Where to Stay in Cabo San Lucas

MexicoLos Cabos › Best Places to Stay
Updated: June 30, 2022

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Staying in Cabo San Lucas – Tips & Info

Best beach hotels in Cabo San Lucas.
Wonderful Medano beach in front of the Hacienda Beach Club & Residences and Casa Dorada Resort & Spa.
  • Best Places to Stay in Cabo San Lucas: Hacienda Beach Club & ResidencesCasa Dorada Resort & SpaVilla La EstanciaBahia Hotel & Beach HouseSandos FinisterraMontecristo VillasPueblo Bonito PacificaPueblo Bonito Sunset Beach
  • Stretching east for 20 miles from Cabo San Lucas to San José del Cabo, the Los Cabos Corridor is a stretch of coastline that’s still spectacular in places, though much of it has now been built up with all-inclusive resorts and golf courses.
  • At the east end of the Los Cabos Corridor, San José de Cabo is Cabo San Lucas’ quieter, classier twin, with an attractive historic center, fantastic dining scene, and some excellent hotels lining the white-sand beaches of the Zona Hotelera.
  • If heading north take the quieter coastal road. It’s some 60 miles from San José del Cabo to Cabo Pulmo, a tiny village that’s the gateway to the world-class marine park of the same name. The scuba diving and snorkeling is the best in Baja.
  • Northwest of Cabo Pulmo, the coastal road rejoins the Carretera Transpeninsular and passes through the appealing little town of Los Barriles, some 65 miles south of La Paz. It’s one of Baja Sur’s top spots for windsurfing and kitesurfing.
  • Rules of the road are similar to the U.S. Highways are well-maintained, and streets are well-mapped (though often 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. 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.

Best Places to Stay in Cabo Area

Best beach resort near Cabo San Lucas.
The fantastic Esperanza Hotel near Cabo San Lucas.

Best Places to Stay in Baja California

Framed by the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortéz, and dotted with cordon cacti and boojum trees, the southern tip of Baja California is a place of considerable natural beauty. Arid landscapes aside, it’s been well and truly discovered by winter sun seekers, water sports enthusiasts, and spring breakers: Cabo San Lucas is renowned throughout Mexico for its spring break but sports fishing, scuba diving, and wind surfing off Baja’s southern shores is also world-class. Add some spectacular white-sand beaches, old-world colonial towns, breezy fishing villages, popular resorts, and a generous collection of hotels to suit every budget, and it’s easy to see why Baja California Sur is an all-round superb destination.

If you’re driving south from California via the Carretera Transpeninsular – the scenic highway that stretches the length of Baja – you will invariably pass through La Paz, the largest town in Baja Sur. A former colonial settlement with a beautiful historic center, waterfront malecón, and some excellent bars and restaurants, it warrants more than just a pit stop to fill up on gas. It makes a good base for visiting attractions in the surrounding area, too.

Facing Isla Ceralvo, a short detour southeast of La Paz along Route 286, La Ventana is a one-street village that draws kitesurfers from around the world between November and March with its steady winds. Other draws include scuba diving and wildlife watching.

If you drive the clockwise loop south of La Paz along the Carretera Transpeninsular, the first place you reach along the west coast is Todos Santos, Baja Sur’s most picturesque little town, some 50 miles farther south. Its cobblestone streets are dotted with galleries, good restaurants, and appealing adobe architecture, while the beaches and the surf breaks appeal to outdoor enthusiasts.

Continue south along the Carretera Transpeninsular for another 47 miles and you’ll get to Baja Sur’s premier party town, Cabo San Lucas. Here you can party all night at the raucous bars and clubs, hop on a cruise to the arching stone cliffs at Land’s End, sun yourself on one of the white-sand beaches, or partake in a huge array of water sports: banana boating, parasailing, and diving. Just up the corridor is the hip and trendy town of San José del Cabo.

What are the Best Areas to Stay in Baja?

Best Places in Baja California for Sightseeing: Todos Santos, San José del Cabo, Cabo San Lucas, La Paz
Let’s face it: few visitors come to Baja Sur primarily for sightseeing. But if you’re into colonial architecture, then the towns of San José del Cabo, Todos Santos, and La Paz all have plenty to offer: adobe houses, appealing centuries-old churches, and narrow cobbled streets that are a joy to wander. And while Cabo San Lucas may lack the colonial charm of its neighbor towns, it features Baja Sur’s biggest natural attraction: the natural stone arch at Land’s End, walkable from town and very popular at sunset.

Best Place in Baja California for Nightlife: Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas is Baja Sur’s undisputed party town, with bottomless margaritas fuelling the revelry all day (and all night) long. The nightlife kicks up a notch when the spring breakers get into town, with dancing on table tops, jello shooters, and tequila conga lines. Some of the most popular bars and nightspots include the legendary El Squid Roe, Cabo Wabo, The Giggling Marlin, and the Happy Ending Cantina, with many of the watering holes clustered near the marina.

Best hotel for Cabo San Lucas nightlife and party clubs.
The friendly and affordable Casa Bella Hotel in the heart of downtown Cabo San Lucas.

Best Places in Baja California for Food and Restaurants: Cabo San Lucas, Todos Santos, San José del Cabo
Baja Sur has come a long way as a foodie destination in recent years, with dining hotspots being Todos Santos, Cabo San Lucas, and San José del Cabo. In all 3 locations, you’ll find anything from Mexican standards and taco stands to superb fusion and international dining. Standout restaurants include Sur Beach House and Baja Cantina in Cabo San Lucas, Flora’s Field Kitchen and La Lupita Taco & Mezcal in San José del Cabo, and Hierbabuena and Carnitas Machin Pescadero in Todos Santos.

Best Places in Baja California for Families: Cabo San Lucas, Los Cabos Corridor
Cabo San Lucas may be a party town, but it also has some excellent beaches on the its outskirts and a large number of family-friendly hotels. Hence, if traveling with kids, then all-inclusive options with kids’ clubs, plenty of water sports on offer, and other activities are an excellent bet. Los Cabos Corridor also features numerous high-end all-inclusive hotels, many with plenty to keep kids occupied and white-sand beaches out front.

Best Places in Baja California to Stay for First Timers: Cabo San Lucas, Todos Santos, San José Los Cabos, Los Cabos Corridor
Depending on what you’re into, you can’t go wrong with these 3 destinations. If you wish to combine a raucous nightlife with some quality beach time, then Cabo San Lucas would naturally be your first choice. If you’re looking for a hassle-free location away from Cabo San Lucas’ crowds but close enough to enjoy the nightlife and with access to world-class golfing, then Los Cabo Corridor is a good bet. Finally, if you’re after a more local vibe and excellent dining while staying within easy driving distance from Land’s End, then either Todos Santos or San José del Cabo make excellent bases.

Most Romantic Places in Baja California: Los Cabos Corridor, Todos Santos, Cabo Pulmo
It entirely depends on what you want from your vacation. If you’re looking for an exclusive, adults-only, high-end hotel with a world-class spa and private beach access, then there are several excellent options along the Los Cabos Corridor. If appealing colonial architecture and romantic dinners are more your thing, then Todos Santos is an excellent place to stay. And if you want to get away from the crowds and enjoy sunset strolls along wind-swept beaches, then you could do worse than tiny Cabo Pulmo.

Best place to stay for couples and honeymoon.
The Cape Hotel on the Los Cabos Corridor.

Best Places in Baja California for a Local Vibe: San José del Cabo, Todos Santos
Baja Sur has been well and truly discovered by visitors, and crowds of sun-seekers converge on the likes of Cabo San Lucas, particularly during the winter months and during spring break. However, both Todos Santos, and San José del Cabo have managed to retain a relatively low-key charm and feel like proper Mexican towns.

Best Places in Baja California for Water Sports: La Ventana, Los Barriles, Todos Santos, Cabo Pulmo, Cabo San Lucas
Cabo Pulmo is a world-class diving destination, with excellent access to the only Pacific reef in the Sea of Cortez. Visibility is best in October and November, and sightings include whale sharks. La Ventana and Los Barriles both attract windsurfers and kitesurfers; conditions are best between November and March. El Pescadero, a small village just south of Todos Santos, is a surfing hotspot. As for sea kayaking, banana boating, parasailing, and other activities, hotels in Cabo San Lucas, Los Cabos Corridor, Todos Santos, and other vacation hotspots can organize those. Cabo San Lucas is also renowned for its deep-see fishing charters.

Best Places in Baja California for Wildlife Watching: La Paz, Todos Santos, Cabo San Lucas
Baja California is particularly well-known for whale watching, with grey whales regularly sighted from December to April. While the 3 best spots to see whales – Laguna San Ignacio, Laguna Ojo de Liebre, and Bahía Magdalena – are all located farther north than Baja Sur’s holiday towns, numerous boat operators in Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, and Todos Los Santos organize day trips to the whale watching hotspots. Sea lions and dolphins are frequently spotted en route.

Safest Areas of Baja California Sur: Baja California Sur is generally safe for visitors, particularly compared to other parts of Mexico. Tourist hotspots such as Todos Santos, San José del Cabo, La Paz, etc. are generally safe to walk around at any time of day, though standard precautions apply.

Unsafe Areas of Baja California: There are no specifically unsafe places in Baja California Sur, though driving outside the towns at night is generally not recommended. Bag snatching and pickpocketing does occasionally happen in the likes of La Paz and Cabo San Lucas, so be on guard. Alcohol-related misbehavior is fairly common in Cabo San Lucas.

The Best Places in Baja California for Tourists

Staying in Cabo San Lucas

Best beach hotel near Cabo nightlife.
The Casa Dorada Resort & Spa is great for families, couples, and beach lovers.

Sitting between a desert hinterland and a rugged cape after which it takes its name, Cabo San Lucas was a sleepy tuna canning village until tourism exploded in the 1980s. Now it feels more like part of the United States, with ‘snowbirds’ spending the winter here in their second homes, a popular cruise ship port, and spring breakers flocking here for the tequila-fuelled nightlife. Besides the natural stone arch at Land’s End, Cabo San Lucas is known for its beaches lined with luxury resorts, lively bars, and pretty much all water sports, including some excellent scuba diving.

Best Hotels in Cabo San Lucas

Staying in Los Cabos Corridor

Best hotel for honeymoon on Cabo Beach.
The Cabo Surf Hotel in the Los Cabos Corridor.

