About Puerto Vallarta
Planning your Puerto Vallarta vacation? Find information about Puerto Vallarta regions and surrounding areas in general. Search for rentals or Puerto Vallarta real estate, find a buyers agent or a sellers agent. Learn a little bit of Puerto Vallarta history. Locate developments in Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta real estate, Punta Mita real estate and more.
Puerto Vallarta History
Puerto Vallarta is by far the best-known resort on Mexico's upper Pacific Coast. The late film director and sometime resident John Huston put the town on the map when he filmed Tennessee Williams's play The Night of the Iguana on the outskirts of the village in 1963. Elizabeth Taylor came to keep Richard Burton company during the filming, and the gossip about their romance---both were married at the time, but not to each other---brought this quaint Mexican fishing village, with its cobblestone lanes and whitewashed, tile-roof houses, to the public's attention. Before long, travel agents were deluged with queries about a Puerto Vallarta vacation.
The fabled cobblestone streets are clogged with bumper-to-bumper traffic during the holiday season, but, despite the city's resort status, Puerto Vallarta remains picturesque and quaint with a very Mexican atmosphere while also providing an ambiance conducive to the pedestrian. There are so very many activities, tours, beaches, boating, neighborhoods, shops, restaurants and more to see, participate in or opportunities to simply relax and recuperate that make Puerto Vallarta the most revisited resort in the world. For a sense of the Eden that once was, travel south of town to the lush green mountains where the Rio Tomatlan tumbles over boulders into the sea, or north to Punta Mita on the northern tip of Bahia de Banderas (Bay of Flags), where the exclusive Four Seasons resort lies.
The Bahia de Banderas attracted pirates and explorers as early as the 1500s; it was used as a stop-over on long sailings as a place for the crew to relax (or maybe plunder and pillage). Sir Francis Drake apparently stopped here. In the mid-1850s, Don Guadalupe Sanchez Carrillo developed the bay as a port for the silver mines by the Rio Cuale. Then it was known as Puerto de Peñas and had about 1,500 inhabitants. It remained a village until 1918, when it was made a municipality by the state of Jalisco and named after Ignacio L. Vallarta, a governor of Jalisco.
In the 1950s Puerto Vallarta was essentially a pretty hideaway for those in the know---the wealthy and some hardy escapists. PV---as the former fishing village is called these days---is now a city with more than 300,000 residents. Airports, hotels, and highways have supplanted palm groves and fishing shacks. About 1.5 million people visit each year, most of them between November through April and between June and August when the Nationals want to have their own Puerto Vallarta vacation. There are now more than 9,000 hotel rooms available for your Puerto Vallarta travel.
Despite the transformation, every attempt has been made to keep the town's character and image intact. Even the parking lot at the local Gigante supermarket is cobblestone, and by law any house built in town must be painted white. When you visit, you'll still see houses with red-tile roofs on palm-covered hills overlooking glistening blue water. Pack mules clop down the steep cobblestone streets. Within 16 km (10 miles) of town are peaceful coves, rushing rivers, and steep mountain roads that curve and twist through jungles of pines and palms.
A Little About The Puerto Vallarta Region:
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico is a city with more than 300,000 residents. About 1.5 million people visit each year, most international visitors between November through April and many Nationals looking for their own Puerto Vallarta vacation from June to September. It is mixture of old Mexican architecture and customs entwined with modern day buildings and life style. For this reason, Puerto Vallarta real estate has had a boom over the recent years including other areas like Nuevo Vallarta real estate, Punta Mita real estate and more. It has a semi tropical climate and is on the same latitude as Hawaii. You can experience everything from semi arid, almost dessert like environments to tropical jungle in the region to choose from when on your Puerto Vallarta vacation. You will experience sparkling blue water in the Bay of Banderas which is 22 miles wide with beautiful white sand beaches and palm trees swaying in the breeze. The traditional clay tiled roof of many homes, condo complexes, vacation rentals properties and villas combined with the green lushious jungle sloping up the soft Sierra Madre mountains is the background for the city in many areas. It is not unusual to see pack mules or horses clopping down the steep cobblestone streets as a form of transportation amongst expensive SUV's and luxurious cars passing by or parked adjacent to the quaint, normally narrow and pedestrian streets. Puerto Vallarta is steeped in old Mexican culture and customs, but sports some of the best nightclubs, entertainment, shopping, restaurants, resorts and hotels in Mexico. It really is a mixture of the old and new world flavour.
