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Why is it called Puerto Vallarta and the Bahia of Banderas. (Bay of Flags)

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What does the name Banderas Bay mean?

Bahía de Banderas is a natural bay in Mexico located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, between the states of Jalisco and Nayarit, and gives its name to one of the municipalities of Nayarit, Bahía de Banderas. One of the deepest bays in the world.

Who discovered Bahía de Banderas?

Francisco Cortes of Buenaventura
It was in the year 1525 that Francisco Cortés de Buenaventura, a relative of the conqueror, arrived on these shores, near a town called Tintoc.

Bahia de Banderas got its name from what Spanish explorers encountered in this region. But to begin, these explorers were first drawn to this area by legends of abundant gold and of female warriors who were ruling this beautiful land. And apparently, the natives greeted the arriving Spaniards covered with colorful plumage. Also, various sources state that these initial encounters were friendly.

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According to Spanish scribes, in the year 1525, there was a violent encounter. As documented by historian Juan Manuel Gomez Encarnación, when the explorers arrived under the command of Francisco Cortés, the young nephew of Hernan Cortés, the natives came out to battle. And, they carried flags made from colorful feathers, similar to the plumage worn during previous visits. But this time, they were armed with quivers filled with arrows, ready to defend their land.

Of course, the Spanish conquistadors were provoked by this encounter, so they were obliged to fight. Then, they won the battle and took control of the land for the King of Spain.
The many wonders of Banderas Bay

First, Banderas Bay doesn’t just appear to be beautiful. It’s actually officially beautiful, according to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). Also, the coastline is a a beach-lovers mecca. And, from December through April, observers get to see the splendor and grace of humpback whales searching for peaceful locations to give birth. Finally, sea turtles spring to life on the sea and on the beach, from July through December.

Of course, there’s more, much more, to this spectacular location. From the Sea of Cortez to the booming port city or Puerto Vallarta, Banderas Bay is a MUST SEE destination. So, to read about the many wonders of Banderas Bay, check out: Bahía de Banderas: Discover Puerto Vallarta’s magnificent bay of flags.

Historical review

The name of Puerto Vallarta is in honor of Lic. Ignacio L. Vallarta, notable Jalisco jurist and former governor of the State.

The oldest archaeological remains that have been found in Puerto Vallarta – to date – come from the site called “La Pedrera” on Costa Rica Street, in the Lázaro Cárdenas neighborhood. The first settlements were probably established around 300 BC. in the Middle Preclassic. A thousand years later the people of Aztatlán arrived in the Early Post Classic and it was finally inhabited by groups of the Banderas culture in the Late Post-Classic. This culture was what the Spanish found when they arrived in the Valley.

Lieutenant Lázaro Blanco in his Compostela Report, written in 1584, comments that the natives called this Valley “Xihutla” which means “place where grass grows”. Captain Francisco Cortés de San Buenaventura was the conqueror of this region. The chroniclers narrate that when he arrived at the town of Tintoque, more than twenty thousand armed Indians were waiting for him at the entrance, carrying a feather flag in their hand and another in their quiver.

The Spanish brought four royal banners and one of red damask with an image of La Purísima in front and a cross on the back. Seeing so many enemies, the friar who came with them knelt to ask for divine help and immediately, the banner of Damascus was filled with brilliance, instilling courage in the soldiers and fear in the Indians who surrendered, leaving at the feet of the father their little flags and their weapons. This happened in March 1525, and for this reason, the Spanish gave the Valley the name “Banderas” which it retains to this day.

Puerto Vallarta previously called “Las Peñas”, “Peñitas” and, probably in more distant years “El Carrizal”, was founded in the independent era on December 12, 1851, by Guadalupe Sánchez Torres, his wife Ambrosia Carrillo and some friends such as Cenobio Joya; Apolonio de Robles; Cleofas Peña and Martín Andrade -among others-, who gave it the name “Las Peñas de Santa María de Guadalupe” because that day was dedicated to the virgin.

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On October 31, 1886, Las Peñas police station in the municipality of Talpa was established as the political and judicial police station, by Decree No. 210 of the H. State Congress.

By decree number 305 of the H. State Congress, of May 2, 1888, the Las Peñas police station is annexed to the municipality of San Sebastián.y is it called Bay of Banderas and Puerto Vallarta.

On May 31, 1918, the Las Peñas police station was elevated to the category of Municipality by decree number 1889 of the H. State Congress. When changing political category, the Las Peñas police station received the name of the municipality of Puerto Vallarta, at the request of deputy Dr. Marcos Guzmán. The referred decree was published on June 5, 1918.

On May 31, 1968, the town of Puerto Vallarta was elevated to the category of city by decree number 8366 of the H. State Congress, upon celebrating its 50th Anniversary as a municipality.

Currently, the city of Puerto Vallarta continues to be the municipal seat.

How many beaches are there in Bahía de Banderas?

It is home to more than 40 beaches that captivate with their unmatched beauty. Activities for the whole family, including diving, surfing, kite-surfing, contemplating flora and fauna and practicing extreme sports.

At more than 900 meters deep (3.000 feet), Banderas Bay is one of the deepest bays in the world. It is also 42 kilometers wide from point to point, placing it among the 10 largest bays in the world and easily the largest bay in Mexico.

Remembering Puerto Vallarta 1998 Malecon & Los Muertos Pier Malecon, Yelapa, Quimixto, Culture.

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