Puerto Vallarta is a Mexican beach resort city situated on the Pacific Ocean's Bahía de Banderas. The 2010 census reported Puerto Vallarta's population as 255,725 making it the fifth largest city in the state of Jalisco, and the second largest urban agglomeration in the state after the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area. The City of Puerto Vallarta is the government seat of the Municipality of Puerto Vallarta which comprises the city as well as population centers outside of the city extending from Boca de Tomatlán to the Nayarit border (the Ameca River). The city is located at 20°40′N 105°16′W. The municipality has an area of 1,300.7 square kilometres (502.19 sq mi). To the north it borders the southwest part of the state of Nayarit.
To the east it borders the municipality of Mascota and San Sebastián del Oeste, and to the south it borders the municipalities of Talpa de Allende and Cabo Corriente. Puerto Vallarta is named after Ignacio Vallarta, a former governor of Jalisco. In Spanish, Puerto Vallarta is frequently shortened to "Vallarta", while English speakers call the city P.V. for short. In internet shorthand the city is often referred to as PVR, after the International Air Transport Association airport code for its Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport.
Puerto Vallarta's proximity to the Bay of Banderas, the agricultural valley of the Ameca River, and the important mining centers in the Sierra have given the town a more interesting past than most Mexican tourist destinations. Puerto Vallarta was a thriving Mexican village long before it became an international tourist destination. Tourism was a major economic activity because of the climate, scenery, tropical beaches, and rich cultural history.
The region that now comprises Puerto Vallarta was discovered in 1541 by Don Pedro de Alvarado. Not long after Alvarado first touched ground in this area, that bay was practically forgotten for almost 300 years.
Puerto Vallarta was know as "Puerto Las Peñas" from
1851 until 1918 when it was designated as a municipally and received the official name of "Puerto Vallarta", in honor of Don Ignacio L. Vallarta, a reputable representative of the State of Jalisco at the time. For the next 20 years it remained a small fishing village. In the 1930s, Puerto Vallarta started to become a more popular tourist destination. However, it was in 1964 that Puerto Vallarta became famous, with the release of John Huston's movie version of Tennessee Williams' The Night of the Iguana. The movie showcased the beauty of Mismaloya Beach while the paparazzi publicized the adulterous affair between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. This publicity helped to attract foreign investors in the 1970s, which brought about the massive expansion of Puerto Vallarta. After this (along with the increased accessibility by airplane and the construction of first-class hotels), agriculture and fishing took second place to tourism, which remains the main industry of the area today.