The twenty-mile stretch of coastal highway between Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo is lined with exclusive luxury resorts and features several golf courses. The former natural beauty of the area has been rather blighted by the uncontrolled development, but there are still some wonderful beaches here (though access to many can be tricky unless you’re staying at one of the beachfront resorts), including Playa El Médano near Cabo San Lucas and Playa Palmilla near San José del Cabo. Of the beaches, Bahía Santa María is best for snorkeling and diving, Bahía Chileno is great for families, while Costa Azul is the best surfing beach in the area.

Best Hotels in Los Cabos Corridor

Staying in San José del Cabo

Best hotel in San Jose del Cabo.
The Hyatt Ziva is both luxurious and good value, and has a fantastic beachfront location.

The quieter antidote to Cabo San Lucas, San José del Cabo is a former Jesuit mission turned port and agricultural center, centered on the attractive Plaza Mijares and dotted with some eye-catching 19th-century buildings. From the main square, Bulevar Mijares leads to the Zona Hotelera, where the majority of the town’s beach resorts are located. San José’s highlights include high-end boutiques and art galleries, an excellent dining scene, and a more low-key vibe than Cabo.

Best Hotels in San José del Cabo

Staying in Todos Santos

5-star hotel in Todos Santos.
The idyllic Hotel San Cristóbal on a clean, wide beach with lots of privacy.

Halfway between La Paz and Cabo San Lucas, Todos Santos is a beautiful colonial town with sensitively restored, centuries-old architecture. Its population is a lively mix of Mexicans and artistically-inclined expats, reflected in the relatively low-key vibe and a clutch of offbeat art galleries. Palm-fringed Plaza Todos Santos aside, attractions include the local cultural center and the white-sand beaches, though they tend to be better for surfing than for swimming. Todos Santos also features an excellent dining scene and some fine boutique hotels.

Best Hotels in Todos Santos

Staying in Cabo Pulmo

One of the highlights of the East Cape – some 80 miles of wild coastline, including some stunning, unpeopled beaches – is Cabo Pulmo, an off-the-grid village that’s the gateway to the Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, renowned for its Pacific reef and excellent scuba diving. There is good snorkeling at Playa Los Arbolites near the village, but for even better marine life, head for the Playa Los Frailes cove, some 20 minutes’ drive south of the village.

Best Hotel in Cabo Pulmo

Staying in Los Barriles

5-Star Beach Resort in Los Cabos.
The Four Seasons Resort looking out on the Sea of Cortez, about 15 km south of Los Barriles.

The East Cape’s largest town, Los Barriles is renowned in windsurfing and kitesurfing circles (conditions are best for experienced surfers rather than beginners). There’s a low-key hotel scene and some decent local dining, ranging from taco joints to gourmet restaurants. Sport-fishing is another big attraction here.

Best Hotels near Los Barriles

Staying in La Ventana

A worthwhile detour to the east coast from La Paz, La Ventana is a blink-and-you-miss-it village. One of several windsurfing and kitesurfing hotspots in Baja Sur, it attracts visitors from all over the world between November and March.

Best Hotels in La Ventana

Staying in La Paz

The largest town in Baja California, La Paz boasts an attractive colonial center and a particularly attractive malecón (seafront promenade). It’s a busy working town, but there are enough attractions to keep visitors busy for a few days, from the cultural center and Museum of Anthropology to the string of beaches stretching to the port of Pichilingue, the best of which is Playa de Balandra, with calm, shallow waters suitable for kids. La Paz is also a jumping-off point for wildlife watching trips, from all-day whale watching to half-day trips to the nearby Isla Espírutu Santo, where one can spot manta rays, sea lions, and occasional whale sharks.

Best Hotels in La Paz

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Where to Stay in Tulum

MexicoTulum › Best Places to Stay
Updated: June 29, 2022

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Best Places to Stay in Tulum

Best 5-star hotel on Tulum beach.
The fantastic Mezzanine hotel. Great setting and steps from the best swimming beach in Tulum.
  • Best new hotel in Tulum is the fabulous La Valise (incredible, luxury hotel at the south end of the beach).
  • Best luxury hotel on the beach is the Mezzanine hotel (romantic boutique hotel on the beach near the Tulum ruins).
  • Best luxury hotel in the Pueblo is Una Vida (urban oasis with a wonderful pool, spacious rooms).
  • Best family hotels in Tulum are Cabañas La Luna (Luxury) and Sueños (Luxury).
  • Best budget hotels on the beach are Las Palmas Maya (friendly, budget hotel with a shared kitchen, great breakfasts, and bikes).
  • Best budget hotel in the Pueblo is Casa Don Diego (amazing, small hotel with a jungle garden, pool, great food, and an apiary.)

Best Areas to Stay in Tulum

The big decision visitors need to make is whether to stay in the Pueblo (affordable hotels, delicious restaurants, fun bars, and dance clubs) or on the beach (posh hotels, stylish party scene, fine dining restaurants, and boutique shopping). The beach itself is made up of 4 areas all with unique feels: the Beach Town and the North, Middle, and South Beach Zones. It takes about 15 to 45 minutes to cycle from the heart of the Pueblo to the Beach, depending on your destination (if walking, this can take an hour or 2). Most hotels offer free or cheap bicycles to guests, making it simple to stay in one spot and enjoy the other (about a 10-minute bike ride from the Pueblo to the beach). There are no street lights or bike lanes on the road that runs alongside the beach, so cycling there is best during the day.

The best places to stay in Tulum for partying are the Pueblo, Beach Town, or the Middle Beach Zone, for families, it’s the South Beach Zone or Aldea Zama, and for romance and honeymoons stay in the North or South Beach Zone (though pretty much every part of Tulum is perfect for a honeymoon holiday).

Where to stay in Tulum? Beach or town?

  • Most travelers to Tulum stay in one of two main areas: the Pueblo (downtown or the town) or the beach. It’s about 5 km from the Pueblo to the nearest stretch of beach.
  • The best luxury hotels, fine dining restaurants, outdoor nightlife (beach and jungle parties), and boutique shops are on the beach. Most hotels on the beach have limited air conditioning.
  • The beach is wide and mostly sandy, though there are a few rocky patches here and there. The beach hotel zone is roughly divided into 4 areas: the North (quiet, romantic, near the ruins), the Beach Town (the most affordable beach area), the Middle (restaurants, beach clubs, and nightlife), and the South (family-friendly, lots of yoga, wide sandy beach, near Sian Ka’an bio-reserve)
  • The Pueblo offers a mix of midrange and affordable hotels with a walkable center, offering authentic Mexican restaurants and fantastic nightlife (all-night dance clubs, fun bars, and street parties). All hotels in the Pueblo have 24-hour air conditioning.
  • Just south of the Pueblo is a new luxury development called Aldea Zama (about halfway between the heart of the Pueblo and the beach). This is a quiet neighborhood with a suburban feel and a couple of boutique hotels and restaurants. Much of Aldea Zama is still under construction.

Staying in the North Beach Zone

Tulum beach near ruins, restaurants, and beach clubs.
The beach just north of Mezzanine hotel.

The North Beach Zone is the strip of beach running along the edge of Tulum National Park, where the Mayan ruins are. This generally means from the ruins in the north down 4 km south along Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila (the beach road) to its intersection with Avenida Coba (the road to the Pueblo) at the tourist police station. Unofficially, the North Beach Zone extends a little farther north to the Tankah neighborhood. This is the quietest area in Tulum, with just a few boutique hotels, restaurants, and beach clubs. Most hotels are on white sandy beaches, though there are a few areas of rocky coastline. Among the best beaches here are Playa Paraiso and Playa Pescadores (picturesque, soft, sandy beaches), Playa Maya (lots of cheap snorkeling trips here), Santa Fe (Tulum’s original hippie hangout – strong swimmers can swim the 500 meters to the ruins from here), and Ruins Beach (the beach right underneath the Tulum ruins). Just north of the beach zone, there are several gorgeous cenotes (natural swimming holes connected to underground river systems) with especially great swimming at Casa Cenote and Dos Ojos.

The Best Hotels in the North Beach Zone

  • Mezzanine(Hotel phone: +52 984 115 4728)
  • Jashita (In Soliman Bay, north of the North Hotel Zone) • (Hotel phone: +52 984 875 4158)
  • Mi Amor(Hotel phone: +52 984 188 4273)
  • O’ Tulum(Hotel phone: +52 984 231 1241)

Staying in Beach Town

Hotel near bars and restaurants in Tulum
The Punta Piedra Beach Posada hotel.

Beach Town is a cluster of hotels, restaurants, and shops from kilometer 4 to about kilometer 5.5 between the North and Middle Beach Zones. The beach is sandy and swimmable in the north end, with rocky patches for the southern 500 or so meters. In general, dining, drinking, and shopping are more affordable here than in the other beach areas. Most of the restaurants and shops are on the jungle side of the road, including Mateos, a fun 3-story restaurant with hammocks, and Tunich, a fantastic breakfast spot. Beachside dining is best at Zamas and Mina. Across from Zamas are 3 boutiques featuring Mexican clothing, crafts, and gifts: Mixik, Hilo Rojo, and Shalom. A little bit north of the Beach Town, you’ll find Kin Toh (a treetop restaurant/lounge) and Zak Ik (fashion boutique), both at stylish Azulik Resort. North of Azulik is Papaya Playa Project, the which hosts the wildest late night beach parties.

The Best Hotels in Beach Town

Staying in the Middle Beach Zone

Best boutique beach hotel in Tulum.
El Pez is wonderful boutique hotel on a nice stretch of sand.

The Middle Beach Zone is the heart of Tulum’s beach area, with upscale dining, high-end boutiques, and stylish open-air nightclubs, especially chic Casa Jaguar and Gitano. Outside of the party scene, there is a plethora of ambitious restaurants serving fine-dining and creative menus. Among the best restaurants here are Hartwood, Arca, and Safari. Plenty of yoga studios and casual beach clubs also dot the strip. The Middle Beach Zone sits roughly between kilometers 5.5 and 8 on Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila, from the narrow, rocky Sunset Beach at the north end to just past Arca restaurant in the south end. The beach is long, wide, and mostly sandy though there are some rocky patches between km 5.5 and 6. There are no street lights, sidewalks, or bike paths, but even still most people get around this area by walking or cycling, and it’s fairly easy to flag down a taxi here.

The Best Hotels in the Middle Beach Zone

  • Tago(Hotel phone: +52 984 871 1310)
  • Ahau(Hotel phone: +52 984 147 5225)
  • Dune(Hotel phone: +52 984 238 9529)
  • El Pez(Hotel phone: +52 984 116 3357)
  • Cabanas La Luna(Hotel phone: +52 984 146 7737)
  • Coco Zen Zone(Hotel phone: +52 984 688 8592)
  • The Beach Hotel(Hotel phone: +52 984 157 9645)
  • Cabanas(Hotel phone: +52 984 871 1132)

Staying in the South Beach Zone

Luxury beach hotel in Tulum.
The luxurious Sueños hotel in the quieter South Beach area of Tulum – though still walking distance to many bars and restaurants.

