Posted 24 Jun, 2019 | One Comment
Posted in: Mexico, Travel Blogs

Puerto Vallarta is one of the most popular places to visit in Mexico, and for good reason. Located in the Banderas Bay, this beautiful town has the ocean on one side and the Sierra Madre mountains on the other. It’s a fantastic travel destination, and there are plenty of great Puerto Vallarta hotels to choose from. 

This is the kind of place that people come to on a short vacation and end up moving to. I should know, as I did exactly that! There’s just something about PV (as many call it) that lures you in and makes you never want to leave — not to mention, there are endless things to do here. 

Unlike the Cancun area, which feels like somewhat of a Disneyland version of Mexico, Puerto Vallarta manages to retain its charm despite the boom in tourism.

Here you’ll still find cowboys riding their horses up cobblestone streets lined with authentic taco stands. Each neighbourhood in PV offers traditional Mexican food, fresh seafood, and international delights — there’s a restaurant for everyone in Puerto Vallarta.

where to stay in puerto vallarta for travellers

In this guide, I’ll help you figure out where to stay in Puerto Vallarta. I’ll go into detail about some of the most popular neighborhoods to stay in and highlight some of the best Puerto Vallarta hotels in each one.

Ready to plan that dream trip to PV? Well then, vamos amigos!

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Don’t miss our in-depth guide to travelling Puerto Vallarta, including places to eat, the best beaches, things to do, the top tours, and more.

Marina Vallarta: One of The Luxurious Places To Stay in Puerto Vallarta

Known For:

  • Upscale Accommodation 
  • Boutique Shops
  • Modern Developments
  • Luxury Yachts
  • Pedestrian Boardwalk
  • 18 Hole Golf Course
  • International Cuisine
  • El Faro Lighthouse and Restaurant

In describing the best places to stay in Puerto Vallarta, I’ll go from north to south down the Bandaras Bay. First up is Marina Vallarta, which is located about a 15-minute drive north of El Centro. It’s also right next to the airport, making your trip in and out of the city a breeze. 

Marina Vallarta is definitely the fancy part of town. This is where the giant cruise ships dock, welcoming thousands upon thousands of visitors to PV each year. The city is working on a massive new cruise terminal called Puerto Mágico (Magic Port) that will include a tequila museum and an aquarium. 

If you’re reading this article, though, you’re probably not headed to Puerto Vallarta on a cruise ship. But, this area isn’t just for cruise passengers, as the Marina is also home to a world-class golf course and plenty of luxury accommodation. It’s a very popular spot for families or for those who seek a bit of peace and quiet on their vacation. 

el faro lighthouse in marina vallarta

Here are a few of the top Puerto Vallarta hotels in Marina Vallarta:

San Tropico

  • Marina Vallarta
  • Rated 9.5 on
  • Rooms from $106

This boutique hotel is highly rated thanks to its beautiful, peaceful grounds. There are colorful murals all over the property, which is basically a big garden. Here you can chill out in a hammock, take a dip in the outdoor pool, and even join a free yoga class. 

A great selling point of this hotel is that rooms have kitchens, so you can save some money by preparing breakfast and snacking at home. It’s not on the beach but it’s a short walk away, or you can borrow one of their bikes. Click here to see the latest price from

where to stay in puerto vallarta

Velas Vallarta

  • Marina Vallarta
  • Rated 8.6 on
  • Rooms from $235

If you’re looking to splash out on a luxury vacation, Velas Vallarta is the place for you. This luxurious beachfront resort is all-inclusive, so everything is taken care of for you here. Best of all, they have a great green initiative going on here. They compost their organic food waste and use it to fertilize the garden and they also have solar panels to heat their showers.

This high-end resort has a few different pools (one even has a swim-up bar!) as well as a nice beachfront area with sun loungers and canopy tents for shade. There’s also a spa and a fitness center, and it’s located right near the world-class Marina Vallarta Golf Club if you want to hit the links. Click here to see the latest price from

puerto vallarta hotels on the beach

Casa Velas

  • Marina Vallarta
  • Rated 9.6 on
  • Rooms from $350

While Velas Vallarta is a fantastic choice for families, Casa Velas is the place to be if you’re looking for more of a romantic getaway. You basically get the same amazing resort and all the amenities but in an adults-only setting. No screaming kids splashing you while you try to get your tan on at this resort!

