history of the marigalante pirate ship in puerto vallarta

Carefully crafted over a time span of 7 years (between 1980-1987) in the town of Alvarado, Veracruz by the non-profit “Mar, Hombre y Paz” Civil Association, the Marigalante pirate ship is now the pride and joy of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The ship became a staple of the tourist destination in 1997 where it has become synonymous with having a good time when vacationing in Banderas Bay.


Pirates of the Bay

Every day and night, the Marigalante pirate ship and its lively crew invite aboard those seeking adventure along the high seas. The day tour includes plenty of fun for the whole family including water sports like paddle boarding and a treasure hunt, while the night tour is filled with excitement as the pirates put on a spectacular show complete with sword fighting and fireworks after a splendid sunset. You may be wondering what the Marigalante pirate ship was up to before taking up residence in Puerto Vallarta, and you are about to find out!


History of the Marigalante Pirate Ship in Puerto Vallarta

The Marigalante pirate ship was originally built to commemorate historical voyages, with the particular goal of celebrating the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America that was to take place in 1992. Upon completion in1987, it sailed from Veracruz in September to Santoña in Cantabria, Spain. From there, it headed to Seville and then onto Guadalquivir where it delivered 10,000 “Maravedis” (coins) which equaled the reward that should have been paid to Rodrigo de Triana who first spotted land while sailing with Christopher Columbus. Unfortunately, Columbus took credit for the discovery, so this quest by the Marigalante was to give Rodrigo de Triana his rightful glory back. Boasting a collection of coins from 33 countries and several centuries, they were put into a chest designed with thirty species of tropical wood (the same thirty used when constructing the Marigalante). The chest is now on display in “La Antigua” chapel found in the Cathedral of Seville.


The Marigalante pirate ship in Asia and South America

The Marigalante sailed to Japan via the Nao route that travels from Mexico to the orient to commemorate 100 years of trade with Mexico. Then in 1992, it headed to Ecuador in South America via the Cocoa route. Afterwards, it sailed to Spain to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus setting sail for the New World.

In all, the Marigalante visited 87 various ports and islands worldwide, covering 52,000 nautical miles (96,304 kilometers) which equals 2-⅓ trips around the globe! With nearly 30 years of travel around the world, the Marigalante has earned great recognition in several museums including two in Santander, Spain, one in Ballina, Australia and a floating museum found aboard the Marigalante in Puerto Vallarta. The ship has even been featured in two award-winning documentaries as well as two books.

It is clear to see that the Marigalante is far more than just a tourist attraction in Puerto Vallarta; it has earned its sailing stripes by traveling all over the world! Today, you can enjoy this stunning example of craftsmanship and appreciate the history of the Marigalante pirate ship any day of the week with a tour that runs during the day as well as at night.