Puerto Vallarta's History from the 1500s until Today

Puerto Vallarta’s History from the 1500s until Today


During the first part of the 19th century, at the mouth of the Cuale River – at that moment in time, inhabited mostly by crocodiles – there were practically no human dwellers. Between the rugged Sierra, the ocean, and the powerful Ameca River, this beautiful piece of Mexican geography remained isolated from the rest of the world.

View of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish without it's Crown, 1958

View of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church without its Crown, 1958

Interesting photos:
Historical Vallarta Photos
Vallarta past versus present (comparisons)

The hubs of economic activity were up in the mountains, in the towns of Cuale, San Sebastián, and Mascota, where silver mines abounded but where salt, an essential element for the metal processing, wasn’t found, we’ll return to that further on.

Today, visitors to Puerto Vallarta can enjoy a breathtaking view from any of the hills that surround the city.

Puerto Vallarta is located on the Pacific Coast in one of the largest bays in the world (a member of “The Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club” [visit their website].

Banderas Bay measures 42 kilometers from north to south. The northernmost limit of the bay is at Punta Mita which is the end of the Sierra de Vallejo mountains and, to the south, the bay ends in Cabo Corrientes, part of the foothills of the Sierra del Cuale range.

Puerto Vallarta Malecón boardwalk seen from Hotel Oceano, approx. 1957-58

Puerto Vallarta Malecón boardwalk seen from Hotel Oceano, approx. 1957-58

XVI Century

The bay has been known since the XVI Century when Spanish soldiers, during the expeditions to Lower California (or the island of pearls, as they called it), landed on the bay’s beaches in order to supply their ships with water, firewood, and fresh food. There are many chronicles from that time that mention the beauty of the coastline, the fertility of the land and the safe harbors that the bay offered ships.

During the XVI Century, safe harbors all along the Pacific Coast were a vital necessity so that ships returning from the Philippines would have a place to find refuge in case of an attack by pirates. These harbors were also necessary during the long journeys, to and from the Orient so that ships could be repaired if necessary and crews could take on provisions.

One of the first to propose a settlement on Banderas Bay was Captain Pedro de Unamuno after the trip he made in 1587 from the Philippines. Famous navigators like Sebastian Vizcaino, Lopez de Vicuña, and Gonzalo de Francia more than once landed on these beaches and also proposed the establishment of a colony, but their petitions never received any attention.

Main Square view from the Parish Tower approx. 1958

Main Plaza view from the Parish Tower approx. 1958

XVII – XIX Century

An early procession in honor of Virgin of Guadalupe

An early procession in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe

It is known that a shipyard was built on the bay in 1644 (probably where Mismaloya is located today) and two ships were built for Bernardo Bernal de Pinadero that would be used in the colonization of Lower California.

In document and in ships logs dating from the XVIII Century, constant references are made to whaling ships and fishing boast that harbored in the bay. At the time, Banderas Bay was also known as Humpback Bay (Bahia de Los Jorobados) because of the number of humpback whales that were seen in the bay.

In the XIX Century, the site that is today Puerto Vallarta was used for the loading and unloading of supplies and materials for the mining companies that worked the mines in Cuale and San Sebastian. At that time the site was known as Las Peñas.

Founding of Las Peñas

Sánchez Torres Founding Family 1915

Sánchez Torres Family 1915

In 1851, Don Guadalupe Sánchez Torres, originally from Cihuatlán, Jalisco, began to make regular deliveries of salt from San Blas or the Marías Islands in his small boat since the mines required large quantities for refining the silver.

Don Guadalupe and his men built a small lean-to from tree trunks and palm leaves so that they would have a place to rest that was out of the sun while the sale was being loaded onto donkeys for transport to the mines.

Toward the end of 1851, Don Guadalupe decided to bring his family to Las Peñas de Santa Maria de Guadalupe because he arrived early in the morning hours of December 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

December 12, 1851, is considered the day, Don Guadalupe Sánchez Torres founded the town, initially called Las Peñas de Santa María de Guadalupe, later on, shortened to Puerto Las Peñas and finally on May 31st, 1918, Puerto Vallarta.