The South Beach Zone is great for kids with a long, wide stretch of sandy beach with no rocky parts. Located near the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, hotels in the south end tend to be more eco-conscious than hotels to the north, which is reflected in the bohemian vibe and abundance of yoga and wellness studios here. The South Beach Zone tends to be quiet, away from the central party zone but still within walking/cycling distance to fantastic restaurants and nightlife. This is a great place to stay for active families and couples who want to explore more of Tulum’s natural wonders, from beaches to jungles to cenotes. Amazing restaurants in the South Beach Zone include Nü, Charly’s Vegan Tacos, and Taqueria La Eufemia. The best yoga studios here are at Yäan Wellness, Sanara (beachfront yoga), Alaya, and SUP Yoga Tulum, with classes held in various locations in and near Sian Ka’an.

The Best Hotels in the South Beach Zone

Staying in the Pueblo

Best hotel in Tulum town.
Una Vida is the best hotel in the Pueblo.

The Pueblo is the lively downtown area of Tulum, brimming with wonderful restaurants, bars, and clubs. Hotels tend to be in the budget or moderate range, though there are a handful of luxury hotels at a fraction of the cost of the beach resorts. The Pueblo is easily walkable and bikable with a grid layout, sidewalks, and street lamps in most parts. Food in the Pueblo is more authentic and affordable than what you’ll find at the beach; among the best are Taqueria El Carboncito, Antojitos la Chiapaneca, and La Gloria de Don Pepe, though there are many amazing spots to try. The nightlife is anchored by Batey Mojito Bar, with several great bars and clubs on that same block or along the main street, including Pasito Tun Tun and Kiki. Two of Tulum’s best yoga studios are here: Yoga Dicha (yoga with puppies every Monday morning) and Tribal Tulum (a yoga studio/dive shop). Though the Pueblo is a vibrant, urban area, it is completely surrounded by jungle, with lots of nature to explore just a short bike ride away. Several amazing cenotes are within a 5 to 25-minute bike ride north along Avenida Coba, including Cenote Calavera, Gran Cenote, Cenote Santa Cruz, and Cenote Zacil-Ha (with a zip line).

The Best Hotels in the Pueblo

Staying in Aldea Zama

Aldea Zama in Tulum
Aldea Zama is a new luxury development in between the Pueblo and the Beach Zone. This neighborhood is primarily high-end homes, condos and Airbnbs, though there are a couple of boutique hotels, restaurants, and a playground – all connected by walking and cycling paths. Much of the development is still under construction, but there are plans to add luxury boutiques, restaurants, and bars. At the moment, this area has a bit of a sterile feel and hasn’t found its own personality yet. However, the location is perfect, offering easy access to the Pueblo and beach, while remaining calm and quiet at night.

The Best Hotel in Aldea Zama

  • Naay(Hotel phone: +52 984 231 1241)

Tulum Map

Tulum Where To Stay Map and Where To Stay on Tulum Beach
Hotels on Map: 1. Jashita 2. O’ Tulum 3. Bardo 4. Una Vida 5. Casa Don Diego 6. Coco Hacienda 7. Hotel Tiki Tiki 8. Naay 9. Mezzanine 10. Mi Amor 11. Papaya Playa Project 12. Azulik 13. Punta Piedra Beach Posada Hotel 14. Zamas 15. El Pez 16. Tago 17. Coco Tulum 18. Dune 19. Cabañas La Luna 20. Cabañas Tulum 20. The Beach Tulum 21. Ahau 22. La Zebra 23. Alaya 23. Playa Mambo Eco Cabanas 24. Las Palmas Maya 25. Sueños 26. Encantada 27. La Valise 28. Be Tulum 29. Nômade 30. Casa Malca

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Cabo San Lucas Hotels

MexicoLos Cabos › Best Hotels
Updated: June 29, 2022

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Hotels in Cabo Area

Beach resorts in Cabo San Lucas.
The wonderful Hacienda Beach Club & Residences and Casa Dorada Resort & Spa in Cabo San Lucas.
  • I love the Cabo area. When visiting I usually split my time between the beaches near Cabo San Lucas and the downtown area of trendy San Jose del Cabo.
  • Best Hotels in Cabo San Lucas: Hacienda Beach Club & ResidencesCasa Dorada Resort & SpaVilla La EstanciaBahia Hotel & Beach HouseSandos FinisterraMontecristo VillasPueblo Bonito PacificaPueblo Bonito Sunset Beach
  • The Cabo area can be divided into 4 distinct areas: Cabo San Lucas (beaches and nightlife) • San Jose del Cabo (famous art district) • San Jose Puerto Los Cabos (private and tranquil with the only swimmable beach in San Jose) • The Corridor (golf, surfing, snorkeling)
  • Los Cabos means “the capes,” and is made up of two towns, Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, along with the coral reef marine park, Cabo Pulmo. Most of the hotels and attractions are in Cabo San Lucas, San Jose, and the Corridor (the stretch of Highway 1 linking the two towns). Cabo and San Jose are close in distance, about 30 km apart, but each town has its own distinct feel. Cabo is the livelier town, known for its nightlife, while San Jose is a more tranquil area, known for its Arts District. The Corridor is home to several golf courses and many of the area’s swimmable beaches.
  • Best Resorts in Cabo: Esperanza Resort (most romantic and best spa) • Cabo Surf Hotel (best family boutique) • Hilton Beach & Golf Resort (best family resort).
  • Los Cabos is known for beautiful beaches, all of which are public, but few of which are swimmable due to a dangerous undertow. Those beaches that are swimmable also have some of the best snorkeling in the world; Jacques Cousteau has called the Sea of Cortez “The Aquarium of the World”. The best beaches for swimming or snorkeling are: Medano Beach, Playa Empacadora, and Lovers & Divorce Beaches in Cabo; La Playita in San Jose; and Chileno Bay, Playa Monumentos, Old Man’s Beach (aka Playa Acupulquito), Tequila Cove, Santa Maria Beach, and Palmilla Beach in the Corridor.
  • Taxis are expensive in Los Cabos, costing around $50USD one-way from the airport to the hotels. Round trip fare from Cabo to San Jose is usually between $80 and $100USD. Car rentals are fairly cheap here, while tours and some hotels offer their own transportation.
  • 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 18 Best Hotels in Cabo

1. Hacienda Beach Club & Residences – Cabo San Lucas

Best beach hotel in Cabo San Lucas.Awesome location on Medano Beach and a short walk to downtown Cabo San Lucas. Two heated pools, three hot tubs, top notch fitness center, spa, pool bar, and one of the best restaurants in town. One-bedroom units are great for couples. Two and three-bedroom apartments are great for families. This is a fantastic place to stay.
Hotel phone: +52 624 163 3100
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Hacienda

2. Casa Dorada Los Cabos Resort & Spa – Cabo San Lucas

Best hotel pool in Cabo San Lucas.On the beach just down from the Hacienda is the four-star Casa Dorada. Not quite as lux but still a super hotel and one of my favorites. Great value with a gorgeous beachfront pool. Swimming on the beach is wonderful and town is an easy walk along the sand or through the backstreets. One and two-bedroom suites are available.
Hotel phone: +52 624 163 5700
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Casa Dorada

3. Esperanza – Corridor, Cabo del Sol

Boutique beach resort near Cabo San Lucas.Romantic, ocean view suites front a virgin beach in this luxury, boutique resort. Their award-winning spa features hand-made, indigenous treatments and is complemented by cascading infinity pools and a beachfront whirlpool. Breezy casitas, suites, and villas all feature local, artisanal furnishings, hammocks, and soaking tubs. Along with plenty of adults-only spaces (it’s a great honeymoon resort), amenities for children here include a kids’ club with cooking classes, mini-golf, and games. Though the beach here is rocky, the resort is only a short drive to several sandy, swimmable beaches. Located southeast of the Cabo del Sol complex in the Corridor.
Hotel phone: +52 624 145 6400
Hotel websiteCheck prices for Esperanza

4. Cabo Surf Hotel – Corridor, Palmilla

Cabo Surf Hotel on Beach.This upscale yet casual, family-friendly boutique sits on a long, sandy beach in a cove with the best surf break in Los Cabos. Ideal for families, the hotel offers connecting rooms, and the largest suite has three bedrooms and a full kitchen. The attached surf school offers classes for ages six and up; peak surf lasts from March through November, but there are gentle waves all year long for beginning surfers or swimmers. With a cozy spa, all-day dining, two pools and two hot tubs, there is something for everyone here. Located on Old Man’s Beach in the Corridor, just north of Palmilla Beach, about five minutes’ drive to dining, shopping, and art in downtown San Jose.
Hotel phone: +52 624 142 2666
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5. Hilton Beach & Golf Resort – Corridor, Tequila Cove

Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort in Corridor, Tequila CoveA contemporary, family-centric resort, the Hilton offers exceptional pools, rooms, and plenty of activities for kids, families, and adults. The kids’ club for ages 4-12 hosts piñata parties and Mexican craft activities, while adults can take up mixology and cooking classes. Two fantastic, 24-hour pools overlook the only swimmable beach in the area; swim-up bars in the pools, swing bar on the beach. Rooms are spacious, beginning at 50 square meters, all with private balconies and some with outdoor Jacuzzis. Located in the Corridor next to Tequila Cove, exactly in between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose.
Hotel phone: +52 624 145 6500
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6. Hotel El Ganzo – San Jose, Puerto Los Cabos

Hotel El Ganzo in San Jose, Puerto Los CabosStylish, adults-only boutique with a rooftop pool, glass Jacuzzi, and a private beach club accessed by boat. With picturesque views of the marina and Sea of Cortez, along with chic décor, original murals, and live music by visiting artists and musicians-in-residence, El Ganzo offers a creative alternative to the usual beach getaway. Exceptional restaurants and bars feature ingredients grown onsite in the hotel’s culinary garden. Local elements feature heavily in their spa menu, with Baja flowers, mezcal, and agave incorporated into traditions from Bali, India, and Thailand. Located in Puerto Los Cabos near the San Jose Estuary, a fifteen-minute ride on one of their loaner bikes to the downtown arts district.
Hotel phone: +52 624 104 9000
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7. The Cape – Corridor, Cabo Bello

