Delicious tacos, tequila cocktails on a golden sand beach, stunning nature along the Pacific Coast facing beautiful Sierra Madre mountains…Yes, this is Puerto Vallarta, Mexico calling!
Puerto Vallarta is the most popular travel destination in Mexico, and you will understand its reason as soon as you step into this charming city. Of course, one of the most popular highlights of Puerto Vallarta is impressive beaches and luxurious beachfront hotels. However, what Puerto Vallarta offers is not limited to golden sands and crystal clear sea. There are numerous activities you can do, such as hiking, mountain biking, snorkeling, fishing, and even skydiving!
In this article, I will talk about 6 nice areas with the best places to stay in Puerto Vallarta, from budget to luxury and also Airbnbs. I want to remind you that it is very important to book in advance for resorts as they have high demand and most of them have a free cancellation policy, so do not worry if you change your mind!
So let’s get started with where to stay in Puerto Vallarta!
If you are in a hurry
Here are my top picks for places to stay in Puerto Vallarta. All of them have a great location and reviews!
Villa Premiere Hotel
Best luxury hotel
Apartment with Terrace
An Airbnb with amazing reviews
Best value for money
Casa La Columna
Best affordable accommodation in the center
Here is a map with all the 6 areas where to stay in Puerto Vallarta that I will be talking about in this post, so you can easily visualize them
1. El Centro – where to stay in Puerto Vallarta for the first time
El Centro is the oldest part of Puerto Vallarta and also the place where the action happens.
That’s why my pick for those traveling for the first time to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, is El Centro for sure.
El Centro offers Michelin-rated restaurants as well as small taco bars, luxury shops to local artisan shops, a great selection of museums and galleries. You will find a bit of everything, and you will feel like you are really in Mexico thanks to the area’s stunning texture. You can start discovering El Centro by the famous boardwalk Malecon and then get lost exploring streets by tasting mouth-watering Mexican cuisine.
Thanks to El Centro’s convenient location in the downtown area, you will be able to reach all attractions by foot or with a short taxi ride. In this area, you will find the best hotels in Puerto Vallarta for every budget. As this is the most popular area in Puerto Vallarta, the resorts can be filled out pretty quickly. Many hotels have a free cancellation policy, so don’t forget to make your reservation in advance!
Ville Premiere is one of the best Puerto Vallarta hotels in this neighborhood. This centrally located hotel offers 2 outdoor pools, spa and greets you with a glass of champagne and a massage on arrival! This incredible hotel has fine dining restaurants, and bars on-site, and a golf course is available too!
Other accommodation options in El Centro
Things to do in the El Centro Area
- Have a stroll in Malecon and have a meal in of the restaurants by the seaside
- Visit Naval Museum and learn about the area’s history
- Have fun at the open-air Los Arcos Amphitheater, which has free entrance
- Go for a night out to Mandala Club
- Snorkel at Los Arcos Marine Park
- Marvel architecture of the Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church
- Have some delicious food and tacos at Mariscos La Tía
- Do a sunset yoga at Davannayoga
- Take a day trip to visit any other town on the Riviera Nayarit
2. Zona Romantica – where to stay for nightlife
Zone Romantica, also known as Romantic Zone, South Side, Old Town, or Viejo Vallarta located just next to El Centro. Because of its picturesque narrow streets and charming beaches, locals thought that Romantic Zone serves better for this lovely neighborhood.
Romantic Zone is one of the coolest and most popular neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta with its lively nightlife, many cool dining options, and vibrant atmosphere. You will be able to find many bars from rooftop to beach bars, all kinds of restaurants and many popular clubs.
This old town area’s charm is not limited to its nightlife though, you will also see many shops and cafes along old narrow cobblestone streets. In the daytime, you can enjoy the famous beach Playa de Los Muertos which is at the Romantic Zone’s western border, visit the farmers market and have a stroll at the pier.
If you are into nightlife or want to stay in a lively area, you should definitely stay in Zone Romantica. Here you won’t find many big resorts, but you will find plenty of boutique hotels and cool accommodation options from budget to luxury, and most of them have a free cancellation, so make sure to book it in advance!
Almar Resort Luxury is an amazing adults hotel in the Romantic Zone. This hotel features an infinity pool, a spa, a restaurant, and a bar. Hotel rooms have stunning views of the bay, and an airport shuttle is available too. This is a perfect romantic getaway for couples!
Other accommodation options in The Romantic Zone
Things to do in The Romantic Zone
- Spend some time in the saddle on a horseback riding tour
- Take a water taxi to the Hidden Beach at Marieta Island
- Enjoy live music at Roxy Rock House
- Chill and get suntan at Los Muertos Beach
- Visit the flea market at Rio Cuale
- Have a day trip to the nearby town Nuevo Vallarta
- Enjoy sunset at sailboat shaped Los Muertos Pier
- Have a drink and dance at El Sonador
3. Zona Hotelera – best place to stay for beaches
Zona Hotelera, Hotel Zone in English, is the neighborhood where you will find an abundance of places to stay in Puerto Vallarta near the famous beaches like Playa Camarones, Playa Tranquila, and Playa de Oro. Zone Hotelera also has very easy access to other areas such as Zone Centro and Romantic Zone with a just 15-20 minutes taxi ride.
