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Best Areas to Stay in Puerto Vallarta: a Quick and Easy Breakdown

Best Areas to Stay in Puerto Vallarta: a Quick and Easy Breakdown

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Puerto Vallarta neighborhoods and their associated types of accommodations vary widely. This is one of the best reasons to choose Puerto Vallarta for your Mexico vacation – you get so many vibes to choose from.

Whether you wan ocean or mountain views from private balcony, authentic neighborhoods safe for tourists, serene beaches, secluded resorts or quiet jungle villas, you can have it all.

Depending what type of vacation you’re looking for will determine the best area to stay.

Puerto Vallarta is split up into zones/neighborhoods and they all have their different qualities, pros and cons and types of accommodations. 

In this post, I’ll cover the best places and areas to stay for the following types of travelers:

  • For Families
  • For Couples
  • For Adults
  • For Singles
  • Gay Travelers
  • Budget Travelers
  • Luxury holidays
  • All Inclusive Seekers

We’ll start with the northernmost neighborhood of Puerto Vallarta and work our way south. 

This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click through and make a purchase I may make a small commission. I only share information about things I know, love and trust!

Nuevo Vallarta

Perfect for: families, golf vacations

Nuevo Vallarta is technically not part of Puerto Vallarta, but just north about 20 minutes from the airport.

Here you’ll find large all inclusive resorts and lots of condos – it’s almost like Puerto Vallarta’s version of the Cancun hotel zone.

This is where you’ll find the mega resorts and condo complexes, including many high end and upscale properties. Nuevo Vallarta is also an area with multiple golf courses. 

The beaches are fantastic, but it hardly feels like Mexico since it’s only large hotels and resorts.

However, if you’re in the mood for a vacation to lounge by the pool for a week or two with a couple day trips thrown in the mix (or a couple rounds of golf), Nuevo Vallarta is an excellent choice. 

Where to Stay in Nuevo Vallarta

Paradise Village: this resort has been a staple in Nuevo Vallarta for years. It’s a popular choice for families and weddings.

Paradise Village – image credit

Marina Vallarta

Perfect for: snowbirds, retirees, couples and luxury seekers

At only 5 minutes from the airport, the Marina Vallarta neighborhood has a blend of upscale and mid-range accommodations, a beautiful promenade, and of course excellent views of the yachts, sailboats and charter boats moored here. 

The Marina area is ideal for those who prefer to rent a condo or a longer term vacation rental because of its close proximity to grocery stores, shops and other amenities. 

If you’re looking to get pampered on your vacation, there are a ton of spas in the Marina area. One of my favorites is Millenium Spa Puerto Vallarta offers 75 minute facials for less than $40!

Access to the beach isn’t the greatest from Marina Vallarta unless you’re staying at a beachfront resort. However, it’s a very residential feel, perfect for long term stays and daily walk with the dog. 

Many people like staying here because it’s an excellent halfway point between downtown Puerto Vallarta and Bucerias.

Busses are easily accessible here and for about 50 cents you can get to the romantic zone. Taxis, Ubers and InDrivers are also always readily available. 

The Thursday night market is lively and is a highlight of this neighborhood.  

You will find mostly an older crowd and many families enjoy staying in the Marina Vallarta. 

If you’re planning lots of boat excursions (fishing tours, Marietas Island, Rhythms of the Night, etc), Marina Vallarta is a great area to stay. 

Restaurant Recommendations:

Visit Bacha’s for huge margaritas and complimentary guacamole. The food is decent, but the amazing service is what makes it special here. 

Go to Victor’s for sunset and watch the sun go down over the yachts in the marina. Plus, it’s always a fun time here – you get a shot of tequila with every drink! I loved the pastor fajitas. 

Meliá Puerto Vallarta is family friendly, offers good value and the All Inclusive package is optional.

Meliá Puerto Vallarta – image credit

If you’re not sure what to go with, read my guide on whether or not all-inclusives are a good deal

Casa Velas is a smaller-scale adults only boutique resort, highly rated for couples. And located right on a golf course. 

Casa Velas – image credit

Rooftop Pool Condo. This quiet condo is perfect for 2 people, has panoramic views of the marina from the balcony and views of the ocean and mountains from the rooftop pool!

