Visiting Mexico and hitting up the ex-pat town of PV? You might be wondering how to find the best places to stay in Puerto Vallarta.
Even though it’s a small beach town, finding the best lodging choices can be overwhelming because you want to make sure you are close to restaurants, bars, and of course, the beach!
Puerto Vallarta might be a small town, but there is plenty to do and see. You will have the ocean on one side giving you plenty of opportunities for swimming, beach bumming, parasailing, and jet skiing. On the other side, you can experience hiking in the stunning Sierra Madre mountains.
Puerto Vallarta is also a top destination for the LGTBQ community. You’ll meet tons of ex-pats, digital nomads, tourists, and locals all ready to welcome you to this incredible beach town.
If you’re worried about finding the best places to stay, here are my top recommendations sorted by neighborhood and price range!
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Puerto Vallarta Accommodation Quick Guide
In a rush and trying to find the best places to stay? Here are my top three choices!
Budget—Hotel Rosita: This is a great budget hotel in El Centro. The rooms have everything you need including free Wi-Fi, room service, and balconies with furniture so you can relax and enjoy the views of the ocean. The hotel also has a simple restaurant and a breakfast buffet.
Mid-range—Tropicana Hotel: This hotel is one of the best values for money. It’s right on Los Muertos Beach and is only a 20-minute drive to the airport. The bedrooms are basic with colorful curtains and decorations. The restaurant on-site serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as cocktails and fresh juices.
Luxury—Hotel Mosaui: Looking for an adults-only all-inclusive resort? Check out Hotel Mosaui. They also have suites and penthouses that you can book without the all-inclusive services. It overlooks the beach, so make sure to book a room with ocean views. They also have a rooftop infinity pool and a world-class spa.
Zona Romantico is the most popular area to stay in while in Puerto Vallarta. You’ll find the area full of tourists, locals, and ex-pats. Almost every hotel is on the same street as countless bars and restaurants, so you won’t have to go looking for food and amazing drinks!
Zona Romantico is also well-known for being LGBTQ+ friendly. You’ll also be close to Los Muertos Beach and all the best shopping and art galleries that Puerto Vallarta has to offer.
Budget—Casa Dona Susana: An adults-only hotel just a 2-minute walk to the beach. The rooms have a rustic appeal with wood furnishings and typical Mexican artwork. There’s a restaurant on-site, and a pool with a bar and a spa. You can also upgrade to a suite if you want an extra living area.
Mid-Range—Playa Los Arcos Hotel Beach Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta: This is one of the best all-inclusive hotels if you are looking for a place where your foods and drinks are included. There are three restaurants, three pools, poolside bars, and an amazing spa with facials and massages.
Luxury—Almar Resort Luxury LGBT Beach Front Experience: This beachfront hotel is right on Los Muertos beach with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Most of the rooms are brightly decorated studios. If you book a suite, you can get one or two bedrooms with ocean views. The rooftop terrace has incredible sunsets over the beach, and you can order a drink or two at the bar.
Staying in El Centro or downtown Puerto Vallarta gives you access to the main square, where there are nightly festivals and shows. It’s mainly filled with tourists and ex-pats, but you will still find many locals living and working in the area.
Since El Centro is the main part of downtown, you’ll also be close to major supermarkets, restaurants, bars, and nightlife. Everything you need is right in El Centro. You will be a little further from the beach, but every area of PV is still just a short distance to the water anyway.
Budget—Hacienda de Vallarta Centro: This is by far one of the best areas in El Centro to stay and is super budget-friendly. It’s only a 7-minute walk to Los Muertos Beach and has bright and colorful rooms. The amenities are pretty basic, but they have a courtyard pool and free coffee every morning.
Mid-Range—Hotel Rio Malecon Puerto Vallarta: About a half-mile from Los Muertos Beach, this hotel has all the amenities you need to enjoy your stay while in Puerto Vallarta. The on-site restaurant has traditional Mexican dishes as well as international cuisine. Make sure to grab snacks and handcrafted cocktails at the poolside bar!
Luxury—Hacienda San Angel: An amazing resort only a few blocks from Los Muertos Beach and only a 3-minute walk from the famous Lady of Guadalupe Church. All the rooms have wide balconies with views of either the ocean or the pool. There’s free breakfast and snacks in the main dining area, or you can pay extra for fancier meals at the rooftop restaurant.
If you’re looking for luxury condos or a wide choice of apartment rentals, you should check out Marina Vallarta. It’s one of the up-and-coming areas of PV. Many people rent out their properties from basic apartments to full luxury condos with outdoor pools. Check out VRBO if you’re interested in an apartment option.
The area also has resorts and hotels. Almost every place is within walking distance of the beach. Marina Vallarta also has huge golf courses, tons of restaurants, and fancy bars to check out.