This resort is definitely on the pricey side, but they’ve got stellar reviews and have even been listed among the Top 15 hotels in all of Mexico by Condé Nast Traveller. When it comes to Puerto Vallarta hotels, this one is worth splurging on. Click here to see the latest price from

best puerto vallarta hotels

Hotel Zone: Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta For All-Inclusive Resorts

Known For:

  • Beautiful Beaches (there are four to choose from)
  • Malls and Shopping
  • Resorts
  • Cinema
  • Casinos

Heading south from the Marina, our next stop is the Hotel Zone. I’ll give you one guess as to where this name comes from! That’s right, there are a whole bunch of hotels in this area. With so many choices, it’s definitely one of the best places to stay in Puerto Vallarta.

The beachfront area is home to several all-inclusive resorts here — perfect for those who want to maximize their chill time and have everything taken care of. Everyone can find something in the Hotel Zone, whether you’re traveling as a family, group of friends, couple, or just flying solo. 

hotel zone in puerto vallarta_

If you’re not sure where to stay in Puerto Vallarta, the Hotel Zone is always a safe bet. It’s an easy, straight shot to or from the airport or Centro, so you never have to travel too far. There are also plenty of great local options for shopping and dining just on the other side of the main road. 

Here are a few of the top hotels in Puerto Vallarta in the Hotel Zone:

Fiesta Americana

  • Hotel Zone
  • Rated 8.9 on
  • Rooms from $250

The Fiesta Americana All-Inclusive Resort & Spa definitely ranks among the best hotels in Puerto Vallarta. If you’re the kind of person who wants to just show up and relax on your vacation, then you’ll love this place. 

Here you can lounge on the beach, sit by the pool, hit the gym, play a game of volleyball, or just book a luxurious spa treatment. They’ve also got six restaurants and three bars for when you need to grab a bite or a drink. Click here to see the latest price from

where to stay in puerto vallarta

Suites Mar Elena

  • Hotel Zone
  • Rated 8.6 on
  • Rooms from $75

If you’re looking for a comfortable hotel in a good location that won’t break the bank, this is a solid choice. Here you can get a nice private room with A/C and have use of an outdoor pool for less than $80 a night. Up the budget a bit and you can book one of their apartments which feature pull-out sofas and kitchenettes. 

Although this hotel isn’t right on the beach, it’s just a short walk to the popular Playa Camarones. It’s also located right off Highway 200, making it a super easy ride to both the airport and downtown. This definitely gets my vote as one of the best places to stay in Puerto Vallarta. Click here to see the latest price from

best puerto vallarta hotels in the hotel zone

Friendly Vallarta

  • Hotel Zone
  • Rated 8.3 on
  • Rooms from $230

The best thing about this resort is right there in its name. Guests rave about how incredibly friendly all of the staff at this place are, and they’ve earned their reputation as one of the nicest Puerto Vallarta all-inclusive resorts to stay in.

In addition to their great private beach area, this resort also has a few pools and hot tubs (one area is adults only). If you need some more excitement, kayaks and paddleboards are included in your room rate, and there’s also a fitness center as well as a billiards room. Click here to see the latest price from

best puerto vallarta all inclusive resorts

5 de Diciembre: Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta If You Want a Local Vibe

Known For:

  • Home To Locals
  • Tasty Street Food Options
  • Traditional Homes / Buildings
  • Cobblestone Streets
  • Art / Bohemian Vibe
  • Popular With Younger Travellers and Cultural Travellers

If you’re looking to be close to all the action but want more of a local feel on your trip, then you just can’t beat the 5 de Diciembre neighborhood. I may be a bit biased, as I live here, but I really think this is one of the best places to stay in Puerto Vallarta.

The 5 de Diciembre area starts just after the sporting complex at the end of the Hotel Zone and stretches to the start of the Malecon. It’s got the beach on one end and then climbs steadily uphill, reaching the edge of the mountains. It’s a small and compact area, but there’s a lot going on here.

Many locals and expats call this area home, so you have tons of options for shopping, dining, and nightlife. Some of my personal favorites are La Tia Mariscos for marlin tacos and El Solar for their jalapeño mezcalita cocktail. When you want to go out downtown, you’re just a quick cab or bus ride away. 

mexican food in 5 de diciembre puerto vallarta

Here are a few of the best Puerto Vallarta hotels in 5 de Diciembre neighbourhood:

Casa de Chayo Boutique Hotel

  • 5 de Diciembre
  • Rated 9.7 on
  • Rooms from $160

This gorgeous boutique hotel prides itself on its personalized service. They really take the “mi casa es tu casa” thing seriously! You’ll really feel like home if you decide to stay here, which is always nice when you’re travelling.

