Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: Travel/Tourist Information Guide

The main thing that sets Puerto Vallarta apart from most tourist destinations in Mexico is its past. The proximity to the Bay of Banderas, important mining centers and the fertile Ameca River valley, made Puerto Vallarta an important village long before becoming an international tourist destination.

Referred to simply as “Vallarta” by many locals, it stands today as one of Mexico’s top beach resort cities, located in the Bahia de Banderas on the Pacifica Coast, in the state of Jalisco. The sparkling blue waters and dazzling sandy beaches, with lush palm covered mountains in the background, attract millions of tourists each year. Aside from water and beach activities, quirky shops and stylish restaurants, Puerto Vallarta’s main attractions also feature colonial buildings, art galleries, a botanical garden and the iconic Templo de Guadalupe. The city is also famous for its lively nightlife, with frequent live concerts and an array of bars and nightclubs. If that isn’t enough, there are also numerous attractions and opportunities around Puerto Vallarta, including horseback tours, diving trips, cruises and day tours.

Getting around the city is easy by car, taxi, bus or even boat. Beyond the numerous hotels and resorts Vallarta features plenty of alternative accommodation options, usually a lot cheaper.

Little is known about the region, prior to the 19th century, but there is archeological evidence that the area may been inhabited by the Aztatlán people since the 580 BC. The city itself was founded in 1851 as Las Peñas de Santa María de Guadalupe, the same year Seattle was founded. The mining activities in the Sierra and the agricultural valley north of the city helped develop the village into a municipality by the early 20th century. Puerto Vallarta had started attracting foreigners by the early 1950’s, but it was certain events in the 1960’s and 1970’s that set the city on the path of becoming a major resort destination.