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December 01, 2023


The pilgrimages in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe gather thousands of believers during the first twelve days of December.  They take to the streets of Downtown Puerto Vallarta to demonstrate their faith and give thanks for the favors they have received throughout the year.

In a route that begins at 31 de Octubre Street, where the little town of Puerto Vallarta used to end, the faithful sing prayers and praises to “La Virgen Morena” (the "Brown Virgin".)  The route continues along Juarez Street in El Centro to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish altar, located in front of the main square.

Puerto Vallarta's hotels, restaurants, schools and trade unions are all enthusiastic participants in the Guadalupan celebrations.  But also: malls, hospitals, pharmacies, soccer and Charro teams, airlines and other transportation companies, city government and generally all tourism related companies.

The most affluent pilgrims are accompanied by elaborate floats that commemorate the appearance of Guadalupana to the indigenous Juan Diego on the hill of Tepeyac, as dictated by Catholic tradition.

Colorful arrangements of fresh flowers, groups of folkloric dancers and mariachis, or live band music also lead these contingents.  The humbler devotees carry a flower or two, candles and rosaries, homemade flags with the image of the Blessed Mother while bearing faith and gratitude as their only banners. 

For both locals and visitors, it is a special event to witness the "Las Mañanitas" to the Virgin of Guadalupe—a celebration with live Mariachi music that takes place during the midnight and goes on until the early morning hours of December 12th.

The Fiestas Guadalupanas of Puerto Vallarta have been declared "Intangible Heritage of the State of Jalisco" in 2018.  This is because they embody the collective identity of the community.


This year, more than 350 processions are included in the program of the Fiestas Guadalupanas of Puerto Vallarta.  Every day, starting at 5:00 pm, and every five minutes until after 10:00 pm, a different contingent starts the procession from 31 de Octubre Street.

Families of Old Town Vallarta Pilgrimage

Do not miss the Families of Old Town Vallarta Pilgrimage, which starts at 7:00 pm on the first day of December.  This procession gathers members, descendants and friends of Puerto Vallarta's original families.  

The pilgrims, according to the customs of the time when Puerto Vallarta was a small pueblo whose main economic activity was agriculture, usually wear typical clothing made of blanket cloth.  The young people belonging to the most traditional families are responsible for representing their ancestors' old trades: fishermen, porters, muleteers, bakers...

It is worth mentioning that a few decades ago, the Families of Old Town Vallarta Pilgrimage did not exist as such.  The procession was the result of the migration of traditional families from the Historic Center and the Emiliano Zapata neighborhood to other areas of the city.  However, their Guadalupan zeal has persisted over time.

The Families of Old Town Vallarta Pilgrimage represents a tribute to the Puerto Vallarta of yesteryear and to all those who helped the city grow and develop.

The Pilgrimage of the Favored

The Pilgrimage of the Favored is another one of special importance.  With up to 20,000 people participating, it is the largest of all the Guadalupana processions in Puerto Vallarta.  The pilgrimage begins in the morning of December 12 and continues for several hours.

The origin of the Pilgrimage of the Favored goes back to a "miracle" attributed to the Virgin of Guadalupe in 1946.  According to oral tradition, after a pilgrimage to the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, a group of 35 believers from Puerto Vallarta were returning home.

The vehicle in which the pilgrims were traveling lost its brakes and plunged into a cliff while descending a hill.  Faced with what the locals believed to be imminent death, one of the people, mixed with devotion and crying, invoked the Virgin: “Virgin of Guadalupe, Virgin of Guadalupe!”.

“As if the car had been stopped in midair, it stopped and got stuck in the rocks and sand of the hill,” said Señora Josefina Munguía, one of the survivors, according to testimony given by her daughter, Señora Inmaculada Ávalos.

It was then decided that from that year on, a Pilgrimage of the Grateful, led by those who survived such an event, would take place every December 12th.  The priest of the church, in turn, requested that a book be kept in which all the favors received by the Guadalupana would be recorded.  Thus originated the name "De los Favorecidos" (Of the Favored), which remains in force 77 years later.

In 2023, the Great Pilgrimage of the Favored is scheduled for Tuesday, December 12 at 11:00 am. 


The origin (and destiny) of Puerto Vallarta is closely linked to the cult and devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe.  According to the official history, the founder of the city, Don José Guadalupe Sánchez Torres, arrived with his family in what is now Puerto Vallarta on December 12, 1851.

He named the city Puerto Las Peñas de Santa Maria de Guadalupe.  It was not until the year 1918 that the name Las Peñas de Santa María de Guadalupe was changed to the current name of Puerto Vallarta.

Señor Guadalupe Sánchez was also responsible for the construction of a place of worship entirely dedicated to the "Brown Virgin", according to the oral history of the city.  The faith, the devotion, and the gratitude of Puerto Vallarta people to the Virgin of Guadalupe have only grown and consolidated over the years.

In 2018, the Government of the State of Jalisco recognized the Fiestas Guadalupanas of Puerto Vallarta as "Intangible Cultural Heritage of the State of Jalisco".  This is because they materialize the collective identity of the community and represent a living form of historical everyday life.

Pilgrimages to the Virgin of Guadalupe in Puerto Vallarta are also a factor of social integration, attracting thousands of international visitors and driving the local economy.

Very popular are the various antojitos mexicanos stalls offering tamales, atole, tostadas, duritos on Juarez Street and in the main square during the docenary.  Other stalls selling Mexican handicrafts, fresh flowers, and typical clothing are also set up near the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish to delight locals and visitors alike.

What do you like most about the Fiestas Guadalupanas of Puerto Vallarta?  Feel free to share your stories and best photos on our social media pages (Facebook, X, Instagram and TikTok) using the hashtag #PuertoVallarta.

Visit the website of the Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe to see the calendar of pilgrimages for 2023 (in Spanish.)

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