With the arrival of new families, the village grew bit by bit and its economy began to change. While some families brought in salt, others began to devote themselves to agriculture or cattle raising.

View over Juárez Avenue and the Puerto Vallarta "Cathedral" 1953 approx.

View over Juárez Avenue and the Puerto Vallarta “Cathedral” 1953 approx.

In 1880, Las Peñas had a population of 1,500 inhabitants. New families from Cuale and San Sebastian came to settle in the port. Five years later, on July 14, 1885, the port was opened to national maritime traffic and officially given the name of Las Peñas.

On the 23rd of July, a Maritime Customs Office was established. The following year on October 31, 1886, the town was given official political and judicial standing when Decree No. 210 was passed by the State Congress.

During the last decade of the XIX Century and the first of the XX Century, Las Peñas gradually progressed thanks to the combined efforts of the people and the enthusiasm of Don Guadalupe.

The discovery of silver in the United States of America brought down the price of the metal and old prosperity became an affliction. The miners from the mountain townships left their recently acquired trade to go back to agriculture. They chose the fertile Ameca valley, so rich that it produced three corn harvests a year. In March 1914, the first post office was opened and in September of the same year, a telegraph was installed.

Las Peñas becomes Puerto Vallarta

Ignacio Luis Vallarta

Ignacio Luis Vallarta

On May 31st, 1918, by Congressional decree No. 1889, Las Peñas was granted the title of a municipality as well as a new name: Puerto Vallarta, in memory of the illustrious lawyer and Governor of Jalisco, Don Ignacio L. Vallarta.

In 1925 when the Montgomery Fruit Company purchased about 70,000 acres in nearby Ixtapa, Vallarta began to boom due to the surplus of jobs available on the newly-opened banana plantations. They also built a railway to transport the bananas from Ixtapa to El Salado estuary where they were loaded onto ships to carry them to the United States. This operation ended in 1935 when the Montgomery Fruit Company had to leave Mexico because of the new agrarian law that had just come into effect.

Other products were raised in the area such as corn, beans, tobacco, and small coconuts used for their oil which was shipped to the interior to be used in the national market.

In about 1930, a few national and foreign tourists began to come o Puerto Vallarta, returning year after year, to spend their vacation enjoying the tranquillity and great natural beauty of the port. Slowly word began to spread and each year more tourists came.

In these years a new source of wealth was found in sharks. From the waters of Banderas Bay, the fins ended up on the tables of New York’s Chinese restaurants. During the II WW, shark liver oil was given as a nutritional supplement to the soldiers.

Puerto Vallarta Centennial Celebrations

Night-time view of the Malecón boardwalk 1950s

Night-time view of the Malecón boardwalk 1950s

The centennial celebrations of Puerto Vallarta were a big event. A well-established Puerto Vallarta family member, Margarita Mantecón de Garza, married to coronel Cipriano Garza who had good contacts with the current Mexican president, Miguel Alemán Valdés, were placed in charge of organizing the event and were authorized to get a group of ships and an 80 member orchestra of musician sailors too. The date was established as expected for December 12th, 1951. Aero Transportes de Jalisco S.A. offered planes to bring in the whole group of authorities, artists, media, and more, arriving on December 10th. Navy Minister, Alberto José Pawlin, was sent as the President’s representative. On the morning of December 12th, the harbor town was woken up by 21 cannon shots from the battleship Potosi, by the fleet entering the bay with Mexican flags gallantly waving. A relic of the True Cross was brought to Vallarta as well on this occasion.

News of this event was shown in cinemas around the country, showing the landscape and beauty of the town. This may have inspired Fernando “Freddy” Romero Escalante, to move to this paradise-like town the following year. He noticed that houses in the town were built based on the so-called Serrano-style.

