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What part of Puerto Vallarta to stay, Hotel Zone or the South Side?

Updated on September 7, 2012

Puerto Vallarta All-Inclusive

Experience the South Side of Puerto Vallarta

So your considering going to Puerto Vallarta or maybe you've been to Puerto Vallarta but have only stayed in the “Hotel Zone.” For the former, I would suggest staying in the “Romantic Zone” (also known as the “South Side” or “Old Town”) and for the latter, I'm sorry.

The Hotel Zone, of course, has the all-inclusive hotels. Most packages come with all you can drink and eat. The hotels and the grounds are beautiful. I actually visited one to see what I was missing. I stayed for about an hour, had a couple of drinks and scurried back to the South Side. I actually enjoyed myself but being in Puerto Vallarta and staying at one of those places would drive me nuts. Why?

First, there is nothing wrong with staying at an all-inclusive hotel but not in Puerto Vallarta. This Mexican jewel has so much else to offer. If your looking for an all-inclusive then why not go to the Caribbean beaches of Mexico such as Cancun and the Mayan Riviera? The beaches and the water are much better then Puerto Vallarta and besides, there isn't much else to do except relax on the beach. In fact, Cancun is actually a man-made tourist destination. All of the beaches are man-made and the whole area was designed to accommodate the tourist.

Basically, when you choose an all-inclusive hotel you spend the majority of your time at the resort you choose as everything is included in the price. This would be the choice I would choose in Cancun and I would enjoy myself. Puerto Vallarta is a different matter. The reason to come and experience this city is for the vibrant life style in the South Side. There are excellent restaurants that run the gamut from gourmet to delicious, cheap sea food shacks and street food.

Selva Romantica

No, the main beach Los Muertos, isn't as “pretty” as those on the Caribbean side but makes up for it in the mixture of tourists and Mexican families sharing the beach together with countless bars and restaurants stretching the length of the beach. It's a fun, exciting environment.

At night you can walk the cobble stone streets of the South Side and check out the night life with the many bars and food stands. My favorite bar is Andales, Tell them Alice sent you for a free drink. The lodging choices range from the very basic to not more then a $100 dollars a night. For years I stayed at a place called Posada de Roger for $45 dollars a night, just two blocks from the beach. Last few years I have stayed at Selva Romantica.

These Condos sell at $250,000 to start for the most basic unit to many times more for the bigger units. You can get great weekly rates that I consider cheap for these type of accommodations. I found this place through trip advisor and have gone through Eileen who manages some rentals there and can be contacted through the Selva Romantica link. She is an American that owns a unit there and splits her time between Portland and Puerto Vallarta.

There is so much more I could tell you about the South Side. Feel free to ask questions. Would be happy to answer all. Another reason to visit Puerto Vallarta is the people, and the safety. The people are very friendly and I have always felt safer in PV then back home in the States. Mexcio is a very big country and sure, there are parts of the country which are very dangerous to go to. Puerto Vallarta is not one of those places. I have been going there for almost ten years now.Map of the South Side by JR.

Typical night at Andales



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    • redwhiskeypete profile image

      redwhiskeypete 5 years ago from Indiana

      Sure, sounds great.

    • profile image

      eileenkey 5 years ago

      Fun posting, Jim! Or Pete, I guess. I can't wait to get back to PV. I appreciate your mentioning Selva Romantica. Let's get together and watch the sunset this season!