There are so many reasons why the Romantic Zone is the best neighborhood to stay in Puerto Vallarta, but the best one is probably the great choice of boutique hotels.
If you’ve visited Puerto Vallarta in the past, but have only stayed in the hotel zone, the Marina or Nuevo Vallarta, it’s time to venture into the real heart of the city for some authentic Mexican culture.
There are some hidden gem unique places to stay in this area, among the cobblestone streets and authentic restaurants.
Staying in a small boutique hotel is the best way to experience the culture and the vibe of the historic center of the city.
It’s time to step away from the resorts for a more intimate and personal experience.
If you need help choosing a small, boutique hotel, here are my favorite places to stay.
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Rivera del Rio Boutique Hotel
Top choice for: couples, romantic stay, gay travelers
Tucked away close to the Isla Cuale (Cuale River), this hotel oozes whimsical charm and rustic elegance.
The pillar balconies and and spiral staircases reminded me of Romeo and Juliet vibes. Each room is uniquely decorated with romance and old world vibes.
This is one of the best hotels we’ve ever stayed in – not just in Puerto Vallarta.
A heated rooftop infinity pool offers 360 degree views of the ocean, high end neighborhoods and the mountains.
There’s also another quiet pool and a rooftop jacuzzi hot tub with water that gets very hot. A hot breakfast is served each morning in the airy dining nook.
This hotel is dog friendly, being across the street from the river park and 5 minutes away from the dog park.
There’s a brand new elevator so you don’t have to worry about stairs here.
It’s an 8 minute walk to the beach and Malecon, but you’ll hit all kinds of great shop and restaurant along the way.
Don’t miss the lady who sells fresh tamales out of her house around the corner each night!
If you want a quiet hotel in the romantic zone, you’ll enjoy the peaceful evenings here.
This small boutique hotel only has 20 rooms, of which 10 of them were added in 2022.
So you have your choice of the original eccentric rooms, or choose one of the modern rooms which are still beautifully decorated.
The rooms have king beds and private balconies with incredible views. All rooms have air conditioning.
We enjoyed the Zelda room (decorated after the video game).
The luxurious rainfall showerhead complimented the open air view to the neighborhood below.
Where to Book
You can also watch my video tour of this ultra fun hotel:
Hotel Posada de Roger
Top choice for: budget travelers, couples, and first time visitors
This is one of the most popular places to stay in the Zona Romantica because of the affordable prices and perfect location (this means book early)!
It’s a no frills hotel, but quaint, very comfy and has all the amenities you need.
If you love a small hotel full of character and authentic architecture, this place is for you.
You’ve got access to a great little second floor terrace pool with views of the Spanish colonial homes that surround the area.
Additionally, there’s a beautiful roof terrace with loungers for sun tanning.
With all the lush plants and colorful bougainvillea, the middle courtyard feels like a garden in the middle of the city.
And there’s a second floor communal kitchen area where guests can prepare food.
The location doesn’t get much better than this.
You’ll be right in the heart of the Romantic Zone, located on Basilio Badillo, which is one of the most popular and touristy streets in this neighborhood.
You’re also attached to Fredys Tucan – arguably the best breakfast spot in town, a popular favorite among tourists.
But make sure to hit the Pancake House one block down for another great breakfast!
And for dinner, you must hit El Santo Taco 40 feet away. You’re only 3 blocks from the beach, so about 5 minutes walking distance.
The rooms are basic, but always very clean, as is the rest of the hotel.
Each room has air conditioning, but if you have trouble with stairs, make sure to book a room on the ground level.
In low season, you can find rooms for $30 usd per night and only $40 per night in high season.
But as mentioned, since this hotel is so affordable, you should book as early as you can.
Even if you go for the suite with it’s own private sun terrace, it’s still very affordable at less than $140 per night.
Where to Book
Garlands del Rio Boutique Hotel
Top choice for: a quiet and serene stay, couples celebrating an anniversary
This is the sister property to the Rivera del Rio mentioned above.
It’s got all the same cultural charm and ambience, with themed rooms and quirky but elegant decor.
