Puerto Vallarta 101 (Introduction to PV)

Why Puerto Vallarta and what’s so special about this place?


Puerto Vallarta (population 255,725 – 2010 census) is located on the Pacific side of Mexico in the Mexican State of Jalisco, within the Banderas Bay (Bahía de Banderas), which is by many considered one of the more beautiful bays in the World and it also happens to be included among Mexico’s largest, measuring 26 miles E-W and 20 miles N-S.

The northern limit of the bay is the fisherman town of Punta Mita which also happens to be the end of the Sierra de Vallejo mountains, the southern limit ends at Cabo Corrientes, the edge and end of the Sierra del Cuale mountain range.

Puerto Vallarta is the second-most visited tourist destination in Mexico, (only Cancun has more tourism), attracting millions of visiting tourists per year (3.7 million in 2012 and 3.9 million in 2013, over 4 million in 2016, 2017 is beating 2016 numbers too, so it’ll be a record year), and has served as a relaxing escape for people searching for a place that is more than just beautiful beaches.

Vallarta is a reliable retirement location too, that’s why it was voted among the best places to retire in the world by the American Association of Retired Persons in the year 2010. Another reason why expatriates, mostly from U.S.A., Canada, and some European citizens living permanently in the city is PV’s great weather.

Tropical-forested mountains and mineral-rich volcanic slopes appear to literally rise from the sea and 100 miles of mountain-ringed golden coastline hugs the stunningly beautiful Banderas Bay.

Bahía de Banderas is the broadest and deepest natural bay in Mexico, the bay teams with aquatic life and multiple species of dolphins, whales, manta rays and fish of all types and colors, that visitors enjoy and even touch if they snorkel or scuba dive in the area’s clear warm waters.  The bay and PV offers a cornucopia of amazing options to enjoy – not only beaches, but also sparkling sunshine and clear warm emerald-blue waters, great for all kinds of water activities, above and below the surface.

Sleepy fishing villages that take you back to the Vallarta of olden days – Punta Mita, Sayulita, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Bucerías, Mismaloya, Boca de Tomatlán and Yelapa are a part of the scenery along the coastline both to the north and to south of PV. Even though Vallarta no longer is a small town, you can travel back in its history when visiting these locations.

Nestled in verdant valleys and green lush mountains overlooking the bay, you’ll encounter many idyllic colonial-era villages that include San Sebastián del Oeste, Mascota, Talpa and others.

The inherent warmth and friendliness of the locals have attracted a growing and active expatriate community from U.S.A., Canada and countries in Europe. These in turn make foreign vacationers feel right at home.

Downtown Puerto Vallarta, 1960s and 2017

Keeping up to date, the city has adapted and improved with time, so now the needs of the demanding modern day tourist are easily met, including luxury resorts and hotels, all-inclusive options, spas and retreats, championship golf courses, top-notch shops and gourmet restaurants are abundant in this welcoming city.

Despite these impressive changes, the town still maintains quaint pockets of its original charm. In downtown Vallarta you’ll find picturesque colonial and whitewashed buildings, cobblestone streets, red Spanish tile roofs, and a lots of lush vegetation, on the balconies, pots, on the streets, the gardens and parks, which all help make PV a totally different experience when comparing it to any other destination in Mexico and elsewhere in the world.

The beauty and charm of Puerto Vallarta is, as always, best represented by the landmark parish: Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. It is located one block from the picturesque main plaza (main square). The church’s red brick bell tower was topped with a crown designed by José Esteban Ramírez Guareño upon the tower that was sketched by the priest Rafael Parra Castillo. The cross and sphere on the crown were designed by another local artist, Esteban Ávalos Haro.

Hundreds of flights per week arrive in Puerto Vallarta’s International Airport (PVR) from airports throughout the U.S.A., Canada and Mexico. 2016 was a record year with over 4 millon tourists in addition to the highest hotel occupancy recorded in the last 15 years.

Now it’s the perfect time to visit the town an find out for yourself, why Puerto Vallarta is one of the more revisited tourist destinations in Mexico and the world.