Archaeological evidence suggests that the area was settled two and a half thousand years ago, but it's only since the Sixties that Puerto Vallarta has become more widely known outside Mexico. Famed for its natural beauty, for its sheltered beaches, its mysticism and cultural heritage, as a place full of colours, flavours, scents, legends and dreams, Puerto Vallarta has been described as the world's friendliest city. Now one of the top tourist destinations in Mexico, P.V. was first thrust to international fame when it became the setting for the romance between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton during the 1963 filming of Night of the Iguana. Located on the Bay of Banderas on Mexico's Pacific Coast, at the border between the states of Jalisco and Nayarit, it offers a perfect window to the essence of this beautiful country.
Photos: © Mexican Tourism Board (CPTM) Image Bank / photographer Ricardo Espinosa Orozco
One of the most important ports on Mexico's Pacific Coast, Puerto Vallarta featured regularly in the Seventies TV series The Love Boat
Puerto Vallarta is famed for the spectacular sunsets that tinge the evening sky with all the shades of orange over the Bay of Banderas, home to five kinds of enangered sea turtle as well as dolphins and humpback whales
During the day there are many cruises to choose from that lead to nearby beaches. If you're into action and people watching, the most popular is Playa de los Muertos, but if you're looking for something more peaceful, visit Conchas Chinas, Las Animas or Yepala
Located between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo on the famous 'Costalegre' – the happy coast – Las Alamandas is one of the most romantic and exclusive hotels on the Pacific coast
With its subtropical climate and range of habitats, Puerto Vallarta is home not only to an impressive number of mammals, reptiles and butterflies, but also 400 species of birds of all different sizes and colours, and 300 types of orchid
The wide range of activities and attractions available combine with a subtropical climate – daytime temperatures rarely drop below 25ºC – to make this a perfect place to enjoy a vacation in almost any season
Puerto Vallarta has received numerous accolades including 'the world's friendliest city', 'the best place to retire in the world' and 'the best holiday destination in Mexico'
The Seahorse, a nine-foot-high bronze statue on the sea front, is one of the iconic images of Puerto Vallarta and just one of the many sculptures that make a stroll along the Malecon – the boardwalk – a tempting evening plan
A little way south along the coast from Puerto Vallarta lies the jungle-fringed cove of Mismaloya Beach, setting for the Richard Burton classic Night of the Iguana
The city's most iconic skyline feature is the crown on the tower of the church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, also known as the Cathedral of Puerto Vallarta. The design was modelled on the crown of the Empress Carlota, wife of Maximilian of Habsburg, Emperor of Mexico
Not only does P.V. boast some of the best beaches and natural scenery in Mexico, it also offers some of the best cuisine, and is a perfect window onto the essence of this marvellous country
Puerto Vallarta has become an important centre for the creation and promotion of art. The historic centre is full of galleries exhibiting paintings and sculptures, as well as a host of shops where you can buy beautiful handicrafts
The native vegetation is both diverse and abundant, with a wide range of trees, colourful and exotic flowers including orchids and bougainvillea, as well as fruits such as coconut, mango, guava and avocado