Vallarta is located on the Pacific Coast on one of the largest bays in
the world. Banderas Bay measures 42 kilometers from north to south. The
northernmost limit of the bay is at Punta Mita which is the end of the
Sierra de Vallejo mountains and, to the south, the bay ends in Cabo Corrientes,
part of the foothills of the Sierra del Cuale range.
has been known since the XVI Century when Spanish soldiers, during the
expeditions to Lower California (or island of pearls, as they called it)
, landed on the bay’s beaches in order to supply their ships with water,
firewood and fresh food. There are many chronicles from that time that
mention the beauty of the coastline, the fertility of the land and the
safe harbors that the bay offered ships.
the XVI Century, safe harbors all along the Pacific Coast were a vital
necessity so that ships returning from the Philippines would have a place
to find refuge in case of attack by pirates.
were also necessary during the long journeys, to and from the Orient so
that ships could be repaired if necessary and crews could take on provisions.
the first to propose a settlement on Banderas Bay was Captain Pedro de
Unamuno after the trip he made in 1587 from the Philippines.
navigators like Sebastian Vizcaino, Lopez de Vicuna and Gonzalo de Francia
more than once landed on these beaches and also proposed the establishment
of a colony, but their petitions never received any attention.
It is known
that a shipyard was built on the bay in 1644 (probably where Mismaloya
is located today) and two ships were built for Bernardo Bernal de Pinadero
that would be used in the colonization of Lower California.
and in ships logs dating from the XVIII Centuries, constant references
are made to whaling ships and fishing boast that harbored in the bay.
At the time, Banderas Bay was also known as Humpback Bay (Bahia de los
Jorobados) because of the number humpback whales that were seen in the
XIX Century, the site that is today Puerto Vallarta was used for the loading
and unloading of supplies and materials for the mining companies that
worked the mines in Cuale and San Sebastian. At that time the site was
known as Las Peñas.
the middle of the XIX Century, Don Guadalupe Sánchez Torres, originally
from Cihuatlán, Jalisco, began to make regular deliveries of salt in his
small boat since the mines required large quantities for refining the
silver. Don Guadalupe and his men built a small lean-to from tree trunks
and palm leaves so that they would have a place to rest that was out of
the sun while the sale was being loaded onto donkeys for transport to
the end of 1851, Don Guadalupe decided to bring his family to Las Peñas
de Santa Maria de Guadalupe because he arrived early in the morning hours
of December 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
arrival of new families, the village grew bit by bit and its economy began
to change. While some families brought in salt, others began to devote
themselves to agriculture or cattle raising.
It is also
known that periodically French and German ships entered the bay in search
of brazil wood, a very hard wood that was processed in Europe to obtain
dyes. In Admiral George Dewey’s report to the U.S. Naval Hydrographic
Office, he says "on the mouth of a small river called the Rio Real (Royal
River) is located a small town called Las Peñas where the boats come to
take on wood for dyes.
admiral, in 1874, aboard the ship Narragansett, made astronomical observations
at Punta Mita, Tabo and at a place close to Los Muertos beach in order
to establish the exact geographical position of each of these sites and
to make a map of the coast.
Las Peñas had a population of 1,500 inhabitants. New families from Cuale
and San Sebastian came to settle in the port.
later, on July 14, 1885, the port was opened to national maritime traffic
and officially given the name of Las Peñas. On the 23rd of July, a Maritime
Customs Office was established.
year on October 31, 1886 the town was given official political and judicial
standing when decree No. 210 was passed by the State Congress.
the last decade of the XIX Century and the first of XX Century, Las Peñas
gradually progressed thanks to the combined efforts of the people and
the enthusiasm of Don Guadalupe.
also suffered occasional setbacks in the growth of their town. According
geographer Brand, a tidal wave struck Banderas Bay in March 1893, but
nobody in town recalls having heard any mention of this event. On the
6th of May, 1888, a pot of grease which was being heated over a charcoal
fire in a Palapa restaurant, burst into flame setting fire to the structure.
The fire spread northwards destroying more than half the houses in the
town. According to local tradition, the fire would not have done nearly
so much damage if half the town’s male population had not been attending
a cock fight. In 1911, a waterspout left the almost 100 people homeless
and 1922 an epidemic of yellow fever hit Vallarta causing 150 deaths.
