Located on the picturesque coast of Banderas Bay at the foot-hills of the lush Sierra Madres, the tropical paradise of Puerto Vallarta is the perfect destination for a romantic escape. This busy tourist locale was once a quiet fishing hamlet, serving as a port for the state of Jalisco. Puerto Vallarta’s unique geography gives visitors the opportunity to explore both the verdant forest in the mountains as well as the breathtakingly-blue waters of Bahia de Banderas. This active Mexican port is a scheduled stop for large cruise ships as well as the U.S. Naval vessels and Mexican Naval crafts. This tropical Eden draws couples, university students on spring break, and affluent world travelers as well.
Visitors can enjoy an array of thrilling activities in Puerto Vallarta, from eco-adventures, to booze cruises, to romantic sailing trips, and so much more. The town has become so popular that it has grown past its borders, expanding northward into the State of Nayarit, where Nuevo Vallarta (New Vallarta) has become a bustling tourist area as well.
This Pacific coast town was not always called Puerto Vallarta; it was once named Pierto Las Penas or Port of the Rocks. Founded in 1851 by Don Guadalupe Sanchez Torres, Pierto Las Penas saw millions of dollars worth of silver leave its docks. During the late Nineteenth Century, mines in the Sierra Madres were rich with silver. In 1918 the village was renamed Puerto Vallarta after a governor, Ignacio Vallarta.
This quaint town first garnered world-wide attention after the critically-acclaimed film director, John Huston, shot his masterful picture, “The Night of the Iguana,” on location in Puerto Vallarta. Given a Golden Globe Best Picture Nomination in 1965, the film starred Sir Richard Burton and Ava Gardener. Both Huston and Burton purchased lavish vacation mansions in Puerto Vallarta. The attention caused by the Hollywood production, as well as from the matinee idols, caused a flurry of resort development in this quiet seaside town.
Now a busy tourist destination, Puerto Vallarta is a place that combines colonial charm (with cobblestone boulevards and Spanish architecture), and breathtaking natural beauty (with pristine coastlines and majestic mountain backdrops). World-class eateries with American, Mexican, and global menus, thrive in Puerto Vallarta. Many of these restaurants feature seafood pulled directly from Banderas Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
If you enjoy the outdoors, Puerto Vallarta offers countless land-based activities. Ride into the Sierra Madre Mountains on horseback, walk to a forest waterfall, or challenge rocky trails in an off-road vehicle. The Sierra Madres are beautiful, but the crystalline waters of Banderas Bay are the main outdoor attraction near Puerto Vallarta, Fishing, Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Canopy Zip Lines, and Whale watching are just some of the exciting water-sports that you can enjoy in Banderas Bay.