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First Puerto Vallarta Trip - Advice Requested (2017)

Discussion in 'Mexico Timesharing' started by eabishop2, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. eabishop2

    eabishop2 TUG Member

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    My wife and I are looking at going to PV next February. We are Mexico veterans, usually Mazatlan although we've been other places in Mexico. But this will be our first time to PV.

    We are NOT All-inclusive people! We like to leave the resort property frequently to walk around town, enjoy shops and restaurants, etc. We like to go day one to the grocery store and stock up on drinks, breakfast, snacks etc and base out of our room (although we never cook dinner in the room).

    We like a nice pool and access to a beach from the resort (for walking, wading, etc).

    We are comfortable taking city buses and/or short cab rides to get around. Our Spanish is "passable". We would like one or two "excursions" to someplace with something different to offer. Again, "figuring it out" is a fine way for us to get somewhere.

    What areas (and resorts within those areas) would you all recommend? Is the marina area a possibility? How hard is it to get from there into "town" (and what exactly is "town")? Are there other good options?

    As far as resorts, we would like a direct owner rental if possible and reasonably priced. We could do an RCI exchange, but lately they don't seem worth the cost. I've seen lots of good stuff about Mayan Palace (if you avoid the presentation!)...how easy is it to get in there via rental or exchange? Are there equally good or better options that fit our profile? We are fine with a studio with refrigerator/kitchenette (or 1BR if that's all that's available).

    I'm sure I've left something out but I'd love the advice of this esteemed group!

    Thanks,
    Eddie
     
  2. taffy19

    taffy19 TUG Member

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    I may be biased but I recommend the Buganvilias Club. It is not a mandatory all-inclusive resort and there are many restaurants in walking distance too. You can even walk to the Malecon and even further. The Buganvilias has a very nice pool and it is heated too. I find the staff very friendly.

    A big grocery store (Mega) is in walking distance and busses too to downtown or to many other areas right across the street.

    There is really a choice of many nice resorts in Puerto Vallarta so other members will chime in soon. February is a great time to be there and you can find rentals here right on TUG and other websites too if you search Google.
     
    pittle likes this.
  3. T_R_Oglodyte

    T_R_Oglodyte TUG Lifetime Member

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    I would say almost any place in Puerto Vallarta itself would work for you - not Nuevo Vallarta. Conchas Chinas might be OK, but access to a grocery store is more difficult. The Hotel Zone and Marina Vallarta are where you will see the greatest availability. A few resorts in PV are all-inclusive; just make sure that you don't get one of those.

    At the top of the forum the sticky thread on travel and vacation information for Mexico has a subthread for Puerto Vallarta.
     
  4. easyrider

    easyrider TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    You might want to google map the resort locations. The Mayan Palace is on the north side of the marina. The Hotel Zone is south of the marina. There are stores all over the place. It seems that many resorts require the AI but the Mayan Palace, Villa del Palmar and maybe the Bungavillas do not. The Old Town is south on the map and you will see where the Rio Caulle meets the Ocean which is about the middle of the main tourist attractions like the malecon.

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/P...cfbf9985bf5274!8m2!3d20.653407!4d-105.2253316

    Bill
     
  5. MuranoJo

    MuranoJo TUG Member

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    I own at the MP and the Marina is my favorite location. That said, I tried the Club Regina PV next door to the MP when we took 3 other couples with us. It was also very nice. Both are right across a street where you can catch a bus to go downtown (the Malecon area). There are neat shopping areas and dining experiences all around.

    Search the forums for other fun getaways that aren't too far away or easily accessible via tours near the Marina or from buses.
    When we first went to Yelapa (and beyond), and this was years ago, we simply took a bus to a boat dock area and hired a water taxi on our own. I wish I could remember the name of the simple beach restaurant, but the taxi boat guys took us to a place that served us freshly grilled lobster while we dined in the sand.
    We knew this was a very organized, 'hold them hostage' tourist thing, but we didn't care--we loved the experience as our first time there and they treated us well. And we'll never forget that grilled lobster while dining in the sand.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  6. T_R_Oglodyte

    T_R_Oglodyte TUG Lifetime Member

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    Club Regina/Raintree (in the Marina close to Mayan Palace) is not AI.
     
  7. eabishop2

    eabishop2 TUG Member

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    Thanks everyone! These responses are great. I'll review what you've all said and see if I can find a rental for us. I may be back with follow-up questions as the time gets closer.
     
  8. pittle

    pittle Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    I did not check online yesterday, so missed this. You have been given some great suggestions. I too am biased as I own at Buganvilias and Mayan World. We love the Buganvilias because as Emmy says- the location is awesome! We have also stayed at the Mayan Palace in the Marina and find it a great location too! We have friends who own at the Westin and it has been renovated recently.

