Category Archives: Travel

Tulum Hotels

MexicoTulum › Best Hotels
Updated: February 26, 2024

My Favorite Tulum Hotels
• 5-star: MezzanineJashita
• 4-star: La ValiseEncantada
• 3-star: Coco Village
• For families: Jashita
• For couples: Mezzanine

Hotel on Tulum beach.

The view of the beach from Encantada hotel in Tulum.

Best Tulum Hotels

The 25 Best Hotels in Tulum

Most of these hotels are walking distance to several restaurants and biking distance to town.

1. Mezzanine – luxury

The best luxury hotel on Tulum beach.
Superb, oceanfront, boutique hotel with refined, economical ‘non-view’ rooms, sea view rooms, and master suites, all with mini bars, yoga mats, and coffee/tea baskets (delivered daily). The 2 master suites add coffee makers, soaking tubs, bluetooth speakers, lounge areas and large private terraces overlooking the beach. Mezzanine has a pool, Thai restaurant, bar, lovely long beach (steps from the hotel), and is a short bike ride from the Tulum ruins.
Hotel phone: +52 1 984 131 1596
ReviewCheck prices for Mezzanine

2. Jashita – luxury

Jashita Hotel in Tulum
Family-friendly, luxury boutique hotel with 3 pools (kids’, adults’, and rooftop adults’ pools), beachfront service, daily yoga, and a spa with shaman ceremonies. Their wide range of rooms and suites all include king-sized beds, welcome wine and chocolates, and private terraces; honeymoon suites and the penthouse suite add private pools. Their all-day restaurant Pandano offers a delicious Mexican-Italian menu with especially great lobster and handmade pasta along with creative and classic cocktails. Located on an absolutely stunning, semi-private beach in Soliman Bay near Casa Cenote and about 10 km north of the Tulum ruins.
Hotel phone: +52 1 984 875 4158
ReviewCheck prices for Jashita

3. Casa Malca – luxury

Casa Malca Hotel in Tulum
Stylish, art-focused hotel with 3 outstanding restaurants, a creative bar, a beach club, 2 pools (1 is underground), complimentary bicycles, and free sunset yoga on the rooftop terrace. Each design-forward suite features an eclectic mix of antique and contemporary décor and original artwork from owner Lio Malca’s extensive private collection. The hotel is kid-friendly all year long, except for the weeks surrounding New Year’s Eve when it becomes an adults-only spot during Tulum’s EDM festivals. Located on a white, sandy beach within a 10-minute walk of Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve and several of Tulum’s best restaurants and bars.
Hotel phone: +52 1 984 167 7154
ReviewCheck prices for Casa Malca

4. La Valise – luxury

La Valise Hotel in Tulum
Luxurious, boutique hotel with spacious rooms and a suite, 24 hour air conditioning, 2 heated plunge pools, and a gorgeous stretch of beach. Service is impeccable and highly personalized. Their onsite restaurant serves breakfast and lunch indoors or on the beach, while their sister restaurant Nü serves creative Mexican fine dining under the stars. Located on the southern end of Tulum’s hotel zone in a quiet beach stretch within walking distance of several fantastic restaurants.
Hotel phone: +1 305 999 1540
ReviewCheck prices for La Valise

5. La Zebra – luxury

La Zebra Hotel in Tulum
Beach-chic, luxury hotel on a wide stretch of white, sandy beach with a long rooftop pool, playground, and free, weekly salsa dancing lessons. All family-friendly, open-plan suites are designed for up to 4 with a king-sized bed and a double twin trundle bed, a dual shower, and dual vanities; many suites include private plunge pools. Amazing food and drinks, a small spa, and friendly, attentive service round out the experience here.
Hotel phone: +52 1 984 115 4726
ReviewCheck prices for La Zebra

6. Ahau – luxury

Beach hotel in Tulum.
Wellness-focused, pet-friendly, beachfront hotel with outstanding food, eclectic rooms, and an extensive program of yoga, meditation, and healing rituals. Their onsite restaurants use fresh, organic, local ingredients in partnership with Mayan farmers and offer top-notch menus for vegans and meat-eaters alike. The beach here is amazing: sandy and swimmable, well-organized with beach beds and hammocks, well-served by the beach bar and grill, and with their own kite surfing school. Ahau is in the heart of Tulum’s beach zone, walking distance to amazing restaurants and nightlife.
Hotel phone: +52 984 147 5225
ReviewCheck prices for Ahau

7. Nômade – luxury

Nomâde Hotel in Tulum
Family-friendly, wellness-centered hotel with a gorgeous pool, free daily yoga, and a well-kept beach about a 10-minute walk from Sian Ka’an biosphere. Luxury tents, suites, and villas fuse boho style with modern perks, including air conditioning in all units (even the tents), private pools, and outdoor showers. Dining is fantastic at their vegan/vegetarian restaurant Macondo and at their super fresh seafood restaurant La Popular. What sets this hotel apart, though, is its focus on incorporating Mayan culture into all aspects of the hotel, including the menus, healing rituals, ceremonies, and ever-changing events program.
Hotel phone: +52 984 803 2243
ReviewCheck prices for Nômade

8. Cabañas La Luna – luxury

Cabañas La Luna Hotel in Tulum
Rustic boutique hotel with spacious, family-friendly suites and a fantastic Mexican-Mediterranean fusion restaurant on a wide stretch of white sand beach. Spacious rooms offer up to 2 bedrooms and sleep 4 to 6 guests, while the villa features 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a full kitchen, and a private pool.
Hotel phone: +52 1 984 146 7737
ReviewCheck prices for Cabañas La Luna

9. Una Vida – luxury

Una Vida Hotel in Tulum
Family-friendly, luxury hotel in the Pueblo (downtown) offering studios and 1- to 3- bedroom suites sleeping up to 8, all with stocked kitchenettes and outdoor showers, some with outdoor bathtubs. Facilities and amenities include a gorgeous pool, in-room yoga and massage, free bicycles, and a cozy breakfast and lunch restaurant. Private dinners and tequila and mezcal tastings are available on request.
Hotel phone: +52 984 240 5231
ReviewCheck prices for Una Vida

10. Mi Amor – luxury

Mi Amor Hotel in Tulum
Adults-only, luxury boutique hotel with an infinity pool, upscale restaurant and bar, and a cozy 2-room spa. Rooms and suites are designed with couples in mind, all with king-sized beds, 24-hour air conditioning, and private terraces; ground floor rooms feature private plunge pools. Mi Amor is located in the Tulum Ruins national park at the north end of the hotel zone, walking distance to the ruins, a beach club, and a handful of restaurants. The beach here is rocky, but it’s just a 5 minute walk to sandy Playa Paraiso at their sister property Mezzanine.
Hotel phone: +52 1 984 188 4273
ReviewCheck prices for Mi Amor

11. Encantada – luxury

Encantada Hotel in Tulum
Romantic hotel with 8 spacious rooms, all with king-sized canopy beds and private terraces with hammocks. Dining is exceptional at their onsite restaurant and bar and at their sister restaurant Nü across the street (they share the restaurant with La Valise). Encantada is located on a wide stretch of white sandy beach at the quiet, south end of the hotel zone within walking distance of several amazing restaurants and bars.
Hotel phone: +1 650 212 6782
ReviewCheck prices for Encantada

12. Sueños – luxury

Sueños Hotel in Tulum
Chilled-out, beachfront, artsy eco-hotel with Mayan-themed, beautifully decorated suites featuring hand-painted tiles, outdoor sitting decks, hammocks, porthole windows, and solar powered electricity. The lone penthouse has sofa beds, a stone hydromassage jacuzzi, a terrace, and 360˚ views of the ocean, jungle and lagoon of the Sian Kaan Biosphere. Sueños Tulum also offers complimentary breakfast, a yoga studio, fire pit, pool, and restaurant.
Hotel phone: +52 984 119 3484
ReviewCheck prices for Sueños

13. Dune – luxury

Dune Hotel in Tulum
Adults-only, boutique hotel with an amazing Mexican-Mediterranean fusion restaurant, beach club, a pampering spa, and daily yoga. Romantic rooms and suites include 24-hour air conditioning and private terraces, some with private plunge pools. The beach here is one of the best in Tulum: sandy, swimmable, and protected by a reef, which makes for gentle waves.
Hotel phone: +52 984 238 9529
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Dune

14. Be Tulum – luxury

Be Tulum Hotel in Tulum
Super-stylish, beachfront, spa resort with 2 pools having a lineup of fantastic designer suites with cowhide rugs, leather chairs, and private balconies. Depending on the type, suites may have private plunge pools, indoor copper tubs, roof top solariums/terraces with pools, private gardens/pools, and small kitchens. Be Tulum also boasts two restaurants, a raw food bar, beach bar, yoga studio, meditation classes, and a spa.
Hotel phone: +521 984 132 6215
Review Check prices for Be Tulum

15. Coco Tulum – luxury

Coco Tulum Hotel in Tulum
Cozy cabanas, rooms/tower rooms with ocean/garden views in a laid-back, beachfront, eco-hotel. Has budget cabanas with shared bathrooms, high-end tower rooms with splendid views with terraces, and a lone suite with jacuzzi. Has a beach bar, temazcal, yoga classes, Mexican-Italian restaurant and many good restaurants within walking distance.
Hotel phone: +52 984 688 8592
ReviewCheck prices for Coco Tulum

16. The Beach Tulum – midrange

The Beach Hotel in Tulum
Adults-only hotel with a river pool, jacuzzi, full-service spa, and 2 restaurants, including the well-loved Ziggy’s Restaurant and Beach Club. Rooms are minimalistic yet elegant, and all include a private jacuzzi or plunge pool. Perks include 24-hour air conditioning, free bikes, free yoga, live music nightly, and tequila, mezcal, and wine tastings throughout the week. The beach here boasts powdery, soft, white sand, and there is a little cenote onsite, too.
Hotel phone: +52 984 157 9645
Review Check prices for The Beach

17. Cabañas Tulum – midrange

Cabañas Hotel in Tulum
Beachfront hotel offering a pool and a holistic spa. Its spacious rooms and suites feature up to 3 bedrooms; many include private jacuzzis. The sister property of The Beach Tulum, Cabañas Tulum shares the same fantastic swimming beach and Ziggy’s Restaurant and Beach Club, along with its own restaurant and beach bar Frescoes. Minimum age for hotel guests is 14.
Hotel phone: +52 984 871 1132
Review Check prices for Cabañas Tulum

18. Alaya – luxury

Alaya Hotel in Tulum
Beautiful, beachfront boutique hotel with airy, light-filled beach cabanas/apartments, villas and suites having wooden floors, floor-to-ceiling windows with bi-folding doors and terraces. Apartments add small kitchens. Has a Latin American restaurant, outdoor eco gym, yoga lessons, kitesurfing and paddle surfing. The beach is a hotspot for sea turtles/nesting sites (during the season).
Hotel phone: +52 984 159 1696
Review Check prices for Alaya

19. Naay – luxury

Naay Boutique Hotel in Tulum
Stylish boutique hotel in the brand new Aldea Zama neighborhood, halfway between the Pueblo and the beach. Family-friendly 1 and 2-bedroom suites sleep up to 6 guests. The main highlight is the hotel’s rooftop, which boasts an infinity pool, kids’ pool, infinity jacuzzi, and an outstanding bar and restaurant with sunset views over the jungle.
Hotel phone: +52 984 231 1241
Review Check prices for Naay

20. O’ Tulum – luxury

O'Tulum Hotel in Tulum
Adults-only hideaway north of Tulum with only 12 rooms sharing 3 pools, rooftop yoga, and a wonderful restaurant overlooking the beach. All rooms include king-size beds, 24-hour air conditioning, private terraces, and swim outs or jetted plunge pools; half of the rooms add indoor soaking tubs. The beach here is rocky, but the hotel is just a 10-minute walk (or a 2-minute ride on one of their free bikes) to the gorgeous, sandy, swimmable beach at Soliman Bay and about a 20-minute walk (5-minute bike ride) to Casa Cenote, one of the best cenotes in the Tulum area.
Hotel phone: +52 984 231 1241
Review Check prices for O’ Tulum

21. Coco Hacienda – luxury

Coco Hacienda Hotel in Tulum
Charming boutique hotel in the Pueblo with 2 pools, a jacuzzi, a small spa, and a wonderful all-day Mexican restaurant serving an especially great brunch. Rooms all include 24-hour air conditioning and king-sized beds; Casitas add jetted baths and private patios with hammocks. Guests here have access to free bikes and discounted entrance to the beach club at their sister property Coco Tulum.
Hotel phone: +52 884 688 8592
Review Check prices for Coco Hacienda

22. Tago – luxury

Tago Hotel in Tulum
Stunning, beachfront luxury hotel. Rooms are huge with large glass sliding doors opening to their own private plunge pools. The onsite restaurant offers a Mexican-Mediterranean fusion menu with indoor or outdoor, beachfront dining. The beach is well-maintained with an abundance of sun chairs and fantastic beach service.
Hotel phone: +52 1 984 871 1310
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Tago

23. Hotel Tiki Tiki – luxury

Hotel Tiki Tiki in Tulum
Trendy boutique hotel with a pool, bar, and in-room massage. Tiki Tiki is located in the Pueblo, walking distance to Tulum’s vibrant restaurant and bar scene. A design-forward hotel, the decor blends Art Deco, retro ’60s, and beach-chic styles in its 15 unique rooms. This hotel tends to attract a younger crowd, especially honeymooners, couples, and bachelorette parties.
Hotel phone: +52 884 688 5005
Review Check prices for Hotel Tiki Tiki

24. El Pez – luxury

El Pez Hotel in Tulum
Family-friendly, luxury hotel with a pool, an excellent bar and restaurant, a shared kitchen area for guest use, and well-appointed rooms and suites on a small beach in a quiet bay. Most suites are 1-bedroom units that sleep up to 4 with a king-sized bed and a separate living area with a sofa bed and private pool. The beach itself is rocky, more popular for sunbathing and fishing than for swimming, but guests of El Pez have access to the beach at their sister property La Zebra.
Hotel phone: +52 1 984 116 3357
ReviewCheck prices for El Pez

25. Bardo – luxury

Bardo Hotel in Tulum
Elegant boutique hotel of contemporary luxury surrounded by lush greenery on the outskirts of the Tulum Pueblo. A large pool, excellent Milum restaurant and Kinky Room bar with lounge, temazcal and large yoga and meditation practice space. Villas are large and private, with semi-outdoor showers and splash pools.
Hotel phone: +52 984 807 1433
ReviewCheck prices for Bardo

Tulum Hotel Map

Map of Tulum Best Hotels.
Hotels on Map: JashitaO’ TulumBardo • Una VidaCoco HaciendaHotel Tiki TikiNaayMezzanineMi AmorEl PezTagoCoco TulumDuneCabañas La LunaThe Beach TulumCabañas TulumAhauLa ZebraAlayaSueñosEncantadaLa ValiseBe TulumNômadeCasa Malca

Best 5-star hotel in Tulum.

La Valise hotel in Tulum.

Read More

Where to Stay in Puerto Escondido

Mexico › Best Places to Stay in Puerto Escondido
Updated: February 21, 2024

Our Favorite Puerto Escondido Hotels

• Best hotel: Villas Carrizalillo
• For families: Hotel Santa Fe
• For couples: Punta Zicatela

Where should I stay in Puerto Escondido?

Best luxury hotel in Puerto Escondido.

The fantastic Villas Carrizalillo overlooking Playa Carrizalillo.

The main areas to stay include the tourist areas of Puerto Escondido itself (along the beach, Playa Principal or around El Adoquín); along the main surf zone at Playa Zicatela; more rustic La Punta, 3km further south at the far end of Zicatela; and the more residential area of Rinconada, west of the city center, closer to the smaller beaches hemmed in by cliffs. We prefer the tranquility and beaches of Rinconada, but surfers will want to stay closer to the action in Zicatela.

Our favorite hotels close to the town center include the Hotel Paraíso Escondido at Unión 10, with fine views and great facilities, and the budget Paziflora Hostel at Primera Sur 309, run by an incredibly friendly family.

Along Zicatela beach we like the charming and family-friendly Hotel Santa Fe and trendy Punta Zicatela, farther south on La Punta beach where it’s a little quieter.

In and around Rinconada the best place to stay is the semi-luxurious Villas Carrizalillo (our favorite hotel in the Puerto Escondido area), perched above a glorious beach.

Staying in Puerto Escondido – Tips & Info

Best place to stay in Puerto Escondido.

The view from Villas Carrizalillo.

Puerto Escondido is a laid-back resort town on the Pacific coast of Mexico, and one of our absolute favorite places to go in the country. Puerto Escondido is best known for its wonderful beaches, tropical setting, surf scene (it’s the home of the “Mexican Pipeline”), and scuba diving.

Where is Puerto Escondido?
Puerto Escondido is a small resort city and port in the southeastern Mexican state of Oaxaca, facing the Pacific Ocean. Puerto Escondido lies about 250 km south of Oaxaca City, 380 km southeast of Acapulco, and around 650 km southeast of Mexico City. Non-stop flights to Puerto Escondido take 1 hour 35 minutes from Guadalajara, 1 hour 15 minutes from Mexico City and just 30 minutes from Oaxaca City.

How big is Puerto Escondido?
Puerto Escondido has a population of around 45,000. The city center is quite small, with the primary tourist area focused on a small bay (“Bahía Principal”) and the adjacent strip along Avenida Alfonso Pérez Gasga (known simply as “El Adoquín”). The main business district (“Centro”) is clustered around Hwy-200 just to the north.

What is the history of Puerto Escondido?
Puerto Escondido is a relatively recent creation, though indigenous peoples such as the Mixtecs have populated the surrounding country for thousands of years. A small fishing community existed by the late 19th century, but the town didn’t start developing properly until the 1930s. It wasn’t until the 1960s that Highway 200 was completed, linking Escondido with the outside world by road for the first time (the highway ran along the coast of Oaxaca to Acapulco). In the 1970s Puerto Escondido started to develop as a low-key surfer and backpacker resort, and the population jumped from a few hundred to several thousand. Today the tourist facilities are far more developed, though Puerto Escondido remains relatively rustic and laid-back compared to big resorts such as Cancún, Acapulco and Los Cabos.

Beach hotel in Puerto Escondido, Mexico.

The Hotel Santa Fe on Zicatela beach.

How do I get to Puerto Escondido?
Puerto Escondido is connected to Oaxaca City, Mexico City and Guadalajara by non-stop flights; flights from elsewhere usually route through Mexico City. The daily flights from Oaxaca on Aerotucán, or with the plane piloted by the experienced Captain Vega (+52 954 588 0062), can save a lot of time, but are small Cessna aircraft, and a 15kg luggage limit is strictly enforced on Aerotucán (“Aero Vega” is cheaper and allows a little more, but you must call the Captain by phone to confirm flights). Puerto Escondido Airport lies around 4km northwest of Bahía Principal. Take a shared taxi (around 50 pesos) to the city center.

