You really have a choice of lodgings in Puerto Vallarta. The north side of town, from the Centro through the Zona Hotelera and up into Marina Vallarta, is primarily upscale hotels with some all-inclusive resorts.
Even farther north is Nuevo Vallarta, where Puerto Vallarta ends and the Riviera Nayarit officially starts (and which is also in a different time zone). This area is even more tourist-centered, although it is also less populated: It has wide, modern streets, long (and delightfully uncrowded) beaches and lots of palm trees. The hotels in this area are all very slick and shiny with nice beaches, and most are also all-inclusive. Construction of new hotels, some absolute knock-outs, is moving at a fast pace along this coast.
The South Side of Puerto Vallarta tends to have more budget accommodations and family-run inns. The Centro, South Side and neighborhoods just south of Vallarta are peppered with bed-and-breakfast accommodations that cater to a wide variety of tastes and budgets.
For upscale stays, don't hesitate to consider a gorgeous villa, located primarily on the south end of town in Conchas Chinas or Gringo Gulch. A full staff and lots of amenities come with the price. Some of the most beautiful (and desirable) villas are tucked away far to the north of Vallarta's maddening crowds.
Condominium rentals are also very popular, providing all the benefits of home. And the common areas of some condos are absolutely spectacular, offering several pools, terraces, bars and restaurants on par with a luxury resort.
Puerto Vallarta is very popular December-early May, especially during holidays (both U.S. and Mexican). If you plan to be in Vallarta then, advance reservations are an absolute must. In June, business is a bit slower, and discounts are plentiful. The best rates can be found in the more humid days of September once school starts up again. July and August tend to be popular with Mexican nationals visiting from Guadalajara, Mexico City and farther afield.
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