Puerto Vallarta is a major Mexican cruise port city located on Bahia de Banderas (Mexico's biggest natural bay), featuring over 100 mi (160 km) of mountains-encircled coastline. The city has population of around 260,000 (metro 390,000).
The settlement was established in 1851 under the name Las Penas. In 1918, the agricultural town was renamed "Puerto Vallarta" to honor a former governor (Ignacio L.Vallarta). Sierras mountains kept the town fairly isolated. In 1954 started a regularly scheduled air service. The road from Tepic was paved in 1970, opening the way for tourism.
City's tourism has steadily increased over the years and currently makes up to 1/2 of the local economic activity. International travel tourism's peak season runs from late-November through March. Puerto Vallarta beaches are among best-known tourist attractions. Long stretches of beaches are located to the north and a series of coves - to the south. The city itself is relatively big but has never lost its colonial charm and Mexican flavour - cobbled streets running up and down among the red-tile-roofed houses.
Puerto Vallarta cruise port receives ships on a regular basis and year-round. In 2015, the port was ranked one of Carnival Cruise Line's "Top 5 ports in the world". In 2018, the cruise port handled 134 ship calls. For season 2019 were booked 180 visits. In 2020 summer, Puerto Vallarta inaugurates the new cruise terminal Puerto Magico (read more in the terminal section below).
Puerto Vallarta cruise terminal
Cruise ships to Puerto Vallarta dock at "Muelle de Cruceros Puerto Vallarta" cruise terminal. The facility has berthing capacity up to 3 liners simultaneously.
Bus tours to El Centro (old town, beach front and markets) are available.The beach front has undergone additional improvements to Malecon - long promenade along the beach, featuring numerous sculptures, night clubs, restaurants, markets, water activities (like boat pulled paragliding over the bay) and various other tourist activities.
(NEW) Puerto Vallarta Cruise Terminal "Puerto Magico"
In 2015 was announced a 3-phase (USD 36 million) project for building the new cruise terminal Puerto Magico. Building's exterior was designed as Mexican hacienda.
The terminal building is sized 15,500 m2 (167,000 ft2) out of total 24000 m2 (258330 ft2) indoor-outdoor area. The complex features dedicated 2-teared parking (capacity 400 cars) and Latin America's largest Aquarium. Project's Phase 1 was completed in 2018-Q3. In January 2020 were completed Los Alambiques (3 buildings, welcome centre, duty-free shop, offices, CBP-Customs and Border Control) and Hacienda Tequilera (shopping centre, regional merchandise, live entertainment) as part of Phase 2 (USD 16 million).
For new terminal's construction works was contracted the local company Puerto Magico. The facility is located on Pier 1, that currently handles ~80% of all cruise ship calls to Puerto Vallarta. The new terminal features a large welcome hall (sized over 30,000 ft2 / 2790 m2), several shops (selling local products), an aquarium.
Puerto Magico Terminal's official opening is scheduled for May 2020. The new facility supports 821 direct jobs (in addition to 3284 indirect regional jobs).
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