Until the new highway is complete in 2024, reducing the trip to just 2 hours 30 minutes, traveling by road between Oaxaca City and Puerto Escondido will remain time-consuming and stomach-churning (it’s very windy). Small minibuses (“camionetas”) operated hourly during the day by Transportes Villa del Pacifico, usually take 7 hours, but are cramped, stuffy and only stop once or twice for food and bathroom breaks. First–class ADO/OCC buses are bigger and much more comfortable, and have bathrooms, but take at least 10 hours – most travellers take the night bus to save a night’s hotel cost. The modern ADO/OCC bus terminal is right on the Carretera Costera (Hwy-200), a short walk from El Adoquín – taxis also wait outside. Other buses run to and from the Terminal Turística on Avenida Oaxaca, near the airport (take a taxi from here). Buses from Acapulco take around 8 hours – it’s at least 18 hours from Mexico City. Buses also regularly run along the Oaxacan coast (2 hours 30 minutes to Huatulco).

Can I drive to Puerto Escondido?
Yes, though it’s not recommended currently. Plenty of Americans and Canadians used to drive along the entire Pacific coast of Mexico from California to Guatemala, stopping in at Puerto Escondido, but parts of the route can be quite dangerous today, thanks to drug cartels and highway robberies (especially at night). Driving solely to Puerto Escondido isn’t worth the effort – it’s 960 miles (1545 km) south of Brownsville (Texas), and the roads across the mountains of Oaxaca can be tough to navigate for first-timers.

Do I need a car in Puerto Escondido?
Not really. It’s relatively easy and cheap to get around on foot, by bus or taxi. It can be useful to have a vehicle to explore the coastline beyond the city – to Mazunte and Zipolite for example – but these resorts are also served by public bus and taxi. Fix taxi prices before getting in – most trips in town should be 35 to 40 pesos, with 50 to 60 pesos for longer trips to La Punta or Playa Bacocho. You can also take a lancha (small motor boat) from Playa Principal to the nearby beaches from around 100 pesos per person.

When is the best time to go to Puerto Escondido?
Puerto Escondido is at its best December to April, when the weather is hot and dry. It tends to be rainy and very humid June to October, with hurricanes possible through the summer into November – however, the peak surf season runs from May to early September. Hotel prices go up during surf competitions (the main one is normally in November) and during Mexican holidays, especially Christmas and Easter.

What are the best beaches in Puerto Escondido?

Best beach club in Puerto Escondido.

A bar-restaurant on Puerto Angelito beach.

One of our favorites is Playa Zicatela, south of the city center – it’s one of the best in Mexico for surfing, but it’s also a huge swathe of fine sand (it rarely feels crowded), backed by great beach bars and palapa restaurants. Beginning surfers should head for La Punta at the far southern end of the beach, which has slower waves. For swimming, head to the smaller beaches west of the city center, sheltered in a series of rocky coves. Our absolute favorite is Playa Carrizalillo (2km from Playa Principal), a beautiful gold-sand beach on a tiny, calm bay. It’s only accessible via a steep, 170-step staircase. A close second are the beaches on nearby Bahía Puerto Ángelito, a gorgeous bay with similarly warm, calm waters. Puerto Angelito itself is more sheltered and family-oriented, with Playa Manzanillo, on the other side of a rocky outcrop, slightly less crowded. Puerto Angelito can be accessed directly by car/taxi, while Manzanillo is a short walk from the road – both beaches can be reached after 20 minutes walk from Playa Principal, and feature plenty of bars and restaurants.

For more seclusion head further west to Playa Bacocho or Playa Punta Colorada, both huge stretches of sand that are rarely busy. Currents and waves can be strong here, so swimming isn’t safe, though bodyboarding and surfing is possible.

The main city beach, Playa Principal is too busy with families, boats and fishermen most of the time, but can be fun in the evenings – nearby Playa Marinero, just across Laguna Agua Dulce (and separated from Zicatela by the Mirador Romance de Verano, a rocky outcrop also known as “El Morro”), is a better place to lounge on the sands.

What are the best things to do in Puerto Escondido?
The best things to do in Puerto Escondido are connected with the beaches; swimming, surfing, sunbathing, diving and various watersports. There’s not much else to do here other than browsing the shops for surf and beach gear, and Mexican handicrafts. Ecoadventures is a recommended operator that offers paddle-boarding, kayaking and bioluminescence boat tours of nearby Laguna Manialtepec, as well as dolphin watching and the chance to take part in the release of baby sea turtles from local beaches. Robert’s Ecotours offers a similar line up. For scuba diving contact Deep Blue Dive or Aventura Submarina which has an office at Alfonso Pérez Gasga 609 on the main drag.

Surfers should check out locally-run website Central Surf TV, Puerto Surf and the Oasis Spanish & Surf School, which offers surfing lessons and Spanish classes. Skydive Puerto Escondido offers incredible parachute jumps right over Puerto Escondido’s beaches. Puerto Food Tours is a fun way to see the city, with walking tours focused on local food and snacks.

What are the restaurants like?
Extremely varied, international and cheap. Along all the main beaches are beach bars and restaurants, with especially fresh seafood. One of our favorites for breakfast (and Mexican staples for dinner) is El Cafecito on Playa Zicatela. A block inland, Dan’s Café Deluxe (Jacaranda 14) is equally good for breakfast and serves incredible fish tacos for lunch. We love Sativa, right on the beach at Playa Zicatela, for its contemporary Mexican menu, vegetarian choices, and seafood. For solid Italian food (pizza, pastas), La Galería is a good choice, in the city center at Alfonso Pérez Gasga 601. The best place for a splurge is Espadín, over looking Playa Carrizalillo, with modern Mexican food, and sensational views of the bay and the sunset.

What currency is used in Puerto Escondido?
The Mexican peso (often pre-fixed with a “$” sign) is the currency of Mexico and used in Puerto Escondido – businesses are unlikely to accept US dollars unless it’s an emergency. Most major shops and restaurants in Puerto Escondido now accept credit cards, but it is a good idea to have some pesos on hand for buses, taxis, and small purchases like bottled water and snacks. We recommend using ATMs attached to banks in the commercial center of town, rather than at standalone ATMs in bus stations and the like – these can be hacked by credit card fraudsters.

Is Puerto Escondido expensive?
No. Much of Puerto Escondido remains set up for budget travelers, and there is a wide range of low-cost hotels and rentals (airbnb also operates here). Food and transport is cheap – and all the beaches are open to the public and free.

Is Puerto Escondido safe?
Yes. Puerto Escondido has generally avoided the drug violence that has affected other parts of Mexico. Take the usual precautions, especially at night, and keep your valuables in room safes. Theft of personal items from beaches does happen – never leave anything of value unattended, even on seemingly empty stretches of sand.

Read More

Tulum Family Hotels

MexicoTulum › Kid-Friendly Hotels
Updated: February 20, 2024

See Also

The Tulum Beach.

Tulum is an awesome family destination. One of our favorites anywhere.

Tulum Family Hotels – Tips & Info

Tulum for kids and families.

My boys at the Gran Cenote near Tulum.

  • There are many great Cenotes near Tulum. All great for kids and families.
  • Tulum is a good year-round destination but the best months to visit are from December to April.
  • A note about Tulum hotels: Tulum’s hotels are simple and laid back. Don’t be expecting luxury amenities even if the price suggests that that’s what you’re getting. Service is on “Mexican Time” and might leave you disappointed if you’re expecting the sharp service of Cancun’s best resorts. That said, Tulum is my favorite beach spot along the coast (and has way better restaurants than Cancun or Playa del Carmen). Just be prepared for laid back, relaxed, and easy-going service and hotel staff.

The 12 Best Hotels for Families in Tulum, Mexico

Tulum hotel for family of 4 or 5.

Rooms for families – like this one at Sueños Tulum – get booked-up much sooner than regular rooms. Book early.

1. Jashita Tulum Hotel

Tulum Family Hotels: Jashita
Boutique, luxury hotel with 3 pools, beachfront service, and an exceptional restaurant. Their 2-bedroom Jasmine Penthouse sleeps up to 4 with 2 king beds, 2 bathrooms, an outdoor jacuzzi, ocean view terrace, and exclusive access to the hotel’s rooftop pool and bar. Located on an absolutely stunning, semi-private beach in Soliman Bay, about 10 km north of the Tulum ruins.
Hotel phone: +52 1 984 875 4158
Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

2. Cabañas La Luna

Tulum Family Hotels: Cabanas Luna
Rustic boutique hotel with spacious, family-friendly suites and a fantastic Mexican-Mediterranean fusion restaurant on a wide stretch of white sand beach. Spacious rooms offer up to 2 bedrooms and sleep families of 4 to 6, while the villa features 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a full kitchen, and a private pool.
Hotel phone: +52 1 984 146 7737
Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

3. Sueños Tulum

Tulum Family Hotels: Suenos
Located near the far end of the beach road. It’s quieter here but you can still walk to a few restaurants. Presidential suite is luxurious and perfect for family of 4. Small pool just back from the beach.
Hotel phone: +52 984 119 3484
Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

4. Alaya Tulum

Tulum Family Hotels: Alaya
A beachfront hotel that is beautifully decorated and centrally located. Family villa has 2 bunkbeds and a queen bed (in separate rooms). Beach here is beautiful. Good restaurants nearby.
Hotel phone: +52 984 159 1696
Hotel website Check prices on Booking.com

5. Una Vida Tulum

Tulum Family Hotels: Una Vida
Luxury, all-villa hotel in the Pueblo offering 1 to 3-bedroom suites sleeping families of 4 to 8, all with stocked kitchenettes and outdoor showers, some with outdoor bathtubs. Facilities and amenities include a gorgeous pool, in-room yoga and massage, free bicycles, and a cozy breakfast and lunch restaurant. Private dinners and tequila and mezcal tastings are available on request.
Hotel phone: +52 984 240 5231
Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

6. Las Palmas Maya

Tulum Family Hotels: Las Palmas Maya
The best budget hotel in the beach zone, offering air-conditioned, open-plan family suites with 2 king beds and 1 sofa bed or 1 king and 1 queen, sleeping up to 5 guests. Their tiny restaurant serves breakfast until 3:00 p.m., plus they have a large communal kitchen for guests’ use. The hotel is on the jungle side of the road, a 30-second walk to the beach with free beach access at partner beach clubs.
Hotel phone: +52 1 984 214 8914
Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

7. Coco Village

Tulum Family Hotels: Coco Village
Amazing, condo-style, boutique hotel with spacious 2 and 3-bedroom apartments, all with full kitchens and in-unit washers and dryers. There is a shared pool in the garden area, and guest have free access to the famous beach club at their sister property Coco Tulum. Located in the Pueblo (downtown), within walking or biking distance to several of Tulum’s best restaurants.
Hotel phone: +55 4169 2072
Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

8. La Zebra Hotel

Tulum Family Hotels: La Zebra
Beach-chic, luxury hotel on a wide stretch of white, sandy beach with a rooftop infinity pool, playground, and free, weekly salsa dancing lessons. All open-plan suites are designed for 4 with a king-sized bed and a double twin trundle bed, a dual shower, and dual vanities; many suites include private plunge pools. Amazing food and drinks, a small spa, and friendly, attentive service round out the experience here.
Hotel phone: +52 1 984 115 4726
Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

9. Villas Geminis Boutique Condo Hotel

Tulum Family Hotels: Village Geminis
Affordable, upscale, pet-friendly studio, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom condos, most with full kitchens, some with outdoor soaking tubs. This gated hotel in the Pueblo offers a pool, garden, free bicycles, complimentary breakfasts, and discounts at nearby beach clubs. The hotel partners with a Mayan collective to arrange jungle retreats with Mayan healing rituals, cooking classes, tours of Sian Ka’an, and more.
Hotel phone: +52 1 984 115 4726
Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

10. Villa Las Estrellas

Tulum Family Hotels: Villa Las Estrellas
Rooms and suites are large, great for families, and steps from the sea. Centrally located on the beach road and an easy walk to several restaurants.
Hotel phone: +52 984 879 0772
Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

11. Zamas

Tulum Family Hotels: Zamas
Large bungalows sleep a family of 5. Great location (closer to town than most hotels) with restaurants and ice cream shop steps away. The beach here is not great but it’s an easy bike ride to great sand.
Hotel phone: +52 984 145 2602
Hotel websiteCheck prices on Booking.com

12. Naay Boutique Hotel

Naay Boutique Hotel in Tulum
Stylish boutique hotel in the brand new Aldea Zama neighborhood, halfway between the Pueblo and the beach. Spacious 1 and 2-bedroom suites sleep up to 6 guests. The main highlight is the hotel’s rooftop, which boasts an infinity pool, kids’ pool, infinity jacuzzi, and an outstanding bar and restaurant with jungle sunset views.
Hotel phone: +52 984 231 1241
Hotel website Check prices on Booking.com

Read More

Best Cenotes in the Yucatán

Mexico › Best Yucatán Cenotes
Updated: February 20, 2024

See Also

Samula cenote in Yucatan, Mexico

Samula cenote near Vallodolid, Mexico.

What are Cenotes?

The Yucatán is almost entirely composed of limestone. A cenote is a sinkhole, formed when the limestone bedrock collapses exposing the groundwater underneath (most cenotes are filled with freshwater). Cool and clear, they make ideal spots for swimming, snorkeling, and diving.

The ancient Maya civilization used cenotes as key sources of drinking water – they were also regarded as sacred portals to the Maya underworld.

When to Visit the Yucatán

The best weather in the Yucatán is from December to April when there is lots of sun and little rain. The driest months are February, March, and April. The wettest, hottest, and most humid months are from May to October. The biggest crowds and highest prices are found in late December, January, and February. Cenotes near Playa del Carmen, Cancun, and Tulum also tend to be busy during spring break for US students, so visit cenotes further inland for a more tranquil experience.

How to Visit the Cenotes

The best way to visit cenotes in the Yucatán is by rental car. Roads are generally good, and renting a car in any of the major resort towns – Playa del Carmen, Cancun, and Tulum – is easy and relatively cheap, with plenty of local rental companies competing with the major international outfits. Try RentalCars.com, Easy Way, or Go Cheap.

If you don’t want to drive, there are several cenotes just off the main coastal highway between Tulum and Cancun, reachable via taxi or local bus: Dos Ojos Cenote, Cenote Xunaan-Ha, and Cenote Chaak Tun among them.

Guided Tours

Numerous outfits in Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Cancun offer cenotes tours that can take the hassle out of arranging your own transport, though you will be stuck with a group and fixed times at the swimming holes. Most tours combine the Maya ruins at Coba or Chichén Itzá with visits to cenotes – Cenote Azul Tours is a safe bet as well as this one from Mérida: Yucatán Cenotes and Villages Full-Day Tour.

Costs and Money

Most cenotes charge for entry – unless you are on a guided tour, you’ll need Mexican pesos (cash), anything from 50 to 500 pesos for the major sites. Though US dollars are accepted closer to the “Riviera Maya” resorts, the exchange rate used is always poor. The more developed sites offer lockers (from 30 pesos) and snorkeling gear rentals (an extra 80 to 100 pesos).

What to Bring

The most obvious items to bring are swimming gear and towels, but it’s also important to remember biodegradable sunscreen – regular sunscreen damages the cenotes ecosystems and is officially forbidden, though in practice this rule is rarely enforced. Snorkels and masks are usually available to rent at the larger sites, but it can be handy to have your own; most locals also bring snacks for a picnic. Serious explorers will want to bring a waterproof camera and underwater flashlight.

The 20 Best Cenotes in the Yucatán

1. Cenotes Sac Actún – 22km north from Tulum

Vast underground cenote with interlinked caves that is perhaps the most beautiful in the Yucatán – swim in cool clear waters beneath incredible stalactite formations and swooping bats. The 45-minute guided tour is the only way inside.

Location: Off Hwy-307 (Cancun–Chetumal)
Details: Open daily 9am–5pm; entry 500 pesos (includes snorkel, mask, life jacket, and mandatory tour guide)
Best for: Snorkeling and stalactites

2. Cenote Xcanche – 27 km north of Valladolid

Atmospheric site next to the Ek Balam Maya ruins, featuring roots and waterfalls running down from the cave ceiling and a wooden walkway around the side of the cenote. It’s possible to zipline and rappel/abseil into the water here or just swim in the beautiful turquoise waters (small black catfish can be spied below).

Location: Near Ek Balam (Zona Arqueológica de Ek Balam)
Details: Open daily 9am–5pm; entry 80 pesos including 1.5 km walk along trail to the cenote (170 pesos with bike rental)
Best for: Swimming, rappelling, and ziplining

3. Cenote Ik-Kil – 4km southeast from Chichén Itzá

This deep cenote (26 metres/85 ft below ground level) near Chichén Itzá is open to the sky, with its walls smothered in ferns and verdant vines and roots hanging from the rim, making for a spectacular setting; it can get very busy with swimmers as a result so aim – as always – to be there early or late to avoid the crowds.

Location: Pisté, Hwy-180
Details: Open daily 9am–5pm; entry 80 pesos
Best for: Scenic location and photos

4. Cenote X’Keken & Cenote Samula – 7km southwest from central Valladolid

These adjacent cenotes are two of the most beautiful in the Yucatán, though as a result, they tend to attract a lot of tour groups and hordes of local vendors at the entrance. Go early to avoid the crowds and note that there is no obligation to hire one of the invariably pushy “guides”. Once inside X’Keken, steps descend into a huge cavern, where a perfectly circular pool of crystal-clear water is lit by a narrow shaft of light. Giant stalactites hang from the ceiling. Samula is even more dramatic: álamo tree roots hang down towards the dimly-lit pool at the bottom of a huge cavern, though many of these have been damaged in recent years.

Location: Camino a Dzitnup
Details: Open daily 9am–6pm; entry 80 pesos (or 125 pesos for both cenotes)
Best for: Photos and stunning cave scenery

5. Los Tres Cenotes de Cuzamá – 26 km east of Mérida

These three cenotes – Ucil, Chak-Zinik-Ché (or Chacsinicche), and Bolom-Chojol – make for one of the more exciting day-trips in the Yucatán, as the drive to the remote Maya village of Chunkanán is followed by a 45-minute ride on a truk (or carrito), a shaky, horse-drawn carriage along narrow-gauge rail tracks (operated by local villagers). The three cenotes are all are incredibly pristine and rarely busy (there are no restrooms here though). Ucil is the smallest, an underground waterhole illuminated by artificial light crammed with stalactites and stalagmites; Chak-Zinik-Ché is only semi-enclosed, with natural lighting, and accessed via a 10-meter wooden ladder; Bolom-Chojol is the largest, illuminated by several openings in the ceiling and with a wooden platform offering sensational views.

Location: Chunkanán, 1.5 km south of Cuzamá
Details: Open daily 8am–4pm; entry 400 pesos per “truk” (for up to 4 passengers; the last one departs around 3.30pm)
Best for: Adventure!

6. Dos Ojos Cenote – 22km north of Tulum

This site comprises two pools (or “eyes”) connected by underwater tunnels – it’s justly popular for scuba divers. Snorkeling is also excellent, with plenty of underwater rock formations and fish to spy. The other main attraction here are the guided tours through to the bat cave – hundreds can be seen crawling along the rocky ceiling or flying around.

