Pirate Ship of Historical Importance in Puerto Vallarta – the Marigalante

Since 1997, the Marigalante has become a staple of the tourist trade in Puerto Vallarta, and is one of the most beloved iconic features to adorn the Banderas Bay skyline every day and night of the year; but what do you know of its historical importance?


Historical importance of the Marigalante Pirate Ship

The Marigalante Pirate ship was carefully crafted in the town of Alvarado, Veracruz between 1980 and 1987 by the non-profit civil association “Mar, Hombre y Paz” to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of the Americas. The idea was to create a replica of the Santa Maria ship that Christopher Columbus used to sail to the Americas, known to its crew as the Maria Galante, hence Marigalante. Today, the ship is the pride and joy of Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific Coast hosting fabulous cuisine, pirate shows and adventures every day of the year.

Historical importance of the Marigalante Pirate Ship


First international voyage

Originally built to commemorate historical voyages, the Marigalante was part of a larger celebration for the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America that was to take place in 1992. Upon completion in 1987 it sailed from the place of its creation in Veracruz, Mexico to Santoña in Cantabria, Spain.  After this it headed to Seville, and then on to Guadalavir where it delivered 10,000 “Maravedis” equalling the money that should have been paid to Rodrigo de Triana who first spotted land whilst sailing with Columbus (although Columbus took the credit). This voyage was a way to give de Triana back his rightful glory and recognition. The chest holding these coins, collected from 33 countries, 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 then sailed to Japan via the Nao route which travels from Mexico to the orient in order to commemorate a century of trade between the two countries. Then, in 1992, it went on to Ecuador via the Cocoa route before going to Spain to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s voyage.


87 ports and islands

All in all, the Marigalante pirate ship has visited 87 ports and islands across the globe, and has covered 52,000 nautical miles (96,304 kilometres). This equals 2-⅓ trips around the world as a whole with nearly 30 years of travel in total. As a result the Marigalante has earned great recognition in several museums including one in Ballina, Australia, and two in Santander, Spain. This ship has even been featured in two books and two award winning documentaries.

Pirates of the Bay

Pirates of the Bay

Nowadays, since it came to Puerto Vallarta, each day and night the Marigalante pirate ship and it’s lively crew invite tourists and locals alike on board for adventure on the high seas. The day tour includes plenty of fun and games for the whole family, including (but not limited to) sports like paddle boarding and snorkeling. There’s even a treasure hunt! The night tour is filled with excitement; the pirates put on a spectacular show with sword fighting, fireworks, and drinks during a splendid sunset.


It’s clear that the Marigalante pirate ship is more than just a tourist attraction in Puerto Vallarta; it has earned it’s sailing stripes by travelling across the world. Today you can enjoy this beautifully crafted ship and appreciate its history as well as having a great time on one of the fun-filled tours. So, when you enjoy a tour on the Marigalante pirate ship you’ll now have full appreciation for the long and interesting history of the ship itself.