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History of a destination: Puerto Vallarta

The history of Puerto Vallarta is the story of a multicultural community that was transforming ...

History of a destination: Puerto Vallarta

The history of Puerto Vallarta is the story of a multicultural community that was transformed little by little with the influx of its new inhabitants. Learn about the particular history of this beautiful port and discover what is so special.


If we go back to pre-Columbian times, the oldest archaeological remains of the region are around 300 BC. C. A thousand years later, these lands were populated by the towns of Aztatlán and, finally, it was inhabited by the town of Tintoc, the old capital of a small cacicazgo of "Cuyuteco" Indians belonging to the great kingdom of Xalisco.

Lieutenant Lázaro Blanco says in his Compostela Relationship, published in 1584, that the natives called this valley "Xihutla" which means "place where the grass grows".


The name "Bahía de Banderas" has a curious origin. According to the chronicles of the Captain, Francisco Cortés de San Buenaventura was published in 1525, when the soldiers were in place.

The settlers carried a band of feathers in the hand and another in the quiver, which together with the Spanish standards, formed a colorful event. So much so, that the bay was named "Bahia de Banderas".


Puerto Vallarta is originally called "Las peñas de Santa María de Guadalupe", baptized on December 12, 1851 by Guadalupe Sánchez Torres, considered the first official inhabitant of the port.

Along with Mr. Sanchez Torres, other nearby families settled in the town of Las Peñas, a productive space in the development of the mining company Unión en Cuale. In those early years, the port was used almost exclusively for the loading and unloading of supplies for the mines of the sierra madre.

By 1880, Puerto Las Peñas had a population of 1,500 that grew a little more. Five years later, on July 14, 1885, the port was opened to national maritime traffic, officially using the name Las Peñas.

After the decline of the mining trade due to the fall in prices, the inhabitants of agriculture, livestock and fishing.


On May 31, 1918, by decree No. 1889 of the Congress, Las Peñas was granted the title of municipality, adopting a new name: Puerto Vallarta, in memory of the illustrious lawyer and Governor of Jalisco, Don Ignacio L. Vallarta .

Around 1930 the destination already received visitors with tourist aims, in his great majority of the bordering towns by the difficulty of access that supposed to arrive by earth. As time went by, domestic and foreign tourists began to arrive to the town captivated by the simplicity, the strong community sense and the warm personality of its inhabitants. Little by little, the word spread and every year the town was filled with new visitors.


With the inauguration of the Guadalajara-Puerto Vallarta air route, different personalities from all over the world began arriving at the port.

This was how Guillermo Wulff, engineer from Mexico, D.F., and the famous film director John Huston knew this destiny and, amazed by their beauty, managed the filming of the emblematic film "The Night of the Iguana".

For the first time, Puerto Vallarta received simultaneously the great stars of Hollywood (with their stories of love, heartbreak and all the international press under their feet), which brought with it the world to have their eyes on the destination.

Since then, the history of Puerto Vallarta is what everyone more or less knows, transforming into a city that mixes the services of a city with the warm embrace of a people that resists losing their innocence.

When you come to Vallarta, stay at Hotel El Pescador, a traditional hotel in the town. Discover the history of this wonderful destination walking through its cobbled streets and meeting its wonderful community.

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