95th Anniversary of Puerto Vallarta in 25 Moments

95th Anniversary of Puerto Vallarta in 25 Moments

Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board
May 31 2013

On May 31, 1918, the government of the State of Jalisco publishes Decree No. 1899, creating the Municipality of Puerto Vallarta, named after the jurist Ignacio Luis Vallarta Ogazón, ex-governor of Jalisco and renowned official of the government of the Republic of Mexico.

Three years later, between 1921 and 1922, the Saucedo Theater is built in Puerto Vallarta, a French style building, evoking the Belle Epoque. The construction by Juan Saucedo was overseen by the Italian architect Angelo Corsi. The building hosted social parties, civic celebrations, plays, silent screen movies, boxing matches, and other events for a long time.

Just a year after the Saucedo Theater came, in 1923 the American business Montgomery & Co., producer and exporter of bananas, began more than a decade of operations in the municipality, acquiring several thousand acres.

On May 10, 1924, Puerto Vallarta is named a coastal shipping port.

On December third, 1931, the first airplane arrives in Puerto Vallarta, piloted by Charles Baugham, nicknamed “Pancho Pistolas.”

After eight years, in 1939 the first hotel in Puerto Vallarta, the Hotel Gutiérrez, opens its doors above the Saucedo Theater.

In the following decade, in 1948 one of Puerto Vallarta’s hotels of major tradition, the Rosita Hotel, opens its doors. 

In 1954, the first international airline, Mexicana de Aviación, is established in Puerto Vallarta.

On November 10, 1956, Puerto Vallarta’s Fishing Club organizes the first International Sailfish Tournament. This tournament is still going, one of the events with the longest tradition here at our tourist destination.

The same year (1956) the Hotel Gutiérrez changes owners, administration and concept, to turn into the Hotel Océano. Richard Burton and Liz Taylor visited it often in the ‘60’s.

In 1959, the first masonry bridge over the Cuale River is built, and stands as an example of solidarity among the people of Puerto Vallarta in solving a transit problem; it is finished in 90 days. 

A few years later, in 1962 Puerto Vallarta’s airport officially opens.

The following year (1963) “The Night of the Iguana” is filmed here, based on the play by Tennessee Williams, directed by John Huston and starring Richard Burton, Ava Gardner and Sue Lyon. During the shooting of the scenes, Elizabeth Taylor, Hollywood diva, is always present, carrying on an intense romance with Burton. The movie goes all the way around the world and brings enormous promotion to the budding tourist destination. The lovers are so taken by Puerto Vallarta that they stay on to live here for a few years.

The next big step is in 1964, when the first modern hotel, the Hotel Posada Vallarta, opens its doors. Of enormous tradition, this hotel is the platform for the launching of Vicor Iturbide “El Piruli’s” singing career, and the location of the “El Magnífico” movie, starring French star Jean Paul Belmondo.

On December 1965, the concrete crown, designed by the sculptor Esteban Ramírez Guarñeo, is placed on the tower of Our Lady of Guadalupe church.

A year later, in 1966, the Ameca River Bridge is built, connecting Puerto Vallarta to Nayarit State in Valle de Banderas.

A very important success takes place on May 31, 1968, when the Jalisco State Congress, via Decree 8366, raises the town of Puerto Vallarta in category to City.

The following year, in 1969, the Hotel Camino Real opens its doors, becoming the first chain hotel in Puerto Vallarta. This business stands out because of its cultural commitment to the community, by carrying out an artistic event of importance each first Thursday of the month, open to the public.

The same year (1969) the Compostela-Puerto Vallarta highway opens to motor vehicles, bringing Puerto Vallarta out of the isolation in which it had found itself.

On August 19 and 20, 1970, Gustavo Díaz Ordaz and Richard M. Nixon, Presidents of Mexico and the United States, respectively, come together to settle border issues between the countries. This year sees Puerto Vallarta connected to the Sistema Eléctrico de Occidente (Western Electric System), and the official opening of the Maritime Terminal.

In February 1971, the Regata Marina del Rey-Puerto Vallarta takes place for the first time, an event that now happens every two years.

In the following decade, the President of Mexico, José López Portillo, inaugurates the new City Hall in September 1981.

On September 9, 1983, Manuel Lepe Macedo, the “Painter of Vallarta”, dies. He was a local plastic artist who through his Naif painting expressed the essence of the typical Mexican town and showcased Puerto Vallarta for the whole world.

In 2011, Puerto Vallarta’s New Malecón opens to the public, establishing itself as a pedestrian zone, and becomes the place most visited by tourists and locals, site of port culture, open air sculpture gallery, place to breathe the fresh air of freedom, and where to best appreciate the beautiful sunsets.

On January 4, 2013, the beautiful Playa Los Muertos Pier is inaugurated, which looks to become Puerto Vallarta’s new tourist icon.