    We have negotiated for a sail several times and that is fun. It costs about $300 for a 3:00-7:00PM sail. Because we've met several people who travel at the same time that we do, we ask one or two couples to go with us and we share the cost. That is super convenient if you are staying at the MP or Westin. :)

    Once you decide where you want to stay, report back and folks will send you suggestions. Check the the Sticky at the top for things that have already been suggested.
     
    taffy19 likes this.
  9. MuranoJo

    MuranoJo TUG Member

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    Another good suggestion--when we had the other 3 couples with us (at the Marina location), we hired a sail around the bay. That whole trip was a riot because we had something going almost every day--van tour of the town, zip lining, several trips downtown, tequila tour, sail day, etc.
     
  10. pammex

    pammex TUG Review Crew: ELITE TUG Member

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    All of the suggestions given above to you are good options for non AI. Sheraton is most walkable to malecon and downtown.

    I myself like the marina and Mayan and Club Regina are there. Villa del Palmar is in hotel zone.
    Cabs are cheap so pick a place to stay and work from that!
     
  11. SciTchr

    SciTchr TUG Member

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    We go to PV annually for 3-4 weeks. We stay at timeshares for two/three of the weeks (Lindo Mar always and then an RCI trade/s). Our first week is spent right in Zona Romantica on Los Muertos Beach. We rent a Vista Del Sol condo. It is a perfect location close to all the beach bars and tons of restaurants. VDS is just south of the pedestrian bridge linking the Romantic Zone with El Centro (Malecon area). Vista Del Sol has a gorgeous rooftop pool and it is right on the beach. The units also have beautiful balconies for meals and watching the beach activity. Since you want to rent and not do an RCI exchange and you want to explore the area, I think a condo rental would tick all of your boxes. PM me if you want more info on the condo we rent. It is on VRBO. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  12. SciTchr

    SciTchr TUG Member

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    http://vallartainfo.com/south-side-map/

    Hello Eddie,
    You asked what is "town" in PV. Above is a great set of maps. I print them out and take them with me. You can move up and down with the arrows to get to different areas.

    El Centro is the Downtown area with the Malecon (Boardwalk). There are beautiful statues along the Malecon, restaurants and the lovely church with the crown, Our Lady of Guadelupe.

    Just south of El Centro is the Romantic Zone or the Southside. It is also called Old Town sometimes. The Cuale River separates El Centro and the Romantic Zone and there is a pedestrian bridge that connects the two areas along the ocean.

    The Hotel Zone is north of El Centro, the Marina area north of that and Nuevo Vallarta way up north. South of Zona Romantica is Conchas Chinas and then the coastline further south. More jungle that way.

    Take a look at the maps. You will be able to move back and forth through the areas to find the resorts you have been considering plus our Vista Del Sol condo.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  13. Phydeaux

    Phydeaux TUG Member

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    We went to Villa del Palmar and felt is was a dump. Granted, this was years ago, so perhaps it's been renovated. If this one crosses your list, I'd ask.

    For a get away, we did a day trip to Yelapa.

    To be frank, we've been to Puerto Vallarta once, and the Caribbean side of Mexico about 25 times. Wouldn't return to the Pacific side of Mexico, but that's personal opinion only, obviously. TETO. In PV, Yelapa was actually the highlight of our PV experience because we left PV.

    Enjoy your trip.
     
  14. easyrider

    easyrider TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    They did renovate but we didn't like what they did. The rooms are pretty much the same, imo. The renovations to the room was mostly paint and weird paintings of some lady with blood running out of her eyes. The light bulbs make the room kind of glow in an odd way. The beds and furniture was new a few years ago and was very comfortable. Most of the rooms are pool view with members getting the best locations with ocean views. For an older resort the VDP PV is not bad, imo.

    There was a building that we ended up stuck in for a night that really was a dump, imo. This building was removed for parking and landscaping. There is another Villa Group Resort at this location called the Villa del Mar that shares the beach with the VDP.

    Bill
     
  15. PStreet1

    PStreet1 TUG Lifetime Member

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    We love Puerto Vallarta. Everyone we know in Rosarito goes to Puerto Vallarta for vacations. It's authentic Mexico, not "built for the tourists." There are great restaurants, lots of sidewalk cafes, cobblestone streets, "real" shopping.
     
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  16. Phydeaux

    Phydeaux TUG Member

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    Ah yes, the infamous 'cobblestone streets' of Puerto Vallarta. Rarely do you read about PV without seeing reference. I remember walking down the these streets while in PV, thinking, 'hmmm, so these are the cobblestone streets I've read so much about. Hmmm, how nice', and kept walking. Do cobblestone streets make other cities, such as those in the USA more 'authentic'?

