In a land of Indian cultures dating back thousands of years, this “fishing village turned resort” has almost NO history. In 1541 it was discovered by Don Pedro de Alvarado and soon forgotten. More than three hundred years later, in 1851, Guadalupe Sanchez and his family settled along the Rio Cuale river to farm. During this time, the area was known as “Puerto Las Peñas.” It was not until 1918 that the town had its first mayor, who renamed the area in honour of Jalisco Governor Don Ignacio Luis Vallarta. Still, nothing more exciting than that was happening there.
About thirty-five years ago MEXICANA Airlines saw potential in the area. At that time AEROMEXICO monopolized the flights between Mexico City and Acapulco. Hoping to convert Puerto Vallarta into Guadalajara’s weekend resort, MEXICANA received the franchise in 1954 and began promoting Vallarta. A few travel writers did articles on it, but it remained an out-of-the-way, quiet spot for relaxation.
However all that changed in 1963 when John Houston decided to shoot the film “Night of the Iguana” in Puerto Vallarta. Along with him came Richard Burton, Ava Gardener, Elizabeth Taylor (who wasn’t in the movie) and the gossip-hungry Hollywood reporters. By the time the movie was finished the romance between Liz and Dick had been celebrated universally and Puerto Vallarta had become a landmark. Droves of people came just to see where this famous couple had fallen in love but were soon charmed by the quaint, delightful resort.
The droves kept coming but now because they heard what a lovely spot Puerto Vallarta was and what a unique climate it enjoyed. Even then as now the two chief attributes to this lovely resort are a) the friendliness of the people and b) the unique climate.