Centered in the middle of a large bay, Bahía de Banderas, Puerto Vallarta is the traditional hub for area beach hotels. Look for smaller budget hotels downtown, and oceanfront high-rise hotels to the north in the Hotel Zone (Zona Hotelera), Marina Vallarta, and Nuevo Vallarta. Even farther north, Riviera Nayarit is where to go for unique B&Bs, boutique hotels, and some truly luxurious villas.
Having reached critical mass, Puerto Vallarta’s hotel scene is more about upgrading than building new properties. In the Centro and Zona Romántica neighborhoods, expect refurbished budget and moderately priced hotels (with the exception of luxury property Hacienda San Angel). Continue north into Zona Hotelera for condos, time-shares, and high-rises.
Areas directly to the north and south of the city continue to add vacation properties. Just north of town in Nuevo Vallarta, look for the new condo-hotel Taheima Wellness Resort & Spa. South of town in Costalegre, the boutique ecoluxe oasis Hotelito Desconocido was renovated with an extensive new holistic spa.
The most development is occurring in Riviera Nayarit, where the 161 km (100 miles) of coastline between San Blas and Nuevo Vallarta are experiencing a building boom. Once the private playground of surfers and beachgoers seeking waves and long stretches of solitary sand, many popular beaches are now becoming resort destinations. Playa Destiladeras, between La Cruz de Huanacaxtle and Punta Mita, is home to the new Fairmont Rancho Banderas—an upscale family-focused resort of one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas. The area is also home to the 2,100-acre Litubú development that is set to have two golf courses, the new La Tranquila resort, private homes, a beach club, and public shopping and dining options.
No matter what you’re looking for—from cliff-side condos with beach access to small inns with trails leading into the jungle, from enormous pools with swim-up bars to private plunge pools—almost any hospitality wish can be fulfilled here.