One of Mexico’s most popular vacation destinations, Puerto Vallarta is a favorite for tourists from around the world and Mexicans alike. Renowned for its great beaches, charming cobble stone streets in the city, and world-class resorts, Vallarta is a gem among destinations. The city is located on Mexico’s Pacific coastline at a central point within the expansive Banderas Bay, which stretches from Punta Mia and the Sierra de Vallejo Mountains in the north to Cabo Corrientes in the south. Known for its tropical climate and lush mountain backdrop, Puerto Vallarta actually shares approximate latitude with the Hawaiian Islands and the Cancun/Riviera Maya region of Mexico.
First discovered by the Spanish explorers in the 16th century, Banderas Bay was a welcome haven for ships looking for shelter. Settlements began forming during the 19th century due to mining and shipping industries. Small villages emerged and an economy grew in what was then called Las Peñas. The town flourished first through maritime trade and then through agriculture. It wasn’t until the early 1930s century that Puerto Vallarta evolved into a tourist destination and its popularity really soared after the Hollywood flick featuring Puerto Vallarta, Night of the Iguana premiered in 1964, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. With an international spotlight, the city’s tourism industry slowly grew to its elite status today.
Tourists flock to Puerto Vallarta for many reasons. The numerous golden beaches offer great sun bathing, relaxing, swimming and snorkeling. Travelers who don’t want to be confined to only their resorts will thoroughly enjoy the charming town with its boutiques and restaurants ranging from casual fare to upscale and stylish. Excursions make for a well-rounded vacation and include horseback riding, diving, zip-lining and day eco tours. Culturally, Puerto Vallarta is also very gay-friendly and is often dubbed the gay capital of Mexico. The coastline is boasting with all-inclusive and boutique resorts that are great for families and adults alike.