Puerto Vallarta a charming beach resort city located on the Bahia de Banderas once a sleepy fishing village is now a major Mexico beach vacation destination. Puerto Vallarta began to transition around 1950 when improved roads and air accessibility led to the construction of first-class hotels and the arrival of tourists. Now it’s one of Puerto Vallarta top vacation beach resorts attracting visitors from all over the world to relax and enjoy the beach, Pacific Ocean and many of the moderate to luxury resort hotels accommodations in the area.
Recently Puerto Vallarta has under gone a multimillion dollar renovation of the downtown area famous four-mile, pedestrian-friendly waterfront promenade in an effort to promote the city’s core shopping and restaurant district. The improvements along the Malecon, the waterfront promenade were part of a long term plan to highlight the unique features and attractions that make Puerto Vallarta a destination visitor will want to continue to come back too. The Malcom includes new artist exhibits of local artwork, hand-painted wooden fishing boats, called pangas, brick pavers, murals and religious themes.
These new improvements along with the weather in Puerto Vallarta are a great combination for new travelers and returning visitors seeking a sunny beach vacation that offers a charming city to stroll around and a variety of good shops and restaurants to try. If you like to be where the action is, then the downtown area is where you want to stay. There are a variety of nice moderate to deluxe accommodations in the “Downtown Hotel Zone” that have easy access by public transportation and taxi to the main promenade. One of my favorite moderate hotels located on the beach in the downtown area is the colonial boutique style hotel, Playa Los Arcos Hotel Beach Resort.
Playa Los Arcos Hotel Beach Resort
This hotel has 171 rooms and is ideal for a family or couple on a budget that want the flexibility of dining options. Here you can enjoy the beautiful sunsets and walk 5 minutes to a local seafood restaurant that serves local fish of the day, or walk to many of the fine local Mexican restaurants that serve traditional dishes of the area. Along with easy access to many fine restaurants (email me and I’ll give you my top 10 restaurants in Downtown Puerto Vallarta) there is shopping and people watching.
Up North approximately 30-minutes by cab or bus is an area called Nuevo Vallarta, a fairly new development of large all-inclusive resorts on a beautiful stretch of beach with nice rolling surf. This is the area I prefer to stay when I visit Puerto Vallarta. There are a few hotels on my short list that I like to stay at when I visit Puerto Vallarta, some of them are great for families and couples and some are just right for couples.
Paradise Village Nuevo Vallarta
Paradise Village is a large all suite resort that offers Jr. Suites, 1-Bedroom & 2-Bedroom suites for its guest. It is a well maintained lush landscaped resort offering a relaxing clean safe atmosphere to vacation on the beach. The resort facility includes fine dining, tennis, sailing, jet skis, deep-sea fishing windsurfing, parasailing along with 2 large swimming pools, theme dinner nights and a beach that you can walk for 5 or miles if you want. This is an ideal resort with families who like a large family room, separate bedrooms and baths, full kitchen and easy access to the beach. It also allows for dining flexibility, there are many dining options. For those who want to go into and it’s also easy access to Downtown Puerto Vallarta on the public transportation bus, the bus stop just outside the entrance to Paradise Village.
Marival Residences & Spa, Nuevo Vallarta
The Marival Residences & Spa and The Resort & Suite are 2-separate hotel resorts located a few blocks from each other. The Marival Residence & Spa is a separate upscale luxury (4 to 4 ½ Star) retreat. The Residences is a much smaller resort located 1 block off the beach but a beautiful all-inclusive vacation resort property. There are 169 residence & villas, One-bedroom residences have a king and sofa bed, fill living room, full equipped kitchen and terrace. Along with easy access to the beach, they have a full service spa, a range of dining options, including a sushi bar, a lobby wine bar with beachside food service, and a casual restaurant including a special children’s menu and an evening grill menu. The Sky Bar features a wall-to-wall fireplace and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The deli offers a selection of juices, wines and local products.
The Marival Resort & Suites
This is the sister resort, a much larger all-inclusive resort property that is more moderate in price and family oriented that provides a great value for its service and accommodations. It is located on the same beach as Paradise Village, a few miles north. I would consider it a 3 ½ Star to low 4 star property, depending on the room location. Rooms and suites have 2-double beds, full bath, mini-fridge stocked daily and patio. This property is all-inclusive with all meals buffet or a la carte, unlimited premium drinks, 6-restaurants, 4 tennis courts, 4 out-door pools and many shaded beach cabana to watch the rolling surf. This is a great all-inclusive alternative to Cancun or the Riviera Maya, better value.
Villa Del Palmar Flamingos Beach Resort & Spa
This is a all-suites property that has 275 deluxe ocean-view rooms. The resort is able to accommodate guest that only need a Jr. Suite, 2 double beds, kitchenette, mini-fridge or a family that needs a 1 or 2 bedroom unit. The property has 2 restaurants, multi-level pool and is located on the same beach as the Marival, only a few miles fewer north near the small beach town of Bucerias. Villa Del Palmar provides an EP (European dining option or All-inclusive option). In my opinion the EP plan is the way to go, there are many dining options within a 10-minute area that provide a fun ambiance and good food. The concierge at the front desk will have many suggestions. Villa Del Palmar is a nicer looking and accommodating property than Paradise Village but does not have some of the same amenities that Paradise Village has to offer i.e. shopping mall, grocery & liquor store, and restaurants near by. Guest staying at Villa Del Palmar can easily walk on the beach to the small town of Bucerias, or take a 5 minute taxi ride to where there are many nice restaurants and a variety of dining options available along with some fun beach bars. The public bus stops in front of the resort for easy access into Puerto Vallarta which is about 30 minute ride.
Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta
The Dreams Villamagna considered a 4-Star hotel is a nice tropical hideaway located on the same beach as the other properties mentioned, Paradise Village, Marival and Villa Del Palmar. The Villamagna is a large high rise all-inclusive resort property that shares 4 or 5 other “multi-story towers” of privately owned / “time-shared” condominiums. It has an expansive sprawling large swimming pool with limited shade and limited beach cabana with shade. If you are an early riser, commandeering a pool umbrella should not be a problem. It’s ideal for honeymoon couples who want a nice assortment of a la carte restaurants, nice rooms great pool and a nice beach to walk on. The property offers 232 suites with a king or 2-doubles, fully equipped bath, private balcony with Jacuzzi , mini-bar restocked daily along with all-inclusive meals, snacks, premium brand beverages, 5 restaurants, 5 bars and lunges, big screen movies, kayaks and more.
Patsy James with Belize & Costa Rica TravelPOINTS has been to Puerto Vallarta over a dozen times over the years with her family and husband. She has stayed and visited many of the resort properties and can give you insight and advice on other resort properties located in and around the Puerto Vallarta area along with dining tips in Puerto Vallarta and in Nuevo Vallarta. If you have questions please give her a call at 1-800-626-3483 / 303-938-9018 or email her at email@example.com..