Cape Hotel in Los Cabos.Mexico Moderno architecture lends an urban vibe to this intimate hotel, featuring an infinity pool, saltwater pool, and Cabo San Lucas’ only rooftop lounge. Contemporary rooms all boast views of the ocean and El Arco, along with copper soaking tubs and craft cocktail bars. Spacious one- to three-bedroom villas add full kitchens, while penthouse villas include private, rooftop plunge pools. Its spa is carved into the stone cliffs with a signature massage matching the sound and intensity of the ocean waves in real time. Fantastic dining options include Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian) and Baja-American cuisine, as well as poolside and beachfront bar service. Located in Cabo Bello on Monuments Beach, a popular surf break in the Corridor, just fifteen minutes from downtown Cabo San Lucas.
Hotel phone: +52 624 163 0000
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8. Montecristo Villas – Cabo San Lucas, Sunset Beach

Montecristo Villas in Cabo San Lucas, Sunset BeachA collection of spacious villas, each with its own private pool and hot tub, in a gated community overlooking the Sea of Cortez and Sunset Beach. Elegantly appointed units all have three bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, a full kitchen, two living rooms, and sleep up to ten people. Butler service and grocery shopping service are both complimentary. The common area features a free form infinity pool, tranquil spa, and a sports bar. Rates include shuttle service to Quivira Golf Club and all sister properties, offering access to twenty more restaurants and a private area on Sunset Beach. Located in the hills just above Downtown Cabo San Lucas.
Hotel phone: +52 624 142 9971
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9. Marquis Los Cabos – Corridor, Tequila Cove

Marquis Los Cabos in Corridor, Tequila CoveThis five-star resort, a member of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World consortium, is one of the few adults-only, all-inclusive properties in Los Cabos. All suites offer sweeping ocean views, Jacuzzi tubs, and private balconies; master suites and casitas include private pools, some with rooftop terraces and gardens. Superb restaurants feature local, seasonal menus in a variety of cuisines, including French, pan-Asian, and Baja, alongside local tequilas and artful cocktails. Three divine pools, a holistic spa, and direct beach access ensure an unparalleled guest experience. Located in the Corridor on Tequila Cove, a short walk to a calmer beach, and near golf courses.
Hotel phone: +52 624 144 2000
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10. Hyatt Ziva – San Jose, Hotel Zone

Hyatt Ziva Beach Resort in Los Cabos.Luxury all-inclusive resort with four pools surrounded by shady cabanas, a kids’ splash playground, a teen game room, and nightly entertainment. Spacious rooms and suites all include a private balcony or terrace; connecting, swim up, or club level options available, the latter with access to an exclusive lounge and upgraded room amenities. Sixteen unique restaurants and bars offer flavors from around the world, including Mexican, French, and Japanese, along with a tequila bar and 24-hour cantina. Its Zen Spa features peaceful massage palapas surrounded by water. Located in the San Jose Hotel Zone, near an amazing swimming beach, Palmilla.
Hotel phone: +52 624 163 7730
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11. Viceroy Los Cabos – San Jose, Hotel Zone

Viceroy Los Cabos in San Jose, Hotel ZoneThe most visually striking hotel in Los Cabos, the Viceroy’s architecture resembles a futuristic pueblo on a gorgeous golden sand beach. Its interior courtyard paths are set amid reflecting pools, meeting up at a pod-like restaurant designed like an inverted bird nest, before continuing on toward a chic swimming pool and further to the beach club. Rooms are spacious with minimalist décor, electronic lighting, and shades, and all feature large terraces with oversized soaking tubs, daybeds, and a breakfast table. Dining is remarkable here, with organic produce and local seafood served daily in Nido (the bird nest) and Origen, their contemporary Mexican fine dining restaurant. Their spa offers massage and body treatments with a special focus on aromatherapy and music. Located in the San Jose Hotel Zone, a fifteen-minute bike ride (complimentary bikes) or short taxi to the Downtown Art District.
Hotel phone: +52 624 104 9999
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12. Grand Fiesta Americana – Corridor, Cabo del Sol

Grand Fiesta Americana in Corridor, Cabo del SolFamily-friendly, all-inclusive resort, boasting six pools, four whirlpools, and fifteen bars and restaurants; truly something for everyone! Its unique spa specializes in “vinotherapy,” wine-based massage and therapeutic treatments. The resort offers a variety of rooms and suites, all with balconies, and some with private pools or gardens. Direct beach access fronted by a reef makes this an ideal spot for snorkeling. The Grand Fiesta sits in the Corridor, right next to the Cabo del Sol Ocean and Desert golf courses.
Hotel phone: +52 624 145 6200
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13. Hacienda del Mar – Corridor, Cabo del Sol

Sheraton Grand Hacienda del Mar in Corridor, Cabo del SolElegant colonial-style resort with five pools, located between two golf courses in the Cabo del Sol complex. Its “Old Mexico” vibe is its most distinctive attribute, with ornamental cupolas, Catholic artwork, antique gold, red tile roof, and hand-painted tiles. Enormous suites from one to four bedrooms and two floors can sleep up to ten. Their amazing kids’ club features time in the kids’ pool with waterfalls and slides, Spanish lessons, and even camping. Spa days and romantic dining round out the experience.
Hotel phone: +52 624 145 8000
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14. Pueblo Bonito Pacifica – Cabo San Lucas, Sunset Beach

Beach hotel with pool.Exquisite adults-only, all-inclusive resort with two dazzling pools, an award-winning spa, and a private golf course. Sophisticated rooms and suites all include private terraces, some with personal plunge pools. Tower rooms and suites add 24-hour butler service, upgraded amenities, and access to an exclusive lounge. Sumptuous dining here focuses on contemporary Baja flavors using local, organic produce, fresh seafood, and fine meat cuts. The Pacifica’s design and style celebrate its desert surroundings with sand-colored buildings, cactus gardens, and raked sand landscaping. Located on Sunset Beach on the Pacific side of Cabo San Lucas, about ten minutes’ drive to the marina and downtown nightlife.
Hotel phone: +52 624 142 9696
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15. Bahia Hotel & Beach House – Cabo San Lucas, Downtown

Bahia Hotel & Beach House in Cabo San Lucas, DowntownFashionable boutique hotel with a free-form pool and beach club on the edge of downtown Cabo San Lucas. This chic hotel is home to two of the top restaurants in Cabo San Lucas: Bar Esquina, known for its seasonal Mexican-Mediterranean menus, and SUR Beach House, with its craft cocktails and Asian-Peruvian-Mexican flavor fusions. Newly renovated rooms feature modern Mexican décor with rich woods, tree stump tables, and lots of natural light. Bahia Hotel is only one block from Medano Beach and walking distance to nearly every bar and restaurant in town.
Hotel phone: +52 624 143 1890
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16. Casa Natalia – San Jose, Downtown

Casa Natalia in San Jose, DowntownThis sunny boutique hotel with creative flair and a fountain-fed pool is home to one of the city’s best restaurants, Mi Cocina. Casa Natalia embodies the artistic vibe of San Jose, with colorful rooms featuring Mexican textiles, original artworks, and bold accent walls and furnishings. All rooms feature bright terraces with hammocks, while spa suites add outdoor whirlpools. Superior suites and above include complimentary, private breakfast delivered to your terrace. Complimentary transfer to the Beach Club at El Ganzo. Located in Downtown San Jose on the main square, walking distance to the town’s famous Art Walk, historic church, and restaurants.
Hotel phone: +52 624 146 7101
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17. Villa La Estancia – Cabo San Lucas, Downtown

Villa La Estancia in Cabo San Lucas, DowntownGorgeous resort on sandy, swimmable Medano Beach, with cascading, sea-facing pools and five Jacuzzis. This hacienda-style resort with Spanish colonial décor is home to well-appointed rooms and spacious suites that include up to three bedrooms. An oversized spa offers a wide menu: from romantic, couples massage and hydrotherapy packages to kids’ services in the Mini Spa. Guests may dine at the casual, poolside grill and upscale, Italian restaurant onsite, or choose one of the many restaurant options at the sister properties next door. Full meal plans are available here, or guest may take the short walk to Downtown Cabo San Lucas to check out the local gastronomy scene. Located on Cabo’s most popular beach, near nightlife, dining, and shops.
Hotel phone: +1 877-897-1951
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18. Sandos Finisterra – Cabo San Lucas, Downtown

Sandos Finisterra in Cabo San Lucas, DowntownGorgeous all-inclusive, family-friendly resort carved into a cliffside boasting three pools, a kids club with activities, a nightclub, and a spa with hydrotherapy. Rooms feature contemporary décor with balconies, some with private Jacuzzis. The common areas are decked out in a retro style, and take the rugged landscape into consideration, using the natural rocks as interior walls. Its high vantage point offers unsurpassed, panoramic views of the Pacific, Sea of Cortez, and Cabo. The resort is walking distance to the Cabo marina, bars, and restaurants, but guests will want to drive back up.
Hotel phone: +52 624 145 6700
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Staying in Cabo San Lucas, Downtown

Cabo San Lucas Beach.
The main beach in Cabo San Lucas, a short walk from the Marina and downtown.

Cabo San Lucas, usually shortened to Cabo, was a tiny fishing village only forty years ago. But this sleepy town has been experiencing a tourism boom since the late ’70s, fast becoming one of the top beach destinations in the world. Downtown Cabo is best known for its lively bars and nightclubs, golden sand beaches, and relaxed attitude. The town is laid out in a C-shape, following the contours of the coast, beginning with Medano Beach to the northeast, the marina in the center, and wrapping around to Land’s End and the famous El Arco rock formation at the southeastern tip. All of the beaches in this area front the Sea of Cortez and are swimmable, including Medano (the most popular), Playa Empacadora (mostly locals), and Lovers Beach (accessible by water taxi). Beaches on the south side face the Pacific, such as Sunset Beach; these are closed to swimming due to the deadly current.

Just inland from the beaches, Downtown Cabo is home to casual and fine dining restaurants, and wild nightclubs and bars. The marina area includes Puerto Paraíso mall, water taxis to Lovers Beach and Divorce Beach, tour and fishing boats, plus more bars and restaurants, some that will cook any fish that travelers catch. A small main plaza with a historic church, local natural history museum, and souvenir shops sits to the southwest of the Marina. Everything is close; in fact, you can walk the length of Madero Beach, all the way around the marina, and to Land’s End in about thirty minutes.

Best Hotels in Cabo San Lucas, Downtown & Beach

Staying in Cabo San Lucas, Sunset Beach

Luxury resort on Sunset Beach in Cabo.
The beach at the Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Resort.

