The good thing about Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit is that there are many types of lodging options, according to lifestyle, length of visit, and budget. What follows here are the options you are likely to encounter throughout Banderas Bay and surrounding areas. If you’d like to see a listing of choice accommodations, please check our Lodging Directory.
In Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit, most hotel accommodations today offer the "all-inclusive" packaged that includes food, drinks and many activities. Some still provide regular hotel service, but most have gone the route of providing everything, or mostly everything you'll need, for just one price. This is especially good for families, as kids can eat and drink when they want, what they want, freeing up more time for mom and dad, who can then also enjoy the vacation. A downside to this can be if you were looking for a romantic getaway; the kids, the noise of activities, might not be what you are looking for. Although the more upscale hotels provide adults only areas, while a few resorts are adults only.
How do you go about selecting and booking one of these? Expedia.com and Travelocity.com provide a lot of information. You may want to start there. They also make it easy to combine hotel and air together. Tripadvisor.com will provide comments from other travelers about the hotel, so you may want to check there as well. Before you book online, check directly with the hotel; they may have a better price. As well, when you book with the hotel directly you'll find you'll have more flexibility with the hotel in making any changes to your vacation plans, if you need to. It can be more difficult with the online travel booking sites.
And there's also the old-fashion way of using a travel agent. Especially since they have access to air/hotel packages from major tour operators. Shop and compare!
For regular hotel service, the more upscale working down would be the Four Seasons and St. Regis in Punta Mita; the Marriott and Westin Regina in Marina Vallarta.
For some places, such as La Cruz, Sayulita, Bucerias and San Pancho, small hotels or B&B are not just an option, they are the only way to go if you want a hotel, as there are no major hotels in these towns. They are smaller, intimate, with more interaction with the owner and staff. Downtown Vallarta also offers a number of B&Bs and boutique hotels. Prices are usually better than hotels, but usually only breakfast is included. For information regarding what's available in each community or region around the bay, check out our Community Pages.
How do you find out about these properties? A good source is Mexico Boutique Hotels, for upscale boutique hotels throughout Mexico. For B&Bs, many of these are now part of Expedia, so you can look and book there, or just look and then contact the places you like directly.
With there now being so much tourism real estate in the region, it was only natural that many owners would put their homes or condos back on the market to rent short-term. This is a good way to go if you want more space, perhaps with friends or family, as its now a house rather than a hotel. But don't expect the services of a hotel. You'll still need to do a little cleaning or cooking (unless the property comes with it). Rental properties are available all around the region, definitely no shortage of how many and the places they are located.
To rent a home or condo you can do this through a local real estate agency that provides rental service, or through a number of online rentals sites, such as VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner), which probably has more properties listed than any other site. With VRBO you are dealing directly with the owner whereas with a real estate office you are dealing with an agent. That can be a plus, as you'll have someone there to meet you when you arrive and get you properly set up (unless the property has a manager that provides a similar service). You do want to have someone in town you can contact in case something goes wrong.
There are a number of hostels available throughout Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit, more than ten. They offer very inexpensive lodging and can be a great way to meet other travelers. Well suited for those on extended vacations. A very good resource for hostels is www.hostelworld.com.