As explained by José Alfonso Baños Francia:

“Starting off (in Puerto Vallarta) it was mountain-area architecture, with a design that was influenced by the Western Sierra, from towns like Mascota, San Sebastián del Oeste, and Talpa de Allende, where the first settlers who migrated to Puerto Vallarta came from. These houses were built between 1851 and 1940, and it is these that gave the image of a typical Mexican town. They are noted by having sloping and tile roofs with adobe walls, and long, narrow wooden windows, which also had wooden beams in the upper frame. “

Freddy Romero did not agree with this influence because it did not adapt well to the local environment much warmer and humid than those towns in the mountains. There was no reason to inherit those small windows and tall roofs. He preferred white adobe facades, red-tiled pitched roofs, wrought iron, and stone walls. These houses he designed were more inspired by the typical Mexican village feel and did not look to modern design for inspiration, sitting in the bar at Hotel Gutiérrez (changed to Hotel Océano in 1956) he would sketch out homes on napkins. He built houses like Casa Caracol, Casa de la “O”, Casa Los Arcos, Las Campanas (the 1st bungalows in Vallarta), and John Huston’s home in Las Caletas, among many other buildings still found around town. This is what’s now known as the “Vallarta Style” of architectural design.

The Night of the Iguana

Downtown Puerto Vallarta 1957Downtown Puerto Vallarta 2012

City view from the “El Cerro” 1958 approx. vs recent photo

On November 11, 1954, Mexicana de Aviación airline inaugurated its flight Guadalajara – Puerto Vallarta. Aeronaves de México (Aeroméxico) had enjoyed a monopoly on the route to Acapulco, but Mexicana found in Puerto Vallarta a destination to compete with the famous bay in Guerrero. Visitors started coming in from other Mexican towns and from abroad. Among them, Guillermo Wulff, a Mexico City engineer – and famous movie director John Huston, who wrote:

When I first came here, almost thirty years ago, Vallarta was a fishing village of some 2000 souls. There was one road to the outside world – and it was impassable during the rainy season. I arrived in a small plane, and we had to buzz the cattle off a field outside town before setting down. (Huston, 1980. An Open Book)

Reinforced by intense advertising campaigns, Mexicana launched the Puerto Vallarta – Mazatlán – Los Angeles route in 1962. Thanks to its affiliation with Pan American Airlines, Mexicana’s promotion was seen in its offices all over the world.

The road to Puerto Vallarta, 1950s

The road to Puerto Vallarta in the 1950s

Guillermo Wulff’s arrival – coincidentally as a guest in Mexicana’s first flight to Vallarta – marks the beginning of the second phase in the material construction of the town. It was he who introduced the cupola as an architectural element in several homes he built between Gringo Gulch and Mismaloya, where he obtained a very timely 90-year lease.

In Los Angeles I met a Puerto Vallarta architect and entrepreneur named Guillermo Wulff […] I was thinking about locations for Iguana, and Guillermo urged me to go to Mismaloya. […] and although Mismaloya was Indian land, Wulff said he had a lease on it and could build anything he wanted there. (Huston, 1980. An Open Book).

The Malecón and Hotel Paraíso.

The Malecón and Hotel Paraíso

With its wide beach and tropical forest as background for the only set (the old hotel) expressly built for the movie, the site was perfect, and a few months later it was ready for the first call for “action”. Filming was not exactly a picnic, though. Gabriel Figueroa, the great Mexican photographer, had a specially hard time getting and installing lighting equipment and power plants in the jungle with the ocean as the only access. It was the year 1963.

Juarez Avenue and Main Square Puerto VallartaJuarez Avenue and Main Square Puerto Vallarta

Juárez Avenue Before & After

For the first time, Puerto Vallarta received simultaneously big Hollywood stars, national celebrities, and USA intellectuals. Deborah Kerr, Ava Gardner, Sue Lyon and Richard Burton led the cast, that also included Emilio “El Indio” Fernández. Tennessee Williams, the author of The Night of the Iguana, visited the set frequently and always in the company of Gigi, his beloved poodle, who, according to John Huston, often suffered from sunstroke.

On the other hand, Liz Taylor, sometimes accompanied by her two children, spent most of the time with Burton, with whom she was deeply in love. Charmed by Puerto Vallarta’s magic, Richard Burton, and Elizabeth Taylor purchased the house they had initially rented, Casa Kimberley, and became the center of a fairly large group, that, according to those close to them, certainly enjoyed themselves. Richard also purchased the villa on the other side of the street and Guillermo Wulff built the famous bridge that connected them. John Huston later built his house in the small cove of Las Caletas where he lived until very shortly before his death.