This is definitely one of the top Puerto Vallarta hotels thanks to its exceptional view, which you can enjoy from the lovely rooftop terrace. Take a dip in the pool or just kick back in one of the loungers to take it all in. Click here to see the latest price from

best puerto vallarta hotels in 5 de diciembre

Villa Premiere

  • 5 de Diciembre
  • Rated 9.1 on
  • Rooms from $320

This beachfront resort in 5 de Diciembre bills itself as a boutique hotel and romantic getaway, and that’s precisely what you’ll get here. It’s adults-only and is a popular destination for both weddings and honeymoons. 

You’ll never be bored here, with a few different pools to choose from, a spa, a fitness center, and yoga classes all on offer. After all that excitement, you’ll get a great sleep thanks to their awesome pillow menu and in-room aromatherapy. Click here to see the latest price from

boutique puerto vallarta hotels

Hotel El Pescador

  • 5 de Diciembre
  • Rated 8.1 on
  • Rooms from $49

A 3-star hotel right on the beach and minutes away from the Malecon for under $50 a night?! It may sound too good to be true, but that’s exactly what you get at one of the classic Puerto Vallarta hotels – El Pescador (The Fisherman).

This is the perfect hotel for those who don’t need all the bells and whistles but want a little comfort. Plus, with a beachfront pool and one of the best locations in town, this place offers great bang for your peso. Click here to see the latest price from

where to stay in puerto vallarta boutique hotels

El Centro: Best Place To Stay In Puerto Vallarta If You Want To Be In The Center Of The Action

Known For:

  • The Malecon (oceanfront promenade)
  • Plazas
  • Churches
  • Beachfront Bars and Restaurants
  • Pedestrian Walkways
  • Markets
  • Art Galleries 
  • Nightclubs
  • Being Busy, Bustling and Noisey 

Continuing on our journey of where to stay in Puerto Vallarta, we arrive in El Centro. This is the downtown area of PV and is bustling with activity. Here you’ll find the Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is the most famous symbol of Puerto Vallarta.

In front of the church sits the Plaza de Armas, the town’s main square that hosts many different events. Here in El Centro, you’ll also find the Malecon. This oceanfront promenade is full of unique sculptures, local vendors, and of course some incredible views.

el centro area puerto vallarta

Because of the Malecon and the rocky bit of shoreline in front of it, there aren’t many hotels on the beach in El Centro. You’re not too far away from the beach though, and you’re surrounded by some of the best shops, restaurants, and bars in PV. This definitely makes it one of the best places to stay in Puerto Vallarta.

Here are a few of the best Puerto Vallarta hotels in El Centro neighbourhood:

Luna Liquida

  • El Centro
  • Rated 9.2 on
  • Rooms from $170

If you’re looking to be right in the thick of all the action, Luna Liquida is a great choice. It’s located on a cobblestone street just a few minutes away from the church, so you can easily walk to all points of interest. It’s a bit of a climb up the hill to get here, but the location affords you some incredible views.

Rooms are well-furnished and decorated, and there’s even a nice infinity pool on the rooftop terrace. If you’re wondering where to stay in Puerto Vallarta for a romantic getaway, look no further. Click here to see the latest price from

where to stay in puerto vallarta for a romantic holiday

Porto Allegro

  • El Centro
  • Rated 8.9 on
  • Rooms from $83

It’s really hard to beat the location of this place, as you’re just a quick walk away from the Malecon, the Plaza de Armas, and the Rio Cuale. If you want to explore all that the town has to offer, this is certainly one of the best places to stay in Puerto Vallarta.

One of the best parts about staying here is the excellent free breakfast. This isn’t just cereal and cold eggs here, as they whip up omelettes to your liking and have plenty of other choices on the hot buffet. Click here to see the latest price from

hotels near the malecon in PV

Rio Malecon

  • El Centro
  • Rated 8.3 on
  • Rooms from $38

If you want more money for tacos and margaritas, then Rio Malecon should be high on your list of Puerto Vallarta hotels. This place is a steal — comfortable air-conditioned rooms, a nice outdoor pool, and a location right off the Malecon for under $40!

