When you start looking at how big the area is, it can seem pretty difficult to narrow down exactly where to stay in Puerto Vallarta. Before I went, I reached out to fellow expat blogger Joy and Journey, who lives in Puerto Vallarta for a few tips on the best areas and the best hotels in Puerto Vallarta.
After spending a bit of time there, I also got to know which of the neighborhoods I liked best and the easiest way to get around. In this post, I’ll tell you about the different neighborhoods that I enjoyed in Puerto Vallarta and a few of the best hotels in each of those locations.
I also highly recommend checking out Airbnb. It’s one of my favorite ways to get a bigger place when I’m traveling around Mexico. If you plan to be in Puerto Vallarta for more than a week, then renting an apartment with a big kitchen and plenty of amenities (like air conditioning) is likely a better option than staying at a hotel.
If you’ve never used Airbnb before, sign up with this link to receive up to $35 off of your first booking.
Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta
The Romantic Zone
The Romantic Zone or Zona Romantica in Spanish, is sometimes also referred to as Old Vallarta and is located in the Colonia Emiliano Zapata. This is my favorite part of Puerto Vallarta and where I would definitely stay if I went back to spend more time.
The Romantic Zone is all cobbled streets and small shops and restaurants. It’s where you’ll find the best seafood restaurants, the best craft beer bars, and you are only steps away from the popular Los Muertos beach.
These are the best hotels in the Romantic Zone:
- Playa Los Arcos: It doesn’t get any closer to the beach than this. We walked past this hotel so many times during our trip to Puerto Vallarta and I would love to stay here on my next trip to the area. Rooms start at a reasonable $100 per night. There’s a pool that faces the ocean and beach access. It also includes a buffet breakfast and an optional buffet dinner. Book Playa Los Arcos here.
- Pinnacle Resorts: This is where to stay if you’re looking for ultimate luxury. There’s a spa, a pool, a gym, and a huge breakfast. It’s slightly away from the beach (only a few blocks), but that means rooms facing the ocean have incredible views. Rooms start at $150. Book Pinnacle Resorts here.
- Vallarta Sun: This hotel is a great value. Located in the center of all the action in the Romantic Zone, a five-minute walk to the beach, and most rooms are under $100. Most rooms face the pool and they offer beach umbrellas and chairs to take with you for a day out. Book the Vallarta Sun hotel here.
5 de Diciembre
This is where I stayed during my trip to Puerto Vallarta. It’s the place to stay if you want to be surrounded by mostly locals, lots of cheap and delicious taco stands and good budget eats. It’s also packed with cheap and cheerful hotels and Airbnb options.
It’s the neighborhood just to the north of the Romantic Zone and has a small beach of its own that I really enjoyed spending time. It’s much quieter than the Romantic Zone as well, so if you’re looking for a quiet place to get away from it all, this might be the perfect neighborhood for you.
It’s also still only a short walk to the Malecon where you’ll find a bunch of restaurants and bars. It usually took us about 20 minutes to walk from our hotel in 5 de Diciembre to the beach at Los Muertos in the Romantic Zone. Alternatively, you can use Uber in Puerto Vallarta. It’s cheap and makes getting around very convenient if you don’t have a car.
- Hotel Paloma Del Mar: This is where I stayed during my trip to Puerto Vallarta. It’s incredibly affordable with most rooms costing less than $60 per night. It’s super quiet at night and right outside are tons of great taco stands. There are a pool and a rooftop restaurant too which are both really lovely amenities. It’s about 5 minutes walk to the nearest beach. Book a room at Hotel Paloma Del Mar here.
- Buenavista Hotel: This is perfectly located if you want to be close to the beach. It also happens to be right next door to my favorite restaurant in Puerto Vallarta, El Barracuda. It’s an all-inclusive resort, so you get breakfast, a pool, a spa, and you’re right on the beach. Rooms start at $180 per night. Book the Buenavista Hotel here.
- Hotel El Pescador: This hotel is beautiful, modern, close to the beach and the Malecon and somehow still manages to have rooms starting at $60. I would definitely consider staying here on my next trip due to price and location. Book Hotel El Pescador here.
The hotel zone is exactly as it sounds, it’s an area of the city with tons of hotels. I think that if all you want to do is enjoy an all-inclusive resort then this is the perfect place. However, if you want to get out and see Puerto Vallarta, this probably isn’t the best location.
This is where you’ll find a lot of luxury hotels and some fantastic beach-front properties. There are a few restaurants and bars along the main street in the Hotel Zone, but you’ll likely want to take an Uber to these places, since they aren’t that close to the entrances of the hotels.
- Canto Del Sol: This is a nice all-inclusive resort that isn’t too expensive. Rooms start at $130 per night and are modern and clean. You can opt for rooms that face the ocean and you never have the leave the resort thanks to the nice restaurant, beautiful pool and easy beach access available at the resort. They also have nice tennis courts, so if you want to play some tennis in the sun, this is the place for you. Book a stay at Canto Del Sol here.
- Secrets Vallarta: This is where to head if you want an adults-only vacation. It’s a popular honeymoon hotel and is utterly romantic. There are several pools where you can relax or go for a swim. The restaurant has great reviews and there is a private beach where you can spend the afternoon sun. They can also organize plenty of activities for you and your partner. Book a stay at Secrets Vallarta here.
- Sunset Plaza Beach Resort: This is the perfect all-inclusive for families. There is a playground on site for the kids, there are beach activities, nightly shows and events, plenty of great food, and of course a pool and beach to enjoy. They also have an on-site spa where you can have couples massages or get away from everyone for a private spa day. Rooms start at $200 per night. Book a stay at Sunset Plaza Beach Resort here.
Marina Vallarta is where the cruise ships and luxury yachts dock in town. That means you’re bound to find some of the areas most prestigious hotels here. It’s north of the Hotel Zone, so away from all of the downtown madness. It’s wonderful if you want to get an Airbnb or rent an apartment and just be away from it all.
That being said, it is a rapidly growing part of Puerto Vallarta and you can already find tons of great hotels and plenty of restaurants and bars sprouting up. It’s less than 20 minutes in an Uber to the Malecon and other downtown areas in Puerto Vallarta. Then you have the best of both worlds: you can enjoy the peace and quiet and nearly empty beaches by day. Then at night, you can check out the nightlife in the downtown area.
- Meliá Puerto Vallarta: It doesn’t get much better in terms of all-inclusive hotels in my opinion. This place has it all: top class restaurants, tons of pools, a swim-up bar, spacious and modern rooms, and a concierge to help you book any day trips you want to take. Rooms start at $150. Book a stay at Meliá Puerto Vallarta here.
- Club Regina Puerto Vallarta: Another spectacular all-inclusive, Club Regina is absolutely gorgeous. There are several pools, a hot tub, a children’s play area, and a gym. Opt for a room with a Jacuzzi on the balcony for a really special vacation. Rooms start at $160 per night. Book a stay at Club Regina Puerto Vallarta here.
- Casa Velas: This is an adult-only all-inclusive resort located right along the beachfront in Marina Vallarta. You’re close to the marina if you want to charter a boat or go out on a boat trip (the concierge service here can set that up for you). It has all of the amenities you could need – pool, private beach, gym, spa, and several restaurants to choose from. Rooms start at $300 per night. Book a stay at Casa Velas here.
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