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Recommendations for family vacation in Puerto Vallarta or other ideas???

Recommendations for family vacation in Puerto Vallarta or other ideas???

Mar 10th, 2017, 11:48 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 74
Recommendations for family vacation in Puerto Vallarta or other ideas???

We are planning a vacation for February 2018 for our family of four. We have two children who will be 5 and 7 at the time of travel. I have received great advice on this forum in the past. You all have guided us to Soliman Bay Mexico two years in a row and we loved it. We are ready for different scenery though and want to avoid that unpredictable, nasty sargassum. We are considering exploring the Pacific side of Mexico. Possibly flying into Puerto Vallarta and renting a condo or beach house as we want to have a kitchen. We could stay for up to two weeks and will rent a car. We are good with a destination within a 2 hour drive of the airport. We are open to other location ideas and have considered Belize, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. We are drawn to Puerto Vallarta as it is a relatively quick and affordable flight from Washington state. We love beautiful beaches and are aware that the Pacific side is not going to be as picturesque in that regard. However, the jungle scenery and sunsets will be a nice trade. We do not like crowded beaches. Any ideas for nice, safe, relatively quiet beaches where we can rent a beach house or condo? We could even split our time into 7 days at two different locations. We do not want large surf as our children are young and safety is a concern. We love day trips to check out other beaches and adventure (zipline, hike, etc.). Thanks in advance for any thought or ideas you can throw our way.
MistyShults is offline  
Mar 10th, 2017, 12:19 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 90,960
hmmm... I love Puerto Vallarta dearly and vacation there twice a year. I've been going since the early 90's. And I do rent condos and stay right in town.

What I love most about PV is the city itself, so I'm not really sure any of my experience applies to what you are seeking.

http://puerto-vallarta-rentals.com/vistadelsol715/
Here (for example) is a two bedroom place I rented last year with my sister. But the beaches in town are crowded and not quiet at all. It's an exciting, noisy, vibrant town.

http://www.costasurpuertovallarta.com/
This is Costa Sur and low-key resort located outside PV just a short distance south.

(I would not recommend the DR.)
suze is offline  
Mar 11th, 2017, 05:43 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2005
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You might consider Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa & the surrounding area. Barra de Potosi is an incredible peaceful(mostly) beach but a few miles from the Zihua airport. Almost 8 miles long with a wonderful lagoon to explore via kayak or motor boat. The beaches in Zihua proper are also very nice but a bit more busy.
Another laid back place with lovely beaches is Manzanillo far less touristy than PV. North of there are Meleque & several other smaller beach communities that would fit your wishes.
Stewbear is offline  
Mar 11th, 2017, 06:35 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
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We have a great public transport system, so you really do not need a car.
cabron is offline  
Mar 11th, 2017, 08:31 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
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Check ou the PV kid web site, this person is quite in tune with what is available for you at the time. I believe his name is Jeff Must and is quite reliable.
Rohelio is offline  
Mar 11th, 2017, 02:02 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Yes Jeff Musto (PV Kid) is very reliable
www.puerto-vallarta-rentals.com
the link I provided earlier above

But his rental inventory is mostly for in-town condos, not so much homes on a quiet beach like this family is looking for.
suze is offline  
Mar 11th, 2017, 04:17 PM
  #7  
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Thanks so much for all of your guidance thus far. I am currently checking out house rentals in Manzanillo and Melaque. I am still open to suggestions on more specific accomodation locations. I defintiely think we will enjoy day trips to Puerto Vallarta but we are not interested in accomodations on a busy beach. I am finding that many homes offer private pools at affordable rates. I much prefer the ocean to a pool but if the surf is rough the kids will love to have the option of a pool. Keep your great ideas coming please.
MistyShults is offline  
Mar 11th, 2017, 06:51 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
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I think you should look at some of the condos in Nuevo. Dreams Villamagna has great beaches and is not nearly as crowed or crazy as Los Muertos on the south side. It has beautiful pools and condos, good rates and their beach is great and you can walk for miles. Bucerias is very close and not nearly as touristy as PV is. No Burger Kings, Pizza Huts or McDonald's there.

If you are looking at condos, maybe look at the Bayview Grand in Ixtapa or the Playasol on the otherside of Mexico, but in Puerto Morelos (again not touristy) and there are so many things to see and do there. THousand year old cenotes and ruins, true history.

Good luck with your search.
maried11 is offline  
Mar 12th, 2017, 08:09 AM
  #9  
 
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Bucerias is another town, small but closer to PV, that you might include in your search.
suze is offline  
Mar 12th, 2017, 09:20 AM
  #10  
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I just discovered that the driving time from Puerto Vallarta to Manzanillo is four and a half hours. I really like the price of privately owned homes in that area but not sure I am up for driving that far. We are not ruling it out though. I went back to my posts from a few years back when I received the recommendation of Soliman Bay just for reference. We still consider Soliman Bay a rare gem and I am holding out hope that there is a similar area within two and a half hour drive of PV that someone might still recommend. I had a few recommendations for Huatulco back then. I revisited this option and it is very appealing as well. (not sure how to make the flight work) I would really like to choose our destination based on a 2 hour driving time of an airport where we can travel using Southwest airlines. This might seem crazy to some but when you are traveling with small children its important to use an airline that allows changes and cancellations without penalties.
MistyShults is offline  
Mar 12th, 2017, 09:54 AM
  #11  
 
