Nestled in Bahia de Banderas, in the Mexican state of Jalisco, Puerto Vallarta is the sunny city you’d expect it to be. Rarely heard of in comparison to its shared-state counterpart, Guadalajara, PV is its equal in picturesque sights and architectural marvels.

You might even have heard it referred to as PV before. This is the name that English speakers who can’t quite yet grasp the tongue-twister name often very understandably use.

However, before we dive into what Puerto Vallarta is all about – time for a quick (hopefully fun) history lesson.

What made Puerto Vallarta the city it is today

However, Puerto Vallarta wasn’t always known as such. Originally called El Carrizal or Las Peñas in the 19th century, PV gained its namesake from a former Jalisco governor, Ignacio Vallarta, in 1918 as civil war (1910-1920) ravaged the country.

Though small, Puerto Vallarta has found itself at the center of many significant events throughout history. Its stronghold as a town placed conveniently for both trading and mining made it a hotbed for political, innovative, and social activity. Sitting nicely on the agricultural plane of the Bay of Banderas and passed by the Ameca river, PV would inevitably thrive. This, in turn, has left the city with a wealth of history unlike any other dwelling in the peninsula.

While San Blas, a neighboring town, was home to the most-used port during the 19th century. Traders and ship captains alike often opted to use the smaller port at Puerto Vallarta. This was done to evade the tax collectors at San Blas and perform smuggling operations – quite cool!

Never quite catching a break, Puerto Vallarta was twice captured by the Cristero forces during the Cristero war. Even the notorious Hernan Cortes couldn’t resist leading a battle against troops in Puerto Vallarta.

Influences from numerous invading generals, cultures, traders, and visitors have uniquely formed Puerto Vallarta in terms of architecture, lifestyle, and much more. For centuries, PV had thrived as a small bustling village. In fact, only recently has this vibrant town entered the collective mind of jet setters and holiday agents alike.

Phew, that’s enough history for now. So, let’s move onto why you’re probably hearing a lot more about Puerto Vallarta these days.

What helped Puerto Vallarta become a tourism favorite?

However, it’d be a huge oversight to not mention a few of the subtle driving factors that have led PV to top many must-see lists today. Though we might be more familiar with it from pictures on social media feeds or bloggers, it was once known as the place where Elizabeth Taylor’s and Richard Bruton’s affair began.

Moreover, the Mexican government took many measures throughout the 20th century to make PV more accessible by various transport routes.

But behind it all are the tourist-favorites of irresistible weather, scenery, tropical beaches, and rich history. The staples of any good holiday. Because of this, tourism has swiftly become one of Puerto Vallarta’s primary sources of income, with over half of the city’s 221,200 population participating in it in one way or another.

The average temperature of PV never strays far from the average of 70 °F (21 °C)

– 86 °F (30 °C) across all months. But, since the rainy season arrives in the Summer months, tourism numbers are at their highest from November to June.

It just gets better

If you’re entering PV through Nayarit state, you might notice a large sign with “La Ciudad más amigable del Mundo (The Friendliest City in the World)” emblazoned across it. This is a phrase that has since become somewhat synonymous with PV, and through past visitor accounts, it appears to have some truth to it.

However, it’s not just the people, history, or the sunshine that draws in flocks of tourists every year; it’s also the prospect of action.