Location: Cenote Jaguar Rd
Details: Open daily 8am–5pm; entry 350 pesos (500–650 pesos with guided snorkeling tour into the caves)
Best for: Bats (and snorkeling and cave diving)

7. Cenote Zaci – Valladolid

Right in the heart of Valladolid, this nevertheless feels like another world. It’s a vast, open cenote, with some terrifyingly high jumping/diving platforms and never seems that crowded (go early morning or late afternoon to be sure). It’s also one of the cheapest cenotes and a refreshing place to swim (not so much for snorkeling).

Location: Calle 36 (between calles 37 and 39)
Details: Open daily 8am–5.30pm; entry 30 pesos
Best for: Cheap entry and easy access

8. Cenotes Siete Bocas – 20km west from Puerto Morelos

Seven small but deep cenotes (up to 150 meters) in one site, though two are reserved solely for scuba divers – the other five are connected by underground tunnels with limited headroom (one cenote is open to the surface but the other four are underground). The open cenote features a fun jump some 4.5 meters (15 ft) above the surface.

Location: Ruta de Los Cenotes (Carretera Puerto Morelos–Leona Vicario)
Details: Open daily 9am–4.30pm; entry 400–500 pesos (lifejacket and flashlight included)
Best for: Cliff-jumping, diving and underground tunnels

9. Zacil-Há – 9km north from Tulum

This small, beautifully landscaped and azure blue pool is perfect for families – it’s open and sunny, has lots of tables and chairs around it, and you can see the sandy bottom. Older kids will enjoy the zipline instaled here, which allows riders to fly across the pool and jump off halfway. Eat at the on-site restaurant or bring your own food (50 pesos extra charged per family). There are also two man-made swimming pools.

Location: Hwy-109
Details: Open daily 10am–6pm; entry 100 pesos
Best for: Families and zip-liners

10. Cenote Chaak Tun – Playa del Carmen

Underground cenotes sprinkled with stunning stalactites and stalagmites. The water is usually icy cold, so be prepared! You can swim with catfish here, but you’ll need a flashlight to see them clearly. Admission includes a 1 hour 45-minute guided tour (the last tour leaves at 3pm).

Location: Av Benito Juárez km 4.7
Details: Open daily 9am–5pm; entry 500 pesos
Best for: Underground exploration

11. Cenote Azul

Located 25km south of Playa del Carmen and right on the main highway, this is one of the easiest cenotes to reach. Being open, sunny and in sections very shallow, it’s also ideal for small kids (there are a few deeper areas to swim for adults). Lots of small fish, tropical birds, and iguanas hang out here. Tends to get very busy, but there are five smaller pools scattered along the site’s jungle trail that can offer more privacy.

Location: Carretera Tulum–Cancun Km 266
Details: Open daily 8.30am–5pm; entry 140 pesos
Best for: Easy access and families with small children

12. Gran Cenote – 4.5 km north from Tulum

This popular, crystal-clear cenote is ideal for snorkeling (and diving); spot underwater stalagmites and stalactites as well as small freshwater turtles while floating peacefully on the surface. A red line with floats leads through a low-lying cavern full of bats. Go early to avoid the crowds.

Location: Hwy-109
Details: Open daily 8am–5pm; entry 300 pesos
Best for: Snorkeling and turtles

13. Cobá cenotes – 6km southwest from Cobá

These three closely-situated underground cenotes are usually experienced as part of a day-trip to the spectacular Maya ruins at Cobá. The first, Choo-Ha, has clean but very cold, shallow water (fine but not ideal for swimming), though its ancient stalactites are impressive. Tankah-Ha is the most spectacular, a vast subterranean dome with two platformed diving areas. Multún-Ha is deeper (18 meters underground), with only man-made lighting and blue-green crystalline waters perfect for swimming. Go early and you will almost certainly be alone here.

Location: Carretera Chanchen I
Details: Open daily 8am–6pm; entry 100 pesos each site
Best for: Stalactites, swimming, and solitude

14. Cenote Xunaan-Ha – 22km north of Tulum

Located in the small town of Chemuyil, between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum, this pristine open cenote with lots of fish is ideal for diving (there are deep caves), snorkeling, and swimming. The pool is surrounded by dense jungle (which is pretty but attracts mosquitoes) and features two diving platforms for jumping into the water.

Location: Off Av Palmas, Chemuyil
Details: Open daily 8am–5pm; entry 100 pesos
Best for: Jungle scenery, scuba diving, and swimming

15. Cenote Xlacah – Dzibilchaltún

Vast open-air pool right next to the Dzibilchaltún Maya archaeological site, with the center almost entirely smothered with water lilies. Great place to swim (it’s warm) with tiny fish and ancient ruins all around.

Location: Zona Arqueológica de Dzibilchaltún
Details: Open daily 8am–3.30pm; entry 227 pesos (included with Dzibilchaltún ruins ticket)
Best for: Maya ruins and historic ambience

16. Cenote Yaxbacaltun – 58 km southeast from Mérida

Deep but open cenote, with gorgeous crystal-clear water perfect for swimming, with a fun rope swing and a couple of jump platforms, though it’s also known for a more unusual phenomenon; a colony of swallows lives here, and timing your visit to witness them leaving in the morning and returning before sunset is highly recommended.

Location: Calle 29, Homún
Details: Open daily 9am–6pm; entry 50–80 pesos (including mandatory life jacket)
Best for: Bird-watching, rope swing, and swimming

17. Cenote Suytun – 8km east from Valladolid

The principal feature of this massive underground sinkhole – illuminated by a narrow shaft of light – is the stone platform that juts out into the center of the pool. Standing here makes for one of the most spectacular photos in Mexico – but be prepared for long waits for your turn (get here at opening time if possible). There are also some spectacular stalactites. It’s possible to swim but the water is very cold.

Location: Carretera a Ticuch Km 8
Details: Open daily 9am–5pm; entry 120 pesos
Best for: Scenic photographs

18. Cenote Carwash (Aktun-Ha) – 8 km north of Tulum

Large, open cenote with cheap entry and plenty of space to swim – freshwater turtles often turn up here. Also popular with divers – it’s much deeper than it looks, and there’s lots of fish and underwater plant life to check-out.

Location: Hwy-109
Details: Open daily 10am–5.30pm; entry 50 pesos (including restrooms and showers, lockers 30 pesos)
Best for: Cheap entry, snorkeling, and swimming

19. Cenote Kankirixche – 50km south from Mérida

Beautiful, underground cenote with partial opening, hardly ever busy and perfect for a refreshing swim in the bright blue waters. Run by a cooperative of locals.

Location: Abalá
Details: Open daily 8am–5pm; entry 60–80 pesos
Best for: Isolated location, swimming, and solitude

20. Cenote Jardin del Edén – 24km south from Playa del Carmen

Right on the main coastal highway, this is a huge open-air cenote for swimming, with plenty of places to jump or dive into the water. Surrounded by shady forest, it’s a lovely location, though mosquitoes can be a problem. Bring a snorkel because there are plenty of fish here also.

Location: Hwy-307
Details: Open daily 8am–5pm; entry 200 pesos
Best for: Easy access, snorkeling, and swimming

Read More

Puerto Vallarta’s Best Hotels

Mexico Puerto Vallarta › Best Hotels
Updated: February 20, 2024

Best place to stay in Puerto Vallarta.

The infinity pool at the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit in Puerto Vallarta.

Puerto Vallarta Hotels – Tips & Info

  • Best Luxury Hotels in Puerto Vallarta: Hotel Mousai (most luxurious) • Grand Velas (best for families) • Hacienda San Angel (most romantic).
  • The best areas of Puerto Vallarta for travelers are: El Centro (PV’s historic heart, with great restaurant and beaches), Zona Romantica (historic streets with trendy bars, nightlife, and popular Los Muertos Beach), Conchas Chinas (upscale neighborhood near attractions, but quiet at night), Mismaloya (secluded jungle and beaches), Marina Vallarta (resort area with a golf course and lots of marine attractions, beaches are just ok), North Hotel Zone (great beaches, quiet neighborhood, near attractions), and Nuevo Vallarta (exclusive, luxury, golfing and beaches).
  • Puerto Vallarta is home to some of the best restaurants in Mexico, with a mix of outstanding fine dining, cheap eats, local flavors, and international cuisine. Even if staying in an all-inclusive, it is worth making the trip downtown for meals at least a couple of times during your stay. Some of the top restaurants worth a special trip are Café des Artistes (best fine dining), Mariscos Cisneros (best local seafood), and Kaiser Maximilian (best international cuisine).
  • Puerto Vallarta is perfect for walking, with interesting attractions, such as the Malecon, the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Los Muertos Beach, and nightlife all within walking distance of each other. Farther-flung attractions, like the Botanical Gardens or Zoo to the south or Nuevo Vallarta to the north, are all serviced by bus for only a few pesos.
  • Taxis are more efficient for longer distances, but can be expensive. Rather than running a meter, taxis rates are determined by zone. The rate for a particular destination will be based on how many zones the taxi needs to cross through to get there. Zone maps can be integrated with Google Maps on your phone.
  • For day trips to Punta de Mita or Sayulita, it’s best to rent a car. Puerto Vallarta’s rules of the road are similar to those in the U.S. Highways are well-maintained, and streets are all well-mapped (if not well-marked) and easy to follow via GPS. Two things that are different are topes and left turns. Topes (pronounced TOH-pays) are speed bumps, but there are no regulations on their height, steepness, or visibility; some are nearly impossible to see until it’s too late! Drive slowly in downtown and keep an eye out for these. Standard left turns are usually OK in downtown but not on highways. To make a left, drivers will often need to use a retorno, which is a U-turn overpass. To use a retorno, drive past the road you want to make a left onto, get into the far right lane to take the retorno exit, make the left onto the overpass, and finally merge with traffic going the opposite direction. You can then make a right at the desired street or destination.
  • Pay in pesos whenever possible. Many hotels, restaurants, and tour operators accept payment in U.S. dollars. However, travelers will almost always overpay if using dollars, as the exchange rate for tourists favors the peso.

The 22 Best Hotels in Puerto Vallarta

1. Hotel Mousai – South Hotel Zone

Hotel Mousai in South Hotel Zone
Five Diamond, adults-only hotel with a rooftop infinity pool overlooking their 85-acre jungle preserve, Garza Blanca Beach, and the Sea of Cortez. All accommodations include outdoor, tile jacuzzis on private balconies. Ultra Suites add upgraded amenities, the hotel’s most expansive views, and unlimited access to the hydrotherapy circuit in their decadent spa. Expect impeccable service along with phenomenal dining and drinks on site or at their sister property, Garza Blanca. Guests may choose to reserve a suite only, or an all-inclusive package. Located just north of Mismaloya, near Los Arcos Park, the Botanical Gardens, and the Puerto Vallarta Zoo.
Hotel phone: +52 322 176 0738
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Hotel Mousai

2. Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit – Nuevo Vallarta

Best hotel for families in Puerto Vallarta.
Luxurious, all-suite, all-inclusive, family-friendly resort with a multi-tier infinity pool and exceptional family amenities and services. Their enormous two-bedroom, three-bathroom family suites boast a private jacuzzi terrace, a 50 minute massage per person per day, and round-trip airport transfer. Kids’ amenities for all ages include a baby concierge, kids’ pool, kids’ club with culture, nature, and craft activities, and a teen lounge with gaming consoles, a dance floor, and karaoke. A host of gourmet local and international restaurants satisfies even the pickiest eaters. The Grand Velas sits on the powdery white Nuevo Vallarta Beach, near Aquaventuras water park (with dolphins!) and in between two golf courses.
Hotel phone: +52 322 226 8677
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit

3. Hacienda San Angel – El Centro, Old Town

Best boutique hotel in Old Town Puerto Vallarta.
Four romantic, colonial-style villas house 20 total rooms, with a lush garden courtyard overlooking Guadalupe Church and the ocean. All rooms include dramatic Mexican and European antique décor, plus modern marble floors and French windows; Presidential and Royal suites add outdoor terrace jacuzzis. Three pools, a small chapel, and a gourmet restaurant are spread throughout the grounds, linked by ivy-covered terraces and garden paths. Its fine dining restaurant serves sumptuous Mexican and international dishes, with sweeping sea and city views, live mariachi nightly, and seasonal Sunday brunches. The restaurant is popular for celebrations, so reserve in advance, especially during the high season. The hotel sits amid winding cobblestone streets in El Centro, just steps from the Church, the Malecon, and the city’s best dining and nightlife. Hacienda San Angel is the former home of Richard Burton.
Hotel phone: +52 322 222 2692
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Hacienda San Angel

4. Villa La Estancia – Nuevo Vallarta

Best hotel villa in Nuevo Vallarta near Puerto Vallarta.
Luxury, family-friendly resort with spacious suites, a two-level pool, and exclusive beachfront location. Suites are generous, up to three bedrooms, with a full kitchen, and a washer and dryer. All rooms include a jacuzzi in the master bathroom and a private balcony. Excellent on-site restaurants and bars, plus guests have access to dining options at the sister resort next door. Though this resort is very popular with families, it remains peaceful and quiet: no loud pool parties, and the bars close early, around 10:30. Villa la Estancia sits at the north end of Nuevo Vallarta, on a long, tranquil beach; just a fifteen-minute bike ride to the pueblo magico Bucerias and about thirty-minutes’ drive to Old Town.
Hotel phone: +52 800 483 0088
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Villa La Estancia

5. Casa Velas – Marina Vallarta

Best beach hotel for honeymooners in Puerto Vallarta.
Luxury, adults-only boutique hotel with a free form pool, a beach club with an infinity pool, and a holistic spa featuring hydrotherapy and ingredients grown onsite in their botanical garden. A wide range of spacious suites are available, many with private jacuzzis or plunge pools. The Presidential suites is the largest and most luxurious with four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, free golf, and massage for all guests. Wellness suites add in room jacuzzis, private plunge pools, a massage table, and fitness amenities. Thoughtful perks include a handbag bar and complimentary beach transfer all day. Located in Marina Vallarta, surrounded by the golf course, near sailing, diving, and marine parks.
Hotel phone: +52 322 226 8670
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Casa Velas

6. Marriott Resort & Spa – Marina Vallarta

Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa in Marina Vallarta
Upscale, beachfront resort with infinity, kids’, and lap pools, plus Puerto Vallarta’s largest spa. Family amenities include a kids’ club, teen gaming area, and a sea turtle hatchery and release program (June – November). Its indulgent spa spotlights indigenous Huichol treatments, a hydrotherapy circuit, and in-pool massage. Fantastic restaurants are around every corner here, but the star is their Ceviche & Tequila Bar, offering outstanding seafood and 270 tequilas. Rooms are airy and bright, but average in size; families should opt for a larger suite or connecting rooms. This resort sits right on the Marina Beach, walking distance to the Marina Vallarta Golf Club, boat tours, and marine parks.
Hotel phone: +52 322 226 0000
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Marriott Resort & Spa

7. Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa – South Hotel Zone

Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa in South Hotel Zone
Sophisticated resort in a jungle mountain preserve with two free-form infinity pools, contemporary dining, and a host of nature activities. All rooms and suites feature a private terrace with a hammock, while suite types one bedroom and up include a full kitchen, washer and dryer, and one extra bathroom per bedroom. Its top-notch kids club gets little ones up close with nature through hiking, planting trees, kayaking, and more. Succulent dining, a tranquil spa, and serene tropical view of Banderas Bay rounds out the experience. Garza Blanca sits on a sugary white sand beach with a rock wall and gentle waves just north of Mismaloya, near the Botanical Gardens, Puerto Vallarta Zoo, and Los Arcos Park.
Hotel phone: +52 322 176 0718
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa

8. Casa Kimberly – El Centro, Old Town

Casa Kimberly Hotel in El Centro, Old Town
Dramatic and glamorous boutique accommodations, featuring a rooftop al fresco restaurant and bar, cozy spa, and lozenge-shaped pool. This adults-only hotel is comprised of two villas connected by a bridge; the older formerly owned by Richard Burton, and the other built by him for Elizabeth Taylor – each room is named and designed after one of Taylor’s films. Suites all feature indulgent baths and rain shower, plus lavish décor that blends Hollywood glitz with hacienda charm. Most include a private terrace with a whirlpool, plunge pool, or both. Its restaurant, The Iguana, is one of the top in the city, specializing on contemporary Mexican cuisine and a variety of tequilas. Located in El Centro, near Guadalupe Church, the city’s best restaurants and nightlife, and the Malecon.
Hotel phone: +52 322 222 1336
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Casa Kimberly

9. Grand Miramar – Conchas Chinas

Puerto Vallarta hotel with best sea and sunset view.
On the highest point overlooking Banderas Bay, the Grand Miramar offers panoramic views from its rooftop bar, plus three dazzling pools, a pool-sized jacuzzi, and contemporary suites. All suites include a private terrace and a kitchenette with a stovetop. Two- to four-bedroom residences include full kitchen and dining room; many have private terrace whirlpools. The resort offers five great restaurants, but the stars are Casianos, with its three- to five-course surprise dinner menu, and the Gin Joint, especially popular for sunset cocktails and tapas. From its privileged location in Conchas Chinas, the resort is walking distance to two swimmable beaches and near the nightlife and dining in Zona Romantica.
Hotel phone: +52 322 221 5120
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Grand Miramar

10. Velas Vallarta Suite Resort – Marina Vallarta

Best all-inclusive resort near Puerto Vallarta.
This family-friendly, all-inclusive, all-suite luxury beachfront resort showcases two free-form pools connected by a lazy river. Spacious, ocean view accommodations with up to three bedrooms, each with a full kitchen, including a stovetop and dishwasher. Its kids’ club offers a third pool, plus activities such as sandcastles, painting, and Summer Camp with beach bonfires. There’s an organic spa, and superb food and drinks on-site, and golf just next door. Velas Vallarta is located on Marina Vallarta Beach, walking distance to boating and marine attractions.
Hotel phone: +52 322 226 8673
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Velas Vallarta Suite Resort

11. Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel – El Centro, Old Town

Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel & Romantic Getaway Hotel in El Centro, Old Town
Four-diamond, adults-only, boutique resort, with luxurious rooms and two beachfront pools. Spacious, ocean view rooms and suites are all inclusive of personal butler service; most feature a private indoor or outdoor whirlpool. Sumptuous dining onsite offers the best in Mexican cuisine, whether traditional or contemporary, plus 24 hour room service. Thoughtful amenities include a poolside “Draw Your Moment” art station, in-room pillow and aromatherapy menus, and loaner bikes and kayaks. Their indulgent spa offers hydrotherapy and an oxygen bar. Villa Premiers is well-located on Camarones Beach in El Centro, just a five minute walk to the city’s best restaurants, the Malecon, and Guadalupe Church.
Hotel phone: +52 322 226 7040
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel

12. Pinnacle Resorts 180 – Zona Romantica, Old Town

Pinnacle Resorts 180 in Zona Romantica, Old Town
Family-friendly, stylish condo boutique with ocean views and private balconies. Each suite is uniquely designed, but all are one- or two-bedrooms with full kitchens, washer-dryer units, and private balconies; many have outdoor jacuzzis. Top-tier condos include private plunge pools, plus upgraded features such as wraparound balconies. The cozy infinity pool has swim up access to the main bar with a popular happy hour. These chic condos are located in Zona Romantica, in the heart of Puerto Vallarta’s dining and nightlife district, just five minutes’ walk to Los Muertos Beach and Pier.
Hotel phone: +52 322 222 3556
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Pinnacle Resorts 180