This extraordinary gathering of celebrities, captive in an out-of-the-way spot, was too tempting for the international press that soon began arriving in hordes. In addition to the gossip about famous stars, the media showed the primeval beauty of the place. From that moment on, Puerto Vallarta ceased to be “a secret hideaway waiting to be discovered”.

Improvements in Infrastructure

In the face of the growing demands of tourism, the need for an adequate response from authorities and investors became urgent, and the governor of Jalisco from 1965 – 1971, Francisco Medina Ascencio, was there to promote the change. Through his efforts, Puerto Vallarta was outfitted with the infrastructure required of urban development and a modern tourist destination. His efforts and needs reached the Mexican President and thus, Puerto Vallarta ascended to the category of a city on May 31st, 1968, and was granted funds to build a bridge over the Ameca River, the coastal highway from Barra Navidad to Puerto Vallarta, the Compostela – Las Varas – Puerto Vallarta road and the international Puerto Vallarta airport named after the president: Gustavo Díaz Ordaz.

During Medina Ascencio’s government, the Camino Real hotel and the Banco Nacional de México (Banamex) branch were built. Thanks to his influence, the city soon enjoyed electric power and telephone service. In addition, the first harbor in Jalisco was built at El Salado. One of Medina Ascencio’s great achievements was getting the presidents of the USA and Mexico to meet in the recently appointed city. He knew this would give more international exposure to the city. Out of all this promotional activity, the President gave Air France the concession for a flight to Paris – Montreal – Guadalajara – Puerto Vallarta, thus attracting European tourism.

Puerto Vallarta International Airport without Terminal 2

Puerto Vallarta International Airport

In 1970, the President signed a decree declaring “residential and tourist development on the lands surrounding Banderas Bay in the states of Nayarit and Jalisco as well as existing communities” of public convenience. Motivated by this, the president expropriated 1026 hectares, which in 1973 would finally be regulated through the founding of the “Puerto Vallarta Trust”. The city chronicler, don Carlos Munguía Fregoso, considers these two steps as instrumental in the development of Puerto Vallarta, paving the way for new and significant investments. It was only after 1973 that the construction of big hotels began.

Two years after the opening of the Sheraton Buganvilias Hotel in 1980, at the end of President José López Portillo’s term, the Mexican peso was devalued. Yet one man’s trash is another man’s gold, goes the proverb; and while the rest of the country suffered, Puerto Vallarta enjoyed a period of prosperity, some say, as yet unsurpassed. “The year 1983 was especially good,” says Don Carlos. With their budget suddenly doubled, foreign visitors filled the restaurants and stood in long lines in front of the shops that could hardly keep up with their client’s demands. The key to this blissful boom was keeping the prices in pesos.

Between 1980 and 1990 Puerto Vallarta’s population nearly doubled from 57,000 to 112,000 citizens. By 1985 the flux of tourism and immigrants demanded, on one hand, the building of new hotels and, on the other, the development of residential options for its employees and executives. Downtown Puerto Vallarta wasn’t large enough to house this expansion and nobody wanted to see tall buildings obstructing the view of the bay or destroying the city’s typical Mexican-village atmosphere.

Puerto Vallarta grows

Marina Vallarta

Marina Vallarta

With great timing, the Martínez Güitrón brothers from Guadalajara started building Marina Vallarta. Impeccably planned, the development would eventually include a school, condominiums, a residential site, a shopping mall, and large hotel properties. Work on the Marina proper, with its 450 boat slips, was started in 1986 and by 1990 the Marina was in full swing. The project was basically finished by 1993, ahead of schedule.

The first years of the nineties were hard for Puerto Vallarta. Even though national tourism grew, international travelers dropped off. In 1993 the destination was fifth in Mexican vacationers’ list of beach resorts, after Cancun, Acapulco, Mazatlan, and Veracruz. It was crucial to put an end to this decline.

On May 31, 1996, the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Fund was created. This institution has since been in charge of handling the funds raised through a two-percent tax on hotel room occupation. Fortunately, Puerto Vallarta decided to use 100% of these funds in promoting the destination at the national and international levels. The joint efforts of the fund, hotels and restaurants, free agents, tour operators, and guardians of the environment turned things around and Puerto Vallarta began the process of earning a position among world-class beach destinations.

