Archaeologists view pre-Hispanic Mexico’s Pacific coast as a unified region, defined by its tradition of shaft or chamber tombs (underground burial chambers at the base of a deep shaft). The ceremonial centers around the tombs suggest a fairly developed spiritual and religious life.
The Spanish arrived in Mexico in 1519 and soon traveled to Acapulco, Zihuatanejo, Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo. In 1564 conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi and Father André de Urdaneta first sailed from Barra de Navidad to the Philippines and soon after claimed it for Spain. Soon after, Acapulco became an established port link in the trade route between Asia and Europe.
It was not until the middle of the 1950s that tourism really hit the coast, starting in Acapulco and Mazatlán, with Puerto Vallarta soon to follow. In recent years more and more foreigners have bought and developed land along the coast, most noticeably around Puerto Vallarta.