Vallarta: Where the Sea Meets the Sierra Madres
earliest history recorded about Puerto Vallarta begins around
600 BC, when it was part of a large kingdom called Xalisco, ruled
by a King called Nayarita. Even then, it was known as one of the
most beautiful spots in the entire kingdom. Later, tribes including
the Toltecas and the Aztecas migrated to the area and opened up
a trail to the Nahuatl empire situated in the valley of Mexico
that today is known as Mexico City. In 1524 Spanish explorer Francisco
Cortes officially "discovered"
the bay surrounding Puerto Vallarta, but the settlement remained
relatively unknown to the outside world for hundreds of years.
beauty of Puerto Vallarta finally received international attention
in 1963 when American director John Huston filmed
the movie "The Night of the Iguana" there - bringing
an aura of mystique as well as a lot of publicity to the region.
Soon afterwards Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton bought a house
Vallarta, further increasing the world's interest in the town.
You may be surprised to hear that modern Puerto Vallarta is a
far cry from the sleepy tropical village depicted in the older
movies - in fact the city now has over 250,000 inhabitants. More
recently this bustling seaside community was in the headlines
as the location where American fugitive Andrew Luster was captured.
Vallarta is also a great place to practice your Spanish! I had
the pleasure of traveling there recently with my mother, who is
a beginning to intermediate Spanish student. She found that speaking
Spanish enhanced her trip a lot. It is a bit of a myth that English
is all you need to know in order to travel in Mexico. In fact,
the majority of the people we met spoke limited English. Speaking
Spanish enables you to get a much better feeling for the culture
& their way of life. It's also practical, and can help you
navigate around yourself instead of having to rely on the translations
of others. Below are just a few of the words she found to be helpful.
sauna de vapor
no estuvo muy bien
no está muy limpio
solo aire acondicionado!
más despacio por favor
a sus ordenes
gracias, solo estoy viendo
agua está purificada?
un lugar con tamales buenos
mariachi en vivo
lo puede rebajar?
me parece muy caro!
que tengas un día lindo
gracias por su ayuda
high speed (internet)
it was good
it wasn't very good
it isn't very clean
only air conditioned (ones)!
at your service
thanks, I'm only looking
a place with good tamales
you lower it? (the price)
that seems expensive!
have a lovely day
thanks for your help
like Mexican food, downtown Puerto Vallarta offers some of the
tastiest I've had in a long time. At Pipis, (this is not a typo!
- pronounced "PEE-PEES") - they offer you a free bowl
of delicious guacamole made right at your table when you sit down.
There are a lot of gringos at this hot spot, but once you taste
the food you'll see why. Another favorite was Tequilas on the
"malecón" or the oceanfront tourist zone. They
have mariachi music at night, and during the day you can enjoy
an unobstructed ocean view while eating fresh homemade tortillas
pictures of our trip with additional commentary, click
& Facts about Puerto Vallarta