Puerto Vallarta Garners Cruise Critic Accolades and New Airlift
Photo courtesy of the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board
Puerto Vallarta continues to generate positive buzz on the land, sea and air fronts, with cruise awards and increased airlift topping the hype.
Grabbing the number one spot in the inaugural Cruise Critic (CruiseCritic.com) Cruisers' Choice Destination Awards, Puerto Vallarta’s Cruise Port Terminal has been rated the “Top Mexican Riviera & South America Destination.”
Considered the world's leading cruise reviews site, Cruise Critic based its rankings on a ratings system that factors in published member reviews from Aug. 1, 2015 to July 31, 2016. The awards honor destinations across 15 global regions. Following Puerto Vallarta in the Mexico and South America region are Buenos Aires, Cartagena, Mazatlan and Ushuaia.
It should be no surprise that the Mexico Pacific Coast port received the nod. As one of the country’s most popular tourism destinations, the colonial town is revered for its stunning setting between Banderas Bay and the Sierra Madre Mountains. While cruise ship passengers grow more and more enchanted with its breathtaking beauty as they head into port, land-based energy pumps up with festive Mariachi band greetings.
Between January and August 2016, 83 cruise ships called, compared to 72 for the same period last year. Passenger tallies also ramped up, hitting respective counts of 199,565 and 173,978. Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board (PVTB) stats project that the destination should welcome an additional 350,000-plus cruise passengers by year’s end.
To further enhance the Cruise Port Terminal, an extensive three-year upgrade orchestrated during off-season periods will add a Welcome Center, Tequila Factor and aquarium.
Air service continues to make news as well, with Southwest Airlines adding a new flight from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR) on Dec. 4. On February 12, 2017, Southwest will launch nonstop daily service between Oakland International Airport (OAK) and Puerto Vallarta, as well as to San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos (SJD).
American Airlines will chime in with a daily direct flight from LAX to PVR on Dec. 15. This Southwest and American combined service will bolster airlift to Puerto Vallarta from what is already established as its top destination of origin in the U.S. Frontier set the stage earlier this year with direct service from Chicago (ORD).
Stats reflect that July 2016 was PVR’s 37th month of continuous increase in airline seats. International arrivals were up 12.8 percent from January through July, as compared to the same period in 2015.
Air travelers are also in store for facility enhancements, with airport, local and national authorities authorizing a multi-million dollar renovation of PVR’s customs and immigration areas.
The PVTB notes that tourism flight arrivals are in alignment with the destination’s hotel occupancy rate that stood at 72.6 percent from January through July — the highest level it has hit in a decade. That number is 10 percent above the same period last year.
READ MORE: 6 Great Restaurants In Puerto Vallarta
On the landmark Malecon that connects Downtown with the Romantic Zone, visitors are privy to the Voladores de Papantla (Flyers of Papantla) that dazzle in a ritual performance each evening at 6 p.m. Climbing a 50-foot tall pole in traditional native attire, four voladores represent fire, earth, water and air. As the fifth voladore plays the flute while sitting atop the spinning pole, the others dangle from a rope by one ankle each as they gracefully spin and flutter around the pole until they reach the ground.
Other complimentary events include daily city walking tours hosted by the PVTB and the Puerto Vallarta Art Walk that’s held on Wednesday evenings from October through May.
For a full calendar of events and additional information, go to VisitPuertoVallarta.com.
More by Dawna L. Robertson
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