He participated in the conquest of Cuba, in Juan de Grijalva's exploration of the coasts of the Yucatán Peninsula and the Gulf of Mexico, and in the conquest of Mexico led by Hernán Cortés.
His letters show no interest in civil matters, and he only discussed exploration and war.
Hernán Cortés and Francisco Pizarro carried out deeds of similar cruelty, but have not attracted as much criticism as Alvarado.
Very little is known of Pedro de Alvarado's early life before his arrival in the Americas.
By means of interpreters, Grijalva indicated that he wished to trade and bartered wine and beads in exchange for food and other supplies.
From the natives they received a few gold trinkets and news of the riches of the Aztec Empire to the west.