    Here are a few photos of some of the "real shopping" we did on the Caribbean side of Mexico:

    woman.jpg pottery.jpg misc food.jpg
    fish.jpg

    I shot all of these in Cancun when we used to vacation there, a city "built for tourists".

    I get it, you like PV. We didn't care for it. As I wrote, to each their own.

    But to imply that somehow the Caribbean side of Mexico was "built for the tourists" is rather misleading. Yes, Cancun is one that was indeed built from the ground up as a tourist destination, and if a person never leaves their resort, they'll never see the "real shopping" or other "authentic" Mexico sites, just a couple shown above. PV is a large city on the ocean, like San Diego, and is no more "authentic" than any other city in Mexico. I have many photos I could share of the places we've vacationed on the Caribbean side that would further prove my point, but hopefully you've already got it.

    Oh, I did enjoy sampling a raicilla while in PV. That was on the trip to Yelapa. ;)
     

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    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
  17. T-Dot-Traveller

    T-Dot-Traveller TUG Member

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    Good pictures . Thanks Phydeaux

    We have met nice folks at the pool who never leave the resort & nice folks like
    you who love exploring on vacation .

    Whatever makes someone have a good vacation .

    The sunshine is " authentic " on both the Atlantic & Pacific sides .
     
  18. Phydeaux

    Phydeaux TUG Member

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    Thanks. And, how true of your comments.

    It's a character flaw of mine and shouldn't let it, but having been to PV, I'm a bit put off by those that oversell it, suggesting it's "more authentic" than other Mexico destinations. That's nonsense actually. Ka mah sik Malo Ki'in!
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
  19. DonnaD

    DonnaD TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I am in Cancun now after spending 9 weeks in Puerto Vallarta. Both stats are in my Raintree Club Regina. I find both beautiful waterfront resorts. Cancun beach and water color are beyond beautiful in my eyes. They are heavenly. Puerto Vallarta is charming in a different way and is easier place to live in the winter months. Weather was perfectly sunny in low 80s daily except for a couple cloudy days and one rainy Sunday morning which turned sunny and dry by noon.
    Access to marina, grocery stores, restaurants, is excellent and exchange rate is fantastic right now.
    I love Mexico and the people here. It is my winter home where I am treated like royalty and spoiled by daily maid service.
     
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  20. PStreet1

    PStreet1 TUG Lifetime Member

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    When I referred to "real shopping," I was thinking of things people who live there purchase: clothes, jewelry, shoes, decorator items, etc.--things marketed in small shops, not bazaars. Obviously, Cancun has that short of thing, also: people live there, and they shop. For us, Puerta Vallarta just has less of a "tourist air," though, of course, there are plenty of tourists there, and they storekeepers market to tourists as do merchants anyplace. Clearly, merchants stock what sells.
     
  21. bjones9942

    bjones9942 TUG Member

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    I'm an owner at the Lindo Mar, so I wouldn't try to dissuade you from the Conchas Chinas area. It's not a very long cab ride down to either Ley's or the municipal market to get groceries for your stay. I would recommend the controversial trip to the Zoo (controversy because it's a zoo). I also recommend the botanical gardens. If you're adventurous, I highly recommend Skydive Vallarta (http://www.skydivevallarta.mx/wp/). If you consider the Lindo Mar, a unit can frequently be found on Trading Places 'hot deals' page (https://www.tradingplaces.com/rentals/hot-deals-weekly-stays). Probably not in February, but you might find something ... the Costa Sur is usually available and I hear it isn't a bad place to stay.

    I would also mention that if you have a couple of extra days, that you route your flight to or from Puerto Vallarta through Mexico City, and take a side trip to Teotihuacan. You can grab a bus from Del Norte station for just a few pesos (get off at gate 2 and then taxi to your hotel). The hotel Villas Arqueologicas Teotihuacan (http://www.villasarqueologicas.com.mx/en-teotihuacan.html) is an excellent place to stay, and is just outside the fence (it's a hike if walking to a gate though). February is a little chilly in the morning in Teotihuacan, so bring something warm - especially if you do the hot air balloon ride over they pyramids.

    Enjoy!!!
     
  22. PStreet1

    PStreet1 TUG Lifetime Member

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    I second bjones9942's recomendation for going to the pyramids in Mexico City and the archeological museum. Both experiences are wonderful, and both take a full day. We loved our time in Mexico City (stayed in the historical zone at the Krystal Grand Reforma--which was great) and plan to return. Our 4 days was definitely not enough.
     
  23. macmanrider

    macmanrider TUG Member

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    We love Costa Sur been going since 2009. We go week 4&5 and yes they have rooms all have ocean veiw. I recommend the 1 bedroom. We booked a room for my sister in law and husband this year week 4.
     

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