Nearly 50% of the workforce is employed in tourist related
industries: hotels, restaurants, personal services, and
transportation. The municipality does however continue to
have strong agricultural, industrial and commercial sectors.
INDUSTRIES Agriculture is especially important in
the Ameca valley to the northeast of the city center.
Principal crops there include flour corn, sweet corn, dry
beans, fresh chile, watermelon and tobacco. Fruit growing
operations are more dispersed, with banana farms in the
Ameca valley, mango orchards in the low hills, and avocado
farms on some of the higher ground above the city.
There are also significant livestock
operations in the Ameca valley, and fishing in the Bay of
Banderas is also a significant industry.
Industrial products include foods and
beverages, furniture, and construction supplies. Thirty
years of consistent development have given Puerto Vallarta a
very strong construction sector which employs nearly 10% of
the Puerto Vallarta workforce.
The commercial sector comprises nearly 17% of the
workforce, including shipping, trucking, wholesale and
retail operations (though the retail sector is probably
understated because of the large underground economy in the
Shipping traffic consists of cruise
ships, which arrive almost daily, and occasional visits by
U.S. Navy frigates. The Mexican Navy maintains a base at the
port, as well as a former naval hospital in the city center,
which is now a Naval Museum. Puerto Vallarta is not however
very active as a commercial port. Most goods arrive in
Puerto Vallarta by truck along the Compostela highway from
Tourism and travel represent a large
part of Puerto Vallarta, with many rental and accommodations
available. While the U.S. economy has created a downturn in
overall tourism business, the other markets including Canada
and Europe are still quite strong.
Puerto Vallarta was once named as La
Ciudad Mas Amigable en el Mundo (The Friendliest City in the
World), as the sign reads when entering from Nayarit. Today,
the presence of numerous sidewalk touts selling time-shares
and tequila render the city's atmosphere more akin to
tourist-heavy resorts like Cancun and Acapulco, but overall
the city's reputation remains relatively undiminished.
Tourism makes up roughly 50% of all
economic activity in Puerto Vallarta according to
puertovallarta.net. The high season for international
tourism in Puerto Vallarta extends from late November
through March (or later depending on the timing of the
College Spring Break period in the USA.) The city is
especially popular with US residents from the West Coast
because of the number of convenient flights between Puerto
Vallarta and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. The air
routes between Puerto Vallarta and Los Angeles and Puerto
Vallarta and San Francisco are by far the most heavily
traveled of all air routes to the city.
Puerto Vallarta is also a popular
destination 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. Also in
recent years Acapulco has experienced a rise in drug related
violence and consequently Puerto Vallarta has absorbed a lot
of the Mexico City resort vacation business (Acapulco has
long been a common destination for tourists from Mexico
Puerto Vallarta has become a popular
retirement destination for US and Canadian retirees. This
trend has spawned a condominium development boom in the
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.
Guadalajara and Acapulco were common
vacation destinations for gay men and lesbians from Mexico
City and, especially, the United States and Canada in the
1980s and 1990s. However, since that time, Puerto Vallarta
has developed into Mexico's premier resort town as a sort of
satellite gay space for its big sister Guadalajara, much as
Fire Island is to New York City and Palm Springs is to Los
Angeles. It is now considered the most welcoming and
gay-friendly destination in the country, dubbed the "San
Francisco of Mexico." It boasts a gay scene, centered in
the Zona Romática, of hotels and resorts as well as many
bars, nightclubs and a gay beach on the main shore.
Puerto Vallarta has been cited as the number one gay beach
destination in Latin America.