Image credit – VRBO

Hotel Zone/Zona Hotelera

Perfect for: all inclusive holidays

The Hotel Zone of Puerto Vallarta has the best choice of all inclusive resorts.

The resorts and their respective manicured beaches are the draws for this part of Puerto Vallarta.

Choose a hotel here if you want the all inclusive experience and plan to go into downtown once or twice on your trip. The hotel zone is pretty close to the airport as well – only a 10 minute drive. 

It’s also very close to the large shopping center called La Isla. 

Where to Stay in the Hotel Zone

Hotel Mio Vallarta – adults only, the rooftop pool is ultra romantic, perfect for couples and dog-friendly throughout the hotel. 

Hotel Mio – image credit

Sheraton Buganvilias Resort – all-around good value for an all-inclusive resort. Great for families and couples. Very good Sunday brunch!

You can choose the all-inclusive package or just the room fee. Since it’s located at the south end of the Hotel Zone (closest to downtown) it’s only a 20 minute walk to the Malecon. 

Krystal Puerto Vallarta – lower budget all inclusive; excellent beach. If you don’t need anything brand new and modern, the Krystal is an excellent choice.

With its lower price point you can enjoy all the features of all-inclusive, and still have budget left over to dine out at local restaurants a few times. 

Krystal Vallarta – image credit


Perfect for: budget travelers, those who want to stay in a residential area

Versalles is a trendy and up and coming Puerto Vallarta neighborhood, and basically right across the highway from the hotel zone.

Here you’ll find a mix of locals, expats and off the beaten path tourists.

There are many hidden gem restaurants, the architecture is beautiful and it feels a little less touristy than Old Town. 

You won’t need a car if you’re staying in Versalles.

This zone is flat and easily walkable, which can’t be said about other neighborhoods in the city. They’re also making huge improvements to all the sidewalks.

It’s easy to get to numerous shops, restaurants, and coffee shops by foot (including many vegan restaurants).

And the beach is reachable within a 10 minute walk. This part of Puerto Vallarta is close to a couple major roads so its easy to catch a bus to go anywhere you need.

Where to Stay in Versalles

Condo Marbella – this gated condo complex is a quiet oasis from the city noises, yet perfect walking distance to markets and restaurants.

You’ll be blown away by the pool surrounded by the lush grounds. This modernly renovated unit has A/C, a great patio and a full kitchen. 

Condo Marbella – image credit VRBO

Posada Casa Adriana – one of the best rated places to stay in Versalles, and one of the cheapest in all of Puerto Vallarta.

You can snag a room in high season for under $40 per night.

If you want one of the cheapest hotels, with clean rooms in a nice location of Puerto Vallarta, Posada Casa Adriana is an excellent choice. 

It’s also pet friendly!

Posada Adriana – image credit

5 de Diciembre

This neighborhood is a little more affordable than centro/romantic zone, yet still walkable to the Malecon.

There’s a similar feel to Old Town but with lower prices. Choose to stay here if you want a more authentic vibe, as you will be more amongst locals. 

You’ll know you’re in the 5 de Diciembre neighborhood because all the streets are named after a country. 

This part of Puerto Vallarta has lots of hills. Keep this in mind as you will be walking uphill to come back to your hotel/rental.

On the other hand, you can look at this as a bonus because you get great views from up top.

More and more people are choosing to stay and spend their time in this neighborhood as the Romantic Zone becomes busier. 

Where to Stay in 5 de Diciembre

Buenaventura Grand Hotel (All Inclusive) – older but the service is great. This is the perfect option if you want a resort-style stay within easy walking distance to the Malecon and great downtown restaurants.

It’s cheap enough too, so that you can still afford to hit the town for some great dinners. 

Not sure if an all inclusive is worth it? Read my guide where I breakdown everything for you to consider. 

Buenaventura Grand Hotel – image credit

Hotel Rosita – perfect for those on a budget.

This spot is right at the beginning of the Malecon (so you can walk anywhere). It’s dated, but very well maintained and you can’t beat the price.

There’s a great pool that overlooks the beach. 

Centro/Downtown Puerto Vallarta

Perfect for: adventure travelers, quiet but walkable to all restaurants

Centro is a great neighborhood to stay in if you want something quieter but still walkable to the Romantic Zone’s liveliness and more popular restaurants.

This is the second most popular Puerto Vallarta neighborhood to stay in after the romantic zone. 

