Puerto Vallarta resort advice, please?

Old Jun 9th, 2010, 03:26 PM
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Puerto Vallarta resort advice, please?

Our summer beach vacation plans have changed – thanks, BP – and our family of three (me, husband and 9-year-old daughter) are now looking at spending a week in Puerto Vallarta in mid-August. I’ve been talking with a travel agent who has given us three resorts to consider:

Riu Pacifico (I think this is the Riu Palace Pacifico)
Villa del Palmar
Marival Resort (Not Marival Residences & World Spa)

I’ve found some reviews on TripAdvisor and will continue to do research, but I always value guidance from fellow Fodorites. Most of the posts on these places are a few years old, so if anyone has more recent experiences with any of these locations, I’d love to hear about them.

Important to us are clean, up-to-date and comfortable rooms – we’re hoping to find a one-bedroom suite for the week. A swimmable, walkable beach and great pools are key (daughter loves waterslides, etc.) and we’d love opportunities for snorkeling and other activities we can do as a family. While we are considering all-inclusives b/c we’ve never done that and the rates are good, one of the reasons we’re looking at PV is because there’s more there than big, AI resorts. We will most definitely venture into town for some meals, shopping, touring, etc.

We’re also not 100 percent committed to using this travel agent or her suggestions, so if anyone has other recommendations of hotels/resorts that might fit our needs, please share!

Thanks in advance.
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Old Jun 9th, 2010, 05:00 PM
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The thing to understand about the layout of the greater PV area is that it is large. The RIU & Marival, for example, are way out in the newer resort district more than 30 mins. drive to the north of the city called "Nuevo Vallarta". It's actually a different state! (Nayarit not Jalisco) while Villa del Palmar is in the Hotel Zone, closer to but still not quite IN town.

Another thing which you may or may not realize is that August is HOT and the rainy season. Very humid.

When you say there's "more than big AI resorts" that's true, but you're talking about the city proper, which is lovely imo. But the places to stay in and near town are not modern or resorts. Just regular Mexican style hotels on the beach.

Over at Trip Advisor, don't only look in the *reviews* section but there are forums similar format to Fodor's. Look at both the PV and the Nuevo forums for more help.
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Old Jun 9th, 2010, 05:19 PM
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Thanks, suze. (I've read enough here to know you're a PV expert!) I know August isn't the ideal time -- we're a little limited in terms of the school calendar. We can deal with hot and humid (yes, we're the folks who usually head to Charleston, Amelia Island or points even further south in the heat of summer) -- but I'd be disappointed if we had a week full of rain. I'll look into the weather patterns a little further, and I'll check out the Trip Advisor forums as you suggested. Thanks so much!
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Old Jun 9th, 2010, 10:30 PM
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I agree that you should try to stay closer to PV proper. Our first trip was at the Grand Mayan in Nuevo Vallarta. It has a lazy river, water slide etc. Great if you don't mind being way far from PV proper. We only went into PV probably 2 or 3 times.

The next trip we stayed closer, south of PV at the Intercontinental. Great location on a gorgeous beach. Only about 10-15 min. by bus or taxi.

Dreams is an AI that come highly recommended by others. Vellas Vallarta is AI and also looks great, but I haven't stayed. Just some ideas to check out.

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Old Jun 10th, 2010, 07:33 AM
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Very unlikely to have rain for more than 2 hours, very late in the day, or at night.
I wonder if you travel agent knows that only Villa del Palmar is in Puerto Vallarta ?
Depending on traffic, it's more like 45 min to drive from Nuevo Vallarta to Puerto Vallarta.
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Old Jun 10th, 2010, 04:29 PM
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I stayed twice at Villas de Palmar, last time was for a week this past December. There are several pools and I seem to reply the main pool did have a waterslide (I used the quiet pool closer to the beach more). Do not confuse this with the Villas del Palmar Flamingos which is in Nuevo Vallarta. They do a real hard sell after you check in to try and get you to attend a timeshare presentation, did it last year and was not impressed, so just be firm, or train your daughter to stage a meltdown at that point so you can escape to your room Otherwise the place was nice and kept very clean.
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Old Jun 11th, 2010, 11:15 AM
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I can't speak for the Riu or Marival resorts, but I am a VDP owner. Like Jamie99, I was at the VDP in December, and I believe it will fit your needs. My 7 year old niece loved the pools. There is a roped off area for swimming, and there is a decent beach. There is a bus stop near the resort, which makes taking the bus to "town" easy~I belive it's 55 pesos each way per person. There is a Soriana's located about 2 blocks from the resort (across the street) where we purchased groceries for breakfast and snacks. Although I haven't done the AI at VDP in PV, I have done it in Cabo and will NEVER do it again at the VDP. Although the price was decent, the list of what was NOT included in their "all-inclusive" was longer than the list of what WAS included.
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Old Jun 11th, 2010, 12:15 PM
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Thank you, everyone, for the advice. I think we're going to postpone PV until a spring vacation -- better weather and more time to plan and decide what we really want to do. It's definitely on our list, though, and I truly appreciate the information folks have shared. Gracias!
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Old Jun 12th, 2010, 08:21 AM
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As much as I love PV, I think that's a wise idea. I just don't think those specific 3 resorts in August would make the best first impression.
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Old Jun 14th, 2010, 08:48 AM
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have been to pv 3 times and love it! a real treat is los tules. not a fancy place but an old coconut plantation with spanish colonial architecture. quiet, 8 small pools, full kitchen, across from grocery store and 5 minutes to downtown by bus. stayed there twice and had an excellent experience. NOT THE MODERN GLITZY RESORT!

another pllace that we have enjoyed is the mayan palace in the marina district. nice and all day activities. marina district is 5 minutes from airport and has tons of excellent restaurants in walking distance. 20 minutes to town by the bus that stops in front of resort.

if you need recommendations for restaurants PV we have some great ones -"we travel to eat".
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 08:36 PM
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we stayed at Villa La Estancia in Nuevo Vallarta which is next to Villa de Palmar Flamingos. It's a beautiful resort and very quiet...also if you stay here you can use the Flamingos facilities (but they cannot use Estancia's). There is no timeshare sell, it's pristine and the rooms are large and really nice. The only issue is that it may be too quiet for your 9-year old. It's not an AI...although if you want you can get the AI package through Flamingos next door. i think you can likely get decent rates for a 1-br villa...depending on what you consider good rates. If you're going to Nuevo, I like this place. If you want more action, you might want to stay closer to PV proper.
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