The Sunset Beach area sits on the southern edge of Cabo, overlooking the Pacific. This is the latest area to be developed in Cabo, so the beach itself is fairly secluded and unspoiled. Though not swimmable, Sunset Beach is the perfect spot to unwind in the sun or hit the links; away from the raucous partying of downtown, but still accessible to its dining, marina, and conveniences. This area is home to a few luxury resorts, high-end residences, and Jack Nicklaus-designed Quivira Golf Club.

Best Hotels in Cabo San Lucas, Sunset Beach

Staying in San Jose del Cabo, Downtown and Hotel Zone

Downtown San Jose del Cabo.
Trendy and charming downtown San Jose del Cabo.

San Jose is a relaxed town with a boho vibe. Romantic colonial architecture, fine restaurants, low-key cantinas, and its famous Art Walk are the town’s biggest draws. San Jose is greener than Cabo and the surrounding area because of an underwater river that flows through here, eventually surfacing to create a lush estuary. The wetlands here are home to a bird sanctuary with walking trails, a small beach, and observation platforms, and it’s a popular spot for bicycling or horseback riding. The nineteenth-century Spanish church, Parroquia San José del Cabo, is the historic heart of downtown, with the Art District’s main galleries just one block away on Alvaro Obregon.

Most of the activities are in downtown, but most hotels are just southwest in the Hotel Zone. This is a 3.5 km strip of beach beginning at Costa Azul beach to the southwest and ending at the far northeast of Playa Hotelera (Hotel Beach). This long stretch of golden sand is popular for sunning and beach sports, but is not swimmable. The only swimmable beach in San Jose is further northeast in Puerto Los Cabos.

Best Hotels in San Jose, Downtown and Hotel Zone

Staying in San Jose, Puerto Los Cabos

Hotel on water in San Jose del Cabo.
The waterfront pool at Hotel El Ganzo.

Puerto Los Cabos is on the opposite side of the estuary from Downtown and is home to the Marina, the swimmable beach La Playita, and some of the newest hotels in San Jose. This area is generally quieter than downtown, though there are a few attractions here, including the Dolphin Discovery at the marina and the Wirikuta Cactus Garden, filled with sculptures, local flora, and hosting a nightly theater show. Puerto Los Cabos is less than ten minutes from Downtown by bike or car.

Best Hotels in San Jose, Puerto Los Cabos

Staying in The Corridor

Beach resort in Los Cabos Corridor.
The Cabo Surf Hotel on the Los Cabos Corridor.

“The Corridor” is a roughly 30 km stretch of Highway 1, connecting Cabo and San Jose del Cabo. Many of the area’s largest resorts are here, alongside a few golf courses, swimmable beaches, and adventure parks. Resorts and attractions here are spread out, so those who plan on exploring much outside their resort grounds will need to rent a car or arrange for other transportation; there is nothing within walking distance of most hotels here.

The best surf breaks on the Corridor are at Old Man’s Beach and Playa Monumentos. The best snorkeling is at Santa Maria Beach and Chileno Bay. The best beaches for swimming are Palmilla and Tequila Cove.

Best Hotels in the Corridor

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Where to Stay in Acapulco

Mexico Acapulco › Best Places to Stay
Updated: March 15, 2022

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Best Areas to Stay in Acapulco

Synonymous with beachside hedonism, Acapulco has been a household name since the 1950s. During its heyday, Mexico’s original party town attracted Hollywood glitterati, including Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and Elizabeth Taylor, and for decades it was the most popular beach vacation spot south of the border for American travelers. While its popularity has waned somewhat in comparison to that of rival resorts of Cancun, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta, its beaches are second to none. Besides the city’s most celebrated spectacle of daredevil cliff divers of La Quebrada, as well as boat cruises, assorted water sports, and fishing aside, unexpected surprises await the visitor, such as an ancient petroglyph site high above the city. Acapulco also boasts the most dramatic topography of all of Mexico’s beach towns: wide bays and hidden coves sheltered by soaring cliffs, winding coastal roads with gorgeous views around every bend, and high-rise hotels looming against a backdrop of jungle-green hills.

Acapulco is a spread-out city, stretching around the Bahía de Acapulco (Acapulco Bay) from the Acapulco Tradicional (a.k.a. Old Acapulco or the centro histórico) in the north to Diamante, a string of beaches south of the bay. The two are linked by Acapulco’s 7-mile-long principal bayside avenue, Avenida Costera Miguel Alemán (‘La Costera’) that hugs the coastline. At the south end of the bay, Avenida Costera becomes Carretera Escénica and winds its way up the Brisas del Marqués headland, and then down toward Puerto Marqués, Diamante, and the airport.

Acapulco Tradicional is the oldest part of the city. It encompasses the compact historic heart with its narrow streets, centered on the centuries-old Plaza Álvarez and dominated by the cathedral as well as the busy port, several small beaches, and most of Acapulco’s historic attractions. It’s also where you find La Quebrada, where the spectacle of the famous cliff divers takes place.

Just south of Old Acapulco is the peninsula of Las Playas, a hilly, quiet, largely residential neighborhood with leafy, winding streets. There’s a couple of popular beaches on the peninsula’s south side and Las Playas is easily walkable to Acapulco Tradicional.

Some 7 miles northwest of Acapulco Tradicional is Pie de la Cuesta, consisting of a long, narrow strip of land that separates Acapulco Bay from the Laguna de Coyuca which is rich in birdlife. Though not a part of the city, it’s a popular weekend getaway for Acapulco residents, with numerous inexpensive guesthouses and seafood restaurants.

Acapulco Tradicional is also the beginning of La Costera, the busy avenue that circles the bay. Playa Hornos, just east of Acapulco Tradicional, marks the beginning of the Zona Dorada – a long string of beaches fronted by midrange oceanfront hotels that’s popular with tourists. The best of the beaches is Playa Icacos, halfway along the bay, and that’s where you’ll find the densest concentration of restaurants and nightclubs.

Beyond the naval base at the eastern end of Playa Icacos, the coastal highway makes its way up the Brisas del Marqués headland, home of one of Acapulco’s best restaurants as well as several high-end hotels and luxury villas dotting the greenery-clad cliffs. A short drive beyond and overlooking the sheltered Marqués Bay is Puerto Marqués, a small, chilled-out settlement boasting some wallet-friendly seafood restaurants and a decent sandy beach, flanked by more secluded sandy coves.

Southeast of Puerto Marqués is the spread-out, exclusive neighborhood of Diamante, home to Acapulco’s best luxury hotels, golf courses, spas, condominiums, and private villas, all stretching along a 3-mile long strip of white sand.

The southeast end of Diamante meets Acapulco’s international airport, beyond which lies Barra Vieja. Technically, it’s part of Acapulco proper, but this low-key community is very close to the city and is a popular getaway for foreign visitors and Acapulco residents alike. The seafront boulevard, dotted with a few wallet-friendly beach hotels, runs alongside several sandy beaches before culminating in the seaside village.

Best Places to Stay in Acapulco

Best Areas in Acapulco for…

  • Best Neighborhoods in Acapulco for Sightseeing: Acapulco Tradicional, Pie de la Cuesta
    Most of Acapulco’s attractions are conveniently located in Acapulco Tradicional, the historic center. The city’s biggest attraction are the fearless clavidistas (cliff divers) who perform daredevil dives into churning ocean waters twice daily off the La Quebrada cliffs. Apart from that, there is the historic San Diego fort, with the excellent Museum of Acapulco History inside, and another museum dedicated to masks used in traditional festivals across Mexico. Located away from Acapulco’s tourist neighborhoods but well worth seeking out if you’re a history buff is the Palma Sola ceremonial and pilgrimage site dating back to 450 BC, with some wonderfully preserved petroglyphs. Finally, if you’re more into nature, then Pie de la Cuesta is home to the large freshwater Coyuca lagoon, complete with the Isla Pájaros bird sanctuary.
  • Best Neighborhood in Acapulco for Nightlife: Zona Dorada
    Acapulco’s nightclubs and bars, popular with a younger crowd, are concentrated in the central part of the Zona Dorada, particularly along the Playa El Morro and Playa Condesa, and with a few more lining the Costera a couple of blocks north of Playa Icacos. There are also a couple of popular nightclubs off the Costera, past the naval base, on the way to Brisas del Marqués. All luxury hotels in Brisas del Marqués and Diamante tend to have bars onsite, and if you’re looking for a cold beer by the beach, the palapas (thatched beachside restaurants) in Pie de la Cuesta and Barra Vieja are perfect for just that.
  • Best Neighborhoods in Acapulco for Food and Restaurants: Zona Dorada, Brisas del Marqués/Puerto Marqués, Diamante
    You’re not going to go hungry in Acapulco. Zona Dorada is densely packed with places to eat, particularly along La Costera just north of Playa Icacos. Some of the top wallet-friendly and midrange restaurants showcasing local flavors include Chile, Maíz y Frijol, El Cabrito (where the specialty is roast baby goat), Sabor Guerrero, and Restaurante Terra Luna. Brisas del Marqués is home to some of Acapulco’s best fine dining – both Zibu and Sirocco combine fusion cuisine with stellar cliff views, while Puerto Marqués is home to numerous low-key seafood joints that line the beach. Diamante features numerous, generally midrange restaurants that serve a mix of Mexican and international dishes and cater mostly to an international crowd. Standouts include Paititi del Mar (seafood), La Casa de la Pasta (Italian), La Finca Acapulco (traditional Mexican), and Mizumi (Japanese-style fine dining).
  • Best Neighborhood in Acapulco for Families: Zona Dorada, Diamante
    The best hotels for a beach vacation with kids with facilities such as multiple pools, kids’ clubs, and several water sports are spread out along the beaches of Diamante. There are several midrange and high-end all-inclusive hotels catering to families in the Zona Dorada as well, but depending on the location, there may be some noise from nearby nightclubs. Diamante is a more tranquil neighborhood. Active families on a budget may consider the midrange and budget hotels in Las Playas – a tranquil neighborhood, with 2 excellent beaches within easy walking distance, as well as all the attractions in Acapulco Tradicional.
  • Best Neighborhood in Acapulco to Stay for First Timer: Acapulco Tradicional, Zona Dorada, Diamante
    For a first visit to the city, Acapulco Tradicional is hard to beat, because not only is it home to the famous cliff divers, but also because all of its attractions are reachable on foot. However, if you’re looking to split your time between beaches and historic attractions and if you’re after more upmarket accommodation than most of the offerings in Acapulco Tradicional, then the Zona Dorada is a good bet. If what you’re looking for is primarily a beach vacation, then base yourself in Diamante, where Acapulco’s best beaches are located. Diamante is farther from the historic attractions of Acapulco Tradicional, but still very doable as a day trip.
  • Most Romantic Neighborhood in Acapulco: Brisas del Marqués/Puerto Marqués, Diamante
    For a romantic vacation, it’s hard to beat the intimate luxury and design hotels set high up on the green hillsides of Brisas del Marqués. Fantastic ocean views and intimate seclusion are the big draws here; on the downside, Brisas del Marqués feels rather cut off from the rest of Acapulco. Diamante may lack the atmosphere and relatively remote setting of Brisas del Marqués, but it makes up for it in spades in pure luxury; some of Acapulco’s best high-end hotels are located here. So if you’re looking to really pamper your other half, Diamante is also a good bet.
  • Best Neighborhood in Acapulco for a Local Vibe: Acapulco Tradicional, Barra Vieja, Pie de la Cuesta
    With the exception of La Quebrada cliffs that attract tourists staying in all parts of the city, Acapulco Tradicional is refreshingly untouristy. Its streets are worth a wander and its historic plaza is good for people-watching. The seaside village of Barra Vieja is popular with Acapulco residents and local surfers and has a relaxed, low-key vibe. North of the city, Pie de la Cuesta is another rustic beach community. While on weekends it bustles with Acapulqueños, during the week, it’s a serene place to be; you can hang out with local fishermen or go birdwatching on the vast freshwater lagoon.
  • Safest Areas of Acapulco
    While Acapulco has a bit of a bad reputation when it comes to crime, all neighborhoods popular with tourists such as Acapulco Tradicional, Zona Dorada, Brisas del Marqués, Diamante, etc, are safe to walk around, particularly during the daytime. After dark, it’s a good idea to take a taxi to your hotel in Las Playas and generally avoid walking anywhere where there are few people. Standard precautions apply at all times: don’t flash or carry 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 and bag snatching in crowded areas and if using public transport along the Costera.
  • Unsafe Areas of Acapulco
    Visitors are advised to stick to the tourist-friendly neighborhoods along the coast and avoid the residential areas higher uphill. One exception is the archaeological site of Palma Sola, right at the top of the city, which is fine to visit during daytime (but ask your taxi driver to wait).

