Situated between the foothills of the Sierra Madres and the gorgeous waters of Banderas Bay, the coastal paradise of Puerto Vallarta offers visitors a panoramic backdrop for the perfect vacation getaway. Once a quaint little fishing hamlet and port, this tropical oasis, located in Jalisco on the Pacific coast of Mexico, offers tourists the opportunity to enjoy both amazing beaches and verdant mountain jungle landscapes. This bustling seaport is a standard port-of-call for cruise lines as well as the Mexican and the U.S. Navy. It offers an ideal retreat for couples, spring breakers, in addition to some of the globe’s richest travelers. This amazing resort destination offers a diverse range of activities that will appeal to anyone. Nuevo Vallarta, just north of Puerto Vallarta in the State of Nayarit, is a developing area that has recently experienced tremendous expansion.
Puerto Vallarta was not always the name of this world-famous vacation destination. First established by Don Guadalupe Sanchez Torres, Pierto Las Penas (Port of the Rocks) was founded in 1851 as a port where ships carried a fortune in silver from local Sierra Madre mines. In 1918, the town was renamed Puerto Vallarta after a local governor Ignacio Vallarta.
The idyllic town of Puerto Vallarta first became world-renowned after director John Huston filmed his critically-acclaimed movie, “The Night of the Iguana,” in the area. Nominated for a Golden Globe’s Best Picture award in 1965, the film starred Ava Gardener and Sir Richard Burton. Burton and the stunning movie siren, Elizabeth Taylor, the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie of their day, bought an estate in Puerto Vallarta. The arrival of the film crews, as well as Hollywood’s glitterati, resulted in booming resort development in this formerly quiet port town.
Now a tourism haven, Puerto Vallarta gives vacationers a touch of colonial atmosphere (with cobblestone boulevards and Spanish architecture), pristine beaches and seaside landscapes, and the breathtaking backdrop of the Sierra Madres ascending into the stratosphere. First class eating establishments proliferate. Excellent restaurants, with American, Mexican and international menus, emphasize fresh seafood direct from the Pacific Ocean and Bahia de Banderas.
If you love the outdoors, Puerto Vallarta offers a plethora of activities for both land-based tours as well as water-sports. You can venture into the lush mountain landscape of the Sierra Madres on foot, horseback or on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). But the abundance of water activities on Bahia de Banderas is the reason why tourists flock to Puerto Vallarta for vacation; scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing and deep sea fishing are just a few of the fun-filled activities that you can enjoy in Banderas Bay. The premier attraction is, of course, the pods of Humpback Whales who visit Banderas Bay every winter.