Puerto Vallarta Open for Business Following Hurricane Nora

Meagan Drillinger - Travel Weekly
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September 12, 2021

Hurricane Nora left trail of damage in six states (Mexico News Daily)

Hurricane Nora tore up the Pacific coast of Mexico late last month, bringing heavy rain and flooding through six states. It made landfall in Jalisco on Aug. 28, bashing Puerto Vallarta as a Category 1 hurricane before continuing north to Nayarit and Sinaloa. But Puerto Vallarta has already made moves to get the city back to operating normally, and travelers can expect the show to go on as planned at the destination.

"Following the passage of Hurricane Nora, state and municipal authorities, the National Guard, Civil Protection and other organizations are working collectively to assist in cleanup, restoration and community support efforts in the deltas of the Rio Cuale and Rio Pitillal affected by the storm," read a statement from the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board. "Puerto Vallarta's airport, hotel industry and tour companies are operating normally," the statement continued.

A lot of the damage occurred in Puerto Vallarta proper, where, sadly, a young boy was killed and at least one other person missing, as the Rio Cuale, which runs through the center of town, flooded, bringing the partial collapse of a building with it.

"Fortunately, the Zona Romantica was not affected," Luis Villasenor, managing director of the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board told Travel Weekly. "The floods were concentrated on the banks of the River Cuale in the Emiliano Zapata neighborhood and the extremities of downtown, by the Cuale Market."

For those who have been to Puerto Vallarta, the Rio Cuale divides Centro from the Zona Romantica, and a small island in the river contains some of Puerto Vallarta's most popular market stalls and shopping areas.

The flooding of the Rio Cuale is the worst Puerto Vallarta has seen in decades. The damage has affected much of the downtown area, as one of the bridges that crosses from Centro into the Zona Romantica was washed away in the flood. On the north end of town, the Pitillal River broke its banks, damaging residential parts of the city as well as the neighboring Pitillal community.

"Only one bridge over the Cuale River was affected," said Villasenor. "The bridge goes from the south to the north of the city, which is precisely the original bridge that dates from Puerto Vallarta's golden years."

New bridge going up before December

Currently, the second bridge is now operating in both north-south directions while repairs are done on the other bridge. The new bridge will be in place before December and will be constructed with a stronger material and designed to withstand severe weather.

At this time, the city center, the Malecon and the Zona Romantica are open and operating normally for both locals and tourists. The area closed for cleaning work concluded on Sept. 1 around the river and the affected neighborhoods. Travelers can also get from the north of the city to the south via El Libramiento tunnel.

Puerto Vallarta remains open to tourism with the Covid protocols and procedures still in place. Puerto Vallarta's current restaurant capacity limits remain at 50% with mandatory closure at midnight. As of Sept. 1, Puerto Vallarta received its second cruise ship of the year with the docking of the Carnival Panorama, which was sailing at 70% capacity.

"Visitors to Puerto Vallarta can still enjoy our main attractions, such as downtown, boardwalk, Playa de los Muertos, as well as the different hotel zones," Villasenor said.

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