1914, the first post office was opened and in September of the same year
a telegraph was installed.
31, 1918, by Congressional decree No. 1889, the port was elevated to a
municipality and the name was changed to Puerto Vallarta in memory of
the illustrious lawyer and Governor of Jalisco, Don Ignacio L. Vallarta.
when the Montgomery Fruit Company purchased about 70,000 acres in near-by
Ixtapa, Vallarta began to boom due to the surplus of jobs available on
the newly-opened banana plantations. They also built a railway to transport
the bananas from Ixtapa to El Salado estuary where they were loaded onto
ships to carry them to the United States.
ended in 1935 when the Montgomery Fruit Company had to leave Mexico because
of the new agrarian law that had just come into effect. Other products
were raised in the area such as corn, beans, tobacco and small coconuts
used for their oil, were shipped to the interior to be used in the national
1930, a few national and foreign tourist began to come o Puerto Vallarta,
returning year after year, to spend their vacation enjoying the tranquility
and great natural beauty of the port. Slowly word began to spread and
each year more tourists came.
Puerto Vallarta became internationally known when it celebrated the centennial
of its founding. Mexican warships were sent from Acapulco to celebrate
the occasion with a 21-gun salute in the bay. A relic of the True Cross
was brought to Vallarta as well on this occasion and Sra.. Margarita Mantecon
de Garza wrote the first history of Puerto Vallarta.
that opened wide the doors to progress, popularity and fame was the filming
of the movie "Night of the Iguana" in Puerto Vallarta. Thousands of visitors
came, anxious to see the places that appeared in the movie and hopeful
of catching a glimpse of some of the movie stars.
on, thanks to the publicity the movie gave Vallarta, and also to the improved
means of transportation, the town grew by leaps and bounds. The town was
now accessible by road and by air. First class hotels were built. Agriculture,
which until now had been the principal source of income, took a back seat
have changed since the first airplane landed here in 1931. Today Puerto
Vallarta has hotels that range from small, economical inns to magnificent
luxury hotels. Important national and international airline companies
provide services that connect Vallarta to the principal cities of the
U.S. and Europe. Luxury cruise ships dock here on a daily basis and a
good highway connects the town to Tepic, Guadalajara and the rest of the
growth has been notable. It has gone from 12,500 in 1964 to 250,000 or
more in 1988. There is a large foreign colony, primarily Americans and
Canadians, that live here on a permanent or semi-permanent basis and that
are active participants in community life.
to Puerto Vallarta will find the climate all year around. The average
temperature in 80 degrees F., and except for the rainy season that lasts
from the middle of June to the middle of September, the sun shines every
PV, just minutes from downtown, there are easily reached areas of great
natural beauty, ideal for a day’s outing or a picnic. Some even have there
own hotels where it is possible for a visitor to "get away from it all"
for a few days. Some of the favorite spots are Bucerías, Mismaloya, Quimixto
Government, in conjunction with the state governments of Jalisco and Nayarit
as well as some private enterprises, have begun an important program for
the development of tourism in the entire Banderas Bay area.
Vallarta is the ideal place for anyone who likes water sports. Here one
can skin dive, water ski, go deep sea fishing, wind surfing or even try
the exciting parasailing.
the most important annual events in PV is the International Sailfish Tournament
held during the first week of November. Ardent fishermen from all over
Mexico and U.S. participate.
is also the site of important conventions and business meetings. Undoubtedly
one of the most important was the meeting of President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz
with President Richard M. Nixon in august, 1970.
year, 1970 , two important public works were inaugurated: the maritime
terminal and the new airport, both of which have been subsequently remodeled
and enlarged in order to provide better service.
31, 1968, the fiftieth anniversary of Puerto Vallarta’s elevation to a
municipality, with Lic. Francisco Medina Ascencio, governor of Jalisco,
and Sr. Jose Vazquez Galvan as mayor of Puerto Vallarta, the state government
by means of decree No. 8366 elevated PV to the status of a city.
Puerto Vallarta occupies an important position among the rest of the world’s
international tourist resorts.
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