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The lure of isolated beaches rimmed with palm trees brought John Huston to Puerto Vallarta in the 1960s to film Night of the Iguana. His cast included Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. While working, the two fell in love. Their story became one of the great love stories of that century.

This romance resulted in thousands of people swarming to the shores of Mexico's west coast in search of sun, sand, palm trees and love. Some even came looking for iguanas. Soon, hotels, shops and restaurants were built around the bay. However, not all visitors wanted what had been built, so they moved up and down the coast to little villages where they could ride horses or donkeys, snorkel among the tropical fish, trek in the jungle looking for exotic birds and animals, watch cliff divers perform or just lay where it was quiet and sip on tequila. Today, the west coast of Mexico is as popular as ever. This is because it offers every possible recreational activity, suitable for almost any skill level and budget. The area has both inexpensive and lush accommodations. The food is safe to eat and the bottled water, found in every hotel hallway, grocery store and café, is safe to drink. The crime rate is low in tourist areas and the locals are friendly. But the best draw of all is that the price for a comparable vacation in any other tropical paradise is about twice what it is here. This guide focuses on the cost that stretches north from Puerto Vallarta. Stunningly beautiful beaches, waterfalls galore, amazing and abundant wildlife – it's all here. And then there is Guadalajara, the second-largest city in Mexico, which is filled with historical buildings, extensive parks and beautiful gardens. Full color photographs and maps throughout. This region is one of the top destinations for America travelers. That means five-star resorts and fancy restaurants, of course, but so much more as well. Dive, bird-watch, and whale-watch in the local waters. All the hotels and restaurants are profiled in depth, as well as the sites worth seeing, entertainment, activities, and all practical details.

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