Popularized by Hollywood love affairs, Puerto Vallarta was once sleepy little fishing town by the Pacific Coast in Mexico that relied on fishes, corn, coconuts and bananas. Today, it is a busy beach resort town, renamed from Las Peñas sometime in the early 20th century. For those fascinated by Mexican exoticism, Puerto Vallarta offers a neatly packaged version, complete with mariachi bands and tequila shots welcoming visitors. Look beyond the packaging, however, and you can find yourself closer to the real heart of this thriving town. Here are some photos of Puerto Vallarta that will hopefully tempt you to get tickets to this beach paradise. ALSO READ: Festivals and Events in India in January 2018 to Kick off a Year of Travel

A colorful apartment building in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Colorful apartment building in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

The colorful main square of Puerto Vallarta

Main square - Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

Mexican pottery in bold earthy colors and patterns at an artisan market

Mexican pottery in bold earthy colors and patterns. At artisan market in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Ocean promenade in Puerto Vallarta

Ocean promenade in Puerto Vallarta in Mexico

The beautiful Promenade of Puerto Vallarta

Promenade of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

A scenic view of the sunset and palms in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta sunset and palms - Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

The arch point, called El Arco, at Cabo San Lucas

The arch point (El Arco) at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

The Malecon in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco

the malecon in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

This majestic Los Arcos in Puerto Vallarta

This image shows the Los Arcos in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

View at Playa las Animas near Puerto Vallarte town

View at Playa las Animas near Puerto Vallarte in Mexico

A night shot of the front of the cathedral in Puerto Vallarta

A night shot of the front of the cathedral in Puerto Vallarta

Los Arcos National Marine Park in Mexico near Puerto Vallarta

Los Arcos National Marine Park in Mexico near Puerto Vallarta

Los Muertos Pier in Puerto Vallarta at sunset

Los Muertos Pier at sunset - Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

If you are concerned about holidaying in Mexico because of its less-than-stellar crime statistics, fret not. Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico’s safest towns, despite the name of one of its beaches, Playa Los Muertos, which translates to ‘beach of the dead’. The beach’s name comes from the fact that many invading pirates died in the sandy shore, fighting against the locals. It is said to contain lots of skeletons, and pirate treasure.