This neighborhood is also great for shopping! The big Galerias Vallarta Shopping Mall is located here, and you will also find all kinds of shops as well as nice restaurants in the area.
If we come back to the highlight of Hotel Zone, of course, it is the all-inclusive hotels by the beach. These hotels will fulfill your every need with their golden sand beaches and facilities. If you are looking for a laid-back holiday and want everything to be in one place, Hotel Zone is a great option where to stay in Puerto Vallarta.
Located in the Hotel Zone, this is one of the best Puerto Vallarta all-inclusive hotels. Guests can enjoy 6 on-site restaurants and bars for free. This incredible hotel features a heated outdoor pool, fitness center, private beach, and kids club, as well as family-friendly rooms with nice ocean views
Other accommodation options in The Hotel Zone
Things to do in The Hotel Zone
- Enjoy watching cruise ships arrive in the Hotel Zone at The Maritime Terminal
- Go shopping at La Isla Shopping Mall
- Visit Los Mangos Public Library and check out children activities there
- Go on an adventure like ziplining
- Spend time on amazing beaches like Playa las Glorias and Playa Los Tules
- Take a bus and go for a day trip to Punta Mita
- Be adventures and go parasailing
- Have dinner with a show on the Pirates of the Bay Ship
4. Marina Vallarta – where to stay in Puerto Vallarta for families
Located in Banderas Bay, Marina Vallarta is just a 15 minutes drive from downtown, and the airport is also located in this neighborhood. In this area, you will find many nice all-inclusive resorts, world-class golf courses, and many attractions such as fun parks and aqua parks which are great for families with kids.
The resorts in Marina Vallarta have so many activities to keep you busy all day, but if you feel like going out, you will find many nice restaurants, shops, spa centers, and famous attractions such as El Faro Lighthouse. There are so many nice accommodations options for every budget in Marina Vallarta, and most of them are just by the seaside.
As it is a popular area, don’t forget to make a booking for your perfect holiday with your family in advance.
Located right on the beach in Marina Vallarta, this resort is one of the best all-inclusive resorts in Puerto Vallarta. The resort has 3 swimming pools, a golf club, a seafood restaurant, and 3 international restaurants and bars. The family-friendly hotel also has a kids club and kids pool for little ones
Other accommodation options in Marina Vallarta
Things to do in Marina Vallarta
- Join a fishing tour and experience catching fish like big marlin and tuna
- See the amazing Mosaic Wall
- Go for a stroll on the boardwalk
- Have fun at Splash Water Park
- Pamper yourself by having a nice massage at Armonium’s Spa
5. Conchas Chinas – Puerto Vallarta’s spot for luxury
Conchas Chinas is an upscale neighborhood of Puerto Vallarta. The name “Conchas Chinas’ means Chinese Shells, which can be found on the local beach. That’s why in this area you will be able to find secluded white-sand beaches. If you stay in Conchas Chinas, you may need to rent a car or take a taxi to discover surrounding areas as it is around 10 km (5 miles) away to the north of downtown.
In Conchas Chinas, there are plenty of upscale accommodation options perfect for luxury travelers, also, you can find very good deals for incredible resorts in the off-season!
The area is also known for celebrity visitors. Justin Beiber, Selena Gomez, Christina Aguilera, and Michael Douglas are just some of the stars preferring Puerto Vallarta for a holiday, so it is not a surprise to bump into a celebrity here.
Conchas Chinas’s atmosphere is perfect for couples and travelers who want to have an upscale holiday by the beach with a relaxed vibe. Here are my favorite accommodation picks in this area. Keep in mind that these places have high demand and make sure to book them in advance!
Grand Miramar is one of the best Puerto Vallarta hotels in this area. The hotel has a stunning ocean view and lounge area where you can kick back and enjoy the sunset. Luxurious hotel amenities included are 3 pools, hot tubs, and comfortable rooms. A very nice breakfast is included too!
Other accommodation options in Conchas Chinas
Things to do in Conchas Chinas
- Make sure to bring your snorkel to any of the beaches
- Try bungee jumping with Encore Bungee
- Go for a hike at Boca de Tomatlan and enjoy deserted beaches a little further away
- Visit the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens
- Attend a whale watching tour
- Enjoy dinner with a nice view at Lindo Mar
6. 5 de Diciembre – where to stay in Puerto Vallarta on a budget
5 de Diciembre’s name comes from the independence war battle. It used to be a small fishing town and thanks to booming tourism, it started to become a travelers’ destination. However, it has fewer touristy areas compared to other areas in Puerto Vallarta, which makes 5 de Diciembre a charming neighborhood to be discovered. If you really want to live like a local, check out this post for the best Airbnbs in Puerto Vallarta.
