Choosing the Best Area to Stay in Puerto Vallarta:

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November 29, 2023
4 min read

Puerto Vallarta is a popular tourist destination located on Mexico's Pacific coast. Known for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and rich cultural heritage, it attracts millions of visitors each year.

The city offers a wide range of attractions and activities that cater to all interests and ages. Whether you're looking for a romantic getaway or a family vacation, Puerto Vallarta has something to offer.

Learn more about the beautiful coastal city in our Puerto Vallarta guide. Here you'll be able to find the best places to stay along with top attractions.

The Smaller Pacific Tourist Destination

Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful coastal city that boasts some of the best beaches in Mexico. Although it may be overshadowed by Cabo, don’t let the hype fool you. The city's cobblestone streets are lined with charming colonial buildings adorned with colorful flowers and intricate ironwork.

You can soak up the local culture by exploring the numerous art galleries, museums, and markets scattered throughout the city. The Malecon Boardwalk is one of the most popular attractions in Puerto Vallarta.

It stretches along the waterfront for more than one mile and offers breathtaking views of Banderas Bay. Street performers showcase their talents throughout the day and night, adding to the lively atmosphere.

Choosing the Right Area to Stay in for an Enjoyable Vacation

Choosing where to stay in Puerto Vallarta can greatly affect your vacation experience. Each area has its own unique characteristics that appeal to different types of travelers. 

While some areas like Zona Romantica are known for their bohemian vibe and proximity to nightlife, others like Nuevo Vallarta offer all-inclusive resorts with private beaches perfect for families or couples seeking tranquility.

It's important to consider what you want out of your vacation before choosing where to stay in Puerto Vallarta. 

Take into account factors such as proximity to attractions, type of accommodation, and overall ambiance when making your decision so that you can have an unforgettable experience in this tropical paradise.

On the way to Playa los Muertos in Zona Romantica, Puerto Vallarta
On the way to Playa los Muertos in Zona Romatica, Puerto Vallarta

Discover the Charm of Zona Romantica!

If you are looking for a vibrant and charismatic area to stay in Puerto Vallarta, then Zona Romantica or Romantic Zone is an excellent choice. This historic neighborhood features narrow cobblestone streets and colorful buildings with intriguing architecture.

Zona Romantica is located south of the Rio Cuale, and it's a popular destination for visitors who want to experience the local culture. Not only does this neighborhood offer enchanting views, but it's also conveniently close to two of the most beloved attractions in Puerto Vallarta: Los Muertos Beach and Malecon Boardwalk.

Los Muertos Beach is a lively beach with plenty of restaurants, bars, and vendors along its shore. The Malecon Boardwalk is a delightful promenade that stretches along the coastline and features art installations, sculptures, restaurants, shops, and live music performances.

One of the highlights of Zona Romantica is undoubtedly its extensive range of accommodation options that cater to all budgets - from affordable hostels to high-end resorts. You'll find an abundance of boutique hotels as well as charming guest houses that boast traditional Mexican decor.

Loved the architecture and flowers in the Romantic Zone

I stayed here and it was such a great area! I loved the flowers and the proximity to the beach. It’s easily walkable and you can walk all along the beach. Also you can make your way to the secluded beaches cheaply from here too. 

Marina Vallarta: A Waterfront Haven with Upscale Amenities

Nestled on the northern end of Puerto Vallarta, Marina Vallarta is a picturesque neighborhood that offers the best of both worlds: a luxurious stay and an abundance of water-related activities. 

The marina is home to upscale hotels and resorts that cater to travelers seeking pampering and relaxation. You can enjoy stunning views of the boats docked in the marina while sipping cocktails at one of several waterfront restaurants or cafes.

Ideal Location for Water Activities

The marina's central location makes it an ideal spot for water activities such as fishing and boating. Here you can rent boats or charter guided fishing trips through one of several operators located within the marina.

For those looking for more low-key options, there are also sunset cruises available through local tour companies. Enjoy a glass of champagne while taking in panoramic views of Puerto Vallarta's coastline.

You can also take a boat tour to the secluded beaches in the south such as Colomitos or Playa Animas as well as taking the day excursion to see the Isla Marietas. The Marina is well built and very modern and kind of reminds me of an airport with little shops inside.

Upscale Hotels and Resorts

Marina Vallarta features some of Puerto Vallarta's most upscale hotels and resorts complete with luxurious amenities such as spas, infinity pools, swim-up bars, private beaches, and ocean-view suites. 

One great option is Casa Velas Hotel Boutique which boasts 80 spacious suites designed in a traditional Mexican style complemented by modern amenities.

The hotel features a world-class spa that offers everything from hydrotherapy to healing massages. 