Marina Vallarta, view of the lighthouse

Marina Vallarta, view of the lighthouse

In contrast with Cancun, Ixtapa, or Huatulco – government-planned resort destinations – Puerto Vallarta is somewhat of an accidental resort town.

Nobody set out to put Puerto Vallarta on the tourist map, at least not in the early years. But today the primitive charms of yore have been substituted with million-dollar investments and fierce competition. The globe is shrinking and traveling to places once inaccessible due to distances, is now common practice.

Even though Puerto Vallarta is today measured up against Bali, New Zealand or Ibiza, it still holds its own. The natural beauty of Banderas Bay, with its deep waters (either warm or cool, depending on the season), immensely rich biodiversity. Lagoons and wetland birds can be watched year-round, while right in the bay, whales and dolphins frolic. There’s fish to be made into ceviche or grilled on a stick; billfish worthy of international tournaments and colorful fish to be admired diving below the bay’s surface. In the foothills, the tropical forest welcomes hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers. Crossing the streams and cooling down in the pools formed by their waterfalls, explorers learn to tell fig trees from parotas and amapas. On the beaches at night, sea turtles lay their eggs during the summer months. Banderas Bay is definitely a marvel and a strong attraction for tourism.

Vallarta's lush jungle

Vallarta’s lush jungle

These assets have earned Banderas Bay membership within the Club des Baies plus Belles de Monde (The World’s Most Beautiful Bays Club, [visit the page of the bay], whose main objective is the promotion of exceptional, world-renowned bays. People have little by little come to notice the pricelessness of their surrounding paradise and have undertaken efforts to preserve it intact.

One of these efforts is the regional sewage system and treatment plant that has been installed in the last years. This state-of-the-art plant biologically treats sewage waste so it can be released again as clean water without fear of pollution.

Tall and elegant, palm trees never bend too much in Puerto Vallarta. Although winds may blow, they never reach the fury of hurricane force. The geographical situation of the bay protects it from the storms that cause such devastation in other tropical destinations. All in all, our climate has to be among the best in the world, especially during the winter, when the days are sunny and the nights are cool.

In the downtown area, overhead wires are being cabled underground, to the delight of photographers and strollers, that now will be able to enjoy Puerto Vallarta’s architecture where white walls are interrupted only by flowerpots blooming with bougainvillea, geranium, hibiscus, copa de oro and splendid ferns. The city streets have always been paved in cobblestones, but now, these river rocks have been set in concrete to create a much smoother and more durable surface.

Los Arcos National Marine Park

Los Arcos National Marine Park, Puerto Vallarta

Fortunately, water is abundant in Puerto Vallarta. And now, thanks to a new radial well in the Ameca river, our source will soon double, enabling the destination to continue its growth without water concerns.

Things have changed since the first airplane landed here in 1931. Today Puerto Vallarta hotels range from small, economical inns to magnificent luxury hotels. Important national and international airline companies provide services that connect Vallarta to the principal cities of the U.S. and Europe. Luxury cruise ships dock here on a daily basis and a good highway connects the town to Tepic, Guadalajara, and the rest of the country.

Puerto Vallarta offers a multitude of things to do and places to see, but there are also some great two-day or weekend trips nearby available. These getaways are for those who frequent Puerto Vallarta Mexico or perhaps live here full-time and are looking for something new. You can travel by car, bus, ship or by airplane, and the accommodations can range from small countryside inns to luxurious villas along the coast – something for all budgets.

All around PV, just minutes from downtown, there are easily reached areas of great natural beauty, ideal for a day’s outing or a picnic. Some even have their own hotels where it is possible for a visitor to “get away from it all” for a few days. Some of the favorite spots are Bucerías, Mismaloya, Quimixto and Yelapa, most of these only reachable by boat.

South Coastal Zone

South Zone Home, Puerto Vallarta

The Puerto Vallarta real estate market continues to expand, not only in terms of value but also in the size of the territory. Real estate agents now realize they have to be knowledgeable about what is happening in real estate with properties as far south Boca de Tomatlán, and as far north as San Pancho. It no longer is just Puerto Vallarta Mexico. For some time now we have referred to this area as Costa Vallarta.