13. Secrets Vallarta Bay – North Hotel Zone

Best adults-only all-inclusive in Hotel Zone of Puerto Vallarta.
Romantic, adults-only, all-inclusive resort on Camarones Beach, with gorgeous pools, a full-service spa, upscale dining, and a champagne bar. Suites are intimate yet spacious, many with private terrace jacuzzis or swim up options; Presidential suite adds a private plunge pool and whirlpool bath. Its holistic spa emphasizes indigenous treatments with hydrotherapy pools. Fine dining and casual restaurants offer an array of indulgent flavors, from local Mexican recipes, to Pan-Asian and Mediterranean bites. Guests at Secrets also have full access to the nightclub, casino, and restaurants at Dreams, its sister property next door. The resort sits just south of the North Hotel Zone on a golden sand beach, about thirty minutes walking to the Malecon and all of Puerto Vallarta’s nightlife.
Hotel phone: (866) 467-3273
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Secrets Vallarta Bay

14. Marival Distinct Luxury Residences – Nuevo Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta hotel with view and near golf course.
All-inclusive, all-suite resort with outstanding services and amenities for families, plus a pool and beach club. Suites are one- to four-bedrooms, with a full kitchen and in room laundry; swim up suites and villas with full sized private pools are also available. Family amenities included in the rate are the kids’ club, free nanny service, and one free tour (options include sea lions, zip lining, pub tours, and more). Add on a “Family Emotions” package for a second tour, customized family picnic, exclusive concierge, and upgraded amenities. There are several restaurants and bars onsite, serving drinks as late as 2 a.m., plus more dining just a three minute shuttle away at their beach club. This secluded hotel is north of Puerto Vallarta in the exclusive Nuevo Vallarta complex, near golf, dining, and a small marina.
Hotel phone: +52 322 226 9740
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Marival Distinct Luxury Residences

15. Fiesta Americana – North Hotel Zone

Puerto Vallarta hotel on best swimmable beach.
All-inclusive resort with a tropical vibe on a sandy, swimmable beach. The resort offers two pools (one main pool and one adults-only), ten bars and restaurants, excellent family amenities, and club level upgrades for added luxury amenities, top floor rooms, and a private lounge. Family rooms are generously sized, sleeping up to six, with a large private terrace. Presidential suites are the largest and have a separate bedroom and private terrace with a whirlpool. Fantastic little kids club with a playground, plus beach and pool activities; the teen club offers video games and foosball tables. A wide range of restaurants suiting all tastes, with Mexican, pan-Asian, and Italian options, plus great cocktails and 24 hour room service. Located in the North Hotel Zone, walking distance to La Isla Mall and the Marina.
Hotel phone: +52 322 226 2100
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Fiesta Americana

16. Hard Rock Hotel – Nuevo Vallarta

Best Puerto Vallarta hotel for partying.
Family-friendly hotel with a party vibe. The Hard Rock showcases two pools, fun bars and restaurants, plus their signature music-themed activities and amenities. All rooms come equipped with a two-person jacuzzi bath and a private balcony. Spacious family suites are all two-bedrooms, though larger suites up to three bedrooms are also available. Entertainment for all includes a kids club with a pool, waterslides, and games; an all-ages club with billiards, arcade games, and music; nightly theater, and a decadent spa. Great food and phenomenal cocktails with syrups made onsite from local fruits, plus a nightclub on weekends until 3 a.m. Sound of Your Stay package includes loaner guitars, mixing stations, turntables, and records. Located in Nuevo Vallarta on a shallow, swimmable beach, perfect for boogie boarding.
Hotel phone: +52 322 226 8470
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Hard Rock Hotel

17. Westin Resort & Spa – Marina Vallarta

Westin Resort & Spa in Marina Vallarta
Exceptional family resort with two free-form pools, a full service spa, and an array of spacious accommodations. Rooms and suites begin at 54 square meters, all with balconies and free-standing bathtubs, and many with jacuzzis or plunge pools. This wellness-focused resort features a full service spa with hydrotherapy, an active kids club with beach and pool games, and tennis and basketball courts. Its long stretch of beach is nearly private, boasting a beach club with attentive service. Great dining onsite features seasonal ingredients, with Mexican and international menus. Located on the southern tip of Marina Vallarta, walking distance to the golf club, Vallarta Adventures, and a mall.
Hotel phone: +52 322 226 1100
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Westin Resort & Spa

18. Dreams Vallarta Bay Resort & Spa – North Hotel Zone

Dreams Vallarta Bay Resort & Spa in North Hotel Zone
Family-friendly, all-inclusive resort boasting three refreshing pools (one just for kids), kids’ and teens’ clubs, a nightclub, and a casino. Suites all include a freestanding bath and private balcony, some with swim up access or private terrace jacuzzis. Kids as young as three can enjoy activities at the kids club, while teens have their own space for tabletop and video games. Family entertainment includes breakdancing, fire-breathing, and karaoke, while adults can enjoy the brand new casino and nightclub until 1 a.m. Nine bars and restaurants range from casual to fine dining, with food available 24 hours at Coco Café or through room service. Adult guests have access to the spa next door at Secrets Vallarta Bay. Located just south of the North Hotel Zone on Camarones Beach, twenty minutes walking distance to La Isla Mall and thirty to the Malecon.
Hotel phone: +52 322 226 2900
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Dreams Vallarta Bay Resort & Spa

19. Pinnacle Resorts 220 – Zona Romantica, Old Town

Pinnacle Resorts 220 in Zona Romantica, Old Town
Family-friendly, elegant condo boutique with a rooftop infinity pool and well-appointed suites. Each condo is individually owned, so the décor differs, but all have full kitchens, washer-dryer units, and private balconies, some with whirlpools. Spacious one- to three-bedrooms units all offer striking views of the jungle-covered mountains or of Puerto Vallarta’s red tiled roofs and the Sea of Cortez. Its rooftop Sky Bar offers outstanding sunset views and cocktails. Pre-arrival shopping service can be arranged to stock the fridge with personalized foods and drinks. Ideally located in Zona Romantica, the nightlife and dining hub of the city, and walking distance to Los Muertos Beach and the Malecon.
Hotel phone: +52 322 222 3556
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Pinnacle Resorts 220

20. Vallarta Shores Beach Hotel – Zona Romantica, Old Town

Vallarta Shores Beach Hotel in Zona Romantica, Old Town
This boutique condo hotel offers large suites (up to four bedrooms), lots of great indoor/outdoor spaces, and an excellent beachfront location. Well-equipped kitchens are featured in all suites, with a private chef included in the rate for larger, three- to four-bedroom suites. Each suite is a little different, but most include one extra bathroom per bedroom, with Sky Suites and Penthouses adding whirlpool baths and private plunge pools. There is a common area with a larger pool, plus a full kitchen, dining room, and living room for all guests to share. Perfectly situated in the nightlife hub of Zona Romantica on Los Muertos Beach with a view of the original “Boy on the Seahorse” statue (the one on the Malecon nearby is a replica).
Hotel phone: +52 322 222 3838
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Vallarta Shores Beach Hotel

Staying in El Centro, Old Town

The best hotels and restaurants in El Centro, Puerto Vallarta
Old Town, the hub of Puerto Vallarta activity, is divided into two sections: El Centro to the north of Cuale River and Zona Romantica south of the river. El Centro is the historic heart of the city and boasts the best-known attractions, Guadalupe Church, the colonial era church that dominates the night skyline, and the Malecon, the beachfront boardwalk with statues, food stalls, music and art. This is a perfectly walkable neighborhood with cobblestone streets and sidewalks, though the latter are often taken over by cafes and taco stands. A foodie paradise; local, casual cantinas and humble tamale stands share space with five-star gourmet restaurants, serving contemporary Mexican seafood and seasonal international menus. This lively downtown area has something going on almost every night, so it can be noisy in the later hours – amazing for active vacations with fun-filled evenings, but not ideal for restful, tranquil sleep.

The Best Hotels in El Centro

The Best Restaurants in El Centro

  • Café des Artistes • $$$$ • Best fine dining in PV. Contemporary, seasonal menu in a romantic setting. Reservations strongly recommended.
  • River Café • $$-$$$ • Secluded restaurant on Cuale Island – great breakfast, romantic dinners, cozy bar.
  • Café de Olla • $$-$$$ • A mainstay of the city, popular for carne asada and octopus. Do try the raicilla, aka Mexican moonshine, in a margarita or a shot.

Staying in Zona Romantica, Old Town

Where to stay and eat near Los Muertos Beach, Puerto Vallarta
The southern half of Old Town is the nightlife center of Puerto Vallarta, known for its numerous bars, cantinas, restaurants, and clubs. This is also the premier gay neighborhood in Puerto Vallarta, the most LGBT friendly city in Mexico. The party atmosphere begins around happy hour and goes well into the night, as late as 3 or 4 a.m., especially during the winter high season and during Pride in late spring. Still very family-friendly, tons of attractions are located here including the city’s most popular beach, Los Muertos; its stunning pier has become a hangout area for locals and travelers of all ages. The city’s oldest farmers market is here every Saturday until 2pm during high season, with produce, snacks, and crafts. Zona Romantica is also home to a number of art galleries, with a biweekly art walk/block party held during the winter months. Gourmet dining and trendy cocktails are available on nearly every corner near the new extension of the Malecon. Delicious local restaurants serve regional specialties just a few blocks inland, along the city’s famous cobblestone streets.

The Best Hotels in Zona Romantica

The Best Restaurants in Zona Romantica

  • Mariscos Cisneros • $ • Best casual local restaurant for seafood.
  • La Palapa • $$-$$$ • Gourmet, four diamond restaurant with a casual beachfront atmosphere. Reservations recommended.
  • 116 Pulpito Gastro Bar • $$-$$$ • Trendy little cocktail and tapas bar. Seating is limited to arrive early to snag a chair.
  • Kaiser Maximillian • $$-$$$ • Upscale, four diamond Austrian and international cuisine. Grab a sidewalk table for great people watching.

Staying in Conchas Chinas

Where to stay and eat in Conchas Chinas.
Often called the “Beverly Hills of Puerto Vallarta,” this affluent neighborhood sits just south of Old Town. Conchas Chinas stretches from the beachfront (with gorgeous little coves, sandy, shelly beaches, and dramatic rocky outcrops), zigzaging up the hill to the highest points in the city with stunning sunset views of Banderas Bay and the city lights at night. This mostly residential area is dotted with multi-million dollar villas and luxury condos, many of which are second homes of celebrities and politicians. The lower part of Conchas Chinas is walking distance to Old Town, yet remains quiet at nights, perfect for travelers who want the conveniences of the city without the late-night buzz. The upper part offers the best views but requires wheels to get to and from town. A beautiful area that feels more remote than it is. There are few restaurants and bars here; most will be closer to downtown.

The Best Hotel in Conchas Chinas

The Best Restaurants in Conchas Chinas

  • The Bar at Casa Karma • $$-$$$ • Cozy al fresco bar in a boutique hotel. Known for their Build Your Own Bloody Mary bar on Sunday afternoons and fantastic tapas menu.
  • El Set Restaurant & Bar • $$-$$$ • Mexican seafood restaurant and bar, known for their sunset views.
  • Restaurant La Playita • $$-$$$ • Excellent service and beautiful views. Go for the chocobanana pancakes at breakfast!

Staying in the North Hotel Zone

Where to stay and eat in Puerto Vallarta's North Hotel Zone
North of Old Town and south of the Marina, this area is known for its exceptional beaches, with long, wide stretches of soft, golden sand. It’s home to a number of large resorts, as well as restaurants, nightlife, and shopping centers. Four beaches run the length of this strip, including the popular Playa del Oro. Though it’s long walk into town from here, travelers can catch the bus to El Centro across from Walmart for about 8 pesos (less than one USD). This is a great area for visitors who want to an easy, fuss-free vacation, with accessibility to downtown and dining, without being in the center of it all. Walking distance to Marina Vallarta attractions and the golf club.

Best Hotels in the North Hotel Zone

Best Restaurants in the North Hotel Zone

  • La Leche • $$$$ • Contemporary, creative fine dining with a new menu every day. Reservations highly recommended, though there is a fantastic cocktail bar upstairs in case of a long wait.
  • Food Park • $$-$$$ • Eight food stalls run out of shipping containers. Great food with a wide selection cuisine from burgers to sushi to tacos, plus a bar cart and dessert cart.
  • La Casa de Mi Compadre • $$-$$$ • Sweet Mexican joint with the margaritas in Puerto Vallarta! The shrimp tacos are not to be missed.

Staying in Marina Vallarta

Where to stay and eat in Marina Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta
Exclusive enclave north of Puerto Vallarta, with luxury hotels, three golf courses, and most of the area’s marine attractions and charters. Marina Vallarta began construction in the mid-‘80s, and for a little while was the largest marina in Mexico. It is now the city’s main hub for water attractions, including sailing excursions, dolphin and sea lion encounters, and two water parks. The main boardwalk has several restaurants, shops, and spas (usually much more affordable than those at the resorts). This is a great neighborhood for families and couples who want to take advantage of all the sea life, snorkeling, and boating excursions the city has to offer. Some of the beaches here are a little too rocky for swimming, but when the currents are mild, this makes for excellent snorkeling.

Best Hotels in Marina Vallarta

Best Restaurants in Marina Vallarta

  • Sonora Grill Prime Vallarta • $$$$ • Outstanding steakhouse with a lively, albeit very loud, atmosphere. Great seafood, plus a wide selection of Mexican wines.
  • Tintoque • $$$$ • Upscale seafood restaurant, with fresh, inspired dishes that change daily. Reservations recommended.
  • Ocho Tostadas • $$ • Well-loved by locals! Great lunch spot for ceviche, fresh snapper, marlin, and octopus.

Staying in the South Hotel Zone

Where to stay and eat near Mismaloya, Puerto Vallarta
This rugged jungle coastline is what put Puerto Vallarta on the map. The South Hotel Zone, especially Mismaloya village, has been the backdrop for several films, but it was 1963’s The Night of the Iguana, and the ensuing love affair between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, that propelled the small fishing village into the public eye – several Hollywood elites bought second homes here after falling in love with the area’s tropical beauty. This area is just south of Conchas Chinas, but its lush, mountainous terrain and unspoiled beaches make it feel much more remote than it is. Area attractions include the Botanical Gardens, with pristine hiking trails, and the Puerto Vallarta Zoo, where guests can hold baby big cats and hand feed all the animals. From Boca de Tomatlan, travelers can take a tour to Los Arcos Marine Park for snorkeling and scuba or catch a water taxi to secluded Yelapa Beach. There are not many restaurants in the main hotel area, but there are a few small, local spots just a little further south in Mismaloya and Boca de Tomatlan.

Best Hotels in the South Hotel Zone

Best Restaurants in the South Hotel Zone

  • Le Kliff • $$$$ • Renowned fine dining restaurant, perched on a clifftop with panoramic views of Banderas Bay. Reserve in advance. This is a popular spot, especially for romantic sunsets and celebrations.
  • Tony’s Hideaway • $$-$$$ • Hidden gem tucked between homes in Mismaloya. Casual and relaxed, with excellent meats and seafood with true local flavor.
  • El Jacalito • $$-$$$ • Amazing little seafood restaurant under a palapa roof, toes in the sand.

Staying in Nuevo Vallarta (aka Riviera Nayarit)

Where to stay and eat in Nuevo Vallarta
Nuevo Vallarta is an exclusive neighborhood to the far north of Puerto Vallarta, just across the state line in Nayarit, hence it’s alternate name Riviera Nayarit. This newly built development is fronted by the eight-mile-long Flamingos Beach. Flamingos is arguably the best beach in the Puerto Vallarta area, wide and flat for easy walking, soft white sand, and gentle waves for swimming and bodyboarding. Several golf courses are spread throughout the area, along with fine dining restaurants, spas, and upscale shops. The northernmost area is walking distance to Bucerias, a charming, slow-paced town with cobblestone streets, an open air market, and great beach. Nuevo Vallarta’s wide, flat streets make this an excellent area for cycling and walking, though the free trolley runs the circuit of resorts, restaurants, and golf courses makes getting around even easier.

Best Hotels in Nuevo Vallarta

Best Restaurants in Nuevo Vallarta

  • El Dinamita • $$-$$$ • Gorgeous patio dining under lanterns. Ordering from the menu is allowed but discouraged. Tell the waiter what things you like and if you have allergies, and they recommend a customized selection according to your preferences.
  • Mariscos Tino’s La Laguna • $$-$$$ • Fresh local seafood next to a natural lagoon, served under a palapa roof.
  • Etc. Beach Club • $$-$$$ • Great selection of local seafood dishes, fantastic margaritas, in a spectacular beachfront setting.

Read More

Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta

Mexico › Best Places to Stay in Puerto Vallarta
Updated: February 20, 2024

See Also

The best place to stay in Puerto Vallarta area.

The Grand Velas is one of our favorite hotels in the Puerto Vallarta area. Fantastic for families.

Best Areas to Stay in Puerto Vallarta

Stretching for miles along the Bahía de Banderas and surrounded by mountains covered in lush greenery, Puerto Vallarta (or just ‘Vallarta’ to locals) is one of Mexico’s most vibrant beach destinations along the Pacific coast. Vallarta’s been attracting tourists since the 60s, when Hollywood royalty starred in Tennessee Williams’ Night of the Iguana at a nearby cove. Today, millions of vacationers come every year to sun themselves on the string of attractive white-sand beaches, take in the fantastic dining scene, peruse the local art in quirky galleries and stores, and to wander the attractive malecón (beach promenade) and the cobbled streets of the historic center. More active travelers seek out adventure activities such as boat trips, horseback rides, scuba diving, and day trips to the interior. When the sun goes down, the pumping nightlife reminds you why Vallarta is the LGBT capital of Mexico. While Vallarta is rather spread out, the proliferation of local transport and taxis makes it easy to get around, and the central neighborhoods are very walkable.

Puerto Vallarta stretches for around 10 miles along the coast, from the international airport in the north to hilly Amapas at the very south of the town. In the southern part of the city, El Centro is Vallarta’s historic heart, consisting of a compact grid of narrow streets and centuries-old plazas, with colorful architecture and some hilly cobbled lanes. It’s fringed by the malecón (waterfront promenade) and is known for its waterfront bars and restaurants, art galleries, and craft markets, and is extremely popular with visitors.

Just south of El Centro, across the Rio Cuale is the Zona Romántica, another historic neighborhood with cobbled streets and traditional shops. The streets closest to the beach have a hipster vibe about them and are dotted with craft beer breweries, bars, and restaurants, while the streets east of Calle Insurgentes have a more local feel to them. Zona Romántica is home to the Playa Los Muertos, one of Vallarta’s most popular beaches, lined with (mostly) midrange hotels, and the bustling nightlife makes this neighborhood a favourite with LGBT travelers.

South of the Zona Romántica and overlooking the southern end of Playa Los Muertos, Vallarta becomes a narrow squiggle of quiet, hilly streets known as Amapas, peppered with luxury villas and a handful of decent hotels. Even farther south is Conchas Chinas, a spread-out, affluent residential neighborhood with villas high up on the hillside.

