The city in the Bahía de Banderas owes its fame as a seaside resort to the Hollywood classic ‘The Night of the Iguana’, shot in 1963 in Mismaloya, south of the old city centre.
The all-star cast of Richard Burton, Ava Gardner and Deborah Kerr around director John Huston mobilized the international yellow press and turned the place into an “in” travel destination.
Today, Puerto Vallarta is a city divided in two parts: the tourist zone with its partly enormous and luxurious hotel complexes stretches north of the old center for kilometers along the bay – one of those synthetic holiday paradises, as it can be found in many parts of the world and in Mexico still in Acapulco and Cancún. The actual Vallarta lies on both sides of the Rio Cuale and has retained its charm and atmosphere. Although the city has hardly any attractions in the classical sense, one can enjoy the stroll along the Malecón and through the streets behind it. The island in the Rio Cuale is a green oasis with cafés, restaurants and a museum.
The city beaches of Puerto Vallarta are less attractive, but you can visit the beautiful beaches in the south by bus and water taxi, among them Playa Las Animas, Quimixto and Yelapa. Puerto Vallarta is the ideal beginning or end of a trip to Mexico for people who are not just looking for peace and tranquility. The hotel offer does not need to stand up to any comparison even apart from the big resorts, as does the choice of restaurants.