Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Puerto Vallarta sits on Bahia de Banderas, the largest natural bay in Mexico, with 100 miles of Pacific coastline ringed by mountains. As for the beaches, they are among the most beautiful in the world. In Puerto Vallarta, you find long stretches of beach to the north of town, and a series of delightful coves to the south. The town itself is fairly large - and growing. But it has never lost its Mexican flavour. Cobbled streets run up and down among a warren of red tile roofed houses, creating a colonial charm that is a photographer's delight. John Houston filmed "Night of the Iguana" here in 1963, and in this romantic jungle, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor tangled in an extramarital relationship for the benefit of the world press.
It wasn't until 1851 that the first settlement, called Las Penas, actually took root here. An agricultural town, it was renamed Puerto Vallarta in 1918 in honour of a former Jalisco governor, Ignacio L. Vallarta. The formidable Sierras kept the town isolated, and it wasn't until 1954 that regular air service began. The road from Tepic was finally paved in 1970, opening the way for tourism.
[ close window ]