- Travel and Places
Villa La Estancia - Nuevo Vallarta Mexico
Sunset from the Balcony
Puerto/Nuevo Vallarta - THE Best Beach Vacation Spot!
Well I just returned from another fabulous trip to Puerto Vallarta Mexico. It is official. I've found my favorite resort in the area, Villa La Estancia. We had such a good time that we've already booked the same villa for a stint next February.
Clearly I'm not the only one who has discovered this little gem. Recently they were awarded the 4 Diamond award by AAA and are rated the #1 hotel in Nuevo Vallarta on Trip Advisor. All these accolades mean that I'll need to book early or risk being shut out of my favorite place!
As you can see from the photo to the right, the sunsets from our balcony were truly amazing! And yes, the colors are true...no adjustments were made in photoshop or any other program. Every night we were treated to a new breathtaking sunset of various colors ranging from orange to red to purple. Fantastic!
Puerto/Nuevo Vallarta Travel Guides
Villa La Estancia - The Location
Located on a long stretch of white sand known as Flamingos Beach, Villa La Estancia fronts the famous Banderas Bay (Pacific Ocean inlet) with a stunning backdrop of the Sierra Madre mountain range. The Villa La Estancia resort is easily accessible with a short 15 minute drive or taxi ride north of the airport.
Villa La Estancia Resort PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
Villa La Estancia Resort Amenities
The property consists of 134 individually owned 2 and 3 bedroom condominiums that can be rented either through the resort itself or directly through the individual owners. The actual condo amenities vary slightly depending on the owner (e.g. some have kitchenettes in the 2nd bedroom and some units have grills). That said, all units have virtually the same furniture, the same layout, and are the same size. The "rooms" at Villa La Estancia put a standard hotel rooms to shame and is one of the best things about the property. Since they are condos, they have way more space to spread out. The 2BR condos are all about 2,000 square feet, including the massive balcony that is about 50 feet wide. Inside the floors are travertine marble and the counters are all marble, granite or tile. They even have washer and dryers inside the units and full size, fully stocked kitchens for convenience.
The resort has tropical lush landscaping with tons of palm trees and flowers, a two-level free form pool with waterfalls, a swim-up bar, poolside restaurant, 4 oceanfront hot tubs, a tennis court, 17,000 square foot European style spa, a fitness center with all the latest equipment and free weights, kayaks, business service and convention center, and an on-site supermarket with a deli and internet cafe. They also have two full service restaurants as well as a reasonably priced room service menu.
We've used the spa a few times and had a great experience. The workout room is fully equipped with cario gear and weights and is nicer than some gyms I've been to at home. They even have a full time instructor there that will help you with using the machines or coming up with your own workout routine. It's like having your own personal trainer for free!
Honestly, you'd never need to leave the resort at all if you want to just go down and relax for a week at the pool or beach. If you click through on the photos above, you can get a good overview of the resort and the amenities offered. If you plan on just relaxing at the resort during your stay, you should inquire about their meal plan. Currently, it is about $125 per person per day, with a 3 day minimum. It includes all meals, drinks, snacks, and even room service, so it's actually not a bad deal if you eat all your meals on the properly and have a few beers at the swim up bar.
We always stay in villa #1403 which is a 2 bedroom on the 4th floor very close to the ocean. You can rent this directly through the owner at Villa La Estancia #1403 Nuevo Vallarta. We like this particular unit because it is above the palm trees so the view is awesome and it is close to the ocean .... in fact, I have to close the doors at night because the ocean is so loud that I can't sleep:)
Since we are usually there over Valentine's Day, we've been witness to many Flamingos Beach weddings that have been gorgeous. Beautiful brides and flowers girls spreading bougainvillea petals on the mat-covered sand have been some of the highlights. At the last wedding, the guests went home with amazing beach wedding favors that had a bit of the local sand along with a votive candle and personalized hang tags. There is no better place to get married in my humble opinion. And word has it that there is a wedding planner on site to help with all the details.
You can see a video that the owner made from his balcony below:
Villa #1403 Balcony Video
Neuvo/Puerto Vallarta Activities
My husband and I have been going to Puerto and Nuevo Vallarta for years so we've done just about all the local activities. Here are my top 10 favorites in the area. There should be a little something on the list for everyone whether you are adventurous or a couch potato, young or old. Have Fun!
- Horse Back Riding on Flamingos Beach- Between Villa La Estancia and the small Mexican village of Bucerias, there is a stretch of beach in front of a turtle sanctuary where one of the local cowboys offers tourists rides. They take a short ride on the beach and then head inland to the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountains. It is a fun adventure.
