About Puerto Vallarta
Sure, there are sun-kissed breezes, azure waves and water sports galore not to mention some of the top restaurants in the country -- but this amazing city also offers Mexican colonial architecture back-dropped by jade covered hills, lush jungles and secluded nature preserves. There are numerous protected flora and fauna species, and it is known for having the best beaches in Latin America (so says Conde Nast Magazine). There's also a bit of Hollywood glamour. It is here where The Night of the Iguana was filmed and where the romance between Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor made national headlines years ago. Vallarta is rich in dynamic history from the Azatlans to the Huichols to the Spaniards; it is a city rooted in culture and tradition. This is found in the color, the people and of course the food. With salsa from smoky to spicy and frosty margaritas or ice cold horchata, your taste buds will come alive. If you're ready for a sensory smorgasbord, this is the place.
- Touring Our Lady of Guadalupe Church
- Attend a performance at El Teatro Vallarta
- Sample haute cuisine. PV has chefs that hail from all over the world.
- Sail to the Marieta Islands
- Stroll the Malecon and haggle at a street side kiosk
- Walk the streets of old town for galleries and art galore
- Listen to an outdoor concert at Los Arcos on the Malecon
- Swim with dolphins at AquaVenturas Park
- Jump off boulders at Chico's Paradise
- Go whale-watching
- Take a day trip to Caletas, a secluded nature preserve that was once the home of film director John Huston
Puerto Vallarta is located in the heart of Mexico's Pacific coastline and is encircled by the rugged Sierra Madre Mountains to the east (which diminish hurricane forces) and fronted by the Bay of Banderas. Airport Gustavo Diaz Ordaz is located four miles from downtown and is served by a wide variety of national and international airlines, many with nonstop flights. Flights arrive daily from Canada, the U.S and Europe as well as South America. You need a passport to enter.
Pretty perfect, the average year-round temperature is 25C/78F with an average water temp of 72 degrees with rarely a rainy day. The climate is arid with only an average of 10 inches annual rainfall. Its cooler months are December and January, and the hottest months are between August and September. Summer temperatures range from 21-37C/70-100F, and winter temperatures range from 10-26C/50-80F. The Sea of Cortez has an average year round water temperature of 22C/72F.
When to Go
High season is December to March, with cooler temperatures and heavy tourism. This is the time of year to enjoy the largest array of activities and exciting nightlife. April to November is the slower summer months providing a more personal look at the culture and biodiversity offered in Puerto Vallarta. The rainy season is June to October with the most spectacular storms in August and September. This is a time of relaxation and evening displays of lightning over the water.
Festivals and Holidays
The Malecon is host to the action for the city's May Day Parade on May 1st, with even more celebrations on Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) and a large party on May 31st celebrating the founding of Puerto Vallarta. Artists take over the city during the Art Festival in November, and this is also the time for the International Gourmet Festival which attracts chefs and foodies from all over the globe; while December marks the Puerto Vallarta Film Festival and Christmas celebrations all month. January is ideal for New Year's parties and fireworks on the beach. July to December is the turtle release season for baby turtles to return to the sea.
A Brief History
Puerto Vallarta can trace its history back to the 1600s when Spanish conquistadors explored the coast. The area was later settled by farmers, fishermen and mango and banana plantation owners. In 1918, it was officially named in honor of then governor Don Ignacio L. Vallarta. Puerto Vallarta remained a sleepy fishing village until it burst into the national spotlight in 1963 for the filming of Director John Huston's movie, The Night of the Iguana. The subsequent scandal of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor's torrid romance put PV on the map as a gorgeous golden sand paradise bordered by jungle-covered mountains. With all the publicity came a lot of building and commercialization. Though the area has grown considerably and features several distinct zones, it still maintains its "Old World" personality and charm.