In the northern half of the city, stretching between the north end of the malecón in El Centro and the sporting complex at the southern end of the Zona Hotelera, the largely residential neighborhood of 5 de Diciembre is quieter than Centro or the Zona Romántica, but easily walkable to the former and a short hop on a bus from the latter. It features the same Old-World architecture as Centro as well as some of the best taco stands in Vallarta, great bars and restaurants, and quality craft stores.

The Zona Hotelera is a rather spread-out neighborhood that straddles both banks of the River Pitillal and consists of a long stretch of beach dotted with hotels, many of them all-inclusive. At the name suggests, this is a popular part of town for visitors. There are a handful of restaurants here, but the dining scene is otherwise limited to hotel dining.

Near the international airport at the very north of the city and just north of the Zona Hotelera is the Marina Vallarta – one of Vallarta’s most upscale neighborhoods that encircles the yacht marina. It’s the newest part of the city, with a brand new cruise ship terminal, plenty of luxury accommodations, and an international dining scene.

Farther north, beyond the airport, Nuevo Vallarta is home to Vallarta’s second cruise ship terminal, a clean yacht marina that attracts wildlife, 2 golf courses, and a mix of beachfront hotels and luxury condos.

Best Places to Stay in Puerto Vallarta

Best luxury hotel in Puerto Vallarta.

The pool and ocean views at Hotel Mousai – a great place to stay for couples.

Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta for…

  • Best Neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta for Sightseeing/Activities: El Centro, Zona Romántica, Zona Hotelera, Marina Vallarta
    Puerto Vallarta is not huge on sights, though its landmark Nuestra Señora de Guadelupe church in El Centro is worth a look, and if you’re interested in regional history, it’s worth checking out the Museo del Cuale. El Centro’s most popular sight is the malecón, the renovated, pedestrianized waterfront promenade compete with sculptures; at the north end, you’re likely to catch a daily performance by some Voladores de Papantla (“Aztec bungee jumping” probably describes it best!). Vallarta is mostly known for its beaches and outdoor pursuits – world-class golfing in Marina Vallarta, deep-sea fishing (arranged dockside in Marina Vallarta or through hotels and agencies), plus all manner of watersports (snorkeling, whale-watching, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, waterskiing, windsurfing, sailing, and parasailing) that you can arrange on the beach in the Zona Hotelera or Zona Romántica or through your hotel. Finally, the Zona Romántica pier is the departure point for popular cruises (daytime, sunset, and evening), the most popular going to Yelapa and Las Ánimas beaches, or else Islas Marietas); some are family-oriented, whereas others are adults-only and include bottomless cocktails in the price.
  • Best Neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta for Nightlife: Zona Romántica, El Centro, Marina Vallarta
    Vallarta’s Zona Romántica is internationally renowned for its nightlife and its LGBT+ nightclubs and bars in particular that attract a young crowd of locals and visitors alike. Aside from clubbing, this is also the part of town where you’ll find Vallarta’s excellent craft beer breweries and brewpubs such as Los Muertos Brewing and Panchöfurter. In El Centro, there’s a string of bars either overlooking or near the malecón, ranging from sports bars (The Redneck Sombrero, Murphy’s Irish Pub) to bona fide cocktail bars (El Colibiri) and even dedicated mezcalerias (bars specializing in mezcal) such as Bar Morelos. Finally, the Marina Vallarta has a handful of cocktail and sports bars overlooking the marina, popular with international yachties and well-heeled locals.
  • Best Neighborhood in Puerto Vallarta for Food and Restaurants: El Centro, 5 de Diciembre, Zona Hotelera, Marina Vallarta, Zona Romántica
    You’re likely to eat well wherever you stay in Vallarta. In the north of the city, Marina Vallarta boasts an international dining scene with standout options including Sonora Prime and Portobello. While the Zona Hotelera’s dining scene is largely limited to hotel restaurants, there are 2 Michelin-starred restaurants in the neighborhood as well: La Leche and Icu. Just north of Vallarta’s center, 5 de Diciembre particularly stands out for its legendary taco stands (Pepe’s Taco, El Carboncito, Mariscos La Tia) and mid-range traditional restaurants (La Traviata, Meño’s Place). El Centro has a good mix of speciality coffee shops (Puerto Café), hole-in-the-wall taco joints (El Banquito) and a wide range of Mexican and international cafes and restaurants in all budget ranges: Café des Artistes, Chez Elena, and Planeta Vegetariano are all excellent choices. Finally, the Zona Romántica has probably the most diverse dining in Vallarta, ranging from independent coffee shops (A Page in the Sun) and locally famous taco stands that each do one or two things really, really well (Pancho’s Takos, Tacos de Birria Chanfay, Marisma Fish Taco) to traditional Mexican restaurants (Mole de Jovita, Red Cabbage Café) and international joints (La Palapa, Joe Jack’s Fish Shack).
  • Best Neighborhood in Puerto Vallarta for Families: Zona Hotelera, El Centro, Zona Romántica, Marina Vallarta
    If you’re looking for a beach holiday with all the conveniences and facilities of an upmarket or midrange, all-inclusive, family-friendly oceanfront hotel with a choice of water sports, then the accommodations of the Zona Hotelera overlooking either the Playa del Oro or Playa del Holi are a good bet. The high-end beach hotels of Marina Vallarta are another good option. Zona Romántica also makes a good base if you have older kids and enjoy exploring on foot; a number of family-friendly hotels sit right on the excellent Playa de Los Muertos, which is also the jumping-off point for a variety of boat trips. Finally, El Centro is good for travelers on a budget and the waterfront promenade with its street performers and sculptures is popular with families.
  • Best Neighborhood in Puerto Vallarta to Stay for First Timer: El Centro, Zona Romántica
    We recommend either El Centro or the Zona Romántica. The former is the most atmospheric part of Vallarta and very walkable, with an excellent mix of dining, quality shopping, an attractive waterfront promenade and a super-central location. The Zona Romántica is also part of Vallarta’s historical center and makes up for what it lacks in atmosphere with an excellent beach, several watersports, a thriving nightlife scene, and a diverse dining scene. And since the 2 neighborhoods are next door to each other, you can easily stay in one and visit the attractions of the other on foot.
Zona Romantica in Puerto Vallarta.

Boat tours and water taxis to southern beaches depart from the Los Muertos pier in the Zona Romántica.

  • Most Romantic Neighborhood in Puerto Vallarta: El Centro, Amapas
    Its name notwithstanding, the Zona Romántica is actually not Vallarta’s most romantic neighborhood (though it does retain some of its historic cobbled streets and is a popular part of the city with vacationing couples). El Centro is much more atmospheric, with its narrow cobbled streets, leafy plaza overlooked by a landmark church, handsome colonial buildings, and a sensitively revamped waterfront promenade that’s subtly lit in the evenings. Some of the city’s best boutique hotels occupy the houses and mansions that are drowning in greenery on the hilly streets several blocks inland from the malecón, though if you’re after greater luxury and even loftier views, then Amapas is a better bet. The upside (or downside) is that Amapas is much more secluded.
  • Best Neighborhood in Puerto Vallarta for a Local Vibe: 5 de Diciembre
    Just north of El Centro, easily walkable, and well-connected to Vallarta’s areas of interest by public transport, 5 de Diciembre has a low-key, bohemian vibe. It’s quieter than the historic center but still boasts a clutch of good, low-key bars and restaurants, and its tight grid of streets is lined with colorful, one-story buildings. The taco stands here are among the best in the city, but accommodations are limited to several inexpensive beachfront hotels and a handful of family-run guesthouses.
  • Best Neighborhood in Puerto Vallarta for Shopping: El Centro, Zona Romántica
    Mexico produces an astounding range of regional handicrafts, from exquisite ceramics and vibrant artwork to intricate jewelry and fine textiles, and in Puerto Vallarta you’ll see a lot of psychedelic Huichol beadwork and yarn art of varying quality, as well as arts and crafts from farther afield. El Centro has around a dozen galleries where you can buy high-quality art; standouts include Galeria Colectika (psychedelic Huichol beadwork and yarn art), metalwork from Chiapas and ceramics from Oaxaca and Chihuahua, Galeria de Ollas (one-of-a-kind ceramics from Mata Ortiz in Chihuahua), Peyote People (Huichol beadwork, silver jewelry, Day of the Dead figurines, and Oaxacan wood carvings), and Caballito de Mar (hand-woven textiles from Oaxaca, Michoacán, and Chihuahua, hand-painted folk art masks, Oaxacan black clay ceramics, silver jewelry). In the Zona Romántica, look out for Tierra Huichol (Huichol beadwork of superb quality, plus skeletal figures from Michoacán), Mundo de Azulejos (locally-produced, colorful Talavera tilework), and the Manyana lifestyle store (Mexican-made ceramics, stylish linen wear, funky glasses, Mollusc Hemp t-shirts). If you’re looking for cheap souvenirs such as mass-produced crafts and spring break T-shirts with cheesy slogans, head for the Mercado Isla Río Cuale on an island in the river that separates El Centro from the Zona Romántica.
  • Safest Areas of Puerto Vallarta
    Puerto Vallarta has a low crime rate and all neighborhoods popular with tourists such as El Centro, Zona Romántica, Dorada, Olas Altas, Playa Norte, Sábalo, etc, tend to be fine to walk around. Zona Hotelera and Marina Vallarta are safe, particularly during the day. Standard precautions apply: don’t flash lots of cash, expensive jewelry, or electronic gear, and avoid deserted, poorly-lit streets at night; take a taxi back to your hotel if you’re not within easy walking distance and the streets are deserted. Also, watch out for opportunistic pickpocketing in crowded areas.
  • Unsafe Areas of Puerto Vallarta
    There are no specific neighborhoods in Vallarta that visitors should actively avoid. Of course, use common sense late at night, on unlit and quiet streets. Do not buy or sell drugs no matter how small the amount or innocuous the setting.

The Best Areas in Puerto Vallarta for Tourists

1. El Centro

Stretching from the Rio Cuale in the south to the northern end of the palm tree-dotted malecón (oceanfront walk), El Centro is Vallarta’s downtown – a busy, relatively compact, walkable neighborhood where you’ll find everything from a diverse clutch of restaurants to art galleries, shops, nightclubs, and the historic plaza with a landmark church. The further you get from the sea, the hillier the streets get, with the profusion of vegetation hiding intimate boutique hotels and high-end restaurants. Refurbished and beautified in recent years, the malecón features contemporary sculptures, creations made of sand, street musicians, and other performers. Towards the north end, the Voladores de Papantla perform a breathtaking spectacle involving a very tall pole and costumed dancers launching themselves from the top, precariously attached with a rope tied to one foot. If you’re in search of Mexican arts and crafts of superb quality, El Centro has the lion’s share of galleries and shops, and during high season, the galleries put on a free weekly Art Walk. Cheaper souvenirs are found at the big market next to the Rio Cuale, as well as on the island market in the river. El Centro is quite a busy, noisy neighborhood that attracts both younger locals and visitors with its nightlife, but there are quieter pockets with inexpensive accommodations that appeal to families who enjoy being close to the action.

2. Zona Romántica

Bordered by the Rio Cuale to the north and east, and the cliffs of Amapas to the south, the Zona Romántica is one of Vallarta’s most popular neighborhoods for visitors and justifiably so. It’s part of the historic center, so you get some cobbled street charm alongside two great beaches (Olas Altas and Los Muertos), a thriving night scene year-round (since the Zona Romántica is popular with locals and expats as well as spring breakers and LGBT visitors), a varied dining scene, and accommodations to suit all budgets. The sail-shaped Los Muertos pier is the departure point for all manner of boat cruises and the beachfront hotels offer several water sports. The western half of the neighborhood is trendy and dotted with boutiques, art galleries, craft beer bars, and clubs, whereas the blocks between Hwy 200 and the Rio Cuale are much more of a local scene with bustling produce markets, locally famous taco stands, and busy local businesses.

3. Amapas & Conchas Chinas

Beach resort in Puerto Vallarta.

Garza Blanca, just south of Puerto Vallarta.

Just south of the Zona Romántica, Vallarta tapers to a point and the Playa de Los Muertos gives way to jungle-covered cliffs and quiet, affluent, mostly residential neighborhoods of Amapas and, farther south, Conchas Chinas. Amapas is a mix of beachfront and hillside villas, and several beachfront hotels – all within an easy (if hilly) stroll from the attractions of the Zona Romántica. Conchas Chinas, dubbed the “Beverly Hills of Puerto Vallarta” is even more exclusive; accommodations here tend to be luxury villas for rent, plus several luxury hotels, with fantastic views of the coast from their lofty heights. South of Conchas Chinas, a string of hotels and villas dots the coast for miles, right up to the Playa Mismaloya, the beach and fishing village which featured in the movie The Night of the Iguana that originally put Vallarta on the map.

4. 5 De Diciembre

A compact grid of streets hemmed in between the Playa Camarones and the busy Av. Libramiento thoroughfare, the neighborhood of 5 de Diciembre sits between El Centro and the Zona Hotelera. This up-and-coming neighborhood has a bohemian vibe to it and comprises Vallarta’s famous Old-World architecture – narrow cobbled streets and brightly painted one and two-story houses, and the hillier parts of 5 de Diciembre offer fantastic views of the coast. It’s quieter and less touristy than El Centro and the Zona Romántica, yet still close enough on foot to enjoy the best that the historical center has to offer. There’s a decent beach here, as well as terrific street food and a lively fish market with food stalls. The handful of accommodations comprises several midrange beach hotels as well as intimate AirBnb options.

5. Zona Hotelera

Stretching along five golden sand beaches between 5 de Diciembre and the Marina Vallarta, the Zona Hotelera is a spread-out neighborhood with the lion’s share of beach hotels in Vallarta. Created in the mid-20th century in order to attract beach tourism to Vallarta while preserving the colonial architecture of the historic center, the hotels and condos of the Zona Hotelera offer fantasic views over Banderas Bay. Superb beaches and water sports aside, the Zona Hotelera also features two of Vallarta’s Michelin-starred restaurants, though on the whole, much of the neighborhood dining scene is limited to hotel restaurants.

6. Nuevo Vallarta & Marina Vallarta

At the very north of the city, and just south of to the international airport, Marina Vallarta is one of the city’s fanciest neighborhoods. Besides the cruise ship terminal and a large yacht marina, there’s a state-of-the-art 18-hole golf course, two excellent beaches, high-end beach hotels, and a slew of international restaurants and bars. North of the airport, Nuevo Vallarta is the city’s fastest-growing neighborhood popular with well-heeled expats. There’s another cruise ship terminal here, 2 world-class golf courses, luxury condos, a clutch of midrange beach hotels, and arguably Mexico’s cleanest marina, where you can spot wildlife like pelicans, herons, and the occasional crocodile. Water sports are a big attraction in Nuevo Vallarta, with scuba diving, paddle boarding, surfing, kayaking, and kite surfing instruction and equipment available. The downside is that Nuevo Vallarta is quite far from the historic center and Vallarta’s cultural attractions; while Marina Vallarta is well-served by public transport, for Nuevo Vallarta you need your own wheels.

Read More

Mexico Beaches

Mexico › Best Beaches
Updated: February 20, 2024

See Also

The 11 Best Beaches in Mexico

1. Tulum

Best beach in Mexico, Tulum.

The Best Beach in Mexico: Tulum is a 90 minute drive south of Cancun. Awesome restaurants (both in town and at the beach), small boutique hotels steps from the water, and just over-all wonderful atmosphere. Be sure to rent bikes to get around the town, the beach, or between the two.

2. Sayulita

Best beach in Sayulita, Mexico.

Sayulita is a fantastic and fun beach town. Relaxed surfer vibe (and a great place to take surf lessons), good restaurants, and a handful of cool bars. But be warned: Sayulita has become super popular over the last decade and the town can get very busy.

3. Isla Mujeres

Best beach in Isla Mujeres, Mexico.

Isla’s North Beach is the best kid-friendly beach in Mexico. The town is walkable, friendly, relaxed, and feels close to idyllic. The downside? Almost no local culture and the atmosphere is a little on the lame side. Oh, and you really have to hunt (and get out of the main town) to find good Mexican food.

4. Puerto Vallarta

Best beach in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

PV is a lively Mexican city with a very cool beach front: half is beach and the other half a walkable promenade (The Malecon).

5. Yelapa

Best beach in Yelapa, Mexico.

A sleepy beach town (accessible only by boat) about an hour south of Puerto Vallarta. The beach is wonderful and there are a half-dozen very good restaurants.

6. Playa del Carmen

Best beach in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

PCD is a mid-sized Mexican town with top notch food and lots of atmosphere. The beach is great, though water is often rough and choppy. (This is where you catch the ferry to Cozumel.)

7. Bucerias

Best beach in Bucerias, Mexico

A quiet beach town with lots of expats and good restaurants. A bit on the boring side but if you’re here for the beach it’s pretty darn nice.

8. Los Cabos

Best beach in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Cabo San Lucas has the beach. San Jose del Cabo has the funky and fun shops and restaurants. If you’re here for a week split your time between the two towns.

9. Cancun

Best beach in Cancun, Mexico.

The Cancun beach is lined with 5-star luxury resorts and great sand and swimming. There are several wonderful day trips from Cancun spread out around the Yucatan.

10. Mismaloya

Best beach in Mismaloya, Mexico.

Mismaloya is a cool little fishing village 30 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta. If you want to avoid the tourists and eat some good local food this might be the place.

11. Ixtapa

The beaches of Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo, Mexico.

Ixtapa has luxury resorts and water sports. Nearby Zihuatanejo has a low-key vibe and small town feel. Both have great beaches.

Read More

Where to Stay in Guadalajara

Mexico › Best Places to Stay in Guadalajara
Updated: November 28, 2022

See Also

Central place to stay in Gaudalajara.

Staying in Guadalajara – Tips & Info

  • Guadalajara is the cultural center of Mexico and considered by most to be the home of Mariachi music. Guadalajara is Mexico‘s second-largest city and is located in the state of Jalisco. The city is located in the center of Mexico, 350 miles west of Mexico City and 200 miles east of Puerto Vallarta.
  • Guadalajara was founded in 1542 and its historic center (centro) houses some of the most familiar landmarks including colonial plazas, the neoclassical Teatro Degollado, and the Roman Catholic cathedral and basilica Catedral de la Asunción de María Santísima.
  • The city is named after the Spanish city of Guadalajara, meaning “river/valley of stones”. Guadalajara is known by the nicknames La Perla de Occidente (pearl of the West), City of Fountains, Jalisco Bride, and The City of Roses.

Best Areas to Stay in Guadalajara

The state of Jalisco is home to the town of Tequila (where the spirit was created and the only place it can be produced in the world), which is just an hour by car from Guadalajara. One of the most popular day trips from Guadalajara is taking a Tequila train to the town of Tequila to visit the distilleries of Jose Cuervo, Don Julio, Herradura, and several more.

Guadalajara is a city that is filled with great food, beautiful colonial architecture, history, street art, galleries, and museums. It is close to small towns like Tlaquepaque and Tonalá with exquisite crafts, live music, and artwork.

Guadalajara is also a foodie town with everything from traditional Mexican to fusion cuisine as well as international specialties. A few dishes that were invented in Guadalajara are Tortas Ahogadas (pork carnitas sandwich), Birria (meat stew), and Jericalla (a cross between flan and creme brûlée).

