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PUERTO VALLARTA GEOGRAPHICAL CHARACTERISTICS
 
    Puerto Vallarta lies on a narrow coastal plain at the foot of the Sierras Cuale and San Sebasti├ín, 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. From South to North they are the Cuale, the Pitillal, and the Ameca. A number of arroyos also run from the Sierra to the coastal plain. Many of the valleys of these rivers and arroyos are inhabited. Also development has to some extent spread up the hillsides from the coastal plain.

    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.


SEISMIC HISTORY


    Puerto Vallarta, like much of the west coast of North America, is prone to earthquakes, though Puerto Vallarta tends to experience only peripheral effects of earthquakes centered further south. In 1995 an earthquake located off the Colima coast shook the crown from the top of the Roman Catholic Church.


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