European vibes and New Orleans aesthetic is found all over the property.
The river view rooms are superb and the staff are so hospitable and go above and beyond to ensure each guests’ stay is perfect.
You’ll find a lounge pool among the sunning deck, a hot tub and a great hot breakfast served each morning on the patio by the river.
You might even be greeted with margaritas and guacamole upon your arrival!
As the name implies, this hotel overlooks the river, which makes for a quiet and peaceful setting among the liveliness that is the romantic zone.
There’s no shortage of restaurants, bars and lounges within a 2 minute walk.
Not to mention the live music and piano bar right beside the river courtyard.
This hotel is about a 5 minute walk to the beach and Malecon.
The rooms are spacious, and uniquely decorated with vibrant colors and artwork.
You’ll have air conditioning, a pillowtop king bed and massive showers with large windows.
Make sure to mention at time of booking if you’re celebrating an anniversary or birthday, as the staff will decorate the room!
Unfortunately there is no elevator, but there are only two floors so if stairs are an issue you can request a ground floor room.
In high season, you can expect to pay about $250 usd per night. In low season, the rates go down to about $70 to $90 usd per night.
Where to Book
Casa Maria Hotel Boutique
Top choice for: a picturesque and photo worthy hotel, friends trip, adults only stays
With only 20 rooms, this hotel is small but mighty.
The colorful vibe and aesthetic is so picturesque, and it’s one of the best budget adult-only hotels in the romantic zone.
The bright pink and turquoise accents are so cheery.
There’s a beautiful pool area with a small bar that serves coffee and cookies each morning.
You’ll also get beach towels and a cute beach bag to use during your stay.
Guest reviews rave about how clean this hotel is.
This boutique hotel is centrally located on a quiet street, and only a 2 minute walk to the beach.
Plus, you’re half a block away from Olas Atlas, which is a lively avenue with great bars and restaurants.
If you’re vegan, don’t miss eating at Elixir Spot (30 second walk away). Great smoothie bowls and vegan tacos.
Most rooms are quite large with vaulted ceilings.
Some rooms walk right out into the pool area.
Very cool air conditioners, and small fridges and microwaves in the rooms.
Room rates are going to be around $170 usd per night in high season (January to April) and in low season you can score greats deals for about $40 per night.
Where to Book
BellView Hotel Boutique Puerto Vallarta
Top choice for: honeymooners, anniversary trips, couples
Technically this hotel is just outside of the romantic zone in Old Town, but it’s still in one of the most historic neighborhoods and walking distance to amazing restaurants.
The main draw are the incredible views of the bell tower of the Guadalupe cathedral, and the hotel’s decor to match.
Sit above the terra cotta roofs from your private terrace and enjoy one of the best views of Puerto Vallarta from your hotel room.
The adjacent restaurant, La Capella, is one of the most romantic restaurants in Puerto Vallarta and is a must do.
And even if you don’t get a chance to visit, you can still be serenaded by the live violin music that can be head from your balcony.
Tucked away in the heart of Old Town, in the ‘Gringo Gulch’ high-end neighborhood, you’ll only have to stroll the cobblestone streets for a minute or two to find a great restaurant.
I highly recommend La Tostaderia, only 2 blocks away, for breakfast or lunch under the yellow umbrellas.
Or, in under 10 minutes you’ll find yourself at the Malecon and beach.
I also recommend La Cigale, a hidden gem French bistro that will make you forget you’re in Puerto Vallarta and not Paris.
If a unique hotel room is calling your name, you’ll feel like you’re staying overnight in a vintage cathedral.
The rooms are spacious and decorated with an old world church antique vibe.
And there’s only 6 rooms, so if quaint and intimate is what you’re after, you’ve found it in the BellView Hotel.
Since the church is very close, you will hear the church bell ring quite often, so bring some good ear plugs if this might bother you.
This won’t be the cheapest hotel in Puerto Vallarta, but it’s worth a splurge, especially if you’re celebrating a special anniversary.
In high season, expect to pay anywhere from $280 to $400 usd per night. In low season, rates drop to about $150 usd per night.