where to stay in puerto vallarta

Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta: Best Areas and Hotels

Wondering where to stay in Puerto Vallarta Mexico for the first time, adults, all-inclusive? We’ll help you find the best areas and neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta.

The beaches and warm waters are the major appeal of Puerto Vallarta with travelers able to enjoy the infrastructure of a city or find quiet places simply to relax. Its airport, Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International, provides a link with many parts of North America.

The city still has plenty of commerce unrelated to tourism but around half of the city’s economic activity is tourist related. High season is the Mexican winter when the weather further north in the USA and Canada can vary between poor to severe. Domestic demand is good as well, especially for weekend breaks.

Puerto Vallarta is growing quickly with apartments and hotels providing the rooms that visitors need to satisfy demand. While you are looking to book a beach holiday on the Pacific, Puerto Vallarta’s most popular areas each deserve your attention.

Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta: Tips & Info 

Wherever you are in Puerto Vallarta you have access to the Pacific Ocean and the lovely sandy beaches. When it comes to accommodation, each of the areas mentioned has alternatives ranging for full service hotels to apartments providing a level of independence. With many restaurants to choose from, tourists can find good cuisine throughout the Municipality.

If you want to wake each morning and look out on the Ocean, then Malecon is probably the first place to look at. However, if you want a quiet and relaxing district, look further south.

Downtown and Old Town are the best places for budget travelers. The beaches are still just a 10 minute walk away and if you do not need a beach location, you will enjoy both areas.

Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta Mexico – 7 Best Area & Neighborhood

The city of Puerto Vallarta has grown to the extent that the population exceeds 200,000 while more than that number again live in the municipality as a whole. Wherever you stay in Puerto Vallarta you will have easy access to the coast.

There is a good bus service for transport within the municipality while taxis are plentiful. While cars are available for rent, the roads are poor in places and parking is difficult to find in some parts. It makes sense to use a bus or taxi wherever you are staying.

Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta Mexico Map

Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta Mexico Map
Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta Mexico Map

To see more detail on where to stay in Puerto Vallarta, go to Google Map.

1. Downtown, Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta for Shopping

where to stay in Puerto vallarta on budget: downtown
Downtown @Kirt Edblom

‘’El Centro’’ is similar to many downtown areas in major cities. It is the heart of culture and the administrative activity of a city that is the capital of a municipality. Modern facilities include shopping, bars and restaurants, galleries and theaters. There is also a developed nightclub scene which is primarily aimed at the young set.

Not surprisingly, the heart of the City tends to be crowded and noisy. If you want a relaxing holiday, perhaps you should look elsewhere for accommodation? However, if you are traveling on a budget, you will find cheap hostels Downtown.


  • You want to be in the heart of the action
  • You do not mind crowds
  • You want the best shopping alternatives
  • You are on a budget and are looking for a suitable hostel

2. Old Town, Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta for Authentic Mexican

Best areas in Puerto vallarta for party Zona Romantica
Zona Romantica @Mark Tyra

Also known as Zona Romantica, Old Town retains the charm of the traditional Mexican town with its cobbled streets giving you an idea of its age. There is a rich history here and travelers wishing to be close to old architecture, galleries and lovely plazas will be satisfied with accommodation here.

The Saturday Market selling artisan products as well as fruit and vegetables is a ‘’must’’ for tourists with cafes locally selling local cuisine, including fresh seafood. Shopping facilities are good in general.

You can head to the beach by day and have a good chance of seeing whales and dolphins offshore at certain times of the year. By night, the Old Town has plenty of action, including bars and clubs. Budget travelers will find options in Old Town.


  • You want to get a real flavor of traditional Mexico
  • You seek variety in your holiday including history, culture, and good cuisine along with time on the beach
  • You are happy with crowded bars and clubs
  • You want to find good budget accommodation

3. Malecon, Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta All Inclusive

Malecon is a mile long promenade stretching south of Old Town. It is a lovely place to walk, enjoy the climate and the many sculptures that line the walk. Most of the district is pedestrian with dedicated cycle paths in place.

You will enjoy the bars and restaurants with street artists offering a variety of things to those passing by. Live music and dance entertain passers-by yet there is still a tranquil feel to Malecon. Malecon has plenty of good restaurants along its mile stretch. 