The Best Neighborhoods in Acapulco for Tourists

1. Acapulco Tradicional/Old Acapulco

One of the most walkable parts of the city, Acapulco Tradicional is a compact grid of narrow streets up from the port area, with the Plaza Álvarez – the city’s main square – at its heart. The square itself is missable, but the La Quebrada cliffs are a must-see. Every evening, Acapulco’s famous cliff divers perform their death-defying dives with lit torches. If you’re a fan of Diego Rivera’s art, check out the Casa de Los Vientos on Calle Inalámbrica 8, where you’ll find the artist’s last works in the form of murals outside the villa. Directly above the port is the Fuerte de San Diego, a historic fort featuring the excellent museum devoted to the history of the city, while near the fort there’s another excellent museum dedicated to Mexican ceremonial masks. The only cultural sight that’s not located in Old Acapulco is the archaeological site of Palma Sola. Some boat tours depart from the malecón (waterfront promenade) near the main square. The dining scene here is local and low-key, and accommodations comprise a few budget guesthouses and hotels.

2. Las Playas

All winding, hilly streets on a peninsula just south of Acapulco Tradicional, Las Playas is short on attractions and big on peace and quiet. On the south side of the peninsula are two attractive, sandy beaches, Playa Calatilla and Playa Caleta, popular with locals. Local dining is limited to a handful of restaurants clustered near the beaches, serving a mix of traditional Mexican dishes and seafood, and there are numerous, mostly budget hotels scattered around this residential neighborhood near the two beaches.

3. Costera/Zona Dorada

Stretching along La Costera – the principal avenue that spans the length of Acapulco Bay – is the Zona Dorada, a popular neighborhood for vacationers. The main attraction here is the string of sandy beaches that runs all the way from the ferry port in Acapulco Tradicional to the cliffs of the Brisas del Marqués. From west to east, Playa Tamarindos and Playa Hornos feature a couple of good, casual seafood restaurants, as does Playa El Morro further along. Next up, the sandy crescent of Playa Condesa is quiet and sheltered, while the easternmost beach, Playa Icacos, bustles with holidaymakers from the oceanfront hotels that line its long, white-sand curve. Taxis along La Costera are plentiful, and if you want to try a truly local experience, the public buses plying its length turn into discos on wheels after dark.

4. Brisas del Marqués/Puerto Marqués

South of the naval base that marks the end of the Zona Dorada begin the cliffs of the Brisas del Marqués headland, the most scenic and dramatic part of the city. Intimate high-end hotels and luxury villas peek out from the dense greenery high above the ocean. Southwest of the cliffs, the coastal highway descends to Puerto Marqués, a fishing village overlooking the sheltered Marqués Bay. There’s a handful of low-key hotels here, a scattering of seafood restaurants and 2 lovely coves – Playa Majahua and Playa Hermosa, both just south of the village’s main beach.

5. Diamante

Between Puerto Marqués and Acapulco’s international airport, spread-out Diamante is the city’s most exclusive neighborhood. The 3-mile white-sand beach is arguably Acapulco’s loveliest, and apart from the convenience of being close to the airport, there are all sorts of other creature comforts here: spas, golf courses, and the lion’s share of the city’s luxury hotels. You need to hire a car to get around.

6. Barra Vieja

Past the international airport and stretching south for several miles from the Tres Vidas Golf Club, culminating in the small, eponymous fishing village, Barra Vieja lies just beyond the official Acapulco boundaries. The long seafront promenade and beach is lined with inexpensive, casual seafood restaurants, where you can dig your toes in the sand and watch local surfers hit the waves. There are just a couple of budget hotels and a couple of boutique hotels in the village proper, and you really need your own wheels to get out here.

7. Pie de la Cuesta

Technically not part of Acapulco proper either, but located just 7 miles’ drive northwest of Acapulco Tradicional, Pie de la Cuesta is a rustic beach suburb built on a thin strip of land between the Pacific and the freshwater Laguna de Coyuca. The sunsets and sunrises here are particularly impressive. There’s a handful of oceanfront budget hotels there, as well as numerous palapas (rustic seafood restaurants) overlooking the sea. Nature lovers can take a boat tour on the lagoon to Isla Pájaros, a bird sanctuary, while active travelers can ride horses along the surf.

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Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta

Mexico Puerto Vallarta › Best Places to Stay
Updated: March 14, 2022

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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 Areas 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.
  • 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 are told to actively avoid.

The Best Neighborhoods 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

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.

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Where to Stay in Guadalajara

Mexico Guadalajara › Best Places to Stay
Updated: March 11, 2022

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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.
  • Guadalajara has been named #6 for the “Top 10 Cities in Mexico & Central & South America” by TRAVEL + LEISURE as part of their annual World’s Best List.

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 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 Places to Stay in Guadalajara

Good hotel in central Guadalajara.
The view from the great-value DoubleTree Centro Historico.

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

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.

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Punta de Mita Bars

Mexico › Punta de Mita Hotels
Updated: March 10, 2022

Where to Find the Best Cocktails in Punta de Mita, Mexico

Punta de Mita is a town best-known for its similarly named gated community, Punta Mita, and the condos, golf courses, and luxury resorts that live within it, like the Four Seasons and St. Regis. However, an array of interesting dining and accommodation options can be found outside the gates too. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anything open in the area past 10 or 11 pm, but if you venture out earlier you can definitely enjoy a world-class drink.

These are the spots with the best cocktails in Punta de Mita, whether you’re after a traditional margarita or a signature cocktail created in house at a famed resort.

1. Chevychería (at W Punta de Mita)

Sitting at the W Hotel’s beachfront ceviche bar is an experience in its own right. Patrons can enjoy fresh seafood with Latin flavors served straight from a ’50s Chevrolet pickup truck. The cocktails are all made from fresh ingredients at a bar inside the truck and are perfect for the beach slash poolside location. Try the Ananash, a concoction made from roasted pineapple puree, agave honey, lime, and raicilla – a local agave distillate similar to tequila and mezcal that you shouldn’t miss.

More info:
• Address: Km 8.5, Carr. Federal la Cruz de Huanacaxtle – Punta de Mita, Desarrollo Costa Banderas, 63734 Punta de Mita, Nay.
• Phone: 329 226 8333

2. Mita Mary Boat Bar & Bistro (St. Regis)

Mita Mary beach bar in Punta de Mita.
Keeping in line with the food truck movement, this beachside “boat” bistro allows guests to enjoy mouthwatering seafood tacos or tostadas accompanied by fresh tropical fruit cocktails. Margaritas come in unique flavors like watermelon, jalapeño, passion fruit, or basil and pineapple. At night, a fire pit burns on the sand, adding a bohemian element to the beachy atmosphere. This is a place where you’ll probably want to go in the company of your significant other, as the sound of the waves, the moonlight, and the feeling of the sand between your toes are the ingredients for a memorable holiday date night.

More info:
• Address: Lote H-4, México 200 km 19.5, 63734 Punta de Mita, Nay.
• Phone: 329 291 5800

3. The Shack (at the Four Seasons)

The shack bar & restaurant in Punta de Mita.
This beachfront bar at the Four Seasons serves signature cocktails created in house by expert mixologists. The Machete, a smoky mezcal drink infused with watermelon and chilies shouldn’t be missed. And if you’re after something that will whet your appetite –or cure the previous night’s excesses– you can’t pass up the Cielo Rojo, a refreshing combination of Riviera Nayarit’s sangrita mixed with Cora beer, a label made exclusively for the resort by Cerveza Minerva. The innovative cocktails are served in unique glasses that will make you want to order a drink just to experience the joy of drinking from a see-through skull-shaped mug oozing smoke or a tall totem-inspired highball.

More info:
• Address: Carr. Federal la Cruz de Huanacaxtle – Punta de Mita, 63734 Punta de Mita, Nay.
• Phone: 329 291 6000

4. Spice Market (at W Punta de Mita)

If you’ve been to an iconic Buddha Bar at one of its locations around the world, this place is bound to remind you of it. DJ beats, dim lights, opulent furniture, and spicy pan-Asian cuisine weave together smoothly to provide the perfect atmosphere for a swanky night out. With outposts in New York City, Doha, and San Miguel de Allende, Spice Market is guaranteed to make you feel like a real-life VIP. A cold sake seems like a very appropriate drink order, but they also have several expertly-crafted cocktails that go well with the chef’s take on Thai, Vietnamese, and Malaysian cuisine.