This is another hotel in El Centro where food is a big part of your stay. The awesome Co-Exist Bistro is attached to this hotel and they make some really tasty food and drinks. Try their chilaquiles for breakfast or the grilled tuna salad for lunch. Click here to see the latest price from

best budget hotels in puerto vallarta

Romantic Zone: One Of The Best Places To Stay In Puerto Vallarta For LGBT Travellers

Known For:

  • Hipster Vibe
  • LGBT Travellers
  • Coffee Shops
  • Craft Beer Breweries 
  • Popular Expat Area
  • Los Muertos Beach
  • Lots of Restaurants, Bars and Clubs
  • Cobbled Streets

Once you cross over the Rio Cuale and the little island in the river, you’ve arrived in the picturesque area known as the Romantic Zone. It’s also commonly referred to as Old Town, which is a fitting name thanks to the cobblestone streets and traditional shops that line them.

The Romantic Zone is home to Playa Los Muertos, one of the most popular beaches in Puerto Vallarta. Here you’ll also find the iconic sail-shaped pier, where water taxis whisk travellers away to beaches in the south such as Las Animas or Yelapa.

romantic zone puerto vallarta

As it’s very popular with travelers, the Romantic Zone has a plethora of hotels, spas, restaurants, shops, and bars. It’s also known as a very LGBT-friendly place, with plenty of hotels and bars and massive Pride Week celebrations that usually take place at the end of May.

Here are a few of the best hotels in Puerto Vallarta in The Romantic Zone:

La Casa del Descanso

  • Romantic Zone
  • Rated 9.3 on
  • Rooms from $65

This B&B is known for the amazing hospitality of its owners, who go out of their way to make you feel at home. Almost every review on specifically mentions just how nice and helpful the owners are. They’ve definitely earned their spot on this list of the best Puerto Vallarta hotels!

Guests here have plenty of privacy in the well-appointed rooms and can also enjoy being social in the common area or on the terrace. When you’re ready to go out and explore PV, you’re just steps away from major attractions like Los Muertos Beach and the Malecon. Click here to see the latest price on

best puerto vallarta hotels in the romantic zone

Rivera del Rio Boutique Hotel

  • Romantic Zone
  • Rated 9.3 on
  • Rooms from $120

When a place is described as an “ornate boutique hotel” and having “lavish rooms,” you may think they’re tooting their own horn a bit. That’s not the case, though, as guests absolutely love this gorgeous hotel along the Rio Cuale.

Each room here is uniquely decorated with antique furniture – no generic white comforters and cheesy paintings on the walls here! As if that wasn’t cool enough, there’s also a rooftop terrace with a pool here. This has got to be one of the best hotels in Puerto Vallarta! Click here to see the latest price from

hotel boutique riviera puerto vallarta

Villa Sevilla

  • Romantic Zone
  • Rated 9.1 on
  • Rooms from $89

I don’t know about you, but I don’t really like chain hotels that feel sterile and bland. It’s nice to have a bit of character in a place, and that’s precisely what you’ll find here at this “poshtel” on the hill overlooking the Romantic Zone.

It takes a little bit more effort to get here than the hotels right on the beach, but it’s well worth it. Rooms are beautifully decorated, there’s a relaxing pool area, and breakfast is included in your stay. Click here to see the latest price from

hotels in the romantic zone of PV

Enjoy Your Stay in Puerto Vallarta!

I hope this guide has been helpful in deciding where to stay in Puerto Vallarta. Whichever area or hotel you choose, I can guarantee you one thing — you are going to fall in love with this gem on Mexico’s Pacific Coast! Just be sure to book your accommodations well in advance if you plan to travel in the high season, and extra early if you plan to travel around Christmas and New Year’s.

Once you’ve got your accommodations sorted out, it’s time to plan the perfect vacation in paradise. To get some ideas on what to see and do while you’re there, have a look at this list of the top 20 things to see, do and eat in PV, and don’t miss our guide to the top tours in Puerto Vallarta.

Those who are just passing through on a bigger trip around the country should definitely check out this post on the top things to do in Mexico. If you have any questions about traveling in PV or Mexico in general, please feel free to drop a comment below, or click here to learn more about visiting Puerto Vallarta. 

Some images in this post are courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Sasha is a regular contributor to Goats On The Road where he shares his advice as a full-time traveler and digital nomad. In particular, Sasha is an expert in travelling the United States, Mexico and Thailand. He’s also an online English teacher and a video producer. In fact, he studied video production at Michigan State University. He and his wife Rachel share their adventures on their website, Grateful Gypsies.

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