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Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta’s tourist-friendly neighborhoods are arranged in a strip along the Pacific Coast, with the international airport perched right at the top. The city does extend a few miles inland, but populated areas more than a few blocks from the coast are almost entirely residential.
Whether you’re looking for cheap hotel deals in Puerto Vallarta or wish to spare no expense on a lavish resort experience, a good place to start your search is in Zona Hotelera, the Hotel Zone. As the name implies, this district on the north side is where you’ll find the greatest concentration of accommodations, as well as easy pedestrian access to dining, shopping and nightlife.
While in the heart of the action, Zona Hotelera can be a noisy place; visitors seeking a more tranquil trip often look to the Marina Vallarta neighborhood north of the Hotel Zone.
As you move south from Zona Hotelera, you’ll reach El Centro, which is not as cluttered with hotels but still offers several places to stay. This is also where you’ll find the malecon, a scenic seaside boardwalk lined with nightlife destinations. Some of the most traditional Mexican hotels appear here and continue southward into Zona Romantica, the Romantic Zone, home to stunning Puerto Vallarta architecture and the popular Playa Los Muertos beach.
Puerto Vallarta Hotel Tips
Several lodging types are available in Puerto Vallarta, making it easy to find a balance between cost and accommodations. Most of the larger and more luxurious resorts are situated right on the waterfront, with the more exclusive properties located in Marina Vallarta. Budget hotels, simple guesthouses and affordable B&Bs can also be found to the south of Zona Hotelera, though those with the biggest discounts are often located a few blocks from the beach. If you’re planning to stay a week or more, you may also be able to save by renting a furnished cottage or beachside villa, which can be found along the length of the coast.
Puerto Vallarta Hotel Recommendations
In Zona Hotelera, some of the finer resorts include Villa Premiere Pureto Vallarta Hotel & Spa, situated on the south end of the zone near the start of the malecon, and Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa, located on the quieter north side. The Villa Premiere offers several levels of luxury rooms and is famous for its first-class spa, whereas the Villa del Palmar is more family-friendly with condo-style accommodations and all-inclusive package options.
The more exclusive Marina Vallarta area is where you’ll find the award-winning Westin Resort & Spa, which delivers all the amenities of the biggest beach resorts without feeling impersonal. Impeccable service, gourmet dining, an alluring pool area and exceptionally modern fitness facilities make this a standout in the area. Another nearby option to consider is the Marriott CasaMagna Puerto Vallarta Resort and Spa. Like the other large resorts in the area, this Marriott is loaded with luxurious amenities, but its competitive rates and occasional promotions make it one of Marina Vallarta’s best overall values.
If you’d rather get away to Zona Romantica, consider Hacienda Alemana, a small boutique property with a modern twist on traditional Mexican architecture. A curious departure from the local norm, dining and drinking options at this property include a German fine dining restaurant and a biergarten. Standard room rates are competitive, and suites are a steal.
Puerto Vallarta Transportation
Zona Hotelera, El Centro and Zona Romantica are all compact areas that are easily explored on foot. To get from one of these zones to another, however, it’s best to travel by bus or taxi. Multiple bus lines run up and down the coast, and schedule and route information can be picked up at virtually any hotel front desk. But Puerto Vallarta’s flat-rate cabs are so inexpensive, you can easily afford the convenience of more private travel if you desire.
Driving in the city can be intimidating and parking can be a hassle, but if you’re up to the challenge, there are several car rental agencies stationed at the airport. Before you choose this option after your flight to Puerto Vallarta, however, you might want to check with your hotel to see if they offer free parking, just to be sure.
A handful of charter bus companies also arrange sightseeing tours throughout the area, and it’s easy to buy tickets for these after you arrive. If you plan on spending most of your time close to the in-town beaches and hotels, these excursions may be your most convenient opportunities to see more of the area.
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