In Mexico, Puerto Vallarta is one of the top tourist spots due to its charm, history and endless activities to enjoy. Today, Puerto Vallarta slowly evolved into a booming tourist location, because of several different reasons such as the Sierra Madre mountain mining centers, Banderas Bay, and influences from the agricultural valley of the Ameca River. Read more on how PV became the tourist hot spot it is today.
How it Started: The Puerto Vallarta History
While there isn’t a lot of information available about Puerto Vallarta’s history before the nineteenth century, there has been some evidence from archaeological studies that Aztaltan humans lived in the area up to 580 BC. Around the year 1524, the Spanish invaded and started a battle with the native people of the area. Hernan Cortez fought with 10,000 – 20,000 native Indians fought and ultimately won control of the Ameca Valley, which was then renamed as Banderas, which means flags in Spanish, due to the native Indians that carried their colorful flags when they were battling. Between the 17th and 18th centuries, the Banderas Valley and Bay were also supply locations for ships that were needing to rest on their journeys.
From Fishing Town to Resort Town
During the 1960-1970’s, Puerto Vallarta underwent a major transformation from a fishing town to becoming the elite resort town that it is today. At that time, the Mexican government resolved property disputes that had previously kept any developments from being built during the twentieth century, and some communal lands were turned into private lands. Later, sales revenue from the trusts of the lands were used to assist in Puerto Vallarta’s growth. In 1968, Puerto Vallarta was officially established as a city.
“The Night of the Iguana” Legend
“The Night of the Iguana” is another reason why PV became the tourist hot spot it is today. American director John Huston started filming the film in Mismaloya south of PV in 1964, and Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were two stars in the classic movie. The media in the United States covered their steamy affair, which actually converted Puerto Vallarta into a vacation destination that tourists in the US wanted to visit.
Air and On Ground Improvements
The Mexican government started investing money to improve air and ground transportation improvements in Puerto Vallarta in the late 1960’s. The international airport was built, and highways were built in order to increase traffic into town. On June 1st, 1970, El Salado wharf was inaugurated, which also established Puerto Vallarta as the first harbor city in Mexico. During 1968, Puerto Vallarta was officially established as a city. Subsequently, hotel and resort development spiked and today there are more than fifty 4-5 Star resorts and hotels in PV.
Modern Day Puerto Vallarta
Today, Puerto Vallarta is actually a thriving tourist destination due to its excellent weather, natural beauty, miles of beaches, and its rich history. In the early 1980’s, the peso was devalued which made Puerto Vallarta attractive as a bargain vacation destination for tourists in the United States. A decade later in the early 1990’s, the federal Agrarian Law was changed so foreigners could purchase ejido lands with bank trusts. As a result, another development boom occurred and more properties were bought and sold, and private residences, properties, condos, and resorts began to be developed.
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