Museums include the Hospicio Cabañas, the Regional Museum of Guadalajara, and the Museum of Arts of the University of Guadalajara (MUSA), to name just a few.

Guadalajara offers great options for families such as the Nuestros Dulces candy factory tour in Tlaquepaque. There are 2 museums specifically for kids and families: Guadalajara Museo Trompo Magico and Globo Museo de la Niñez. Another fun museum for kids is the Museo de Paleontologia. There is also a Zoo (ZooLogico Y Safari) in the city. A bit outside the city is Natural Adventure Fun Park, an amusement park with thrill rides, kids’ rides, zip lines, go-karts, and a climbing wall. Beyond this, there are lots of parks and fountains throughout the city for fun family time.

For outdoor activities, Lake Chapala is about one hour from the city. It is Mexico’s largest freshwater lake. At the lake there are several boardwalks and pathways, waterfalls, thermal springs, mud baths, hiking and biking trails, and activities such as horseback riding, jet skiing, kayaking, and much more.

Guadalajara has an incredible restaurant, bar, and tequila scene. It also has an up-and-coming craft beer culture. Some of the most popular breweries are the UMHO, San Lupulo, and Cucapa.

The metropolitan area of Guadalajara consists of 4 urban districts – Guadalajara, Tlaquepaque, Tonala, and Zapopan – and 3 suburban districts, Tlajomulco, El Salto, and Tequila. Within Guadalajara there are several neighborhoods including downtown (centro), Zona Expo, Colonia Americana, Minerva, and Providencia to name just a few.

Downtown offers the most for travelers. It is the heart of the city and you can easily walk to the cathedral, center fountain, museums, shops, restaurants, and bars.

Colonia Americana is Guadalajara’s trendiest neighborhood and Avenida Chapultepec is the heart of the area. Staying in Colonia Americana, particularly near Av Chapultepec offers a lot of great restaurants and bars and proximity to museums, galleries, shops, and more.

Zapopan is located northwest of downtown. Its biggest tourist attraction is the Basilica of Zapopan, home to the Virgin of Zapopan. It has been accredited with a series of miracles and visited by Pope John Paul II.

Zona Expo is the location of the largest fairground in the city and the convention center. It is located southeast of downtown Guadalajara in Colonia Valle Verde. Because of the convention center, the Zona Expo has a large number of hotels of all types, especially business chains, and is a popular area for business travelers.

Tlaquepaque is located south of the city and is a colorful town with a colonial character and historic center. It is the best place to experience live Mariachi music and is also the location where many artists have open working studios for painting, pottery, textiles, and blown glass crafts.

Zapopan and Tlaquepaque are located in the metropolitan area of ​​Guadalajara, but are their own cities.

The best hotels in Guadalajara are mostly focused in the downtown center, although you’ll find hotels in most neighborhoods within the city and its outskirts. There are several hotels, boutique hotels, hostels, as well as hacienda stays.

Villa Ganz was the first luxury boutique hotel to open in Guadalajara. Gran Casa Xalisco is one of the older hotels in Guadalajara and originally opened in 1895. It’s located across the street from Jardín Mexicaltzingo, just over a mile from the city center.

Haciendas are a way to get a more intimate Mexico experience. Most of the hacienda properties are outside of the city center. Hacienda Labor De Rivera is about an hour outside of the city in the town of Teuchitlán and dates back to 1560. Today it operates as a luxurious spa hotel, surrounded by dozens of tequila distilleries and is a member of Historic Hotels Worldwide.

Popular luxury hotels within the city of Guadalajara include Quinta Real, Demetria, and Casa Habita.

Best Places to Stay in Guadalajara

Good hotel in central Guadalajara.

The view from the great-value DoubleTree Centro Historico.

Best Time to Visit Guadalajara

The best times to visit Guadalajara is between October and December when the weather is dry and temperatures are in the lower 80s. During these months there tend to be a lot of festivals. January through May tend to have the lowest hotel prices.

Guadalajara’s driest months are January, February, March, April, November, and December. August is the wettest month. The warmest month is May with an average maximum temperature of 90°. The coldest month is January with an average maximum temperature of 77°.

Travel to Guadalajara is best to/from the Miguel Hidalgo International Airport (GDL), which is located 24 miles from the city center of Guadalajara, with non-stop daily flights from the United States and Canada.

Fun Fact: Tapatío is a Mexican Spanish colloquial term for someone from Guadalajara. It is also used as an adjective for anything associated with Guadalajara.

Best Areas in Guadalajara for…

  • Best Neighborhood in Guadalajara to Stay for First Timers: Centro Historico (Downtown)
    If it’s your first time in Guadalajara, Centro is a great choice. The center square of Guadalajara, known as Plaza de Armas, is the location of Guadalajara Cathedral (Catedral de Guadalajara) that began construction in 1558. In front of the cathedral is Plaza de los Laureles, a smaller square with a beautiful fountain. Centro is the heart of the city and the main tourist area. From here you can easily walk to museums, shops, restaurants, and bars. Guadalajara is a foodie town with lots of history, art, culture, and great museums; all of these can be found in and around downtown. One of the many things that makes this area special are the street murals painted by the famous artist, José Clemente Orozco. From downtown, you can easily board the Herradura Express, Tequila Express, and Jose Cuervo Express trains to the town of Tequila. Accommodations are a combination of midrange, luxury, boutique, and budget hotels.
  • Best Neighborhood in Guadalajara for Sightseeing: Downtown or Tlaquepaque
    When it comes to sightseeing, Downtown (Centro) Guadalajara is packed with historic landmarks because it’s where the city’s history began. It’s a very walkable neighborhood, with the most important landmarks within a radius of just a few blocks. Among the must-sees locations: Teatro Degollado, a neoclassical theater that dates to 1856 and still hosts live performances, Hospicio Cabañas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and museum which is the best place to see masterpiece murals by Mexican artist José Clemente Orozco and the Guadalajara Cathedral. The best shopping is located in and around Calle Juarez. The center square downtown has many restaurants such as Las Sombrillas which is located in Plaza Guadalajara in front of the cathedral.

    Tlaquepaque is another great neighborhood for sightseeing, especially if you love art, galleries, shopping, and Mariachi music. Tlaquepaque is known in Mexico as an important pottery town where artisans make beautiful, hand-painted creations. The town is located about 8 miles south of the city center and there are numerous galleries and artist working spaces that can be visited by the public. Important tourist attractions include the Refugio Cultural Center, the Regional Museum of Ceramics, the Plaza del Jardín Hidalgo, and the church of San Pedro Apóstol. The best shopping is located in and around Calle Independencia. For live music head to El Parían pavillion or Casa Fuerte.

  • Best Neighborhood in Guadalajara for Nightlife: Avenida Chapultepec and Zapopan
    Zapopan is a large region located northwest of downtown where you can find shopping malls, fresh seafood restaurants such as Mercado del Mar, and great options for bars and nightclubs. Célebre Music Bar offers live ’80s and ’90s rock music in an Irish bar setting. Beer lovers should head to La Malta Bar in Zapopan for their selection of more than 120 beers from around the world. For a true nightclub experience, head to Bossé for bottle service and music by DJ’s.

    The Chapultepec/Americana neighborhood is where you’ll find trendy restaurants, cool bars, and nightclubs featuring DJs and live bands. One of the most popular bars in the neighborhood is Pare de Sufrir Mezcalería, known for its vast selection of mezcal and tequila. Bar Américas is another popular venue in the neighborhood and famous for electronic and techno music parties. If you enjoy beer, head to La Humadera, where they have more than 350 different craft beers as well as some amazing vacío & arrachera tacos.

  • Best Neighborhood in Guadalajara for Food and Restaurants: Colonia Americana & Throughout the City
    Guadalajara is a great city for foodies, with everything from traditional Mexican to fusion cuisine as well as international specialties. The best restaurants are scattered throughout the city.

    The Chapultepec/Americana neighborhood is a favorite foodie spot for locals. Santo Coyote is a great choice for Mexican cuisine and tequila cocktails. For brunch, Café Sinónimo is excellent and known for their HotCakes Americanos and burrito Sonora. Other favorites in the neighborhood are Chulada Cocina with specialities of Lonche de Cachete, and for a more traditional dish, their Cowboy a las brasas is always delicious.

    For upscale modern French cuisine, Magno Brasserie is a good bet and favorites here are the fried chicken sandwich and Agnolotti de elote. For a more upscale experience, the tasting menu at Teté Cocina de Barrio can’t be beat (you need a reservation because they only serve 14 people a day). Casa Luna is a great choice in Tlaquepaque.

  • Best Neighborhood in Guadalajara for Families: Downtown (Centro)
    If you are visiting Guadalajara with your family, downtown is a great choice. It’s centrally located and there is an abundance of things to keep the whole family happy. For a first time family visit, there are many sites you’ll want to see in the downtown area, making it quite convenient. Many of the hotels are just steps to the center square where you’ll find the cathedral, fountain, and many restaurants. Just a mile from Centro is a great kid-friendly museum, the Museo de Paleontologia. Other family fun spots that are outside of the downtown area include Nuestros Dulces candy factory in Tlaquepaque, Guadalajara Museo Trompo Magico (The Magic Top Museum), Globo Museo de la Niñez, and the Zoo (ZooLogico Y Safari).
  • Most Romantic Neighborhood in Guadalajara: Downtown or Tlaquepaque
    The Zona Central is especially beautiful and romantic at night with the fountain and cathedral lit. One of the most romantic things to do is enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride around the city center. They are especially charming at night, when many buildings are lit by twinkling lights.

    Visiting Casa Colomos with its romantic Japanese park and Buddhist garden is a great way to spend an afternoon. You can also go horseback riding in the park.

    The nearby quaint colonial town of Tlaquepaque can be quite romantic. Stroll around the streets filled with art installations, art studios, wonderful restaurants, shops, and a beautiful cathedral.

  • Best Neighborhood in Guadalajara for a Local Vibe: Colonia Americana
    Colonia Americana is Guadalajara’s Trendiest Neighborhood. Avenida Chapultepec is the heart of the area where you’ll find restaurants, cool bars, and nightclubs. The neighborhood has a great atmosphere and is safe to walk around and explore. From Colonia Americana it’s a quick and easy walk to Centro, so you still feel like you are in the middle of things. Walking to Colonia Santa Tere provides a more local experience. The Chapultepec / Americana neighborhood is a favorite foodie spot for locals. You can find everything from cheap tacos to sushi, thai, and pizza. Nearby, the Museo de las Artes Universidad de Guadalajara has murals by José Clemente Orozco, plus paintings and sculptures by other Mexican artists.
  • Best Neighborhood in Guadalajara for Shopping: Tlaquepaque & Downtown Mercado
    Tlaquepaque is the arts and crafts center of Guadalajara and a perfect place to experience Guadalajaran culture at its most authentic. This old town neighborhood offers authentic Mexican food within a square filled with restaurants called The Parian. Calle Independencia, a pedestrian street lined with shops, restaurants, galleries, and leather artisans is the best place to shop. Leather goods are an especially good purchase.

    Mercado Libertad in the centro downtown offers thousands of stalls selling everything from food to handicrafts, souvenirs, cooking utensils, jewelry, saddlery, and clothing to electronics. It is easy to spend several hours wandering around all the interesting market stalls.

    Exploring the streets surrounding centro downtown you’ll find all kinds of markets and shops selling artisanal Mexican crafts, clothes, perfumeries, and much more. The best shopping is in a concentrated area on Calle Juarez.

  • Safest Areas of Guadalajara
    Guadalajara is a big city and it is normal to have some crime. As Mexico’s second biggest city, it somehow offers a big city feel without the chaos. All of the tourist areas including Centro, Zapopan, Tlaquepaque, and the Financial District are mostly safe during the day. Keep your eye on purses, backpacks, and cameras at all times. Standard precautions apply at night, as they do in any city.
  • Unsafe Areas of Guadalajara
    As a whole, the tourist areas of Guadalajara are safe, especially during the daylight hours. Petty crimes such as theft are the biggest issue you will most likely find in the tourist areas. Guadalajara is a city that was divided historically into east and west. The east was always considered the domain of the lower classes, while the west was the residence of the upper classes. This division is still maintained today. As with any city, there are a few areas that you may want to avoid such as the eastside of the Calzada and Oblatos. It’s best not to wander anywhere after dark on your own.

5 Best Neighborhoods in Guadalajara for Tourists

1. Downtown (Centro)

If it’s your first time in Guadalajara, staying in the downtown “Centro” district is your best bet. The center square of Guadalajara is the heart of the city and you can easily walk to museums, Guadalajara Cathedral, art galleries, shops, restaurants, and bars. The most popular attraction beyond the Cathedral is the World Heritage-listed Instituto Cultural Cabañas. The museum is built in the Neoclassical style and is a former hospital and orphanage. The main highlight here is the collection of 57 magnificent frescoes painted by José Clemente Orozco. If you are into shopping, Mercado Libertad (also known as Mercado San Juan de Dios) is the largest indoor market in Latin America. There are thousands of stalls selling everything from food to handicrafts, souvenirs, cooking utensils, jewelry, and leather goods. Most vendors in the market allow for and expect haggling. For a great overview of downtown Guadalajara, sign up for the free walking tour which covers the history, culture, and many highlights. Tours start every day at 10 am near the Gazebo located in Plaza de Armas next to the Guadalajara Cathedral. Centro restaurants are plentiful. Local favorites include Cafe Madoka and Cafe Benito Sala Juárez (which also is a book store and has live music on occasion). There are many choices for hotels Zona Centro including the Doubletree, Hotel de Mendoza, and Hotel Morales.

2. Colonia Americana

Colonia Americana in a trendy and hip neighborhood within walking distance to Zona Centro. Templo Expiatorio del Santísimo Sacramento, a soaring neo-Gothic church with stained-glass windows and a clock tower, sits on a small square and is worth a visit. From this neighborhood, it’s a quick and easy walk to the historic center, cathedral, and the theater. There are 2 great art museums within walking distance of the neighborhood: the Museum of Arts of the University of Guadalajara (MUSA) and the Museo de Arte Raúl Anguiano (MURA). Galería Guadalajart in Colonia Americana has over 130 works (paintings, sculptures, and more) by over 30 local artists. Avenida Chapultepec is the main street in the neighborhood where you will find shops, bars, and restaurants. Staying in Colonia Americana, particularly near Av Chapultapec offers a great vibe and is safe to walk around and explore. Favorite restaurants close to Av Chapultepec are Pig’s Pearls for fancy hamburgers, TaCorea for the best Korean bulgogi, Siam Thai Kitchen for great Thai fusion, UmaUma for ramen, Momotabi for gyozas, Il Diavolo or La Dolce Vida for Italian, and Suehiro for sushi. Colonia Americana is very central and it’s a very convenient jumping-off point to explore additional areas in Guadalajara like Zapopan and Tlaquepaque. You’ll find a great selection of hotels in a variety of prices, quality, and styles.

3. Zapopan

Zapopan is located northwest of downtown. Its biggest tourist attraction is the Basilica of Zapopan, which is home to the Virgin of Zapopan. You can find La Gran Plaza Fashion Mall, fresh seafood restaurants, and great options for bars and nightclubs. Museums in the area include the Zapopan Art Museum which houses contemporary works by Mexican and international artists as well as the Huichol Wixarika Museum that showcases crafts and art by a local indigenous group. Kid-friendly activities in Zapopan include Guadalajara Museo Trompo Magico (The Magic Top Museum) and taking in a baseball game at the stadium for the Charros de Jalisco professional team. Restaurants worth a visit are Tacos de Barbacoa con Queso for an authentic Mexican experience as well as El Almacén and Sonora Prime for the best steaks in Guadalajara. Bars worth a visit are Célebre Music Bar and La Malta. For a true nightclub experience head to Bossé.

4. Tlaquepaque

Where to stay in Tlaquepaque.
Tlaquepaque is a quaint town with colonial character and a historical center. The town is most famous for its pottery and live Mariachi performances. Head to El Parían, an area with more than a dozen restaurants that surround a gazebo where mariachi performers entertain daily from 3pm onward. Two other top tourist attractions are the umbrellas hanging along the pedestrian street Calle Independencia (near Jardin Hidalgo) as well as The Tlaquepaque sign which is just outside the visitor’s center. The most popular street for visitors is Calle Independencia, a pedestrian street lined with shops, restaurants, galleries, leather artisans, art installations, and sculptures. This is the most visited and most beautiful area of Tlaquepaque. Other important tourist attractions include the Refugio Cultural Center, the Regional Museum of Ceramics, the Plaza del Jardín Hidalgo, and church of San Pedro Apóstol. At the ceramic museum ask for a map of local artists who have open working studios. One of the most popular restaurants in Tlaquepaque is Restaurante Casa Luna which is known as much for its food as its quirky and whimsical atmosphere.

5. Zona Expo

This neighborhood is home to the largest fairground in the city and Expo Guadalajara Convention Center. It is located southeast of downtown Guadalajara in Colonia Valle Verde. Zona Expo has a large number of hotels of all types, especially business chains and is a popular area for business travelers. Because it’s a favored location for business travelers, there is a wide variety of cafes, restaurants, shopping centers, entertainment venues, and more. A few favorite restaurants in the area are Fornino and La Moresca for Italian, El Tango and La Bocha for steaks and Los Arcos and El Pargo for seafood. Mexican restaurants such as La Tequila and El Abajeño are popular and for those looking for a great cocktail and some nightlife, Barezzito, La Chupitería, or the 33 Piano Bar are great choices. On Sundays, in the gazebo in nearby Colonia Chapalita are local arts and crafts exhibitors and food vendors. For the family, head to Natural Adventure Fun Park, an amusement park with thrill rides, kids’ rides, zip lines, go-karts, and a climbing wall. There is also an ice rink in Plaza Bugambilias.

Read More

Playa del Carmen Family Hotels

MexicoPlaya del Carmen › Kid-Friendly Hotels
Updated: February 20, 2024

See Also

Best beach resorts for families in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

PDC With Kids – Tips & Info

Family Vacation in Playa del Carmen

  • Booking.com – The best website for finding family hotels in Playa del Carmen.
  • The best areas for travelers in the Playa del Carmen area are Downtown (including the neighborhoods El Centro, Quinta Avenida, and Playacar – known for nightlife, shopping, dining), North Playa del Carmen (a 30-minute walk to Downtown but much quieter and with a better beach), Mayakoba (luxury resort complex in the jungle, easy access to Downtown), South Riviera Maya (includes the cenotes, jungle, and beaches between Playa and Tulum), and North Riviera Maya (the beaches and attractions on the way to Cancun – some of the largest luxury resorts in Mexico are here).
  • For a more authentic vacation, stay in Downtown Playa del Carmen. The Playacar neighborhood in Downtown is the most family-friendly area in the city of Playa del Carmen. Playacar is a gated beach community at the southwest end of the city with a golf course, large all-inclusive resorts, and a wide, clean, quiet beach. Most resorts here have multiple pools, kids’ clubs, playgrounds, and activities throughout the day. Playacar is within a short walk of the city’s best restaurants, attractions, shopping, the ferry to Cozumel, and the ADO bus to Cancun and Tulum.
  • The best beaches for beginning swimmers are from the Mayakoba area to the South Riviera Maya (near the town of Akumal). The sea is gentlest here, as the strongest waves are blocked by Cozumel Island just 18 kilometers off the coast. The beach is wide and mostly sandy for the full stretch of the Playa del Carmen area, from the north to the south end of the Riviera Maya, though the section that passes by Downtown is narrower and more crowded.
  • The best all-inclusive for families in Playa del Carmen is the Hotel Xcaret Mexico (just south of the Playacar area in South Riviera Maya).