Budget—Flamingo Vallarta Hotel & Marina: By far one of the best budget options in the area. It’s only about a mile from the beach and a 3-minute drive to the airport. The rooms have free WIFI and flat-screen TVs. The large gazebo outside serves as an outdoor restaurant, including free breakfast. You can also spend your free time at the outdoor pool.
Mid-Range—The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta: One of the best hotels to stay in if you want access to a private beach with cabanas. The hotel also has a steakhouse and a local restaurant on the rooftop with a bar. Make sure to enjoy the outdoor pools with swim-up bars and the spa with beachfront massages!
Luxury—Velas Vallarta: This is definitely the place to be if you want oceanfront luxury and to be close to the marina. It’s an all-inclusive resort with your drinks, meals, and parking all included in the price of your room. There are three different restaurants to choose from as well as two bars.
Top Things to do in Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta has countless cultural and outdoor activities to do. Whether you are spending a few days or a few weeks in PV, here are the top things to check out:
- Beach bum for a few days. Los Muertos Beach is the most visited beach in town, so it can get pretty crowded. Try going in the morning or the evening. You can either lay down in the sand or be more active by jet skiing or paddleboarding!
- Explore downtown. You can’t visit PV without walking around downtown. It’s full of art sculptures, cafes, and bars. If you aren’t sure what places to visit, you can take a free walking tour.
- Do some market shopping. For fresh seafood and produce, check out the Municipal Market. You’ll also find some local meat and fresh bread! If you’re staying in an Airbnb or a hotel with a kitchenette, this is the place to buy all your food to cook at home!
- Taste all the local food. Puerto Vallarta has tons of restaurants and small food stalls serving traditional Mexican cuisine. You can either wander around town yourself or take a food tour for something more organized!
- See Rhythms of the Night. This is one of the top-rated things to do in PV and can’t be missed. It’s dinner and a show combined in a beautiful private cove. Your ticket price also includes a sunset cruise and an open bar.
- Snorkeling and Scuba Diving. If you want to spend some more time in the water, grab your gear and dive in! You can also rent gear and schedule tours with local companies. The water by PV has eels, sea turtles, and tons of tropical fish!
How to Get to Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta has one international airport—Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR). Even though it’s an international airport, it’s not very big. There are some direct flights from large US cities, but you might need to have a connection if you live in a smaller area.
Most flights from Canada and Europe have a connection in the United States or a larger airport in Mexico.
How to Get Around Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta is pretty small, so you can walk to many restaurants and attractions from your hotel, depending on the neighborhood you stay in. If you want to go places in further parts of town, you can take the city buses.
Taxis are also all over Puerto Vallarta, although they will be more expensive than the bus. Puerto Vallarta also uses InDriver, which is similar to Uber, except you have to pay in cash. You will need to get the app on your phone and make sure you have an internet connection.
When to Visit Puerto Vallarta
Like many beach towns in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta has hot and humid weather from about July to the beginning of October. While it can be nice for swimming, it can get pretty miserable for sightseeing. The holidays in December and January can also get busy, and hotel prices will soar.
If you want to avoid the spike in hotel prices and you want to avoid the wet and humid season, try to visit Puerto Vallarta from late October to the beginning of December or from February until May.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where to stay in Puerto Vallarta on a budget?
Since PV is a large ex-pat city with young backpackers coming into the city, there are a number of great hostels to choose from. Most have cheap dorm rooms, but some have private rooms for a few extra bucks a night.
For a stay of less than $10 a night, check out Los Muertos Hostal. You can get to the beach in less than a block, and there are plenty of bars and restaurants in the area.
Where to stay in Puerto Vallarta for the weekend?
If you only have a few days in the city and want to see as many sites as possible, definitely stay in Zona Romantica. You’ll be able to eat at all the best places, be close to nightlife, and be able to be at the beach every day.
Where to stay in Puerto Vallarta near the airport?
There are many hotels near PVR airport to choose from. Most are a little expensive since you have the convenience and ease of being right next to the airport. One Puerto Vallarta Aeropuerto and Holiday Inn Express Puerto Vallarta Airport are some of the most popular mid-range options.
Is Puerto Vallarta Safe?
Puerto Vallarta is known for being a small and quaint town that has a very low crime rate. Expats have lived there for years without any issues.
Just like with any new city though, you need to make sure to keep your personal belongings close. And it’s a good idea to not walk around less crowded areas at night by yourself.
Puerto Vallarta is Waiting For You!
Now that you know the best places to stay in Puerto Vallarta, you can start booking your stay! Puerto Vallarta is a fun getaway full of sun, sand, and paradise! If you do somehow get bored of PV, there are tons of day trips to get out of the city for a little while.
From budget hostels to luxury resorts, PV has lodging choices for every person with every budget. Most neighborhoods are close to the beach and have their own cafes and restaurants too which makes your stay even easier!
Have you been to Puerto Vallarta? What was your favorite place to stay at?
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