Your vacation guide to Puerto Vallarta
The Mexican resort of Puerto Vallarta has long been popular with tourists and travellers as a place of beauty that is ideal for a relaxing vacation. Situated on the Pacific Ocean at the foot of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range, this rapidly growing city attracts visitors from all over the globe to its wonderful beaches, lively nightlife and exotic wildlife.
Puerto Vallarta was first established as a Mexican farming community in the 19th century but historians can trace human habitation back to 580 BC.
Pirates are known to have used Puerto Vallarta’s secluded bays as a haven and a stopping off place during the 17th and 18th centuries.
The local mining industry was the main reason for the city’s growth due to its excellent access to the sea for transport purposes. By 1885 the village already sustained 800 residents involved in pearl diving, fishing and supporting the inland mining ventures.
Today the city’s population has reached over a quarter of a million and looks set to grow still further. Improved transport links in the 20th century, including the introduction of air transport in 1932, made the city an ideal base for those looking to travel there from other parts of the world. The current city status as an idyllic holiday resort started to develop in the 1970s.
The main reasons for Puerto Vallarta’s popularity are its stunning coastal waters, long sandy beaches and its growing eco tourism. The beach of Los Arcos is famous as an eco reserve and visitors can either tour the area in a glass-bottomed boat or dive in the federally protected waters. The Cruceros Princesa moored in the Vallarta marina is the ideal transport for those who wish to explore the outlying islands of the Las Marietas. Tourists that take a trip on the boat will be encouraged to try snorkeling and windsurfing with the assistance of the experienced instructors.
As well as the wonderful beaches, including Playa de los Muertos and the Playa Mismaloya - familiar to film buffs as a location used in the 1964 John Huston film, The Night of the Iguana - Puerto Vallarta is surrounded by wonderful scenery and exciting jungle terrain.
The city isn’t just for those who want sun, sea and sports. There is a wide range of art galleries, up-market restaurants and an annual Puerto Vallarta Gourmet festival is held in November. The Old Town Art walk takes place between the last week of October until late April. Held between 6pm and 10pm this is an excellent way to visit the numerous art galleries that Puerto Vallarta has to offer. Maps are available to guide visitors undertaking the walk.
Puerto Vallarta is easily accessible through Air Transat and other major airlines thanks to Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport. On landing at the airport visitors can either hire a car for travelling to the Sierras or they can use the local bus and train services. Taxis are competitively priced as their fees are set by the local Trade Union and they operate on a zone rather than a meter system.
Best time to visit
The best time of the year to visit the region is between December and April. It is sensible to avoid the months of July through to September, as the humidity, combined with high temperatures of 90 degrees F and higher, can be very uncomfortable. The average daily temperature during the other months of the year tends to hover around the 84 degrees Fahrenheit mark.