More info:
• Address: Km 8.5, Carr. Federal la Cruz de Huanacaxtle – Punta de Mita, Desarrollo Costa Banderas, 63734 Punta de Mita, Nay.
• Phone: 329 226 8333

5. Lobster Paradise

Lobster beach bar in Punta de Mita.
Guess what we recommend you order if you decide to give this place a go? Yes, lobster! But if drinks are what you’re after, this restaurant located at El Anclote strip offers you the choice between sitting on a large beachfront deck or seeking refuge from the heat at the enclosed air-conditioned bar. The bar’s impeccable maritime décor and signature cocktails are bound to keep patrons in there for a while. Try a Sí Señor, which combines espadín mezcal with coconut water, lime, and tonic water, or a Ramon is Hot, prepared with silver tequila, cucumber, jalapeño, agave honey, and lime.

More info:
• Address: Ave El Anclote 9, Punta de Mita, Nay.
• Phone: 329 291 6296

6. Rosa Mexicano

Margaritas poured in front of patrons accompanied by mouth-watering Mexican antojitos (starters that will help you sample a lot of different items on the menu) is the way to go at this brightly-colored restaurant with seating right on the sand. Warm complimentary salsa is prepared tableside for you to enjoy with tortilla chips while you wait for your order and the friendly staff will go the extra mile to ensure you have everything you need. If you find yourself in the area soon, make sure you give this place located at El Anclote a try. It’s as Mexican as it gets but with a tropical beach twist.

More info:
• Address: Ave El Anclote 114, Punta de Mita, Nay.
• Phone: 329 291 5495

7. La Pescadora

La Pescadora beach club in Punta de Mita.
Formerly named The Blue Shrimp, La Pescadora is also found in El Anclote and it retains its striking surfboard decor at the entrance. Self-described as a “Barbecue–Beach–Booze” joint, this is a great spot to relax by the beach at sunset with a drink in hand while you gaze at people expertly paddleboarding. Try a freshly-made lime margarita served in a colorful mouth-blown glass, either sitting at a table if you’re planning to accompany your drinks with an order of guacamole or seafood specialty, or from one of their comfortable lounging chairs.

More info:
• Address: Ave El Anclote 10, Punta de Mita, Nay.
• Phone: 329 291 5212

Tips & Advice

  • When to Visit: June through August are the hottest months to visit Punta de Mita, so if you’re looking for a bit of a cooler climate, you might want to wait till November –although it should be noted that temperatures don’t vary significantly throughout the year. If you want to ensure that it doesn’t rain while you’re there (and you don’t mind the crowds), consider visiting during the high season of January, February, or March. Good deals can be found in May, the slowest month in Punta de Mita.
  • Arrival: Your flight will arrive at Puerto Vallarta airport, which is about an hour’s drive to Punta de Mita. Airport taxis can be expensive, as is private transportation arranged in advance by the hotel, but you can get an Uber in Puerto Vallarta for much less. Alternatively, there are several private and group transportation options leaving from the Puerto Vallarta airport.
  • How to Get Around: Whether you stay in the gated community of Punta Mita or at a hotel located elsewhere, you can get to the town of Punta de Mita by taxi or hotel shuttle. The main strip in the town is called El Anclote, where you’ll find bars, restaurants, and shops. El Anclote also offers accommodation options –albeit more modest than others in the area.

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Tulum Hotel Reviews

MexicoTulum › Hotel Reviews
Updated: March 10, 2022

All Tulum Hotel Reviews

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Biking in Tulum

MexicoTulum › Biking
Updated: March 10, 2022

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Getting Around Tulum By Bike

Biking the beach road in Tulum
Biking along the beach road in Tulum. The road is narrow with no bike lane, but traffic moves slowly and drivers are used to looking out for cyclists. Biking is the best way to get around Tulum, whether in the town or at the beach.

There are five ways to get around Tulum

  • Walking is easy to do in the pueblo (downtown) or at the playa (beach). Most of the pueblo’s hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, and the bus station sit within a three square kilometer section of town. Streets follow a mostly grid-like pattern with wide sidewalks and good lighting at night. The clubs stay open until late (some as late as 5:00 a.m.), so it’s not unusual to have the streets crowded with pedestrians until late in the evening. At the playa, there is only one narrow road, so it’s impossible to get lost. Most hotels and many restaurants are set up along the eastern, beach side of the road, while most restaurants, shops, bars, and yoga studios lie on the western, jungle side of the road. Though there is no sidewalk for most of the length of the beach road, cars move slowly and drivers are used to pedestrians, so it’s generally safe to walk during daylight hours. Exercise caution walking at night, as there are no street lights here, just the lights from the hotels and other businesses, so it’s hard for drivers to see pedestrians. Though walking is the most common way to get around in the beach zone, the whole length of the beach is over 10 km from the ruins in the north to Sian Ka’an in the south and would take around 2.5 hours to walk the full length. For longer trips or to travel the 5 km between the pueblo and the playa, you’ll want a more efficient mode of transportation.
  • Busing is an easy, affordable way to travel from Tulum to nearby cities, including Playa del Carmen, Cancun, and Bacalar. There are two bus stations in Tulum, the main one in the pueblo and another one at the ruins. However, there are no bus routes connecting the pueblo to the beach. The closest thing Tulum has to a public bus serving local routes in the pueblo or on the beach is the colectivo, a large van that operates as a bus and is mostly used by locals and hotel workers. The colectivo between the pueblo and playa runs about every hour; it’s often full and when that’s the case, it won’t pick up more passengers. Colectivos are incredibly cheap if you’re lucky enough to flag one down on Avenida Coba, but it’s not recommended to rely on the colectivo.
  • Taxis are the most expensive public transport option, but they are the best option for traveling with luggage, large groups, or for late-night trips to or from the beach zone. Taxis are easiest to find near the bus stations, Chedraui supermarket, and near hotel-heavy areas, or call ahead to reserve one. Taxis in Tulum do not use meters; instead, they charge flat rates depending on which zone you are traveling to or from. Drivers have an official list of fares per zone in their taxis, and you’ll also find these lists at designated taxi stands. For a taxi from the pueblo to the North Beach Zone (up to the ruins) or Beach Town area (as far south as Zamas Hotel), the price should be around 100 pesos, while a taxi from the pueblo to the South Beach Zone, near the entrance to Sian Ka’an will be around 180 pesos. Not too bad for an occasional expense, but for multiple trips, it adds up fast. There is no Uber in Tulum to compete with taxi rates.
  • Driving is easy to do in and around Tulum and offers more flexibility for exploring farther-flung attractions, including the Cobá ruins, Punta Laguna Nature Park, or Dos Ojos cenote. But a car can be a burden for traveling along the beach road since there is not much parking available and the narrow road is prone to congestion with work trucks and too many taxis. Rent a car if you plan on doing a lot of exploring outside Tulum proper, but if the bulk of your time will be spent in the pueblo or at the beach, cycling is the best option.
  • Cycling is the best way to get around Tulum especially for traveling up and down the beach road, for getting between the pueblo and playa, and for getting to the cenotes just outside of town. Bikes are everywhere in Tulum. They’re easy to rent and cost about 150 pesos a day (less if you rent for multiple days). Tulum pueblo, playa, and the surrounding areas are mostly flat with a few very slight inclines here and there. The bike ride between the town and beach takes 20 to 35 minutes depending on your precise starting and stopping points. Along the beach road, car traffic can stop for 5 to 15-minutes for seemingly no reason at all. On a bike, you sail right by all the traffic and are happy for not being stuck in a car.

Renting a Bike in Tulum

Bike rental shop in Tulum.
Ola Bike in Tulum Pueblo – on the bike path heading towards the beach.

The best bike rental shop in Tulum is Ola Bike Tulum in the Pueblo on the road to the beach. There are many rental shops nearby, but Ola has the most well-maintained bikes in all sizes, plus accessories like baby carriers. If you book in advance, they’ll even deliver the bikes to you at your hotel and pick them up when your rental term ends.

Paola is another good shop in the Tulum pueblo. The bikes are older and not as high-end as Ola’s, but they are cheaper, about 100 pesos a day. The downside is that they will keep your ID for collateral as long as you have the bike.

Bike rentals at Punta Piedra Beach Posada in Tulum
Punta Piedra Beach Posada is the most popular spot to rent a bike at the beach in Tulum.

There are also bikes available to rent on the beach, but most beach bike rentals are run out of hotels with a limited selection of bikes at an inflated rate (around 250 to 500 pesos per day). The best bike rentals on the beach are at the hotels Punta Piedra Beach Posada and Las Palmas Maya. Both places have a good selection of well-maintained bikes at reasonable rates (around 150 pesos a day).

Cycling in the Tulum Pueblo

The bike lane on the main street in Tulum.
The bike path on the main road in the Pueblo, Carretera Tulum-Cancun, is new and well-marked with a wide sidewalk on the inside and a large buffer space between the bike lane and the road.
Bikes in front of Antojitos la Chiapaneca
Many of Tulum’s best taco stands, restaurants, and bars are either right on this road or within a block, including Antojitos la Ciapaneca, seen here…
Bicycles parked at Burrito Amor in the Tulum pueblo.
…and Burrito Amor, with plenty of bike parking available.
Cycling at night in the Tulum pueblo
The pueblo, espcecially Avenida Centauro Sur, is the main nightlife hub of Tulum, with bars open all night until 4 or 5:00 a.m. The area is fairly well-lit all night with plenty of people on the streets, so it feels safe. On a bike, it’s easy to zip down the narrow, pedestrian-filled streets where cars would struggle to cross.
Shared cycle/walking path on Avenida Coba, Tulum
Avenida Cobá is the road leading from the pueblo north to the Cobá ruins or south to the beaches. Headed toward the beach from the pueblo, the bike lane becomes a shared walking/cycling path for about 3.5 km.

