Puerto Vallarta is a resort city that’s more packed than less historical ones, with a downtown center and a malecon walkway going past the waterfront. But then the places to stay fan out in both directions from there, so you can have your choice of hip B&B with a story in a pedestrian-only area, or a family all-inclusive resort on its own stretch of beach.
Here’s where to stay in Puerto Vallarta proper, with a note at the end on resort areas that are further north, in a different state. You can book the right hotel for you on Bonwi.com.
Downtown and the Romantic Zone
This is the original Puerto Vallarta, where it all started when this was mostly a fishing community. Improvements over the years have made it more pedestrian-friendly, especially with the long malecon filled with sculptures that goes from near the Buenaventura and Villa Premiere hotels at the edge of downtown all the way to the dramatic pier in the Romantic Zone.
Stay in the houses once occupied by Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor at Hacienda San Angel and Casa Kimberly, respectively, or check into one of the many gay-friendly hotels located in this area. You could spend your whole vacation here without getting in a car except for airport arrival and departure, though be advised you need to go to the pier area and beyond for beach access.
Puerto Vallarta Hotel Zones: Concha Chinas
If you keep heading south past the pier and round a small outcropping, you come to another one of the Puerto Vallarta hotel zones, Concha Chinas. This area has a nice stretch of sand, some waterfront seafood restaurants that are nice for sunset, and hotels with a killer view. On the southern edge, on a different beach, is a Hyatt Ziva all-inclusive resort.
Some of the prettiest water in Puerto Vallarta is around the Los Arcos rock formations and the Mismaloya area with its steep cliffs. Garza Blanca and Mousai hotels are the upscale options here, but there is also a Barcelo resort facing the water. Just be ready to settle in for your vacation at these places as there is not much else around and you’ll need a car or shuttle to get to Puerto Vallarta proper.
The “Hotel Zone” of Puerto Vallarta
Back to the north of downtown, on the way to the airport, is the generically named Hotel Zone of Puerto Vallarta. The resorts march along the coast, interspersed with some good restaurants and an upscale shopping mall. There’s a Sheraton, a Hilton, a Fiesta Americana, and a combo Secrets/Now Amber resort on this stretch, along with a few independent properties. It’s easy to reach the Marina or downtown from here by taxi or Uber.
Puerto Vallarta Hotel Zones: The Marina Area
There are only a few resorts in the Puerto Vallarta Marina area, but they are good ones and this is a very pleasant place to stay. You can walk along the marina and see the yachts or be close to the departure point for boat excursions. On one end of the marina are two of Puerto Vallarta’s best restaurants as well as plenty of casual places too. You can also tee off at the city’s oldest and most conveniently located golf course. Choose from a Marriott, a Westin, Casa Velas, or Velas Vallarta–the latter two all-inclusive.
North of Puerto Vallarta
When you leave the airport and head north, you are actually leaving Puerto Vallarta and heading to another state: Nayarit. So although it feels like one big sprawl along the coast, that part is Riviera Nayarit. It starts with Nuevo Vallarta, where there are plenty of all-inclusive resorts to choose from, the Bucarias, then Punta de Mita. Keep heading north and you’ll get to Sayulita.
Wherever you choose to stay, get the best rate and the best points payback by booking your Puerto Vallarta hotel on Bonwi.com.
Looking for things to do? Check out our earlier post on activities in Puerto Vallarta.
Article by travel writer and Mexico resident Tim Leffel. Photos courtesy of the Puerto Vallarta resort reviews from Luxury Latin America.