“Plentiful sunshine,” the weather forecast for Puerto Vallarta predicts. Temps in the mid-80s.

Less than a month ago, the forecast was frighteningly different. Hurricane Patricia, deemed the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere, was heading there.

Given nature’s whims and Mexico’s preparedness, the situation turned out to be far less grim than predicted. An area south of Puerto Vallarta with few residents — many of whom had evacuated — took the brunt of the storm. The tourist destination, with a population of 250,000, saw plenty of rain but was otherwise spared.

“We are seeing new Puerto Vallarta bookings,” said Renata Faeth, sales manager at AAA Minneapolis. “We encourage it, with confidence. Most people waited it out, did some research and went ahead and booked.”

No hotels in the colonial city closed as a result of Patricia.

When Faeth was a travel agent, she often encouraged clients to head to Puerto Vallarta. She likes the destination for several reasons.

Unlike the Riviera Maya and Cancun to the south, Puerto Vallarta lies in a mountainous region, sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Madres. The water shines a deep Pacific blue; the sand is brown and robust. “It’s perfect for building sand castles and talking walks,” Faeth said.

Also unlike Cancun, Puerto Vallarta was a Mexican city long before it became a popular stop on the tourist map. Among its charms are cobblestone streets, colonial architecture, a beautiful cathedral and, like all classic Mexican cities, a central square.

But the best part, according to Faeth, is the weather: sunny with temps in the low 80s. “It is really, really consistent.”


Send your questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at travel@startribune.com, and follow her on twitter: @kerriwestenberg.