Leading into Puerto Vallarta
Afterwards, I decided to return to Toronto, Canada, and invest some money into a few projects, and refill my travel supplies.
After a month in Toronto, it was time to venture into Mexico.
I had been invited by a Canadian friend to come visit Mexico for over 3 years, but this time I decided to commit.
I had been in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico almost 8 years ago, but stayed in a resort, and never really ventured out into Puerto Vallarta due to the perception of safety concerns, and probably a lack of ‘adventure magnetism' (the need to adventure) and the technological ability (GPS, internet, etc).
Where is Puerto Vallarta?
For most Mexicans, Puerto & Nuevo (Port & New) Vallarta are interchangeable as a city, despite being in 2 separate states divided by a simple river.
Puerto Vallarta has a deep and rich colonial history and charm to it, that is gradually being gentrified (upgraded) into a purely resort and restaurant-filled tourist destination.
Nuevo Vallarta, on the other hand, consists 99% of hotels, condominiums, golf courses, and marinas for wealthy foreign pensioners (most from the USA and Canada). I will provide present this part of the city in a later post.
Historically Puerto Vallarta
Banderas Bay (the cove holding Puerto Vallarta) was initially discovered by the Spanish in the very early 1500's.
The name ‘Banderas' (flags) was given because of the abundance of different indigenous flags.
By 1525, Francisco De Buenaventura (of the Good Adventure – awesome last name) arrived with 100 spanish soldiers to annihilate the indigenous population, but was outnumbered by 20,000 ‘Aztatlan' troops.
According to the legend, a spanish friar was in shock, and fell to his knees, revealing the bright white flag of the Holy Virgin of Guadalupe.
Apparently, the intense reflection scared the indigenous people, who eventually submitted to the Spanish conquerors, as a miracle.
The indigenous peoples were rewarded with diseases such as small pox, measles, scarlet fever, diphtheria, and influenza, which exterminated 90% of the population, as well as slavery.
From the 1600's to the 1700's, the economy in the area focused on mining the abundance of silver and gold in the hills and mountains.
To mine these minerals, a large amount of salt was needed, and a port was built to import the salt, named ‘Puerto Los Penas'.
But by the early 1800's, the discovery and overabundance of silver in the United States, caused prices for the minerals to crash, and the port and regions surrounding resorted back to agriculture, and the export of agricultural goods.
By 1918, the ‘Puerto Los Penas' had grown in considerable importance, and was renamed to ‘Puerto Vallarta' after the governor of the state of (Puerto Vallarta is in the state of Jalisco), ‘Ignacio L. Vallarta'.
In 1963, a major American motion picture was being filmed in ‘Puerto Vallarta', which involved famous actors and actresses of the time – the film is called ‘La Noche De La Iguana' (The night of the Iguana).
The main actor (Richard Burton) and actress (Elizabeth Taylor), while still married to other people, had a sexual relationship.
This caused wide-spread media fervor in the United States, resulting in an EXPLOSION of curious tourists, and media personnel, who were excited to know about this beautiful, lust-inducing place in the world.
Thus, from 1965 and onward, the government of Jalisco approved massive construction efforts to upgrade the port town into a massive resort city, including an airport, electricity, roads, bridges, and other infrastructure.
By 2000, the population was about 71,000, but by 2010, it had exploded to 255,000. A huge chunk of those being foreigners from Canada and the United states.
About 2.5 million tourists visit Puerto Vallarta (and its surrounding regions) every year, thus making it the 3rd most popular destination in Mexico.
The Ultra Gentrified Colonial City of Puerto Vallarta Photos
Should You Visit Puerto Vallarta?