Away from the bustle of the city, the north shore of the bay and has been the focus of substantial new developments in Puerto Vallarta offering a completely different flavor of living here. Punta Mita real estate offers many examples. The north point of the bay has developed into a first class tropical resort facility with pristine beaches and signature golf courses. It will soon house four major resorts including the existing Four Seasons resort as well a full time ownership homes and condominiums. The South Shore Area starts within minutes of central Puerto Vallarta and includes Mismaloya and Boca de Tomatlan. It offers scenic residential neighborhoods, single family housing and condo projects, all with expansive views of the Bay and city nestled in the tropical jungle on the slopes of the mountains and some also right on the ocean on the highway winding to Mismaloya and on to Boca de Tomatlan. Any of these areas are no more than a 45 minutes drive with most within minutes of Puerto Vallarta. From the quaint Mexican neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta to the five star resort type facilities, there are many variations that should satisfy the most discerning tourist visitor or buyer.
Puerto Vallarta Regions, Areas, Zones And Neighborhoods
Puerto Vallarta and neighboring areas can be divided into three main regions. The Vallarta region, which refers to the entire Bay of Banderas, will be our main subject here given that it is the area where Puerto Vallarta lies and most of the developments and real estate are offered within this area. The other two areas are Costa Vallarta North which goes from Punta Mita to Guayabitos north of the Banderas Bay, and Costalegre on the south side of the bay including locations that can only be reached by boat like Las Animas, Majahuitas, Quimixto and Yelapa.
The Vallarta region refers to the entire Bay of Banderas. It is where Puerto Vallarta city lies and most of the developments and real estate are offered within this region. The Vallarta region is divided into three main areas:
- North Shore Area
- Puerto Vallarta Area
- South Shore Area
North Shore Area:
The North Shore area extends from Nuevo Vallarta, just north of the international airport, and continues to the northernmost point of the bay, Punta de Mita. It is made up of small towns and a few very large planned residential communities. It is divided into three different zones:
- Nuevo Vallarta / Flamingos
As Puerto Vallarta has continued to grow, most of the real estate growth has been to the north. Nuevo Vallarta, which is a development similar to Marina Vallarta, was actually established before Marina Vallarta in the early 80's. It did not see development, however, until the mid-90s. Since then, major condo, home, vacation rental projects have been developed. They offer a variety of real estate options, from timeshare to full-time ownership. Most of Nuevo Vallarta real estate is available along the ocean front, the canals and now on the two new golf courses.
- Bucerias / La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
Those who have found Puerto Vallarta a little too busy or big for them have headed north to communities like Bucerias and La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. Prices are lower although they are quickly catching up to the ones you find when looking at Puerto Vallarta real estate. They still have that small town flavor and reasonably priced beachside homes are still available, as well as some small condo projects. Just north of La Cruz is the very upscale planned residential development Real del Mar.
- Punta Mita / Costa Banderas
Punta Mita real is a 1500 acre planned luxury golf resort community with 9.5 miles of pristine peninsular coast-line and soon to be home to four of the most luxurious resort hotels in the world including the existing Four Seasons Resort Hotel. In addition to these properties there is a private Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course in place with additional Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman courses soon to begin construction. Punta Mita real estate offerings range from beachfront and coastal view clustered condominiums up to large estate-sized homes and home sites.
