Puerto Vallarta is a Mexican beach resort city situated on the Pacific Ocean’s Bahía de Banderas in the Mexican state of Jalisco. Puerto Vallarta lies on a narrow coastal plain at the foot of the Sierras Cuale and San Sebastián, parts of the Sierra Madre Occidental. The plain widens to the north, reaching its widest point along the Ameca river. Three rivers flow from the Sierra through the area. The city proper comprises four main areas: the hotel zone along the shore to the north, Olas Altas – Col Zapata to the south of the Cuale river (recently named Zona Romantica in some tourist brochures), the Centro along the shore between these two areas, and a number of residential areas to the east of the hotel zone. The oldest section of the town is the area of Col. Centro near the church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, especially Hidalgo street.
Puerto Vallarta was once named as La ciudad más amigable del mundo (The Friendliest City in the World), as the sign reads when entering from Nayarit. Puerto Vallarta is also a highly popular vacation spot for domestic tourists. It is a popular weekend destination for residents of Guadalajara (tapatíos), and a popular national destination for vacations such as Semana Santa (the week preceding Easter) and Christmas. Rapid growth in tourist volume in Puerto Vallarta has given rise to rapid growth in hotel and rental apartment construction. This growth has spilled over from the city limits into Nuevo Vallarta in the neighboring state of Nayarit. The area is one of the fastest growing regions in the Americas.
Puerto Vallarta has become a popular retirement destination for US and Canadian retirees. This has created a number of neighborhoods within the Puerto Vallarta region that cater primarily to real estate tourism, such as the Hotel Zone, which stretches from downtown Vallarta to the airport and Marina Vallarta (near the airport), and Amapas and Conchas Chinas, which are built into the mountain slightly south and behind Puerto Vallarta, and overlook the city and bay. Puerto Vallarta can be classified as a medium-ranged real estate market with a market consisting mostly of condominiums with the average price around US$320,000 in 2019. Higher-end real estate can be found primarily in Conchas Chinas, however Punta Mita, at the northern point of Banderas Bay in the neighboring state of Nayarit, has becoming increasingly more popular with wealthier buyers over the past ten years.
Puerto Vallarta has schools for all levels from kindergarten to university education both private and public.