For shopping and strolling, downtown Vallarta can’t be beaten. It has what must be the best boardwalk (Malecón) in all of Mexico, lined with restaurants, nightclubs, and fine shops. There is also an open-air market with artists. This area is where you’ll find many of Vallarta’s landmarks such as the Church of Guadalupe, the sculpture of the boy on the seahorse, and the open-air theater of Los Arcos. Right through the center of Puerto Vallarta Mexico runs the Cuale River. In the middle of the river is Isla Rio Cuale, a picturesque island with shops and restaurants scattered throughout. This is a great place to take a break from a busy day of shopping and sightseeing.

Puerto Vallarta, ciudad turística

Puerto Vallarta became a resort town by accident

The area between Marina Vallarta and downtown Vallarta is where you can find most of the hotels and three shopping malls with over 100 shops offering everything from traditional souvenirs to fashionable boutiques and modern grocery stores as well as restaurants and coffee shops.

Marina Vallarta is Mexico’s most sophisticated marina and one of the most popular. It includes an 18-hole golf course, a 450-slip marina, a waterpark, several 5-star & Grand Tourism hotels. Along Marina’s boardwalk are numerous shops, boutiques, galleries, cafes, and restaurants.

South of Puerto Vallarta is some of the most prestigious residential areas, featuring homes with spectacular architecture nestled in the jungle, with fabulous views of Puerto Vallarta and the bay. This is where the Sierra Madre mountains meet the shores of Banderas Bay, creating an environment of beautiful beaches with a rich jungle backdrop.

Hammock beach, Las Caletas, Cabo Corrientes, Jalisco, Mexico - south of Puerto Vallarta

Las Caletas, come and rest and relax in Pto. Vallarta

The Federal Government, in conjunction with the state governments of Jalisco and Nayarit as well as some private enterprises, have begun an important program for the development of tourism in the entire Banderas Bay area under the name Vallarta Nayarit.

The latest developments have been various malls in the hotel zone, including Plaza Galerias, Plaza Peninsula, and Macroplaza. In 2009 the Puerto Vallarta International Convention Center (Centro Internacional de Convenciones en Puerto Vallarta) was inaugurated in Estero El Salado. In town, the Malecon (boardwalk) was remodeled and inaugurated in Nov. 2011. In the romantic zone, the Los Muertos Pier was rebuilt and inaugurated in January 2013.

Puerto Vallarta is the ideal place for anyone who likes water sports. Here one can skin-dive, waterski, go deep-sea fishing, windsurfing or even try the exciting parasailing.

One of the most important annual events in PV is the International Sailfish Tournament held during the first week of November. Ardent fishermen from all over Mexico and U.S. participate. Vallarta is also the site of important conventions and business meetings.

Today, Puerto Vallarta occupies an important position among the rest of the world’s international tourist resorts.