5 de Diciembre has hilly terrain which offers amazing views and the main beach in 5 de Diciembre is Playa Camarones. The streets of 5 de Diciembre are filled with many tacos stands, cafes, bars, and shops, so you can simply enjoy strolling through old cobblestone streets and discover amazing Mexican savors.
5 de Diciembre has a very convenient location between the hotel zone and centro where you will find many cheaper accommodation options. If you don’t want to pay much for accommodation but still want to be close to the main attractions, 5 de Diciembre is the best place to stay in Puerto Vallarta.
Perfectly located nearby the Puerto Vallarta downtown, this is one the best hotels in the area. The hotel features a nice swimming pool, private parking, free Wifi, and a good breakfast. Spacious rooms are provided with a desk and a coffee machine
Other accommodation options in 5 de Diciembre
Things to do in 5 de Diciembre
- See a performance at Teatro Vallarta
- Have a nice dinner at La Bodeguita Del Medio
- Visit The Church of Our Lady of the Refuge
- Go stand-up paddle boarding
- Eat amazing tacos at La Tia Mariscos
- Go to El Solar at night and have a cocktail or tequila by the beach
BONUS: 5 things you should know before visiting Puerto Vallarta
Now that you have chosen your accommodation, here is some super useful information about what you should know before your trip and things you should pay attention to before your holiday.
1. Best time to travel Puerto Vallarta
Thanks to its tropical climate, you can visit Puerto Vallarta all year round. However, there are some slight changes between seasons that you should consider when you are making your travel plan.
- Spring & Fall (April-June & October-December) – These are my recommended seasons to visit Puerto Vallarta as the accommodation prices are reasonable and the weather is quite fine.
- Summer (July-September) – Of course summer is going to be great as it is filled with endless sunshine, but be warned, it could be too hot for some of you.
- Winter (January-March) – It is the peak season for Puerto Vallarta as many travelers escape from the winter and are urging for sunshine. That’s why accommodation and tour prices are the highest in winter. Also, it is the only season for whale watching.
2. Book early and have an itinerary
Puerto Vallarta is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. That’s why hotels and tours might be filled up so quickly. Make sure to make a booking as early as possible.
As many places offer free cancelation, you wouldn’t have risked anything, and in the meantime, you won’t miss your ideal place! Also, prepare your itinerary in advance and try to decide on tours you would like to attend for the same reason.
3. Be prepared for the outdoor activities
I am sure you will take your summer clothes and swimsuits with you to Puerto Vallarta but if you are into outdoor activities and planning to hike or attend excursions, make sure to bring a suitable pair of shoes and clothes. Also, despite the sunshine, it would be useful to bring a raincoat.
4. Check the exchange rate
Mexico’s currency is pesos. Before traveling, check the exchange rates so you can compare them with the exchange office’s rates, and if there is a big difference, you can try to withdraw money from an ATM. Sometimes exchange offices can use currency fluctuations to scam tourists so it is useful to check the exchange rates in advance.
5. Get familiar with Puerto Vallarta Transportation
It is easy to travel in Puerto Vallarta, and distances are not very far from each other. Here are the transportation options in Puerto Vallarta.
- Taxis – It is the easiest way to get around in the city. Most of the taxis have fixed prices, so it is a good idea to negotiate with the driver in advance.
- Uber – If you don’t want to take a cab, you can use Uber App.
- Bus – You can take a bus from the airport and also within the city with a very small fare. You can check the timetables from the website.
- Car – Especially if you feel like going to other towns renting a car is a good option for ultimate freedom and flexibility.
Frequently asked questions about Puerto Vallarta
🗺️ What is the best area to stay in Puerto Vallarta?
🤔 Is it safe to stay in Puerto Vallarta?
🍸 Where should I go out in Puerto Vallarta?
🗓️ What is the best month to visit Puerto Vallarta?
🛫 How far is the airport in Puerto Vallarta?
🏝️ What is Puerto Vallarta known for?
I hope that this guide has been helpful to you in finding where to stay in Puerto Vallarta. In this post, I mentioned the best areas to stay in Puerto Vallarta, with the top hotels and Airbnbs in each neighborhood.
To wrap up, here are the best 2 resorts in Puerto Vallarta where I would definitely recommend you to stay. They both have good locations and great reviews too!
- Almar Resort Luxury – 5-star luxurious resort spa just right at the beach
- Vallarta Shores Beach Hotel – a very nice beachfront hotel with great facilities
Puerto Vallarta is one of the most famous vacation destinations in the world, so, in order not to miss your perfect stay in Puerto Vallarta,. make a reservation now!
I am so excited that your amazing vacation in Puerto Vallarta is coming soon! Enjoy every minute of your time in Mexico, and if you are looking for another destination with a Mexican vibe, check out my where to stay in Los Cabos post.
Have a great vacation!