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Vidanta: Nuevo Vallarta vs. Riviera Maya

Discussion in 'Mexico Timesharing' started by StructureGuy, Apr 26, 2019.

  1. StructureGuy

    StructureGuy TUG Member

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    My wife and I will be going to either Nuevo Vallarta or Riviera Maya in February 2020 with our “kids” and grand kids (7 and 4 years old). We are trying to decide which Vidanta resort to go to and wonder what the pros and cons are. We’ve been to the Riviera May 4 times but not to Nuevo Vallarta.

    The Riviera Maya ocean is always clear, warm and calm but is all rocks. How does the ocean at Nuevo Vallarta compare?

    I am an avid birder and haul my big bulky camera to the Riviera Maya and get great tropical bird pictures. Nuevo Vallarta doesn’t look like its cut out of the jungle. Should I leave that bulky camera at home?

    It would be great to see the sun set in Nuevo Vallarta from a balcony. The Grand Bliss looks like it faces the beach but the Luxxe looks out onto the river. If we are lucky enough to score an ocean view is the GB a better location for sunset viewing?

    On TripAdvisor there are a lot of complaints about construction noise in Nuevo Vallarta. Would the Grand Bliss or a 2-bedroom Grand Luxxe Suite be potentially quieter?

    Any other pros/cons?
     
  2. pittle

    pittle Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    With grand kids 7 and 4 - NV is your place! Owners are more likely to get ocean view units at the GB and these are nice!. No unit in RM has an ocean view. There are quite a few walkways in NV where you could probably see some birds. We own Grand Luxxe, but we do like the Grand Bliss units really well as they are more centrally located to the Santuario and Plaza than the GL units. Once we start using our Sr. Certs, we will probably chose using GB as much as GL as we can stay at either.

    By the way - welcome to TUG.
     
  3. Eric B

    Eric B TUG Member

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    The ocean at Vidanta NV isn't as clear as RM because it's adjacent to the mouth of the Ameca River, which puts some silt in the water. The beach, however, is a lot sandier and further across from the vegetation area to the waterline. The water was decently warm when I was there in February.

    A friend (@jssquared) recommended a private birding tour he did just south of PV in El Tuito with Gerardo Hernandez of http://naturevallarta.com/. That might be worth looking into. There's also a bird sanctuary on the island in the mouth of the Ameca, but I'm not sure if you can get all that close to there. In February you can sometimes get lucky and see whales, too; granted they aren't birds, but you have to take what you can get.

    GB has a better location for the ocean views and for getting around the resort generally because it's more centrally located. There are a lot of GL buildings now, so it really depends on which one you wind up in, which is generally related to how much you've spent with Vidanta. The problem with GB is that if you're not lucky enough to get the ocean view, the other side of the building faces Santuario, which is where they have fairly loud live entertainment every night of the week. You might be able to bargain an ocean view GB for sitting through an update. With "kids" and grand kids you might be better off in GL, though, for the size of the units. As far as the sunset view goes, the less desirable view side of the GL buildings by the river is the one facing the resort, which is towards the sunset IIRC. The more desirable side is towards PV. Neither of the sides really faces the ocean, though some of the buildings closer to the beach do.

    Last time we were in NV there was some construction going on adjacent to GB as well as near GL Tower 5. As I mentioned above, GB also has the noise from Santuario as a potential thing to deal with. I think it's pretty much a wash between the two as to which would be quieter.

    NV already has a Lazy River, though the waterpark in RM might be open by next February.

    We've always liked getting out in town in PV better than PdC, but there are some nice ruins/cultural sites near RM.

    It's a lot easier to get reservations in NV because there are more rooms.

    Hope that helps!
     
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  4. T-Dot-Traveller

    T-Dot-Traveller TUG Member

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    Since you are going with a 4 & 7 year old - I would check out info on the Kids club / splash pools.

    The kids club / splash pool in NV that is in front of the Grand Mayan buildings looks really fun
    Nuevo Vallarta also has a lazy river / where as RM still has a unicorn lazy river . (It has been
    heard about for a long time - but no one has yet been swimming in it)

    NV also has a turtle egg release sanctuary .

    (IMO - best ocean view at Nuevo is 7th of the NV Sea Garden)
    in 2016 - we agreed to go to a owner update & got that as part of the deal.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
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  5. Eric B

    Eric B TUG Member

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    NV also has a Kids' Club by GL Tower 4 pool; you wouldn't have access to that if staying in GB.

    One other pro for RM would be the Beach Club and Salum; they're both quite nice IMHO.
     
  6. bizaro86

    bizaro86 TUG Member

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    I have children approximately the same age. We have done both at the Grand Luxxe level in the last 18 months. We liked NV better.

    Easier to get groceries and stuff kids need because you're closer to walmart/mega. NV has a lazy river, water slide, and wave pool, RM has none of those.

    We liked the beach at NV better as well. The water is rougher, but no rocks. We went to the grand Mayan side for the beach to avoid the murky water by the river.

    NV also had nicer kids areas/splash pads. I would pay considerably more for NV as a parent of children that age.
     