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The Drive to Manzanillo (or bus trip) is pleasant enough with occasional glimpses of the ocean. There is Meleque & Barra de Navidad North of Manzanillo which are rather laid back but a bit like Canada South.
I personally like Manzanillo a lot but admittedly only stayed there twice a total of but a couple of weeks.
Stewbear is offline  
Mar 12th, 2017, 10:12 AM
  #12  
 
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Does SW fly to Manzanillo, Ixtapa or Huatulco? Or only PV and Cancun. That will narrow down places to recommend if you tell us which are even options from your city with SW.
maried11 is offline  
Mar 12th, 2017, 12:41 PM
  #13  
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Puerto Vallarta, Cancun and Cabo San Lucas are the best options for airports. My husband is on your side Stewbear. You both make a good point. A pleasant four hour drive could be an added bonus and an opportunity to sight see. I just want to hear if anyone has a different idea closer to Puerto Vallarta before we commit.
MistyShults is offline  
Mar 12th, 2017, 01:24 PM
  #14  
 
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I would never do a 4 hours drive from an airport myself and I don't have kids in tow.

Closer to PV look at the towns north along the Bay of Banderas, then around the point on the Pacific... Bucerias, La Cruz, Punta Mita, Ricon de Guayambitos, San Pancho, Sayulita.

These maps will help with that area:
www.vallartainfo.com

Using Los Cabos you would check out Todos Santos or San Jose del Cabo even La Paz (but that would be pushing the 4 hour thing again).
suze is offline  
Mar 12th, 2017, 02:59 PM
  #15  
 
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The Primera Plus bus from PV to Melaque is about 4.5 hours - not a bad ride, as the bus is comfortable enough, but could be a long way with young children, particularly since you will have already been on a fairly long flight in to PV.

If you decide to fly into Manzanillo (often considerably more expensive airfare than PV), you could easily stay in Melaque or Barra de Navidad, but be aware that for young children (and even most adults), the only safe ocean swimming beach is on the very west side of Melaque. The bay itself forms a bowl-shaped beach - with strong waves and currents in most areas.

There is a lovely and calm beach on the lagoon side of the malecon in Barra, but I would have some concerns about water quality there.

We used to go to Melaque for about a month every Jan-Feb with our two children when they were younger - we just took them out of school - this was back in the early 1990s. The town was quiet and quaint - very few North American tourists, mostly Mexican families vacationing. Finding a beachfront bungalow to rent was easy and very inexpensive.

In about 1998, the Canadians "discovered" it - and it's been fairly overrun since then with Canadian retirees, many of whom care little about Mexican culture, language, or customs. They are basically looking for an inexpensive getaway from the cold weather, and the winter-time character of the town has changed drastically. While it has been a financial boon to many in the community, it is definitely not the same cultural experience these days. Sidewalks and markets are literally shoulder to shoulder with Canadian retirees, wearing their branded tee-shirts and flowery shifts, and looking for bargains.

We have stopped going to Melaque most years, although we occasionally spend a week or two mostly to touch base with Mexican friends we had made their in years past.

Last month we did take a trip to the area, and flew into PV and stayed over for five days, as the non-stop flights were so inexpensive from California where we live. We then took the bus down to Melaque and stayed a couple weeks. To be honest, we felt so "crowded" by all the tourists in Melaque, we decided to head back to PV a couple days earlier than we had planned. We enjoyed PV much more than we thought we would - and although there certainly are plenty of tourists, it never felt jammed. There is so much street art and the campaign to keep the streets clean seems to have paid off.

Happy travels, wherever you decide to land!
scdreamer is offline  
Mar 14th, 2017, 01:12 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: May 2005
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Great introspection SC I agree wholly with your assessment of Meleque.
I personally would stick with Manzanillo in that area. The waves can be daunting at Meleque. As a younger guy I body surfed there but at 74 way passed that now! LOL
Stewbear is offline  
Mar 14th, 2017, 04:09 AM
  #17  
 
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Maybe not this trip but another time at least you should check out Belize. It offers an incredible variety of cultures (Maya, Creole, Garifuna, Mennonite, and more), jungle, waterfalls, incredible caving, and wonderful blue water activities. It's English speaking and small so it's easy to get around and split your time between jungle and water.

My photos with blog, travelogue, and review links on the main page of each collection are below in case you're interested - all my recommendations are embedded there. Happy trails!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections
hopefulist is online now  
Mar 16th, 2017, 11:37 AM
  #18  
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Thanks for all of your recommendations thus far. My search for vacation home rentals on a calm, quiet, swimmable beach has been narrowed to the following areas for this trip: South end of San Pancho, Los Ayala, South Beach Rincon De Guayabito, or chacala. Anyone have suggestions or ideas from this list. I am open to suggestion if for some reason I should not consider one of these areas as well.
MistyShults is offline  
Mar 18th, 2017, 10:07 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Just back from PV and we stayed at the Costa Sur for first time. I liked it there very much and would definitely return.
We had a small kitchen in our room but we only used it for making coffee. I thought the meals there were excellent. There is a small store where you can buy some basic groceries.
There is a small beach and no vendors selling wares. They do allow a few to set up tables at the pool but they do not approach you.
There is a bus stop across the street
Met mant people who have been coming there for years.
It's very quiet except for when there is a wedding going on.
I thought it was a good value and enjoyed my stay.
Will be back.
sunbum1944 is offline  
Mar 18th, 2017, 12:08 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Thanks for the post, sunbum, everyone I know who's stayed at Costa Sur likes it a lot! Nice that it's more peaceful down that way, but not so far south it's still easy to get in and out of town if you're interested in doing things there.
suze is offline  

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