Puerto Vallarta vs Yucatan

Old Nov 26th, 2003, 02:13 PM
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Puerto Vallarta vs Yucatan

My family of 4 (two kids, age 12 and 16) are planning a trip to Mexico at the end of Dec. We are trying to decide between Puerto Vallarta and the Yucatan area. We are interested in beaches and nature but also want to feel as if we are really in Mexico, not just a vacation resort. We are also interested in experiencing a real Mexican town/city with historic sites, neighborhoods and markets. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Also, any comments on the following hotels: Costa Club Punta Arena or Velas Vellartas in PV, and Villas Playasol in Puerta Moreles?

Thanks!
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Old Nov 27th, 2003, 04:12 AM
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I have been to PV many times for family vacations (I admit I am biased, this is my favorite place) and Cancun 2x and just got back from Playa del Carmen for the first time. First to talk about Cancun...the beaches and the water are beautiful, but I did not care for the town at all. Very American feeling, great for partying but not much else. Not sure if you are considering Cancun, but I wouldn't with your requirements. Secondly, PV...The charm here is the town itself. Although PV is changing (with the addition of Walmart, McDonalds, etc) it still holds much of it's original charm, especially on the south side of town. We usually stay in the hotel zone and then spend the evening downtown, but this coming January we are staying at the Velas Vallarta in the Marina. I toured it last year and it looks like a great place. It is a short cab ride into town and only about $5 or $6 depending on where you go (under $1 if you take the bus). Don't stay all inclusive in PV, the food downtown is incredible and much to choose from. The ocean and beach don't equal Cancun's but the town is 1000 times more interesting and welcoming. Lastly, Playa del Carmen...this was a work incentive trip, so I did not get to choose the resort so we stayed in a big all inclusive place that I did not like, but the town was nice. The beaches and water were gorgeous and you can do some tours of ruins for some real Mexican history (you can do that from Cancun as well). Comparing all three, I still like the feel of PV the best, Playa comes in 2nd. From PV you can go horseback riding on the beach or in the jungle, take a whale riding boat trip (snorkeling is just OK in PV, better in the Yucatan), Take a cheap bus ride to nicer beaches than are on the hotel strip, they even have "canopy tours" in the jungle, plus more. So, I don't think you can get everything you want in one destination, but PV probably fits the bill the best with Playa coming in 2nd (in my opinion!)
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Old Nov 27th, 2003, 07:02 AM
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cancun area is great if you just want a beautiful beach, pool etc.
but if you want more of a mexican experience definitly go to pv
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Old Nov 27th, 2003, 09:32 AM
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I love the natural setting of Puerto Vallarta - with the mountains, jungle rising up from the Bay of Banderas. It has plenty of resorts (especially in the newer development of Nuevo Vallarta, also The Marina and Hotel Zone) but still has a normal working "authentic" downtown area with local people going about their lives.

I know the ocean and beaches are prettier (bluer, whiter) on the Yucatan side, but I can't comment from personal experience because I keep going back to PV again and again!! For me it's like love, kind of hard to explain the attraction but impossible to deny it!
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Old Nov 27th, 2003, 06:04 PM
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Having been to Cancun several times, "through" Playa del Carmen and to Puerto Vallarta several times, sounds like PV meets more of the things you're looking for. Sal and Suze have given you the basics, but unless you have to have white sand and turquoise water (which can't compare to that of the Caribbean), then I think PV is your best bet. Of the two hotels you listed in PV, I have only been to the Velas and it is beautiful. The grounds are gorgeous, there are two large pools and it has a nice open beach area. You will also be going at one of the busiest times of the year, so book as soon as you can. Good luck.
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Old Nov 28th, 2003, 08:22 AM
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Thanks so much for your responses. We are now thinking that we will go to Puerto Vallarta and have a few additional questions:
The two hotels we are considering are in the hotel zone and in the marina. Which location is more centrally located to town and other sites of interest?
Also, we will be there over New Years Eve. Any suggestions for activities appropriate for a family?

Thanks.
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Old Nov 28th, 2003, 09:10 AM
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The hotel zone is a little closer to downtown but the marina is not that much farther away. I am not familiar with the Costa Club, but I know the Velas is a very nice place. Be sure not to book the Velas in Nuevo Vallarta by mistake, that is their sister property there which is another 1/2 hour to 45 minutes away from downtown. I am giving you links to 2 sites, the first one is a bulletin board with tons of information on it, lots of PV addicts post there. The second one is a website with great maps and tips on PV from an insider point of view (JR who runs the site lives in PV). You will find lots of great information. Be sure to be in town on Sunday night on the Malecon, it is the night the locals come into town on their day off and there is lots happening on Sunday nights...street performers, artists, etc. I would suggest a whale watch for sure (I loved my day trip on the Bloodhound sailboat)and there are a few other choices there.

http://pub69.ezboard.com/btodopuertovallarta

http://www.vallarta-info.com/index.html
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Old Nov 30th, 2003, 10:08 AM
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The Marina is a bit more north, but both are (south from the airport) & within ~15 mins. bus or taxi ride to get into El Centro. I always stay "south of the river" so can't help with hotel choices. As far as New Year's Eve, once you're down I'd just ask around. My guess is maybe there'd be something going on along The Malecon?

Definitely check out the maps and websites recommended above. Again, once you arrive look for the English-language tourist newspaper that's given out free (sometimes at the airport) & various shops/restaurants. Lots of articles about town and ads for activities and services. There's a Tourist Bureau in the government building, off the main square, kitty-corner(-ish) from the cathedral. Between all these you'll find more than you'll ever be able to do in one trip (just ask me, 15 vacations later!).

Feliz Navidad y Ano Nuevo!
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