Cycling in the Beach Zone

Bike parking at the Tulum Ruins
Avenida Cobá runs from the pueblo south and dead-ends at the beach road, Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila, where there is a roundabout and a small police station. Turning left (north) here takes you off the bike path onto the road. Follow the road past several sandy and a few rocky beaches all the way up to the Tulum ruins. On a bike, you can park for free in the bike lot (seen here) right next to the main entrance. Car drivers will have to pay to park their cars in one of the lots about a 10-minute walk away.
The Temple of the God of Winds at the Tulum Ruins
View of the Temple of the God of Winds at the Tulum ruins. Biking to the ruins and exploring the archaeological site is a major highlight of any vacation to Tulum.
The shared bike/pedestrian path on the beach road in Tulum
From the main intersection of Avenida Cobá and the beach road (seen in the background), turning right (south – the opposite way than these cyclists are going) leads to the most popular beaches of Tulum. The shared cycling/walking path continues south along the beach road all the way to the small collection of hotels, shops, and restaurants at the start of the main strip of beach hotels. (I call this Beach Town, but no one else does).
The end of the bike lane on the beach road in Tulum
The bike lane ends just past Azulik Hotel. South of here is no path along the beach road, but traffic moves slowly – it always feels safe to be on your bike as long as it’s not dark (there are no street lights in the beach zone, so it’s hard for drivers to see cyclists at night).
The narrowest part of the beach road.
The beach town area is the skinniest part of the beach road as shops and restaurants tend to spill over the boundaries.
Walking bikes along the beach road
If you’re uncomfortable navigating this patch, just walk your bike.
Bike path along Mirador Beach in Tulum
For hotels, restaurants, shops, and bars south of here (the opposite way of these cyclists) you’ll ride on for 1 to 5 kms. The road along the beach is flat.
Biking to Sian Kaan from Tulum.
The beach road stretches south for about 7 km before reaching Arco Maya, the entrance to Sian Ka’an Biosphere reserve. The road gets pretty bumpy and patchy as you approach and continue into the nature park.

Hotels in Tulum with Free Bikes

The following hotels offer free use of their bike fleets for hotel guests. Bikes are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to get an early start to your day.

Free bikes at Casa Malca in the South Beach Zone
Free bikes at Casa Malca in the South Beach Zone.
Free bikes at Suenos Tulum in the South Beach Zone
Free bikes at Sueños Tulum in the South Beach Zone.
Free bikes at Una Vida Tulum
Free bikes at Una Vida Tulum in the pueblo.
Free bikes at Naay Boutique Hotel in Aldea Zama
Free bikes at Naay Boutique Hotel in Aldea Zama.
Free bikes at O Tulum in Tulsayab
Free bikes at O’ Tulum Boutique Hotel – Adults Only in Tulsayab, north of Tulum.
Free bikes at Teetotum in the Pueblo
Free bikes at Teetotum in the pueblo.
Free bikes at Villa Geminis in the Pueblo
Free bikes at Villas Geminis in the pueblo.
Free Bikes at Live Tulum in the pueblo
Free bikes at LiveTulum in the pueblo.
Free Bikes at Casa Ambar in the Middle Beach Zone
Free bikes at Casa Ambar Boutique Hotel – Adults Only in the Middle Beach Zone.
Free bikes at Posada Lamar in the Middle Beach Zone
Free bikes at Posada Lamar in the Middle Beach Zone.

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Riviera Nayarit Hotels

Mexico › Riviera Nayarit Hotels
Updated: March 10, 2022

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The days when the Riviera Nayarit used to piggyback off its then most famous neighbor, Puerto Vallarta, to gain visitors are long gone. The Riviera Nayarit has a personality of its own, with its nearly 200 miles of coastline extending from Nuevo Vallarta in the south all the way to San Blás in the north.

With 23 seaside towns that make up this tourist destination, visitors can find a host of different accommodation options, some as unique as the towns where they’re located. Sayulita and Punta de Mita might have put it on the map, but lesser-known towns like Bucerías, La Cruz de Huanacastle, and San Francisco – affectionately known as San Pancho – are also worth a visit. Here are 7 unique hotels in the Riviera Nayarit that are sure to attract those seeking intriguing decor, extraordinary service, and striking locations, with options for every budget.

1. Casa de Mita – Punta de Mita

Great hotel in Riviera Nayarit.
This eight-room adults-only property is everything you’d want a boutique hotel to be. It’s located outside the gated community the Punta de Mita area is known for, but don’t let the bumpy gravel road you’ll travel down to get there fool you into thinking you picked the wrong spot. The staff pampers you from the moment you arrive and the hardest decisions you’ll have to make are whether you’ll have that second signature margarita, or whether you should move from your reading nook on a secluded Balinese bed full of pillows to a plush sunbed in a sunnier spot by the pool. Art and color abound, each room has a private terrace and the white-sand beach the hotel sits on is practically private. You’ll feel like you’re royalty at this place.

More info:
• Address: Playa Careyeros, 63734 Punta de Mita
• Phone: 329 298 4114
• Current prices starting at $775 USD per night

2. W Punta de Mita – Punta de Mita

Great beach resort in Riviera Nayarit.
The contemporary design of this hotel will make each and every one of your shots Instagram-worthy. The headboards in some rooms are made from surfing boards, private patios have colorful Acapulco-chair-style floating cocoons, and surfing or skating Frida posters in bold hues hang on the walls. But the rooms aren’t the only thing that oozes cool at this luxury property, the pool has hot tubs inside it, and a ceviche bar in an old Chevy truck sits right beside it. Spice Market, its pan Asian restaurant, has a sophisticated Buddha Bar feel to it, and the spa is undoubtedly one of the best in the area —if not the world. You’ll swoon as soon as you walk into the reception area and stumble upon the mosaic tapestry that climbs down steps, extends across the pool area, and reaches a bridge where you’ll want to be at sunset.

More info:
• Address: Km 8.5, Carr. Federal la Cruz de Huanacaxtle – Punta de Mita, Desarrollo Costa Banderas, 63734 Punta de Mita, Nay.
• Phone: 329 226 8333
• Current prices starting at $254 USD per night

3. Imanta Resorts Punta de Mita – Higuera Blanca

Great hotel with pool in Riviera Nayarit.
Despite its name, this luxury property is located in the town of Higuera Blanca and offers eco-luxe at its best. Sitting on a 250-acre ecological jungle preserve, the resort’s suites and larger “casas” provide great views of the jungle or ocean while offering lavish indoor comforts. All the suites of this boutique hotel, which belong to the prestigious Relais & Chateaux collection, are incredibly spacious and many have their own pool. The Jungle Spa is completely outdoors and the “cabins” have thatched walls —without much else— so the guests can hear the sounds of nature while receiving their treatments. The beach has Balinese beds and boulders of different sizes arranged in interesting formations, adding to the property’s Zen vibe.

More info:
• Address: Monte Nahuac Lote L, 63734 Higuera Blanca, Nay.
• Phone: 329 298 4200
• Current prices starting at $596 USD per night

4. Hotel Cielo Rojo – San Francisco

Cheap hotel in San Pancho, Mexico.
This small nine-room hotel is located in the town of San Francisco, Nayarit, affectionately referred to as San Pancho. The town’s laid-back atmosphere is one of the main reasons to visit, especially now that neighboring Sayulita gets jam-packed with tourists. Charming and decorated in minimalist yet very Mexican details, Hotel Cielo Rojo is the perfect base to explore the community. While it doesn’t have a pool, its restaurant is a definite highlight, both for the local artwork on its walls and its innovative and organic menu. Don’t leave this place without trying the avocado and cacao nibs smoothie.

More info:
• Address: Asia 6, 63734 San Francisco, Nay.
• Phone: 311 258 4155
• Current prices starting at $58 USD per night

5. Villa Bella B&B – La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

Great hotel with view in Riviera Nayarit.
The views at this B&B in the town of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle are truly breathtaking. Perched high on a hill, the property overlooks the town below —nestled among the greenery— and the ocean as far as the eye can see. The best part is that the spectacular views can be enjoyed by all the guests from the pool area, not just by the select few with the rooms on the top floors. Each of the seven rooms is different from the rest and some have separate living rooms, terraces, and kitchens, ideal for guests looking to feel right at home on longer stays.

More info:
• Address: Calle Monte Calvario 12, Nayarit, 63732 Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Nay.
• Phone: 329 295 5161
• Current prices starting at $64 USD per night

6. Refugio del Mar – Bucerías

Best place to stay in Bucerias.
Balconies overlooking a street covered with bunting, colorful sitting rooms, full-size kitchens, and Mexican accents throughout are some of the reasons to pick this boutique hotel located in the understated town of Bucerías, an older sibling to Sayulita, and a more casual cousin to Punta de Mita. Visitors will enjoy a relaxing stay surrounded by an eclectic decoration that combines the traditional with the contemporary. The hotel does not have direct access to the beach —it’s only a brisk walk away— but it’s the space granted by the suites and its three outdoor pools that will have you returning time and time again.

More info:
• Address: Benito Juárez 51, Bucerías, Nay.
• Phone: 322 101 8705
• Current prices starting at $132 USD per night

7. Casablanca Sayulita Hotel – Sayulita

Great hotel in Riviera Nayarit.
This beachfront property with thatched-roof villas and bungalows is located on the quieter side of the bustling town of Sayulita. Sure, you’ve seen the pictures with the colorful bunting on the main road and the cute bohemian boutiques lining the streets, but when it’s at its peak, the main beach is nothing to write home about. Opt to stay instead in a laid-back, affordable haven that —at least during the low season— can make you feel like you own beachfront property with access to a semi-private beach. The rooms all have a separate sitting area, a kitchenette, and a balcony overlooking the pool. If you’re traveling as a group, consider booking the main house. Consisting of 3 bedrooms, your party of 10 will have a private pool, unobstructed beach views, and an outdoor palapa with a BBQ grill.

More info:
• Address: Av. del Palmar 79, Sayulita, Nay.
• Phone: 329 298 8565
• Current prices starting at $100 USD per night

Tips & Advice

• When to Visit: June through August are the hottest months to visit the region, so if you’re looking for a bit of a cooler climate, you might want to wait till November –although temperatures don’t vary significantly throughout the year. If you want to ensure that it doesn’t rain while you’re there (and you don’t mind the crowds), consider visiting during the high season of January, February, or March.

• Arrival: Your flight will arrive at Puerto Vallarta airport, which is about an hour’s drive to Punta de Mita, 45 minutes to Sayulita, San Pancho, and Higuera Blanca, 30 minutes to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, and 22 minutes to Bucerías. Airport taxis can be expensive if you’re going to the towns further away, as is private transportation arranged in advance by the hotel, but you can get an Uber in Puerto Vallarta for much less. Alternatively, there are several private and group transportation options leaving from the Puerto Vallarta airport.

• How to Get Around: Local taxis are okay to get around from one neighboring town to the next. Some towns are small enough for you to walk from your hotel to the beach, the shops, and other places of interest, and you can also get around by bike or buggy in towns like Sayulita and Bucerías (hotels like Refugio del Mar even have some available for their guests).

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