Another luxurious option is the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa which offers stunning views of Banderas Bay and features six restaurants, three bars, and a state-of-the-art fitness center.

Here you can relax in your spacious rooms or soak up the sun on the beach right outside your door. 

Overall, Marina Vallarta is an ideal choice for anyone who wants to experience the luxury of Puerto Vallarta's waterfront with plenty of opportunities for adventure and relaxation while being close to all the action in town.

Playa de Oro (Gold Beach) in the Hotel Zone, Puerto Vallarta
Playa de Oro (Gold Beach) in the Hotel Zone, Puerto Vallarta

Hotel Zone in Puerto Vallarta

If you're looking for a budget-friendly getaway to Puerto Vallarta, staying in the Zona Hotelera is your best bet. This area of town boasts a wide range of accommodations to fit any budget, from all-inclusive resorts to charming boutique hotels. You'll also find plenty of restaurants and shops within walking distance, so you won't have to spend extra money on transportation.

When it comes to nightlife, the Hotel Zone has something for everyone. You can dance the night away at one of the many clubs or bars along the beach, or enjoy a more laid-back evening with live music at a local restaurant.

 No matter what your preferred style is, you're sure to find it here. And if you're looking for some daytime activities, head down to Playa del Oro (Gold beach) where you can swim in crystal clear waters or take part in water sports like kayaking, swimming, and snorkeling.

The hotel zone in Puerto Vallarta is a destination that combines sun-soaked beaches, comfortable accommodations, delectable cuisine, and a vibrant atmosphere, all in one place.

Nuevo Vallarta: The Perfect Family-Friendly Destination

If you're looking for a more peaceful and laid-back atmosphere, Nuevo Vallarta is a must-visit. Located just north of Puerto Vallarta, in Nayarit state, it offers a great escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown while still being close enough to enjoy all the city has to offer.

One of the main draws of Nuevo Vallarta is its numerous all-inclusive resorts with private beaches. These resorts offer everything you could want or need for a relaxing vacation, from delicious food and drinks to fun activities for all ages.

Some even have their own water parks! For those who love golfing, there are several world-class golf courses in Nuevo Vallarta that are sure to impress even the most experienced golfers.

But it's not just about relaxing at the resort - there are plenty of family-friendly activities in Nuevo Vallarta as well. Many resorts offer organized excursions such as horseback riding, zip-lining, and snorkeling.

And don't forget about the Aquaventuras Water Park where you can slide down thrilling water slides or swim with dolphins! Overall, if you're looking for a more tranquil vacation spot with plenty of amenities and activities for the whole family, consider staying in Nuevo Vallarta during your visit to Puerto Vallarta.

Los Muertos Beach Pier with Conchas Chinas in the background
Los Muertos Beach Pier with Conchas Chinas in the background

Conchas Chinas: A Slice of Paradise

If you're looking for a luxurious and exclusive neighborhood to stay in Puerto Vallarta, look no further than Conchas Chinas. This upscale area is known for its stunning villas and condos that offer breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

Located just south of the Romantic Zone, up in the hills, here you'll feel like royalty as you enjoy the private infinity pools, lush gardens, and high-end amenities that these properties offer. A lot of the resorts and western hotel chains are located in this area.

One of the major draws of Conchas Chinas is its secluded beaches with crystal-clear waters. Some of the beaches are private as well. 

You can escape the crowds and enjoy a peaceful day under the sun. The beach here is perfect for swimming, as the water is calm and warm.

Another advantage of staying in Conchas Chinas is its quieter atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of downtown. You'll be able to relax and unwind in this tranquil neighborhood while still being just a short ride from all the action in Puerto Vallarta.

Overall, if you're looking to indulge in luxury during your vacation, Conchas Chinas is definitely worth considering. The combination of magnificent properties with stunning sea views, secluded beaches, and peaceful surroundings will make your stay here unforgettable.

The Conclusion - A Vacation Destination Like No Other

Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful vacation destination with so much to offer visitors. Whether you choose the charming Zona Romantica or upscale Marina Vallarta, there are many good options available close by hotels and restaurants suitable for any budget!

Whichever location you choose on your next trip here, be sure to take advantage of all that this beautiful coastal city has in store! I put together a list of the top reasons to visit Puerto Vallarta, check out all the things you can do. You may also be interested in reading our article on how long to plan to stay in Puerto Vallarta.


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I consider myself a world-travelling nomad and a foodie at heart. Born in Germany and raised in East Tennessee, my passion for exploration has taken me all over the planet - exploring unfamiliar lands and cultures is what truly inspires my soul!
I live outside of Doha and consider myself an inside expert on all things Qatar. I love exploring all the country has to offer and look forward to giving you valuable insights of where I call home!
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