When you think of the Mexican Riviera, with its palm-fringed beaches, luxuriant jungle vegetation and posh resorts, many places come to mind. But no resort better typifies the classic Mexican beach vacation than does Puerto Vallarta. From its sleepy, seaside village roots, it has grown into one of Mexico's most loved destinations.
As you arrive by plane, Puerto Vallarta's romance and beauty begin to take hold, a blanket of lush tropical jungle surrounds the quaint colonial city as it climbs away from the blue Pacific, into the Sierra Cuale mountains.
Nestled on the shores of Bahia de Banderas (Mexico's largest natural bay) and spread between the states of Jalisco and Nayarit, Vallarta traces its history back to the 1500's when it was first visited by Spanish explorers. It later became know as a respite for pirates plying the Pacific coast.
Puerto Vallarta remained a small village until 1963. That is the year that director John Huston decided to film his movie, "Night of the Iguana" starring Ava Gardner & Richard Burton, in Puerto Vallarta. Elizabeth Taylor flew down to be with Richard Burton in one of the most famous Hollywood affairs of the time. Both actors purchased homes in Puerto Vallarta, thus beginning its reputation as an international getaway.
Puerto Vallarta now has over 300,000 inhabitants, and welcomes more than 2 million annual visitors. Despite its popularity and the recent flurry of new resort developments, the city retains much of its "Old Mexico" flair. The city is graced with lovely architecture, cobblestone streets, and white stucco buildings crowned by flower-covered balconies and red-tile roofs.
You'll find all sorts of lodgings available from budget inns to world class beachfront resorts. Outdoor recreation is limitless. Every imaginable water sport is available along Puerto Vallarta's sandy shoreline. Fishing, diving, sailing, jet skiing and parasailing to name a few.
Shopping is some of Mexico's finest due to the numerous galleries and shops featuring both international and Mexican wares. Puerto Vallarta also has many fine restaurants to choose from including traditional Mexican, French, Italian, Asian and American. The nightlife varies from small piano lounges to sports cafe to all night discos.
Today, Puerto Vallarta is a world class resort, while retaining the charm of a century ago. The stunning backdrop of the Sierra Madre mountains and it's 34 miles of Banderas Bay coastline provide for the ultimate vacation or living situation. Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit are like no other place in Mexico and most who come, yearn to return.