Malecón Puerto Vallarta 1960Malecón Puerto Vallarta 2020

Timeline of Important Dates in the history of Puerto Vallarta

By Carlos Munguía Fregoso (1997) – with slight modifications

1525.- March 24, – First official European presence in the Bay of Banderas with the arrival of Francisco Cortés de San Buenaventura.
1770-1810.- Whaling activity in the bay earned it the name of “Humpback Bay”.
1797.- On the map of the Bay of Banderas laid out by Ship Lieutenant Juan Matute, the wharf of El Carrizal appears, it probably gave rise to the “Las Peñas” ranch.
1851.- December 12.- The official foundation date of Las Peñas Ranch by Mr. Guadalupe Sánchez, his family, and friends.
1869.- December 16.- Deputies of the State of Jalisco to the General Government request that the port of Las Peñas is authorized for the trade and cabotage.
1874.- Admiral George Dewey of the North American Navy informs that at the mouth of the Real River (Cuale) the town of Las Peñas is located, where the boats come to load blackwood used in the dying industry.
1883.- March 12.- The presbyter Sabino Viruete blessed and placed the first stone of the Las Peñas chapel.
1884.- October 30.- The 7th Canton, Tepic, was declared territory and Las Peñas was within its limits. General Francisco Tolentino was able to work out an agreement for the return of the port.
1886.- July 23.- The Customs Maritime Section, dependent on that of San Blas, is established in Las Peñas.
1886.- October 31.- Las Peñas Commissariat is established, depending on the Talpa de Allende Municipality, by the State Congress decree No. 210.
1888.- May 2.- Las Peñas Commissariat becomes part of the San Sebastián Municipality by State Congress Decree No. 305.
1895.- April 29.- Dr. Ignacio Díaz y Macedo, Bishop of Tepic, grants authorization to build the Las Peñas church.
1899.- June.- Alfred W. Geist acquires 90% of the shares of the Cuale mining company “La Union”, so the mines and lands where Las Peñas was located end up in his hands.
1902.- December 31.- The Cabo Corrientes lighthouse is inaugurated, it was for many years the most powerful one on the Mexican coasts.
1914.- March 15.- The Postal Office is opened at the home of Mr. Francisco Guevara and on September 26 telegraph service is installed.
1918.- May 31.- The Las Peñas Commissariat rises to the category of “Municipality” through Decree 1889 and is renamed “Puerto Vallarta” in honor of the notable lawyer Ignacio L. Vallarta.
1921.- October 12.- The Las Peñas Vicarage is established.
1924.- May 10.- Puerto Vallarta is declared a Cabotage Harbor.
1925.- October 24.- A hurricane hits Puerto Vallarta, causing serious damage to the town and its surroundings.
1927.- April 11.- The First Cristero uprising begins, led by Benigno Verduzco and Father Francisco Ayala.
1928.- During Vicente Palacios’ administration, with the help of the town and Mayor Pinelo, the first school was finished, it was divided into two sections, the “López Cotilla” for girls and the “Manuel Pinelo” for boys. It is currently the “20 de Noviembre” School.
1930.- November 11.- The public service of electric lighting is inaugurated thanks to a generator that was obtained by Mr. Sebastián Arreola and Mr. J. Buenaventura Santana.
1931.- January 1 .- Vallarta is declared a new high altitude port.
1931.- December 3 .- The first plane arrives at the port. The pilot was Mr. Charles Baugham who was nicknamed “Pancho Pistolas”.
1932.- August 15.- The “lighthouses” of the Malecón and Matamoros are inaugurated.
1933.- January 1 Vallarta is declared a new port of cabotage.
1939. – As municipal president, Mr. Rodolfo Gómez, the first pumping system and tanks are installed to provide the population with running water.
1943.- November 1 .- Don Agustín Flores gives the mayor, Porfirio Uribe, the keys to the school May 15, now Teresa Barba.
1944.- November.- The governor of Nayarit, Candelario Miramontes and the president of Compostela, Salvador Gutiérrez, officially inaugurate the Compostela-Puerto Vallarta gap.
1947.- Mr. Manuel Gutiérrez installed the first gas station in the port at the corner of 31 de mayo streets (Paseo Díaz Ordaz) and 31 de Octubre. The pump was manual and the gasoline arrived in drums of 200 liters.
1950.- June 16.- It opens its offices in the streets of Juárez and Guerrero, the Commercial Bank of Guadalajara, the first banking institution in the port.
1951.- December 12th.- With great festivities, the first centenary of the foundation of the port was celebrated.
1954.- November 11.- La Cía. Mexicana de Aviación, covering the Guadalajara-Puerto Vallarta route, with stops at Mascota and Talpa.
1956.- June 4.- Governor Agustín Yáñez, accompanied by Dr. Manuel Baumgarten, inaugurates the Pet Puerto Vallarta breach.
