New Meeting Venue in Puerto Vallarta

A new $43 million convention center positions Puerto Vallarta to boost its meetings and convention business

By: By Mark Rogers

Airport Enhancements

Two years ago, Puerto Vallarta’s Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR) underwent an ambitious renovation and expansion program that allowed it to increase its capacity by 141 percent. The renovation added a state-of-the-art, $20 million satellite terminal created to primarily service international flights from the U.S and Canada.

The new terminal has the capacity to accommodate an additional 800,000 passengers per year. The renovation program also introduced improvements to the airport’s immigration facilities and baggage claim system. Travelers will also like the new art installations at the satellite terminal, where art and photography exhibits by local artists are on display.

Puerto Vallarta is well connected to North America’s major airport hubs. Scheduled nonstop service operates from numerous U.S. cities.

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Jose M. Barquin, deputy director of the Los Angeles office of the Mexico Tourism Board, is an expert on Mexico's meetings and conventions market.  Click here for his insights.

Puerto Vallarta International Convention Center occupies 42 acres about five minutes from both Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport and the city’s main Hotel Zone, the area from El Centro to Marina Vallarta. The center is the vision of renowned Guadalajara-based architect, Guillermo Gomez Vazquez Aldana. Its light and airy design mimics the movements of the sea and Aldana claims to have been inspired by Puerto Vallarta’s location on Banderas Bay.


Puerto Vallarta’s new convention center should bring in more meetings. // (C) 2009 Puerto Vallarta International Convention Center

The first thing visitors will notice on arrival is a 250,000-square-foot landscaped plaza featuring natural pools and waterfalls. This outdoor space is adaptable and can host everything from small weddings to over-the-top entertainment. The plaza is bordered by the El Salado Estuary, a protected area of mangrove swamps that is home to a variety of bird and marine animals. A nice touch is the convention center’s intention to donate a portion of its revenue to help ensure the conservation and protection of the estuary. The convention center also houses an estuary research center that is open to visitors.

The interior of the convention center has more than 105,000 square feet of flexible meeting and exhibition space, giving the center the ability to host intimate get-togethers for groups as small as 10 to large events with up to 7,000 attendees. The center provides all of the essential services required by large groups such as an exhibition area, private meeting rooms, simultaneous translation equipment and a cultural and educational center. All of these services are accompanied by up-to-the-minute technology.

The main meeting hall is Gran Salon Vallarta, with 54,000 square feet of space and the ability to host 5,000 people. The Gran Salon Vallarta is designed primarily to host congresses, conventions and exhibitions and can be subdivided into eight fully equipped, sound-proofed rooms. In addition, the facility has a 5,382-square-foot cafeteria, an area for medical services, several shops specializing in local products and souvenirs, a press room and a VIP lounge. Upscale salons and dressing rooms are available to satisfy even the most difficult needs and requests. The salon is also the location of the convention center’s kitchen, which can prepare food and beverages for up to 1,500 people.

On the upper floor is a mezzanine area with specialized conferences and conventions halls and a 2,099-square-foot business center that provides Wi-Fi, fax and copying services. The business center also has space for attendees to conduct interviews and business meetings.

Overall the convention center complex has 670 car parking spaces, as well as a separate parking lot reserved for up to 50 motorcoaches.

Agents booking leisure travel to Puerto Vallarta should keep their eye on the new convention center, since it will be doing double duty as a venue for major local and international entertainment events as well.