There is plenty of shade along the promenade provided largely by palm trees. Seating ensures that walkers can take a break and just enjoy the atmosphere before moving on.


  • You want to stay right on the beach
  • You wish to avoid traffic
  • You decide on somewhere that you can get food from early in the day until late at night.

4. Marina Vallarta, Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta Near Airport

Marina vallarta exlcusive area to stay in Puerto Vallarta
Marina de Puerto Vallarta @BirdsEyePix

Marina Vallarta is an upmarket development close to the airport, north of the main city. The yachts moored here is a sign of real opulence while charter boats are available for tourists wishing to take trips out into the Pacific.

The promenade is lovely while if you visit the El Faro Lighthouse at sunset you are sure of a wonderful photograph. There are numerous bars and restaurants with street performers adding to the atmosphere. 

Shopping is excellent by the way. Beachfront developments often ‘’own’’ the stretch of beach directly in front of them so if you want exclusivity, look at staying in one of the places available to rent, at a price.


  • You want an exclusive area
  • Cruising out into the Pacific is on your ‘’to do’’ list
  • Your priority is relaxation rather than sightseeing

5. Fluvial Vallarta – Best Area to Stay in Puerto Vallarta for Modern Life

Located in the north of Puerto Vallarta, Fluvial has been attracting increasing attention in recent years. It is very much a 21st Century development with residential buildings guaranteeing its current and future popularity. That building is continuing and includes provision of theaters and cinemas, shopping and restaurants, many belonging to USA chains.

It remains inexpensive and hence its real estate is attracting attention on the basis that its popularity will continue to grow. That is not really a factor for tourists but nevertheless the neighborhood is worth considering if only because it is modern.


  • You want a modern, developing area
  • You want entertainment such as theater but prefer to be away from the center of the city
  • You seek a relatively inexpensive district

6. Nuevo Vallarta – Best Area to Stay in Puerto Vallarta for Water Sports

Nuevo Vallarta luxury neighborhood
Nuevo Vallarta @Jeff Turner

Another relatively new neighborhood is Nuevo Vallarta where the attractive natural setting is of great appeal. As well as lovely beaches, Nuevo Vallarta has two quality golf courses and luxury condos for visiting tourists as well as ex-pats.

Water sport enthusiasts will find plenty to occupy their time; scuba diving, kite surfing, paddle boarding and kayaking. Equipment can be hired locally.

The two marinas have a capacity of 500 ships and their cleanliness has attracted birdlife including pelicans and herons, as well as the occasional crocodile. Turtles also nest in the nearby Bahia del Sol Resort.


  • You are interested in water sports
  • Golf is one of the things you look for on a holiday
  • You enjoy seeing wildlife living within the area.
  • You want a bit of luxury

7. South, Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta for Quiet Holiday

stay in quiet place in puerto vallarta South
Conchas Chinas @Ernest McGray, Jr.

The South as a whole has a number of small neighborhoods bordering on the jungle but offering lovely beaches and quality villas. This is an affluent area in Puerto Vallarta where there is still a degree of poverty.

One small neighborhood, Conchas Chinas has even earned the nickname ‘’ Beverley Hills of Puerto Vallartas.’’ It is close to where the Burton and Taylor movie, ‘’The Night of the Iguana’’ was filmed by John Huston over half a century ago.

These neighborhoods tend to be quiet, providing an excellent place to relax, enjoying the climate, and having time on the beach with the occasional swim.


  • You want a quiet holiday and are prepared to pay for it
  • You preference is to be in a natural environment even if there is villa development
  • You are not concerned about the historical and cultural aspects of Puerto Vallarta.

Where is Puerto Vallarta?

Puerto Vallarta looks out into the Bahai de Banderas on the Pacific Coastline of Mexico in Jalisco Province. It is well to the north of Mexico City on a similar latitude to Hawaii. Both have a wonderful climate right throughout the year.

There has been settlement here for many years with impressive growth over recent decades as overseas travel has become more available and affordable.

When is the best time to go to Puerto Vallarta? 

High season in Puerto Vallarta corresponds with the Northern Hemisphere’s winter months, November around to April. That is because the weather in North America is generally poor and Puerto Vallarta provides a good escape. You will find during those months that prices for accommodation are at their peak.