1956.- November 10.- The local fishing club organizes the First International Sailfish Tournament.
1958.- A new thermoelectric plant is installed that begins to supply constant electric power 24 hours a day.
1959.- October.- In 90 days of work, the first masonry bridge over the River Cuale is finished.
1960.- The Health Center is installed in Jesús Langarica Street.
1961.- September 13.- The Niños Heroes School opens its doors. Teaching was in the hands of the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament.
1962.- September 5th.- Industrial Technological School No. 49 is established, better known as the E.T.I.
1962.- The new air terminal is inaugurated, now occupied by General Aviation, in the lands near the El Salado estuary.
1963.- March.- The filming of the movie La Noche de la Iguana gathers in Puerto Vallarta great figures of international cinema such as Richard Burton, Deborah Kerr, Ava Gardner and Sue Lyon. Liz Taylor only came as a spectator.
1965.- December.- The concrete crown is placed on the tower of the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe, designed by the sculptor Estevan Ramírez Guareño.
1966.- March 14.- The weekly “Aquí Vallarta” comes to light under the direction of Mrs. María Sandoval.
1967.- August 9.- The XEEJ station, “Radio Paraíso”, begins its broadcasts.
1968.-May 31.-When celebrating the fiftieth anniversary as a municipality, Puerto Vallarta is elevated to the category of City through Decree No. 8366 of the H. State Congress.
1969.- Inauguration of the Telephones of Mexico automatic system for long-distance calls
1970.- August 20-21.- The interview of Presidents Gustavo Diaz O. of Mexico and Richard M. Nixon of the United States to solve the problem of Chamizal and Paso de Ojinaga takes place in this city. During his visit, President Diaz Ordaz inaugurated important works such as the port works of the El Salado estuary, the new International Airport that bears his name, the Compostela-Puerto Vallarta highway, and the integration of Puerto Vallarta into the Electricity System of the West. On the other hand. the Federal Board of Material Improvements, chaired by Ing. Alberto Uribe Valencia completed the remodeling of the now Aquiles Serdán park, with its grandstand, the forum, and the quarry arches.
1970.- August 31.- President Diaz Ordaz decrees the expropriation of 1,026 hectares of the Puerto Vallarta ejido in order to regularize land tenure.
1971.- February.- The Marina del Rey – Puerto Vallarta regatta is held for the first time and is organized every two years.
1971.- March 27.- The Delegation of the Red Cross in the Port is officially established.
1971.- August 31.- The heavy rains caused by Hurricane Lilly greatly increased the flow of rivers near Puerto Vallada. The Island of Santa Clara (del Cuale) was flooded and its inhabitants had to be evacuated and its relocation gave rise to the Pa ‘lo Seco colony.
1972.- Ignacio Jacobo preparatory school, dependent on ‘the University of Guadalajara.
1973.- January 8.- President Luis Echeverría Alvarez decrees the formation of the Puerto Vallarta Trust, as a body of the Federal Government to regularize land tenure in Puerto Vallarta.
1976.- February 14.- The IMSS building is inaugurated.
1977.- Start your Tele-Cable transmissions of Vallarta, S. A.
1978.- April 8.- The Technical Committee of the Administering Organization of the Water and Sewage Services of Puerto Vallarta -SEAPAL- is formed by Decree No. 9608 of the H. Congreso del Estado. The XHFM station starts its transmissions. -Solar Frequency Modulated Sun
1979.- May 28.- Mr. Adolfo Suárez Rivera, Bishop of Tepic, consecrates the downtown temple and its altar to the Virgin of Guadalupe.
1981.- September.- The president of the republic, José Lopez Portillo, presents the new building of the Municipal Presidency to the mayor Rafael González Pimienta.
1983.- September 9.- After a long illness, the painter Manuel Lepe Macedo dies in Guadalajara (born April 9, 1936).
1990.- August 18.- The new municipality of Bahía de Banderas is created in the state of Nayarit.
1992.- January 18.- Due to the heavy rains, the Mascota and Ameca rivers overflowed, leaving 400 victims and destroying the crops. The bridge of the Desembocada collapsed and that of the Ameca River cracked.
1993.- January 29.- Governor Carlos Rivera Aceves inaugurates the Par Road that connects the Libramiento with the streets Allende and October 31.
1994.- May.- The XHVJL-FM and XEJLV-AM cultural radio stations, from the state government, start broadcasting.
1995.- October 9.- At 10:36 am Puerto Vallarta was shaken by a strong tremor that lasted 1 minute with 15 seconds and registered a strength of 7.6 on the Richter scale. The crown of the church collapsed and several hotels in the north were seriously damaged.