The 13 Best Hotels for Families in the Playa del Carmen Area

1. Hotel Xcaret Mexico – South Riviera Maya

Best hotel for families in Playa del Carmen.
All-inclusive, family-friendly resort owned by Xcaret Adventure Parks and including unlimited access and transportation to all 10 of their parks and tours with every booking. The parks include ziplining, snorkeling, ATVs, underground rivers, and more. The resort itself boasts 6 pools, a huge lazy river, kids’ and teens’ clubs, and a sandy, swimmable beach. Hotel Xcaret offers spacious suites for up to 5, all with hammocks on their private balconies, some with swim-out access to a shared pool. Great location in South Riviera Maya just 5 km from Playa del Carmen’s restaurants, nightlife, shopping, and the ferry to Cozumel.
Hotel phone: +52 984 206 4805
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Hotel Xcaret Mexico

2. Grand Velas Riviera Maya – near Mayakoba

Grand Velas Riviera Maya Hotel near Mayakoba, PdC
All-inclusive resort with three pools, kids’ and teens’ clubs, incredible restaurants, and a spa. Nature View Suites for a family of 4. Zen Suites for families of 5 or 6. Their kids’ club is open until 11:00 p.m. with activities and crafts all day; the teens’ club is open until midnight, with a dancefloor, karaoke, and video games. Rooms and suites all include whirlpool tubs and private terraces, some with plunge pools. Located at the edge of an unspoiled beach with soft sand and gentle waves just south of the Mayakoba resort complex.
Hotel phone: +52 322 226 8689
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Grand Velas Riviera Maya

3. Hard Rock Hotel – South Riviera Maya

Playa del Carmen hotel with waterslides.
Music-themed beachfront resort with 5 pools (some adults-only, some for kids and families), a natural lagoon with native fish, and the largest spa in the Riviera Maya. Family perks include kids’ and teens’ clubs, a rock climbing wall, their signature music amenities (loaner guitars, instrument and DJ lessons, band camp, etc), and a huge skate/bike/gymnastics center. 9 restaurants and 8 bars serve a huge range of cuisines all day, along with 24-hours room service. A wide range of rooms and suites all feature private balconies, hammocks, and indoor or outdoor jacuzzis; the largest sleep up to 6. Wonderful location near the golf course, marina, and Dolphin Discovery at Puerto Aventuras in South Riviera Maya.
Hotel phone: +52 984 875 1100
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Hard Rock Hotel

4. Paradisus – North Playa del Carmen

Paradisus Hotel in North Playa del Carmen
All-inclusive resort on a gorgeous beach with a coral reef, three pools, a baby club (ages 1-4), and a kids club (ages 5-12). Suites range from junior up to two-bedroom connecting units; the Family Concierge upgrade adds a private terrace with a Jacuzzi, kids’ minibar items, a gaming console, a private restaurant, and club lounge access. This resort is only fifteen minutes’ drive or twenty-five minutes’ walk to downtown Playa del Carmen.
Hotel phone: +52 984 877 3900
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Paradisus

5. Banyan Tree – Mayakoba

Banyan Tree Hotel in Mayakoba, PdC
All-villa boutique, where each boasts its own private pool, an outdoor whirlpool tub, and a terrace. The resort has two shared pools, a Thai spa, an active kids club, and boat service to the beach. The food here suits all tastes, with strong Mexican and Thai influences plus great options for picky eaters. Set in the exclusive Mayakoba resort and golf complex on a sun-drenched beach in a mangrove jungle.
Hotel phone: +52 800 953 0565
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Banyan Tree

6. Fairmont – Mayakoba

Fairmont Hotel in Mayakoba, PdC
Beachfront resort with five pools, great kids’ amenities, and amazing food. Rooms and suites all include soaking tubs and private terraces; oceanfront and beachfront rooms feature butler service. Most suites are one-bedroom units, but connecting options are available for families needing extra space. Residences have up to four bedrooms with full kitchens. The kids club offers cooking classes and crafts, while their adventure camp keeps tweens active with kayaking and beach sports.
Hotel phone: +52 984 206 3000
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Fairmont

7. Hotel Esencia – South Riviera Maya

Hotel Esencia in South Riviera Maya, PdC
Elegant boutique hotel on a gentle beach with two pools, generous suite options, a Maya-inspired spa. Suites and villas for up to nine can include soaking tubs, plunge pools, or full-sized pools. Babysitting and family activities are offered onsite. Restaurants feature fresh, local, seasonal ingredients in a range of cuisines. Located in South Riviera Maya (Xpu Ha), halfway between Playa del Carmen and Tulum.
Hotel phone: +52 984 873 4830
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Hotel Esencia

8. Andaz – Mayakoba

Andaz Hotel in Mayakoba, PdC
Stylish, luxury hotel in the exclusive Mayakoba beach resort with a golf course and lagoons. Andaz offers 2 pools, a holistic spa, and is set on a stunning white beach. Rooms and suites are all spacious, with free minibar items (sans alcohol) and private balconies; suites add private outdoor plunge pools. Food is outstanding at their 4 regional Mexican/international restaurants; guests can add a meal plan or book a room only. Family-friendly amenities include a kids club for ages 4 to 12, babysitting, and free bikes.
Hotel phone: +52 984 149 1234
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Andaz

9. Playacar Palace – Downtown Playa del Carmen

Playacar Palace Hotel in Downtown Playa del Carmen
All-inclusive, downtown resort with expansive rooms and suites, exceptional restaurants, and a huge pool overlooking the sugary sand beach near the Cozumel ferry. Family amenities include a kids club for ages four to twelve and free bicycle tours. Guests have signing privileges at all Palace properties, with free transfer to the water park at The Grand at Moon Palace. Their stellar resort credit program can be used toward dolphin encounters, excursions, and more.
Hotel phone: +52 984 873 4960
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Playacar Palace

10. Grand Palladium White Sand – South Riviera Maya

Grand Palladium White Sand Hotel in South Riviera Maya, PdC
Beachfront resort with nine pools, a host of restaurants, and a spa. This resort is made up of four hotels, with White Sand being the best for families, being closest to the water park and kids’ clubs (one each for babies, kids, and teens). Upgraded suites can add whirlpool tubs, private pools, or connecting rooms. Located in South Riviera Maya, near Akumal.
Hotel phone: +52 984 877 2100
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Grand Palladium White Sand

11. Grand Hyatt Resort – Downtown Playa del Carmen

Grand Hyatt Resort in Downtown Playa del Carmen
Downtown Playa del Carmen beach resort (steps from a wide range of restaurants, shops, and bars) with two pools, a kids club, and a teens’ arcade. Their large rooms include balconies; suites add soaking tubs; options include swim ups or private plunge pools. Babysitting and kids club access are available for a fee, while the teens’ arcade is open for all. Upgrade to Club Level to add daily breakfast, snacks, an open bar, and evening apps.
Hotel phone: +52 984 875 1234
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Grand Hyatt Resort

12. Mahekal Beach Front Resort & Spa – Downtown Playa del Carmen

Mahekal Beach Resort in Downtown Playa del Carmen
Bohemian-style, beachfront resort with four pools, superior restaurants, and a variety of accommodations, including fun treehouse rooms or penthouse suites. Some suites add private plunge pools, outdoor showers, full kitchens, and butler service. Be advised that their nature-centric vibe means no TVs in most rooms. Located on the active main beach in downtown Playa.
Hotel phone: +52 984 873 0611
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Mahekal Beach Front Resort & Spa

13. Puerto Aventuras Hotel & Beach Club – South Playa del Carmen

Best hotel for kids in Playa del Carmen.
Cozy, boutique hotel with all junior suites and two pools on a kid-friendly beach with kayaks. Rooms all include a private terrace with a hammock and whirlpool. The beach is as calm as a pool, with a coral reef for snorkeling and barriers to block the waves. Located in South Riviera Maya, right next door to a marina and Dolphin Discovery aquatic center.
Hotel phone: +52 984 875 1950
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Puerto Aventuras Hotel & Beach Club

Read More

Cancun Hotels

MexicoCancun › Best Hotels
Updated: February 20, 2024

My Favorite Cancun Hotels
• 5-star: Kempinski
• 4-star: Hard RockHyatt Ziva
• 3-star: Beachscape Kin Ha
• For families: Grand FiestaJW Marriott
• For couples: Nizuc
• Best all-inclusive: Riu Palace

Best all-inclusive hotel in Cancun.

The Riu Palace Peninsula is the best all-inclusive resort in Cancun.

Cancun Hotels – Tips & Advice

  • Cancun has some wonderful 5-star resorts. For smaller boutique hotels check out Tulum and Isla Mujeres – two of my favorite beach destinations in Mexico.
  • Booking.com – the best website (and best prices) for booking Cancun hotels.
  • Best Luxury Hotel in Cancun: Kempinski Hotel Cancun (best food of any Cancun resort)
  • Best Boutique Hotel in Cancun: Nizuc – not a true boutique hotel, more like a boutique resort, but very luxurious and as intimate as any Cancun hotel.
  • Best Cancun Hotels for Honeymoon: Le BlancNizuc
  • Best Cancun Hotels for Families: Grand Fiesta AmericanaHard Rock HotelJW Marriott
  • The best places to stay in Cancun are the Playa Mujeres (newest resorts on pristine beaches), Riviera Cancun (great beaches, family attractions, and cenotes – located just south of Cancun), and the Hotel Zone. The Hotel Zone is shaped like a number 7, running the length of Boulevard Kukulkan, and is divided into three areas: North (softest sand and gentlest surf, near nightlife), Middle (great beaches, near nightlife and aquatic activities), and South (quietest beaches, furthest from the nightlife and bars).
  • Most activities, attractions, and tour operators in Cancun are located in the Hotel Zone. The best way to get around within the Hotel Zone or to get into Downtown from there is by bus. There are two bus lines serving the Hotel Zone, the R-1 and R-2, both with buses running every 1-2 minutes all day every day. Bus stops along the main drag are abundant and clearly marked. To catch a bus, simply flag it down from the bus stop. Bus fare is 12 pesos (about $0.60 USD). Passengers are issued tickets for proof of purchase in the odd chance of inspection, but the tickets cannot be used to transfer to another bus. If you exit one bus and catch another, you must purchase an additional ticket. Bus drivers carry change for those paying in pesos. Passengers may also pay in US dollars, but the rate is higher at $1 per person, rather than $0.60, and no change is given. Bus stops do not have names and are not announced. Keep an eye out for your destination, or follow along on your phone’s GPS. To request a stop, move to the rear of the bus and press the red button near the exit or simply shout “Alto!”

The 24 Best Hotels in Cancun

1. Nizuc Resort and Spa – South Hotel Zone

Best boutique hotel in Cancun.
The most stylish resort in Cancun, Nizuc features five pools, sumptuous dining, and a Maya-inspired hydrotherapy spa. Rooms, suites, and villas are all generously-sized with private balconies; some add outdoor showers, soaking tubs, or private plunge pools. Ocean Junior Suites are adults-only (there’s also an adults-only pool and restaurant). Dining and drinks are top tier, with fresh, locally sourced ingredients and a wide range of cuisines from contemporary Mexican to Mediterranean to pan-Asian. La Havana features cigars hand-rolled onsite and paired with Caribbean rums. The kids’ club is well-loved with a caring staff, crafts, activities, beach toys, and its own pool. Located on Nizuc Beach, the quietest beach at the tail end of the Hotel Zone, with tame water, white sand, and a reef filled with colorful fish, perfect for first-time snorkelers.
Hotel phone: +52 998 891 5700
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Nizuc Resort & Spa

2. Kempinski Hotel Cancun – Middle Hotel Zone

Cancun 5-star beach resort.
Refined, family-friendly, beach resort boasting some of Cancun’s best restaurants, along with two oceanfront pools and a tranquil spa. Dining is at the forefront with a five-diamond restaurant serving sophisticated dishes with local flair, as well as romantic beachfront dining in private cabanas. An immersive kids clubs offer a range of cultural, crafty, and culinary activities all day, with night safari activities on Fridays and Saturdays. A teens club and game room serves older kids. Rooms and suites all include balconies, soaking tubs, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Some add private pools, outdoor Jacuzzis, or club level perks. The Grand sits on a glorious stretch of white sand, with crystal blue waters perfect for swimming.
Hotel phone: +52 998 881 0808
Hotel websiteCheck prices for the Kempinski Hotel

3. Hyatt Ziva – North Hotel Zone

Infinity pool on Cancun beach.
Contemporary, family-friendly, all-inclusive hotel with dolphins, three infinity pools, and a microbrewery. Hyatt Ziva has a range of room and suite types, whether oceanfront, dolphin view, or swim up, some with soaking tubs or club level perks. The new Turquoize wing is adults-only, with outdoor Jacuzzis, butler service, and free access to the spa hydrocircuit. Family amenities include a kids’ club with a mini-water park, climbing pyramid in the ocean, and dolphin swims. Restaurants and bars offer international flavors and creative cocktails with a 24-hour lounge and room service. Located in a protected cove next to the Punta Cancun lighthouse, the sand is super soft here and the surf is particularly mild, ideal for beginning swimmers.
Hotel phone: +52 998 848 7000
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Hyatt Ziva

4. Grand Residences – Riviera Cancun

Swim up bar and beach club at Cancun luxury resort.
Luxury, family-friendly, all-suite resort on a white sand beach with an oceanfront infinity pool, customized service, and thoughtful amenities, such as round-trip airport transfer included in the rates. Especially great for larger families, their spacious suites can have up to four bedrooms and sleep up to thirteen guests, with a combination of king, double, and murphy beds. All units come with kitchenettes and whirlpool tubs, while many others add washers and dryers, outdoor Jacuzzis, private pools, and butler service. Family amenities include an amazing kids’ club with sports, activities, and crafts; plus bike tours, craft workshops, and adult amenities like mixology classes and full-service spa. Guests can choose the all-inclusive, daily breakfast, or European plan to customize their stay. The beach is gorgeous, though rocky and coral-y in some spots, and swimmable, though surf is sometimes strong.
Hotel phone: +52 998 872 8148
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Grand Residences Riviera Cancun

5. JW Marriott Resort & Spa – Middle of Hotel Zone

Luxury beach resort in Cancun.
Posh, family-friendly, beachfront resort with three interconnected pools, including a scuba pool with a built in reef and dive lessons onsite. Rooms and one-bedroom suites are large and well-appointed, all with private balconies, soaking tubs, and dual vanities; connecting rooms are available. Their massive, three-story spa offers Mayan-inspired treatments for the whole family in a tranquil space. Dining is excellent, though not particularly adventurous, from their stellar, four-diamond Italian restaurant to their casual Southwestern grill. Guests also have access to the restaurants and kids’ club at their sister property, Marriott Cancun Resort, right next door. The beach here is wide, with plenty of loungers under shady palapas, attentive food and drink service, and the waves are just right for bobbing and body surfing.
Hotel phone: +52 998 848 9600
Hotel websiteCheck prices for JW Marriott Resort & Spa

6. Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach – North Hotel Zone

5-star family-friendly hotel with pool in Cancun.
Located on one of Cancun’s best beaches, this upscale, family-friendly, all-suite resort boasts an enormous, free-form pool, extensive spa, and award-winning dining. Most suites are junior or master suites, all with balconies and ocean views; masters add jetted tubs and more space. Presidential and Governor Suites are the largest, with one and two bedrooms; the Presidential suite features a rooftop plunge pool and full kitchen. Five-diamond Le Basilic and four-diamond La Joya, serving French and Mexican fine dining, are the culinary highlights, though all restaurants here are superb. The spa is a palatial, three-story haven with expert massage and a hydrocircuit that’s complimentary for hotel guests. Open for ages three through twelve, the kids club here offers unique amenities like a water park, theater with costumes, a game room, and a night camp. The Grand Fiesta sits in a protected cove just to the inside of Punta Cancun, with the finest white sand and calm, turquoise water nearly as flat as a pool.
Hotel phone: +52 998 881 3200
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach

7. Secrets the Vine – Middle Hotel Zone

Hotel with beach club in Cancun.
Beach-chic, adults-only, all-inclusive resort with four dazzling pools, a spa, and phenomenal foods. The Vine stands out for its unique wine concept, with a huge wine cellar (over 4500 to choose from!), wine-based spa treatments, and wine tastings three times a day guided by a knowledgeable sommelier. Rooms have private balconies and connecting options; suites range from junior to two-bedrooms, many with soaking tubs. The club level upgrade grants access to an additional infinity pool, private lounge, and rooms on the highest floors with the best views. Restaurants are exceptional, with a great variety of cuisines all with optional wine pairings. Located on a heavenly beach, clean and well maintained, with shallow turquoise water.
Hotel phone: (866) 467-3273
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Secrets the Vine

8. Live Aqua Beach Resort – Middle Hotel Zone

4-star Cancun beach resort.
Lavish, adults-only, all-inclusive resort with a focus on re-awakening the senses through gorgeous views, bold dining, music, massage, and aromatherapy throughout the resort. Water has the spotlight here, with a tranquil beach, seven shimmering pools, and hydro-reflexology in the spa. Gastronomy is a close second, with regionally-inspired cocktails and indulgent dining in a range of styles and flavors, from molecular gastronomy served al fresco to Asian fusion served in a shady jungle garden. Guests are greeted with a welcome hand massage, and pool cabana rates include a foot massage. Daily live music is performed poolside and throughout the resort, with DJs every night at Egos Bar. Live Aqua sits on a broad stretch of white sand beach with warm, clear water and moderate waves.
Hotel phone: +52 998 881 7600
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Live Aqua Beach Resort

9. Hard Rock Hotel – Middle Hotel Zone

Cancun hotel for nightlife, live music, honeymooners, and couples.
Flashy, all-inclusive, rock-themed resort with fun amenities for families and couples. This lively property shows off with huge cascading infinity pools, three whirlpools, and a comprehensive spa. Their signature Sound of Your Stay experience offers loaner guitars, mixing stations, record players, and access to a recording studio, all complimentary. Anyone over 12 years has access to the Music Lab, with professional instrument, DJ, and vocal lessons; culminating in a live performance at the end of their stay. All rooms have a private balcony and two-person Jacuzzi tub; suites are all two-bedroom, and Family Suites add a kids’ minibar and Xbox. Couples should consider upgrading to Rock Royalty level to gain access to the adults-only pool on the third floor, complimentary couples’ massage, and a personal assistant. The beach here is gorgeous with brilliant blue water and attentive service.
Hotel phone: +52 998 881 3600
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Hard Rock Hotel