If you leave your trip a little later, April through to the beginning of June, there are fewer crowds, the weather is very pleasant, and prices fall. There is minimal rainfall until it gets to June and even then, it is a minor inconvenience.

The cheapest month for accommodation in Puerto Vallarta is usually September if you are on a tight budget.

What are the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta?

There are a number of lovely beaches right around Bahia de Banderas. You will not be disappointed by any of them but here are a few to get you started with your research.

  • Garza Blanca is a beautiful beach, but it is exclusively for use of guests at the Resort and Spa of the same name.
  • Conchas Chinas Beach is regularly used by couples wishing to have a beach wedding. Even if you just want a romantic setting, you should head here and take a look.
  • The beaches south of Conchas Chinas are an excellent starting point for those wanting to explore and hike into the interior
  • Los Muertos Beach in Downtown is great for watching people whether they are strolling by, playing volleyball, haggling with vendors or taking a banana boat ride.
  • Playa Camarones is fairly close by with many enjoying the Ocean and water sports but with parts of the beach that are quiet if that is what you seek

Where to change money in Puerto Vallarta?

There are plenty of ATMs in Puerto Vallarta and they give the best exchange rate into pesos. It is a good idea to inform your bank about your holiday so that there is no suspicion of fraudulent activity on your card.

The rate will be less favorable at the airport and if you shop in dollars, you will get change in pesos and the exchange rate is not always good.

Is Puerto Vallarta Dangerous for Tourists?

The popular tourist districts in Puerto Vallarta are well policed, places such as Malecon. There is petty crime as there is in places throughout the world, so you need to take sensible precautions. Walking alone at night in a quiet area is not advisable but that applies around the world to the same extent.

Is It Safe to Stay in Puerto Vallarta?

Puerto Vallarta has the reputation of being a very safe place. You need to keep your valuables in a safe place with hotels providing personal safes. If you are thinking of renting a villa or apartment, check on what facilities are available before booking.

Wearing expensive jewelry may put you slightly at risk so think if it is really necessary while you are enjoying your holiday.

Best Places to Stay In Puerto Vallarta for Adults?

There are several beachside hotels that are adult-only. If you have a preference for a particular district within Puerto Vallarta, you can look for adult-only accommodation within that district. In the event that you cannot find something you like here, try your second choice of district. 

It is very unlikely that you will not find something suitable unless you are booking last minute in high season and are particularly choosy.

Where To Stay in Puerto Vallarta for the First Time Visitor?

Puerto Vallarta is an easy place to get around. If you enjoy being in a busy area, then El Centro has everything you will need. It is probably best to also look at Old Town and Malecon rather than the extreme north or south of Vallarta on your first visit. 

If you return, and are then familiar with the resort, you may then want to head further afield.

Where is the Best Area to Stay in Puerto Vallarta?

Malecon offers a beach frontage, plenty of facilities and is close to the heart of Puerto Vallarta. Taxis can take you out to other parts of the Municipality. Malecon is pedestrianized with plenty of lovely restaurants serving quality cuisine so you do not need to stray far if you do not want to do so.

Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta All Inclusive?

All inclusive resorts are increasingly popular. If all you want to do on holiday is to relax by the beach and have everything close at hand, all inclusive is the way to go.

You will find all inclusive resorts/hotels along the whole stretch of Puerto Vallarta but to begin your search, try looking at places on the beach but close to the center. Malecon is one place to start in that respect. If you have no desire to head out of your resort, then any consideration of history and culture may not come into your thinking. 


Forget any ideas you have of Mexico and its crime rate. Puerto Vallarta is well away from any such national problems. It does have a level of poverty, but tourists rarely come across any issues when staying there.

The climate is excellent with the high season corresponding with poor weather in the USA and Canada. An escape to the sun makes plenty of sense if there is ice and snow outside. High season in Puerto Vallarta is reflected by crowds and high prices but that may not concern you.

Springtime is lovely in Puerto Vallarta and a good time for activities where cooler, but still warm, weather prevails. If you like golf and intend to play, you will certainly want to avoid the highest temperatures that occur in Puerto Vallarta.

The West Coast of the USA is just between 3 and 4 hours away, and most overseas visitors come from that part of North America. They will continue to do so.

About Author

I'm Linda Smith. I'm passionate about traveling and I'm here to share with you all my travel experiences and tips. I hope all these things will make your travel easier.

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