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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

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1. Posted by aadigu1234 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I’m planning a trip the week of 11/22/08 to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for some snorkeling and relaxion. Any advice would be appreciated.

2. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 1999 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Stay at one of the following three hotels--The Marriott or Westin in the marina near the airport, or at the La Jollas de Mismaloya in the far south part of town. Visiting town is good, but you don't want to stay right in town. Also, the Nuevo Vallarta area is nice, but too far away from town.

Take a cab from the front of the Las Jollas de Mismaloya hotel up into the hills to see Chico's Paradise and also the place where they filmed the movie "Predator". Take a boat taxi to the small towns south of this hotel. Ride a waverunner for an hour or two at each of these hotels.

To enjoy your trip, stay away from anyone trying to get you to attend a "timeshare" presentation. No matter what they offer you, it won't make the time spent worth it.

Consider attending a "fiesta" and maybe taking a bay cruise. Mostly find a bar in the Malecon area and hang out at night, but take a taxi to/from this area--or if you are at the last of the three hotels, consider taking the bus, since it's a long way.

Also, don't be afraid to let the locals suggest some good restaurants up in the hills--and don't just stay at your hotel. There are some real finds up in these hills--or even just slightly inland. Consider also a tour to a tequila distillery--just don't overdo it.

Lastly, have fun--you are on vacation--and travelling to see new things and meet new people--so party a bunch, but just do it with some friends and with (just a little) moderation.


3. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 1999 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

P.S. I forgot to mention that the best snorkeling in all of Puerto Vallarta is near some rocks called "Los Arcos" just offshore from the Las Jollas de Mismaloya hotel I mentioned. The hotel is built where they filmed the movie "The Night of the Iguana", which was the movie that made Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor famous--and they living there in Puerto Vallarta after filming the movie made Puerto Vallarta famous.


4. Posted by Exglasgow (First Time Poster 1 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Cals post is right, but unless you want really get away from it all, La Jolla is really away from everything. The other places are good but dont be afraid to go into Old Vallarta at night. Andale's is a mellow small place with a lot of English speaking locals in the old town. If you do want to try something different and a little exotic walk along the Malecon and see the boardwalk.

Snorkeling is good in Los arcos but Mismaloya is a nice place for a beach day. Try to see the Punta de Mita or Rivera Nayarit on a drive if you are up for a wander. Above all its a great place to meet new people as people are friendly!

We were there 2 weeks ago and I used to live there 10 years ago but its still got its small town charm!:):)

5. Posted by av8rflygrl (First Time Poster 1 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I am thinking or heading to the Puerto Vallarta area just after Christmas (Dec 27) for a couple of weeks. I am not sure if will be travelling alone or with a friend or two but I know I/we will be travelling on a shoestring budget.
As the online hostels/budget hotels are booked, we will be arriving with no lodging arrangements and will be looking for a little family run posada.

I would really love some input if anyone knows a clean, safe, CHEAP place to stay.

To add to the problem...the one hostel online has a maximum age restriction of 40, and we are 37, 37, and 54 so that poses a bit of a problem.

Also, has anyone been swimming with the dolphins or done the canopy tours in Nayarit? How was it? How expensive?


6. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 1999 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Did the "swimming with the dolphins" thing for our son. (We did this south of Cancun, not in Puerto Vallarta--although I presume it's similar at both places).

The cost is around $100--and they charge extra for photos and a video (the whole package ran around $175). If you have someone with a regular or video camera, have them take the pictures and you can save a bundle. But as you can tell, it is not cheap in any case. But it is quite fun--especially when you "ride" the dolphins by grabbing their topfins and having them pull you across the pool.

I totally agree with Exglasgow that spending time in "Old Vallarta" (downtown) is where you need to spend at least one or two nights--and this is also where you probably find the cheapest hotels--although you can also find one "way out of town"--but in this case, your costs would go up a lot for transportation to get there--so take a bus from the airport to downtown, and find your hotel there. You can probably get the best rates either through a discounter like travellocity,, or expedia--or by just showing up and negotiating the best rates once you arrive.


7. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 1999 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Oh, and the reason I suggest way south of town (in addition to the Marina area--which is really close to the airport) is because south of town is where the unusual spots (which I mentioned in the previous posts) are--and because you get the "really getting away" attitude by getting away from all the crowds.
Also, my wife loves the tiny coastal beach at "Las Animas" (beautiful blue seas and nothing really there but a ramshack restaurant and bar), which is just south of Mismaloya and can only be reached by taking a water taxi from this area or from the area just south of here called Boca de Tomatlan.