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  7. bobpark56

    bobpark56 TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    The Riviera Maya is not all rocks. There are many nice beaches up and down the coast once you get south of Cancun. If you are staying at a place with a rocky beach, you have no one to blame but yourself. Try a resort other than Vidanta. There a many with nice, sandy beaches, sheltered by the reef. And the same goes down through Belize, too.
     
  8. Eric B

    Eric B TUG Member

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    I've heard that the beach at Valentin, which is just north of Vidanta and an easy walk if you're staying there, is decent and swimmable. Lots of sargasso this year in that whole area, though.
     
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  9. bizaro86

    bizaro86 TUG Member

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    Isn't this thread comparing the two vidanta resorts though? I think the OP owns vidanta and is trying to pick where to stay. In that situation saying a non vidanta resort had a great beach doesn't really help, even if it's true.
     
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  10. taffy19

    taffy19 TUG Member

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    If you decide to go to Nuevo Vallarta and do this tour or one like it, you will see birds galore that we also have seen on the Island of Kauai in HI.

    It is a bird sanctuary so you’ll need your bulky camera or something similar attached to a cell phone that I have seen advertised.

    https://www.birdinginmexico.com/tour_marietas.html

    I found this link so cannot recommend the tour but it shows pictures, etc. I know that small pangas will take you close and take you around the island too but the swells were very high that day and one person got seasick so we didn’t go around the island that particular day but we saw many birds and the water was quite clear.

    Some more pictures that I found.

    https://agavevillasmexico.com/las-marietas-islands/
     
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  11. T-Dot-Traveller

    T-Dot-Traveller TUG Member

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    Hi bizaro86 ,
    As a clarification / added information -

    I understand Vidanta NV has a kids club at the Grand Luxxe and also one at the Grand Mayan .
    I have walked by the GM one & splash pool and thought it looked fun . How does the Grand Luxxe
    one compare .
     
  12. bizaro86

    bizaro86 TUG Member

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    We never used the supervised "kids club" facilities. (That isn't why we go on vacation)

    However, both have large splash type areas. Both are nice, but the GL one is gated and a bit nicer. The GM is probably pitched a bit older, but the GL is larger and has more variety. You need to sign a waiver at the gate to use the GL one.

    My kids liked both. One thing I forgot to say that was better at Riviera Maya was the activities. Many of the activities that were free and available to every kids at RM were only for kids enrolled in the kids club at NV.
     
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  13. rpennisi

    rpennisi Guest

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    I only had a small pocket Canon camera when I took these at NV. Lots of pelicans and frigate birds, etc. The end of the Ameca River (before the GL buildup) had many nesting pelicans.
    I would choose the Grand Bliss which is right next to the GM with its lazy river, slide and kids club. I always like watching the pelicans dive into the surf for food. Your bulky camera would probably get some amazing bird pics.
     

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  14. StructureGuy

    StructureGuy TUG Member

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    I put my “outside the continental US” bird pictures on my web site here;

    http://www.african-cichlid.com/Birds2.htm

    Anything marked Puerto Morelos is actually taken at the Vindanta resort in Riviera Maya. It's an amazing birding location.

    It looks like we are going to Nuevo Vallarta. Since we bought a unit in NV that isn’t built yet, it just makes sense to at least see that resort. But the clincher is that my grand kids will have a direct flight from LAX to NV which isn’t available from LAX to RM.
     
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  15. taffy19

    taffy19 TUG Member

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    Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing and for this, the Internet is great. :thumbup:
     
  16. mike53

    mike53 TUG Member

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    Great pictures.

    Unless you need a specific airline both United and Delta have non-stops LAX-CUN. Six weeks to wait still for us.
     
  17. jssquared

    jssquared TUG Member

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    In Nuevo Vallarta, I would also think about Marietas island boat tour. You can accomplish several things with this one trip: in season whale watching, snorkeling and nice birding on the islands. You can see boobies (the g rated kind found also in the Galapagos), Frigate birds and several other species. You may need to search around a bit to get a tour operator to focus on the birding aspect.
    In Riviera Maya, you may want to check out Sian Khan biosphere. There is a lot of wildlife there and many, many birds. It is a combo jeep and boat trip. We also have some luck just wandering around the resort, particularly the golf course, to spot some beautiful birds (and iguanas).
     
  18. StructureGuy

    StructureGuy TUG Member

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    The Marietas island boat tour looks great except for the approximate 100 meter (per TripAdvisor) swim to the beach (with a camera). Thanks for the idea. We will likely do it minus my camera.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
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  19. TravelTime

    TravelTime TUG Member

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    We did the Marietas Island boat tour. The island was very nice and there was no swim to the beach. However, be careful who you book it with. Some of the companies are party boats. We did not like our boat because the crowd got really drunk and wild. The women were jumping off the sailboat topless and on the way back to NV, people were hanging on the net behind the boat. We almost lost someone.
     
  20. jssquared

    jssquared TUG Member

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    Structure - Speak to the tour operators as travel time suggested. They will have different options. The swim is to get to the secret beach. In the past the walking tour of the island was by boat directly to the dry land. We have used Vallarta Adventures before for several trips and they are fantastic - but there is certainly plenty of drinking and partying on the way back (which we do not partake). On one of the trips they actually circled the islands by boat and we had great views of some of the birds. Again, ask around to get exactly what you want.
     

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