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Cabo, Playa, or PV?

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Feb 17th, 2017, 04:22 PM
  #1
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Cabo, Playa, or PV?

Planning a first-time, one week trip to Mexico in late November or early December. Which destination do you recommend...Cabo San Lucas, Playa del Carmen, or Puerto Vallarta...and why? In addition to fun in the sun, we enjoy easy/moderate hiking, sightseeing, local shopping, good food, etc.
Please include accommodation recommendations. Thanks!
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Feb 18th, 2017, 07:00 AM
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I think any of these choices would be great. We go to Cabo almost every year in November/early December. Recommend staying along Medano Beach in Cabo San Lucas. This is a swimming beach and close to restaurants and shopping. We stay at Pueblo Bonito properties. In Los Cabos, the desert meets the sea.

We have also been to PV in early December. It was fun to be there during the Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration. I don't think the beaches in PV are as pretty as Cabo, but in PV you get more of the jungle/tropical feel.
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Feb 18th, 2017, 10:33 AM
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At that time of year I would go to Puerto Vallarta. The Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe (Dec 1-12) is an amazing local event that is really fun to be a part of (in the evenings downtown each day).

Puerto Vallarta is a "real" Mexican city. Tourist stuff there but also normal locals going about their lives. To me that's the biggest difference between vacationing in PV and Cabo or Playa which are built for tourists.

disclaimer/qualifications: I've been to PV 30-some times since the early 90's when I made my first trip. I went to Cabo San Lucas once to see what it was like, and it is OK, fun for a trip but I didn't fall in love. Haven't been to the Caribbean side yet, only because I can't quit going to Vallarta.

If you're interested click on my screen name here, I post trip reports often from my 1-2x/year vacations there.
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Feb 18th, 2017, 10:38 AM
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oh a couple additional thoughts...

The beaches are nicer on the Caribbean side, since it's the Caribbean not the Pacific (Cabo) or the Bay of Banderas (PV).

All three towns have everything you mentioned on your wish list available.

So maybe research flights and hotels/resorts and see if anything particularly catches your eye?
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Feb 19th, 2017, 08:02 AM
  #5
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Thanks everyone!
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Feb 19th, 2017, 09:52 AM
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I've been to the Riviera Maya almost every year since 1999 with a few exceptions like last year. I would stay in Tulum, Playa del Carmen has just gotten way too big for my tastes and full of hustlers along 5th Avenue trying to get you into their shops or worse sell you drugs.
My second choice, which I have been to 7-8 times would be Puerto Vallata, terrific restaurants for the most part.
Just booked a return trip to Akumal for this May.
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Feb 19th, 2017, 11:05 AM
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Cabo has fabulous restaurants and shopping but most of it I found to be almost as high as NOTB prices.

While PV has an amazing restaurant scene, all price ranges, all types of cuisine, more reasonably priced for comparable restaurants. Same with shopping, a more diverse assortment of shops, stores, galleries than I found in Cabo.

Part of this I'm sure is simply Vallarta is a much bigger city than Cabo.

Once you pick which place you are going for sure, we can help with accommodation recommendations (please give us a price range and general idea what you are looking for resort or hotel or condo, high end or moderate or basic, all-inclusive or not, beachfront required or not, etc.)
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Feb 19th, 2017, 01:07 PM
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<>

This is the case if you stay in the touristed areas.
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Feb 19th, 2017, 02:23 PM
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Keeping mind the more "touristy" an area is the more things cost as a norm.
Of the three you mentioned I would choose PV
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Feb 20th, 2017, 05:21 AM
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That's true MichelleY, I was talking about the Paraiso mall for shopping and the fancy restaurants that are written up in the tourist guides.

Cabo, even more than PV, if you cross the boulevard and go inland, gets "more Mexican" very quickly. I was walking only 6-8 blocks inland and was the solo gringa on the sidewalks in that area, surprising to me as a first timer. And yes there is wonderful fresh local-priced food available there.
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Feb 20th, 2017, 08:17 AM
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We never go near the Paraiso Mall. So many better places. This last time we hit some smaller towns near Los Barilles. More to explore next time.
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Feb 20th, 2017, 09:53 AM
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Well they have really nice public bathrooms (at that mall -lol).
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Feb 20th, 2017, 01:46 PM
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Have been to both many many times
Sunset is early at all of these
Cabo-has limited swimable beaches-but very clean and nice resorts. You have to travel to Medano beach to swim-and most hotels are heavy party hotels on that beach, except Bonita brand-but they are 3 star.

Puerto Vallarta has the old Mexico feel, and super friendly people. BEST restaraunts hands down, and fun old town. Best Canopy Tours here, and nice beaches-better down by the Marina-Westin has nice beach, but partial to the Hyatt Ziva=one of the better beaches, but it's all inclusive soy you miss the great dining (Freddy's for breakfast and all the great little spots along El Galeon) PV will be your best bargain-

Riviera Maya beaches get a lot of seagrass that time of year, as it's the end of hurricane season. Stay up in Cancun or downn near Akumal to avoid it. Club Med Cancun is on one of the best beaches, and reasonably priced-super fun with the only on site snorkeling-
Secrets Akumal is awesome, and the Paradisus is very nice. We like the white sand beaches of Cancun -Dreams Puerto Adventureas is a good deal, and has a nice little cove.

DO NOT hike in Mexico-this is not a good idea. Cancun/Riviera maya has some neat eco-parks that have a lot of action.- Xel-Ha and Xplore will keep you active all day

so I've been a TA for 30 years-and I've seen most of these place-they are all great with a different flavor. Try one this year-and antoher 2018? Good luck-
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Feb 21st, 2017, 03:44 AM
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I've done a lot of hiking here, what do you have against it
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Feb 21st, 2017, 10:47 AM
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I also didn't understand the no hiking in Mexico comment???
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Feb 22nd, 2017, 03:12 AM
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Yeah! As a guy who has hiked all over Mexico in the last 31 years I do not get that comment either.
PS I will be "hiking" the 4 k & back to do my shift at the English language library today her in Guanajuato.
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Mar 1st, 2017, 01:37 PM
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<< nice beaches-better down by the Marina-Westin has nice beach,>>

Regarding PV - I'd disagree that the beach at the Westin was nice. I didn't care for it much. I stayed at the Westin a couple of years ago and, while I liked it a lot, the beach was the one drawback. Much better beach at the Marriott Casa Magna in the same area (Marina).
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Mar 4th, 2017, 02:43 PM
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hey, where'd CindyA go? Or better yet where is she going??
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Mar 7th, 2017, 06:56 AM
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Haven't been to cabo.

Between PV and PDC I would definitely choose PDC, b/c the water and beaches are better. Both have shopping and good food. PDC is relatively near to some amazing ruins for sightseeing.

About the only thing I would say that PV has over PDC is amazing sunsets.

In PDC we stay in privately owned condos, so that we can avail ourselves of the numerous restaurants. However, there a number of all inclusives available.
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Mar 7th, 2017, 09:43 AM
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hmmm... If sunsets is all you think Vallarta has to offer, you haven't spent enough time there.
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