VISIT OUR GROCERY MARKET: Mercado Ollin    |    Español

Puerto Vallarta & Riviera Nayarit Ready to Go Capless – By Bob Schulman

BANDERAS BAY, Mexico — It’s 1525, and 20,000 native warriors are about to make history out of your little troop of Spanish conquistadores scouting the bay. There’s only one way out. All eyes turn to Father Octavio, who needs no encouragement to call for divine intervention.

It works! Just in the nick of time, one of the royal flags held aloft by your men starts glowing with a brilliant image of the Holy Cross. Terrified at the sight, the attackers flee. The day is saved.

A popular legend has it that’s how western Mexico’s 50-mile-long Banderas Bay got its name. In Spanish, banderas means flags.

Fast-forward to today, and the crescent-shaped bay is one the country’s most popular vacation destinations, home to Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta and part of the Riviera Nayarit on beaches peppered by close to 200 hotel-resorts.

The bulk of the properties are in Puerto Vallarta (or simply Vallarta, as the locals call their town), as is an international airport serving all three areas. Developments spread north to Nuevo Vallarta and up the coast to what’s now the Riviera Nayarit during periodic building booms in the late 70s and in the 80s and 90s, sparked in large part by liberalized air service treaties between the U.S. and Mexico.

Another boom seems likely on the horizon when the latest treaty, signed last November, goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.

Flight Caps to be Removed

Among key features of the new agreement, restrictions on the number of airlines that can fly between U.S. and Mexican city-pairs will be tossed out. Currently, under an earlier pact signed in 2005, only three airlines from each country can serve any given route between 14 Mexican points (mostly beach destinations including Vallarta) and cities north of the border. Routes between the U.S. and other Mexican points are now capped at two carriers per side.