That being said, you wouldn’t even have to leave this neighborhood if you didn’t want to – there are so many great restaurant options and some of the most fun Malecon-lined restaurants.

This neighborhood is also home to some of Vallarta’s most famous attractions like the stunning Our Lady of Guadalupe Cathedral, Elizabeth Taylor’s former house, and the panoramic viewpoint called Mirrador. 

Where to Stay in Centro 

BellView Hotel – spectacular views of the famous bell tower, especially at sunset from your private terrace at this hotel.

BellView Hotel – image credit

The onsite La Capella restaurant is one of the best dinners you will ever have. The rooms are large and feel more like you’re staying in a villa.

And with the vintage and charming cathedral decor, the BellView Hotel is one of the most unique places to stay in Vallarta.

Zona Romantica (Romantic Zone)/Old Town

Perfect for: couples, gay travelers, friends trip, nightlife lovers

The Romantic Zone is where all the action is, and where I recommend everyone stays at least once! In my opinion, the romantic zone is the best area to stay in Puerto Vallarta to really soak up the essence of this beautiful city. 

Here you get the narrow cobblestone streets, colorful colonial houses and local culture and flair. 

This area is quite compact, so it’s walkable to every type of restaurant and shopping/markets, the heart of the Malecon, the main pier to catch the boats, or inexpensive cabs available if you want to venture out further.

As far as city neighborhoods go, the romantic zone is also one of the safest areas of Puerto Vallarta. We always felt safe walking around at night. 

If you don’t want to spend your entire vacation sitting on the beach, but prefer to walk about town, hit the markets, explore the neighborhoods, the river island – then this is the place for you.

The Romantic Zone is also where you will find the LGBTQ2S+ district. 

This whole neighborhood is the best area for nightlife, street tacos, drinks, music, and just a lively area in general. 

Where to Stay in Romantic Zone

Rivera del Rio Boutique Hotel – In my opinion, this is one of the most unique places to stay in Puerto Vallarta.

Hands down, it’s also the most romantic and quaint hotel in the Romantic Zone, with one of the best rooftop pools in the city.

Each room is uniquely decorated in a whimsical theme, breakfast is included and the rooms overlook the lush Rio Cuale. 

Rivera del Rio Hotel
a couple poses in an infinity pool overlooking a valley of colonial houses
Rooftop infinity pool views at Rivera del Rio

Hotel Posada de Roger – If you want the cheapest, cleanest hotel in the center of the romantic zone – Posada de Roger is for you.

Located on Basilio Badillo which is one of the main streets in this neighborhood with famous restaurants like Pancho’s Tacos, Pancake House and Margarita Grill.

Not only is this hotel perfect for budget travelers, the interior courtyard garden and pool is lush and beautiful. 

Hotel Posada de Roger – image credit

Playa Los Arcos – this hotel is steps to the beach and you have dozens (if not more) of restaurant options (including beach bars) all within 5 minutes walking distance. 

a building painted in 3 different colors
Playa Los Arcos hotel

Conchas Chinas

Perfect for: luxury stays and groups

Some refer to this area as the Beverly Hills of Puerto Vallarta. It’s quiet, upscale the views are fantastic and the protected cove-style beach is one of the best you’ll find in Puerto Vallarta. Walk along 

the pristine sand to get to Zona Romantica (15 minutes). 

Most types of accommodations here are villa style or vacation condos. You’ll find many luxury rentals and many perfect for a group. This neighborhood is built up on steep hills, so overall it’s not very walkable. 

Where to Stay in Conchas Chinas:

Lindo Mar Resort is one of the most popular places to stay in Conchas Chinas.

The beach and pool are fantastic and the onsite happy hour is quite cheap.

The views from the rooms can’t be beat. This is also a timeshare property, so condo owners rent our their suites. 

Lindo Mar Resort – image credit

Carriage House Apartment. Gorgeous views of the villa and the bay from two private terraces.

A one bedroom suite, walking distance to Old Town and very dog friendly. Budget-friendly. 

Carriage House – image credit

Oceanfront Retreat. Directly on the beach, overlooking pristine blue water. Each bedroom has its own private balcony.

Plus, this villa is stocked with coffee, milk, wine and beer and includes free pickup from the airport. 

Oceanfront retreat image credit

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