What’s the deal with Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit? Are they two destinations, or just one with two different brands? And how do you know which one to choose?
It’s understandable that for somebody who hasn’t visited either destination, to be confused about what they are all about. Actually, even for those of us who are lucky to live in the area it still gets a little confusing. So here’s our best try to explain it.
Puerto Vallarta is located in the Mexican state of Jalisco and it was the ‘original’ tourist destination in the region. It all started back in the sixties when American filmmaker John Huston chose one of its beaches as location for its movie “The Night of the Iguana”, starring Ava Gardner, Rock Hudson and Richard Burton (who happened to bring with him his then-fiancée, a young girl called Elizabeth Taylor).
That fortunate event almost single-handedly put Vallarta in the map and make its reputation as a tourist hotspot.
Remember that we mentioned that Puerto Vallarta is in Jalisco? Well, it actually is located in the border with the state of Nayarit. The two states share the Banderas Bay with the Ameca River that cut the bay in two halves being the natural border of the states.
So, once Puerto Vallarta became world famous it was just a question of time until the people of Nayarit would try to make the most of that well-deserved fame of their lucky neighbors.
The first attempt was creating Nuevo Vallarta (which still exists), a tourist development with large resorts and an outstanding marina. Its problem was that there was not much more in the area.
Then different beach towns along the coast of Nayarit started making their own experiments to attract some of the tourists visiting Puerto Vallarta, and that’s how Riviera Nayarit was born. There was no consciouos effort to create it, but one day it was there, somebody noticed it and came with the idea of the catchy brand Riviera Nayarit.
So, are they two destinations or just one? Well, they are actually quite a few. From Puerto Vallarta to Punta de Mita, including Nuevo Vallarta, Bucerias, Sayulita, San Pancho, Litibu and all the way to San Blas. However, in reality it works like one single destination, with only one airport and a lot of different things to do and places to visit.
Now that you know, the next time you plan to come to Mexico, visit the Vallarta Nayarit region and discover its best asset: its diversity!