Puerto Vallarta area:
The Puerto Vallarta area extends from Marina Vallarta in the north to the Dreams Hotel just past Conchas Chinas in the south. You can find quite a few developments in Puerto Vallarta area which is broken up into the following five principal residential neighborhoods:
This is the area that lies between Nuevo Vallarta and Marina Vallarta. On the north side of Marina Vallarta you will find International Airport Gustavo Diaz Ordaz. If you drive further north from there you will find a small town called Ixtapa, almost a part of Puerto Vallarta now with all the growth of town.
- Marina Vallarta:
This large residential neighborhood was developed around 1990 and consists primarily of marina and ocean front condominiums; however, there are also golf fairway homes, townhouses with private slips, and most recently oceanfront condominiums. It is built around a marina and an 18-hole golf course and is a favorite location for many, as it is close to town and the airport, and also has an American school for children.
- Hotel Zone: (Gaviotas / Versalles neighborhoods are found in this area).
The hotel zone stretches from the marina terminal to the Sheraton Hotel which is the last of the hotels in that zone right before it meets with downtown Puerto Vallarta. As Puerto Vallarta has grown, Versalles and Las Gaviotas have become popular residential neighborhoods for the people who live and work here. It is quieter than downtown with some view of only the mountains. Prices tend to be in the low to mid range. This is the inland zone on the right-hand side of Francisco Medina Ascencio, the main street heading north from town, extending north and east from the intersection with Libramiento.
- Downtown Puerto Vallarta:
Enjoy all of the amenities that downtown has to offer, restaurants, cafes, bars, the boardwalk, and more. About 90% of the night life is found in downtown Puerto Vallarta all along the famous boardwalk. If you go a couple of blocks up the hill from the boardwalk you will find typical Mexican neighborhoods with small houses and condos built on the side of that hill. Location, amenities and some views is what this neighborhood has to offer.
- Old Town Puerto Vallarta: (Also known as Los Muertos, South Side, Emiliano Zapata, Olas Altas, Zona Romantica, Playa del Sol).
If you look up Puerto Vallarta history, you will find out this is where the original fishermans town of Puerto Las Peñas was located. Most of the real estate offered here is along Los Muertos Beach in condominium projects built 10 to 20 years ago. If you enjoy being close to town and the action, this is a great choice. However, as this zone has grown and prices have increased, more and more people have moved into the neighborhoods following the river behind Colonia Emillio Zapata. Although there is not much for view property the prices are much more reasonable.
South Shore Area
The South Shore area begins just south of the old town Puerto Vallarta and continues to small town Boca de Tomatlán. There are a number of beachfront condominium projects, which are mostly older, as new development in recent years has been mostly beachfront or ocean view hillside homes. The following neighborhoods can be found in this area:
- Altavista / Amapas / Conchas Chinas:
These three residential neighborhoods are located on both sides of Highway 200 heading south from Downtown South. The first neighborhood encountered is Altavista, which is on the southern hillside overlooking Colonia Emiliano Zapata: As you head south it turns into Amapas, followed by Conchas Chinas. Prices are moderate within most of Altavista and Amapas, but begin to rise as you head farther south. There is a mixture of both homes and condominiums, with most real estate on the lower side of the highway (primarily in Conchas Chinas) being over 15 years old, while the real estate on the upper side gets newer as you climb higher.
Costa Vallarta North Region
Sayulita and San Francisco (commonly called San Pancho) are small communities located just north of the bay that have become very popular with Americans and Canadians over the past 10-20 years. Both have seen incredible growth during the past 10 years, driving real estate prices up as the land around the communities has become regularized. Although the majority of the housing is moderately priced and sized, recent development has seen the construction of spectacular, million-dollar-plus homes.
Another popular area is just on the northern side of Punta Mita. There are three residential communities (Punta Negra, Higuera Blanca and Litiboo), consisting mostly of small beachfront homes. There are still beachfront lots available for purchase, but prices are increasing and information is difficult to obtain about what is actually available and what has been regularized.
Costalegre region covers the southermost part of the bay. Although small beachfront condos and hotels can be found along the costalegre region, most of the towns in this area cannot be reached by land, making it a very nice hideaway but with not a lot of development. Towns found in this area include:
- Las Animas