10. Azul Beach Resort – Riviera Cancun

Cancun hotel with outdoor pool.
High-end, family-friendly resort with six pools, a lazy river, excellent kids’ amenities, and private balconies and indoor Jacuzzis for every room type. Suites range from junior to two-bedroom, some with full kitchens and butler service; family suites have two sofa beds. Kids have a Nickelodeon-themed club with character visits, a splash pad and pool, gymnastics, and more. Teens have their own lounge with a pool table, air hockey, and outdoor activities. Couples and honeymooners enjoy plenty of adults-only spaces in a dedicated wing with its own pool and swim up suites, plus several bars, and Le Chique, their renowned five-diamond restaurant, serving Mexican molecular gastronomy. The beach here is beautiful and well-maintained, though not vivid turquoise of Cancun and further south in the Riviera Maya. Though a little rockier here, it is still swimmable with calm waves and good snorkeling.
Hotel phone: +52 998 872 8080
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Azul Beach Resort Riviera Cancun

11. Hyatt Zilara – Middle Hotel Zone

Adults-only pool at Cancun hotel.
Hacienda-style, adults-only, all-inclusive resort on a broad, ivory beach with perfectly turquoise waters. Service is extraordinary here, with all staff consistently going above and beyond to create memorable experiences for guests. Rooms and suites all offer private balconies, double whirlpool tubs, a liquor dispenser, and a “magic box” for room service delivery. The grounds house an immaculate infinity pool overlooking the beach, plus a rooftop lap pool and a spa with a menu of Maya treatments, ceremonies, and a temazcal. Food and drinks are rich and flavorful; guests in oceanfront category rooms and above have access to exclusive dining at the Chef’s Plate, featuring a different menu every evening. With weekly pool parties, cocktails classes, wine and tequila tastings, and show cooking, guests have plenty of activities to indulge in, if they can bear to part from the beach.
Hotel phone: +52 998 881 5600
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Hyatt Zilara

12. Riu Palace Peninsula – North Hotel Zone

Cancun resort with kids and adults pool.
Glitzy, family-friendly, all-inclusive resort with five pools (one exclusively for villa guests), a wide range of suites, plus phenomenal activities for kids and families. Suites all include private balconies, soaking tubs, and liquor dispensers; some add Jacuzzis, others are adults-only. There is a small kids’ club for ages four through twelve, with supervised pool and beach activities; for families and older kids, they offer art workshops, with classes in painting and ceramics, a free scuba lesson in the pool, nightly theater and entertainment, and non-motorized watercraft like kayaks, boogieboards, and catamarans. Food is delicious, with a good mix of a la carte restaurants (Mexican, French, Japanese, and more) along with high-end buffets serving lobster. Service at all restaurants and bars is prompt and attentive. The beach is just barely rockier than some of the other Cancun beaches, but it is still gorgeous with soft sand, turquoise water, and just enough gentle surf to keep it interesting.
Hotel phone: +52 998 848 8090
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Riu Palace Peninsula

13. Presidente InterContinental Resort – North Hotel Zone

Cancun resort on beach.
Sitting on the single best beach in Cancun, this classic luxury resort offers two pools (one adults-only) and a spa with hydrotherapy and Maya-inspired treatments. The beach is the main attraction here: wide and clean, no seaweed, powdery-fine sand, and water so blue it looks like it’s been dyed that way. Dining is exceptional, especially the breakfasts at Café Urbano and the beachside service at Le Cap Beach Club. Rooms and one-bedroom suites are contemporary and well-appointed; club level upgrades add balconies, soaking tubs, and exclusive lounge access. Though this is a family-friendly hotel with a kids’ club and playground, the vibe here is very low-key and relaxed. Its location makes this resort a great home base for exploring downtown Cancun’s restaurants and attractions or for exploring the uptown nightlife district.
Hotel phone: +52 998 848 8700
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Presidente InterContinental Resort

14. Sun Palace – South Hotel Zone

Cancun hotel with good swimming.
Romantic, couples-only, all-inclusive on a quiet beach, with three infinity pools (one of them covered), a hydrotherapy spa, and incredible food and drinks. Décor is sleek and understated luxury with 96% of accommodations boasting ocean views. Rooms and suites all feature a double whirlpool tub, private balcony, liquor dispenser, and a welcome bottle of wine. Concierge level upgrades add a candlelight dinner, couples’ massage, pillow menu, and aromatherapy. Restaurants are all on point, with the pan-Asian and steakhouse being the standouts. Their resort credits can be used for any number of things, from Maya ruins and colonial village excursions to spa days or dolphin encounters. Sun Palace is located on a relaxing beach in the south end with soft sand, clear water, and very few vendors.
Hotel phone: +52 800 262 9008
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Sun Palace

15. Fiesta Americana Condesa – Middle Hotel Zone

Pool volleyball at Cancun All-Inclusive Resort.
With a focus on Mexican hospitality, this family-friendly, beachfront, all-inclusive offers an upscale experience paired with a uniquely local vibe. Over half of the restaurants offer delightful, regional, Mexican fare on their menus, alongside several international restaurants. The spa uses Mexican products in all of their treatments. Décor features Mexican embellished tile, stonework floors, and palapa roofs property-wide. The kids’ club offers creative activities all day, as well as a pirate-themed pool, while the teens’ club features video games, billiards, and outdoor sports. Onsite activities include Maya language classes, Maya astrology, and tequila tasting. Room options are varied, from standard up to a two-bedroom suite with attached studio; some suites feature sofa beds and terrace Jacuzzis; the Presidential adds a full kitchen. The beach is absolutely beautiful with perfect white sand and medium surf; it might be a little much for beginners, but it is swimmable for those more experienced.
Hotel phone: +52 998 881 4200
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Fiesta Americana Condesa

16. Crown Paradise Club – South Hotel Zone

Beach activities at Cancun hotel.
Beachfront, family-friendly, all-inclusive with kids amenities for all age groups and five pools, including one adults-only pool and one covered pool. Rooms and suites come with balconies, many with soaking tubs. Family Suites have king beds plus triple bunk beds. Club level upgrades add Jacuzzis (indoor or outdoor) and a lagoon cruise. Their Baby Club hosts tots from eighteen months up to three years old, with story times and a playroom; a Kids’ Club for ages three to twelve has a pirate ship pool, a castle with nine waterslides, and with plenty of activities. Older kids and families have access to a small waterpark, billiards, video games, and mini-golf. The beach here has plenty of shaded loungers, stunning white sand, and bright blue water with moderate surf.
Hotel phone: +52 998 848 9000
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Crown Paradise Club

17. Le Blanc Spa Resort – Middle Hotel Zone

Pool on beach in Cancun.
Wellness-focused, adults-only, all-inclusive Le Blanc offers three pools, indulgent suites, and exceptional dining. Its grand spa showcases a comprehensive hydrotherapy circuit (free for all guests), couples packages, and holistic body treatments. The relaxation theme continues with double whirlpool tubs, aromatherapy, pillow menus, and butler service included in all rooms and suites. Restaurants are truly superb with fine and casual dining spotlighting a variety of world cuisines, along with creative cocktails at the bars and onsite nightclub, and an extensive wine selection. Its resort credits program allows guests to customize their all-inclusive experience with excursions, romantic beach dinners, spa services, and more. Though only a ten-minute walk to Cancun’s famous nightlife, their particular stretch of beach is tranquil and well cared for, raked and cleaned daily, with ideal swimming and turquoise water.
Hotel phone: +52 800 262 9008
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Le Blanc Spa Resort

18. Moon Palace The Grand – Riviera Cancun

Cancun resort with waterpark, slides, and lazy river.
Huge, all-inclusive, family-centric resort featuring an awesome water park, kids’ and teens’ clubs, and comprehensive kid and family amenities. All suites include a two-person jetted tub, private balcony, and hammock; Grand Family suites are double sized with one king and two double beds, a kids’ minibar, and an Xbox 360. Grounds feature two pools, a lazy river, flowrider, and bowling alley. The kids’ club is expansive with a splash pad, black light mini-golf, bumper cars, and much more. Parents will find plenty of adults-only areas, too, including a nightclub, day club, pool, and a French restaurant. Their resort credits program covers amazing family excursions, dolphin swims, spa days, and more. The beach has recently been renovated with excellent views and service, but it is not swimmable; for a more traditional beach experience, guests may use their all-inclusive privileges at their sister property Beach Palace.
Hotel phone: +52 998 193 2010
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Moon Palace The Grand

19. Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort – Playa Mujeres

5-star all inclusive resort in Cancun.
This gem of a resort, located on a vast beach in Cancun’s newest development, offers an exquisite all-inclusive, adults-only experience. Amply-sized junior and one-bedroom suites include hydro-spa tubs and balconies, some with swim up access or private plunge pools. Club level upgrades add a day pass to the spa hydrocircuit, lounge access, pillow menu, and an exclusive a la carte daily breakfast. Grounds include a huge free-form pool (actually three pools really close together), while the beach offers snorkel gear, catamarans, paddleboards, and a swing set bar. The beach itself is long, with soft sand, no rocks, calm water, and intense turquoise colors.
Hotel phone: (866) 467-3273
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort

20. Dreams Jade Resort & Spa – Riviera Cancun

Cancun Riviera hotel near Puerto Morelos.
This five-star, family-friendly, all-inclusive offers large suites and excellent kids amenities on a gorgeous beach next to a dolphinarium. Light-filled suites come in several styles, beginning at 65 square meters, all with private balconies and either indoor or outdoor Jacuzzis. The resort houses two free-form infinity pools, with the adult pool accessible with club level upgrades. Their kids’ club is open all day to children ages three to twelve, with a host of activities, arts, and adventures; the teens’ club features breakdancing lessons, video games, and more. Dining and drinks are fantastic and varied, with sixteen restaurants and bars to choose from; Mercure and Spice, the French and pan-Asian restaurants, lead the pack. The beach is beautiful, serviced by Mix Bar with stellar cocktails. However, it is a little rocky and sometimes rough; walk just five minutes south along the beach, though, and you’ll find better swimming.
Hotel phone: +52 998 872 8888
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Dreams Jade Resort & Spa

21. Marriott Resort – Middle Hotel Zone

3-star midrange hotel on Cancun beach.
A beachfront paradise, this family-friendly, luxury resort features hacienda-style design blended with traditional and contemporary Mexican décor. Its large infinity pool features a whirlpool front and center, overlooking the brilliant blue sea. Rooms and one-bedroom suites vary by size and view, but all feature a private balcony; connecting rooms are available. The Presidential Suite adds a second balcony and an outdoor Jacuzzi. Their popular kids’ club hosts children ages four to twelve during daylight hours with a pool and plenty of activities. Dining and drinks are fantastic and varied, with restaurants specializing in Argentine, Japanese, and Thai, among others, but there is no Mexican restaurant onsite. (There is a southwestern restaurant at their sister property, JW Marriott, right next door, and of course plenty of Mexican food within walking distance.) Located on a wide, white stretch of swimmable beach with moderate waves, served by the attentive staff at Bahia.
Hotel phone: +52 998 881 2000
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Marriott Resort

22. Dreams Golf & Spa Resort – Playa Mujeres

Dreams resort with pool and golf course.
New, family-friendly, all-inclusive resort with dolphins and exceptional kids’ and teens’ amenities on a quiet beach. Suites and villas are all large and feature private balconies and sofa beds; options include swim ups, private pools, outdoor Jacuzzis, and two-person whirlpool tubs. Upgrade to Club Level for access to the lazy river, complimentary hydrotherapy, and access to a private lounge. The kids’ club hosts weekly camping, along with daily activities and a small water park; the teens’ club is open until 1 a.m. and features dance nights, video games, rock climbing, weekly bonfires, and more. Dolphin swims, a stellar full-service spa, and an 18-hole golf course are excellent add-on perks. The beach has soft sand and gentle waves, thanks to nearby Isla Mujeres acting as a buffer.
Hotel phone: +52 998 283 3600
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort

23. Sandos Cancun – Middle Hotel Zone

Swimming pool at Cancun resort with cabanas.
Beachfront, four-diamond, all-inclusive hotel with three infinity pools, delicious restaurants, and an amazing music program. Accommodations here are unique for Cancun with windows in every unit facing both the ocean and the lagoon, so that all guests may experience sunrise and sunset views from their rooms. Each room features a soaking tub, welcome wine, and floor-to-ceiling windows, most with one or two balconies; one- and two-bedroom suites add kitchenettes. Their Rhythm Experience music program offers live music and DJs, with a different genre featured daily; at night the music moves to the bars, with Bar One for a relaxing ambiance and Bar Two for a lively party. Food here is superbly prepared with fresh ingredients, with Gaijin Japanese and Zango international buffet the most popular of the restaurant options. Though there is no dedicated Mexican restaurant onsite, St. Trop has several Caribbean Mexican options on the menu. The beach is clean and well-maintained with crystal clear water, though waves can be a little rough at times.
Hotel phone: +52 998 881 2200
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Sandos Cancun

24. Wyndham Grand – Middle Hotel Zone

Good value Cancun hotel with pool and activities.
Located on a truly exceptional beach, the all-inclusive, family-friendly Wyndham Grand offers an impressive selection of accommodations and fantastic activities. Spacious rooms, one- and two- bedroom suites, and huge villas all feature private balconies, some with jetted tubs, Presidential with a full kitchen. Larger families will appreciate the villas with three bedrooms and three bathrooms spread over three stories, plus a full kitchen and direct pool access. The grounds boast three cascading pools (one for kids), one mega hot tub for up to 35 guests, several small hot tubs, and a full service spa and salon. There is a small kids’ club here for ages five to twelve. Their perfectly swimmable beach showcases with breathtaking turquoise waves, clean white sand, and an absence of rocks, reefs, and barriers.
Hotel phone: +52 998 881 0600
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Wyndham Grand

Cancun’s Hotel Zone

The vast majority of hotels and resorts in Cancun are located in the Hotel Zone. The Hotel Zone is shaped like a number 7, beginning due east of Downtown Cancun and running for about 22 kilometers along Boulevard Kukulkan. This long island strip of beach is bound to the north and east by the Caribbean, with the interior portion taken up by the Nichupte Lagoon. Most of the resorts line the northern and eastern beaches, while the restaurants, malls, and attractions face the lagoon side.

The Hotel Zone is roughly divided into three sections identified by their kilometer markers: The North (km 1-9, this is the horizontal portion making up the top of the 7, from the edge of Downtown in the west to Punta Cancun in the east), The Middle (km 9.5-17.5, beginning at the elbow of the 7, from Punta Cancun running south, just past Museo Maya), and the South (km 18-21.5, from El Rey archeological zone to Punta Nizuc at the southernmost tip).

Staying in the Hotel Zone, North

North section of Cancun Hotel Zone.
The North (sometimes called the “beginning”) of the Hotel Zone has the softest sand and the most pristine beaches. This is due to its geography; unlike the rest of the Hotel Zone, the northernmost portion is partially protected from hurricanes by Isla Mujeres to the northeast and the horn of Punta Cancun in to the east. Because it is shielded in this way, it still has its original sand, worn smooth and powdery over the years, contrasting with the rest of the Hotel Zone, which lost its sand to a hurricane a few years ago and had to have the sand replaced. Its prized location also shields it from the seaweed that tends to collect in the Middle and End Zones. This is the closest portion to Downtown’s amazing restaurants and cultural attractions like Market 28 and lucha libre at the Cancun Arena. It’s also just a short distance from the Uptown Cancun nightlife on the south end of Punta Cancun. With such proximity to dining, bars, and attractions, the Beginning of the Hotel Zone is ideal for guests who opt not to stay in an all-inclusive.

The Best Hotels in the North Hotel Zone

Staying in the Middle of the Hotel Zone

Middle section of Cancun Hotel Zone.
The Middle of the Hotel Zone is where the action is. Uptown Cancun, with its famous nightlife, is located at the elbow on the south end of Punta Cancun. Travelers will find a cluster of nightclubs and bars here, the best known being Coco Bongo, Mandala, and La Vaquita, though The City and Congo Bar are the best-loved night spots. Following the main drag south, you’ll find Cancun’s most popular family attractions, including Aquaworld, Museo Maya, and MUSA, the underwater museum. Beaches here are not as soft as those in the North Hotel Zone, and the waves tend to be a little bigger. However, this is the nesting spot for local sea turtles! Huge turtles come ashore every night to lay eggs from May through October. Baby turtles hatch and are released to the ocean from July through December. Most hotels in the Middle of the Hotel Zone have designated areas to protect the eggs from predators. Guests are invited to watch the adult turtles making their nests every night, or to watch as the babies are released later in the season.

The Best Hotels in the Middle of the Hotel Zone

Staying in the Hotel Zone, South

South section of Cancun Hotel Zone.
The South Hotel Zone, sometimes referred to as “the end,” begins at El Rey Ruins in the north and ends at Punta Nizuc in the south. It’s much quieter than the North or Middle, while still being highly accessible to all that the city has to offer. Travelers here will find the most relaxed beaches with fewer vendors interrupting their tranquil moments. Beach quality here is similar to those of the Middle, with moderate surf, soft white sand (though slightly coarser than that of the North), and lots of sea turtle activity. There is generally better snorkeling in the South Hotel Zone, especially at the southernmost end toward Punta Nizuc. Most resorts in this area are all-inclusive, as the immediate area only has a handful of restaurants. This is an ideal spot for travelers who want a true getaway, without straying too far from the conveniences of the city.

The Best Hotels in the South Hotel Zone

Staying in Riviera Cancun

Beach at Cancun Riviera hotel.
The Riviera Cancun is the northernmost part of the Riviera Maya, just south of Cancun down about as far as Puerto Morelos. It is fronted by the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, which follows the coastline from Cancun all the way down to Guatemala. The Riviera Cancun is home to some of the largest all-inclusive resorts. Most of these sit in mangrove jungles on long stretches of beach protected by the reef, making for mostly gentle waves. Beaches here tend to be a mix of mostly white sand, with some rocky and coral parts. The sandy areas are great for swimming and body surfing with moderate waves, while the rocky and coral-y parts usually have great conditions for snorkeling, with a variety of colorful fish. The resort beaches here are nearly private with no vendors, because they’re not walking distance to anything. Near Puerto Morales, travelers will find a botanical garden and Croco Cun Zoo, with several refreshing cenotes just inland and lots of adventure parks just a little further south.

The Best Hotels in Riviera Cancun

Staying in Playa Mujeres

Beach hotel at Playa Mujeres, Cancun.
Playa Mujeres sits in the north end of Cancun, due west of Isla Mujeres and north of the main ferry terminals, Puerto Juarez and Gran Puerto. This is the newest resort development area in Cancun, with the oldest hotel here built in 2007. This area is designed expressly for leisure, mostly made up of resorts, beaches, and golf courses, with one dolphinarium on the main beach and campgrounds further north. Playa Mujeres is more accessible to the city and attractions than Riviera Cancun, but since it is so new, there are not many restaurants serving the area. This is the closest point in Cancun to Isla Mujeres; travelers wishing to visit the island can leave from the smaller Punta Sam ferry. The beaches of Playa Mujeres have soft white sand, vivid blue water, and gentle waves, thanks to the island acting as a buffer. However, there tends to be more seaweed than the more southerly beaches, especially when the wind is coming in from the east. To combat this, every resort in the area hires sweepers to clean the beaches twice a day.

The Best Hotels in Playa Mujeres

Read More