The founder of Puerto Vallarta was Guadalupe
Sanchez Torres. He came to this beautiful bay on December 12, 1851,
along with his wife, brothers and friends. In Mexico, December 12th is
the day of our Lady of Guadalupe. So, Torres named this town, Las Peñas
De Santa-Maria De Guadalupe. Las Peñas are now known as Los Arcos, (the
national underwater park). So, it translates to Los Arcos of Our Lady
Notice that the name of the founder is Guadalupe.
This probably means that he was born on December 12th as well. There was a
tradition in Mexico that whomever was born on that date, boy or girl, would be
named Guadalupe. Of course this has changed over many years, but that's another
In 1911, the townspeople requested that Puerto Las
Peñas De Santa Maria de Guadalupe, should be categorized as a town. It wasn’t
until 1918, that the State Government complied and at the same time, changed the
name to Puerto Vallarta. Why Puerto Vallarta? Ignacio L. Vallarta was Governor of the state of Jalisco in 1871, senador in congress 1875, and President of the Supreme Court in 1878. Thus he was
honored with naming of the town Puerto Vallarta on May 31st, 1918.
In 1925, the Montgomery Fruit Co. (banana exports)
became the first foreign company to set up business in Puerto Vallarta. There
are many reasons why they went out of business, just one of them was the end of
the revolution of Pancho Villa. The end of the Revolution meant that all the
land was taken away from the famous ''Haciendas'', and passed out to the people
that worked it. So, the majority of the workers left the Montgomery Fruit
Company, to work on their own land.
The Centennial of Puerto Vallarta in 1951 was a big
event, drawing many people to the town. Among them was the Hollywood Director
John Houston. In 1963 John Houston came back to film the movie, The Night of the
Iguana, with Richard Burton. Even though Elizabeth Taylor was not in the movie
herself, she came to be with Richard Burton. Richard and Elizabeth were married
at the time, just not to each other. The romance they lived was better than the
movie, and the scandal was great publicity for Puerto Vallarta.
After the movie, in 1968, the town was elevated once
again to the category of city. The Governor of Jalisco at that time, Francisco Medina
Ascencio, worked very hard to capitalize on the movie and ensuing scandal to
ensure that Puerto Vallarta became known worldwide.