- Whale Watching in Banderas Bay- From mid-December through March, the humpback whales migrate to Banderas Bay to have babies. This year, we saw whales and even babies playing and jumping out of the water right from the beach in front of Villa La Estancia. For a more up close and personal look, I recommend taking the 1/2 day afternoon tour through Vallarta Adventures. In the afternoon, the weather is usually warm and these tours are quite affordable (around $55). I suggest taking a taxi to Marina Vallarta where the tours depart from because trying to find parking with a rental car in that area is a nightmare.
Golfing at Vista Vallarta- The golf courses around Puerto and Nuevo Vallarta are numerous and they are some of the best in the world. That said, the best course in the area is Vista Vallarta which my husband has golfed a couple times with friends. It is expensive, but the views overlooking Banderas Bay and the town of Puerto Vallarta itself are amazing. The course is laid out in the foothills of the mountains.
Surfing in Sayulita- What could be better than renting a board for $5/hour and taking a beginner surfing lesson from one of the locals in the little fishing village of Sayulita. Yes - it is about a 30 minutes drive North of Villa La Estancia, but if you want to try your hand at surfing, this is the place to do it. The beach is known for its gentle surf and rolling waves that are perfect for beginning surfers. Just walk along the beach and you'll find many reasonably priced places that offer lessons.
Zip Line Canopy Tour- Get a unique look at the rain forest and flora surrounding Nuevo and Puerto Vallarta by taking a zip line canopy tour with one of the local operators such as Vallarta Adventures or go directly to Los Veranos canopy tour which is our favorite. The Los Veranos tour is south of Puerto Vallarta so it takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour to get there from Villa La Estancia, but it is well worth the drive or bus ride (the company does a pick up in Nuevo Vallarta). They offer a guided tour along 2 miles of cables with 14 zip lines. You zip from platform to platform and have races against your friends. This is an activity for the truly adventurous!
- ATV - Dune Buggy Tour- Explore the hills and beaches around Nuevo or Puerto Vallarta in ATV or dune buggies. You can pick up a local tour out of Bucerias, but I really recommend this during the summer months when it is a bit more wet so you get mud, deep puddles and much less dust. Be sure to pack some extra clothes because you'll be dirty after this adventure.
- Walking the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta (PV) - Spending an afternoon or early evening walking along the malecon in downtown Puerto Vallarta is both romantic and relaxing. The malecon (boardwalk) is lined with shops, giant sand sculptures, and various metal sculptures made by local artisans. Be sure to venture a few blocks off the malecon to see the historic Lady of Guadalupe church and if you time it right, you can also see the famous Papantla Flyers who climb the tall metal pole and swing in a group of four, head-first down to the ground. It is a death-defying act!
- Watching the Sunset over Banderas Bay - I've been all over the world and I can say unequivocally that Nuevo Vallarta has some of the best sunsets that I've ever seen. Whether you choose to watch the sunset from your own balcony, the hammocks on the beach, or a romantic beachside restaurant, you'll be amazed at the rainbow of colors that you'll see in the sunsets.
- Visiting Bucerias- Get in touch with the Mexican people by visiting Bucerias which is just a 15 minute walk up the beach or a 5 minute taxi ride north of Villa La Estancia. They have great restaurants, a fantastic flea market where you can find just about any souvenir you can think of, and great little beach side bars where you can order up a bucket of beers and just take it all in.
- Relaxing Poolside- A vacation in Nuevo Vallarta is not complete without a day of unadulterated laziness sitting by the pool sipping margaritas. We spent many a day doing just that and I don't regret a single minute of it!
Our Nuevo Vallarta AdventuresClick thumbnail to view full-size
Don't Forget Your Sunscreen!
Have You Ever Been To Puerto or Nuevo Vallarta?
Mexico Vacation & Beach Resources
- Nuevo Vallarta Travel Tips - Activities, Where to Stay & Eat
Nuevo Vallarta has become our second home in recent years. Being from Minnesota, we definitely need a warm spot to visit in winter months. We love the Nuevo Vallarta area for many reasons, but first and foremost, is that the people in the area are...
- Bucerias Mexico - Riviera Nayarit
Bucerias is a great Mexican seaside village that is perfect for those that want to enjoy a more relaxed way of life. Come mingle with other snowbirds and practice your Spanish with some of the friendly local residents. Easily accessible from Puerto V