6 Puerto Vallarta Fun Facts was last updated May 30th, 2023. This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase through one of my links I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you!
Puerto Vallarta blew my mind. I didn’t expect to fall so in love with this beautiful town, but fall in love I did. When I think back to my time there, certain words and phrases come to mind. Mountains in the distance. Night swimming. Jungle. Fajitas. Margaritas. Crocodiles. Victor’s Place. Utter relaxation. Tequila.
This is such a special place for so many people, including myself. While I wait eagerly until I can go back again, I thought it would be fun to share some Puerto Vallarta fun facts!
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6 Puerto Vallarta Fun Facts
As someone who loves fun facts, ESPECIALLY fun facts about destinations, this post is right up my alley. So without further ado, let’s get into these Puerto Vallarta fun facts!
Fun Fact #1- The Name
The town wasn’t originally named Puerto Vallarta. In fact, the original name was Las Penas from 1851 until 1918, when the name was changed to Puerto Vallarta, in honor of the former Governor Don Ignacio L. Vallarta.
Fun Fact #2- Banderas Bay
Located on the Pacific coast, Banderas Bay is the biggest bay in Mexico, and one of the deepest and largest bays in the world, being 3,000 feet deep and 25 miles across. Banderas Bay extends from the state of Jalisco (where Puerto Vallarta is) to the state of Nayarit. From November to March each year, humpback whales swim in this bay, offering tourists and locals alike some extraordinary whale watching opportunities.
Fun Fact #3- Mariachi
You can’t mention Puerto Vallarta without mentioning mariachi bands. The state of Jalisco is the capital of Mariachi music, and you will find it everywhere here as it is still very popular! There is even a children’s mariachi band, which I think sounds just adorable!
Fun Fact #4 -Playa Los Muertos Beach
Playa Los Muertos beach (Dead man’s beach or Beach of The Dead), one of the most well known beaches in Puerto Vallarta, has some legend behind how it got it’s name. There are 3 different stories that you’ll hear.
The first is that the beach was located near a ranch where silver and gold from the Cuale (coal) mines would be shipped off. One day local Indigenous people ambushed the crew of a ship, leaving their dead bodies all over the beach.
The second is a very similar story, however the Indigenous peoples were instead pirates, and the ship crew were instead the miners, bringing up the silver and gold to the ranch.
The third, and the most likely story, is that the beach was originally a sacred burial ground for the Indigenous People. When the beach started getting built upon, bodies in ceramic pots were being dug up, which is how the local Indigenous people had buried their dead.
No matter how the beach got its name, Playa Los Muertos is the most popular beach in Puerto Vallarta.
Fun Fact #5- Love Affair
When we think of Puerto Vallarta chances are we think of how it is such a bustling tourist town. You may be surprised to hear, I know I was, that Puerto Vallarta was not originally a tourist destination. It was a small fishing village and shipping port. So how did it come to be such a big tourist destination?
Well. In 1964 the movie Night of The Iguana (based off of the Tennessee Williams play, who helped adapt the play into the script) came out. It starred Richard Burton, who at the time was having a love affair with Elizabeth Taylor. Both actors were married to other people at the time. The director of the movie, John Huston, adored Mexico, and traveled there often. He felt that movie locations needed to fit, just like actors. Since Night of the Iguana took place in Mexico, it simply made sense to film the movie in his favorite location!
Due to all of the celebrities in this film (Richard Burton, Ava Gardner, Deborah Kerr, Sue Lyon, Grayson Hall) this film was frequently talked about in the news, making the world instantly want to go to Puerto Vallarta too.
Richard Burton purchased Elizabeth Taylor a house called Casa Kimberly, and purchased the house across the street, building a bridge between the two houses to escape the prying eyes of their fans. Casa Kimberly is now a boutique hotel.
Director John Huston ended up living in Puerto Vallarta for 20 years, in the small fishing village of Boca de Tomatlan (read about my time there here). And the rest is history.
Fun Fact #6- LGBTQ
The very first thing I learned when doing research before our trip was how LGBTQ friendly Puerto Vallarta is. Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1871, before many other places in the world. If you are gay, you can expect to feel safe and embraced here.
There are plenty of gay hotels, gay bars, gay events. Being yourself is celebrated here! Every May there is the huge pride festival. Nomadicboys has an incredible guide for all things gay Puerto Vallarta that I highly recommend you check out!
Which of these 6 Puerto Vallarta fun facts did you know?!
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