the sites and shops you want to visit. We have a wide selection of accommodations listed.we encourage you to consider the smaller hotels, villas, and vacation rentals that will infuse your vacation with the feeling of REAL Mexico. You'll find plenty of activities, tours, and adventures to fill your days and restaurants from traditional to luxurious to fill your evenings.and nightlife to continue the fun into the wee hours. Bookmark this page and refer back to us often.you'll find that VallartaSource.com is your ONE source for EVERYTHING Vallarta!


Puerto Vallarta Mexico is  home to some of the finest dining in the WORLD. No kidding, Puerto Vallarta's restaurants have been featured repeatedly in the most prestigeous culinary publications, and for good reason...the fine dining in Puerto Vallarta is WORLD CLASS!

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