Puerto Vallarta

Parent Q&A

  • Fun Beach vacation for mom and 2 active kids

    (2 replies)

    I'm looking for a resort recommendation for a vacation I'd like to take in April with my 2 kids (boys, 5&8).

    I've heard great things about Mexico and I like the all-inclusive idea since I don't want to spend my entire time cooking and cleaning. Ideally the resort would have activities for the kids and a kid's club, pools and those fun slides. Prefer warm water and white beaches if possible.

    I'm also open to other places as well. Hawaii, FL, etc

    I've got the airline covered, just need hotel.

    Thank you!

    We just got back from Mexico. We went to Puerto Vallarta and stayed at the Grand Velas Riviera. It was all inclusive, had a kids club and was full of families. It was also easy to get to! Just over 3 hours from SFO. I'd recommend it. We booked it through Costco and saved $1,500 on the price quoted on the United site (for the exact same holiday).

    We went to the Melia in Puerto Vallarta (https://www.melia.com/en/hotels/mexico/puerto-vallarta/melia-puerto-vall...) several years ago when our kids were 2 & 6 years old, and we had the BEST time.  We wanted someplace not to far by plane, warm in April, and easy.  I would never have thought I'd enjoy an all-inclusive, but I loved it.  The Melia (when we went) was mostly Mexican nationals (so it didn't feel "U.S. touristy"), mostly families, and having all your food on site (multiple restaurants), not having to worry about paying for it, turned out to be the key to stress-free vacationing for us.  Plus there's an absolutely giant pool and easy ocean access, and giant iguanas on site!  It was divine.  They do have a kids club, but we all mostly hung out at the pool or ocean every day.  We got a great deal on Orbitz too.  I'm sure there are a ton of great all-inclusives in PV and Cabo and other beach resorts in Mexico, and they're probably not all that different from each other.  Highly recommend.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Kid-friendly beach area in Puerto Vallarta

Sept 2008

Hi, We are hoping to go to Puerto Vallarta with our two year old for a little vaca in the fall. Any suggestions? We are hoping to find a great kid friendly beach area, and hopefully a great KIDS POOL.... Looking for a good Kids Resort

I just got back from PV after 4 days at Velas Vallarta. It is an all inclusive ocean front resort with wonderful pools and child care. I'm not sure if they take kids as young as 2 so be sure to check. We were there on a family vacation with 12 people (the kids were older than yours at 6,7,11 and 14). Food was great. The rooms were just OK. Be sure to ask for a corner unit (if you get a studio) as they seem to be bigger. - anon
My advice is don't stay in PV. It is soooo touristy and not at all quaint. I hate to spread the word- but take a taxi 40 min. north to Sayulita- quiet, quaint, small, easy surf, yummy food, lots of nice places/houses to stay, lots of english speakers if that is a plus for you...easy traveling but still very Mexico. You can drink the water and eat the ice cubes... check out www.SayulitaLife.com anon
Just one mile south, out of the fray, and a very cheap taxi ride away from downtown PV is a small hotel with a great pool, a resort (not expensive!) with its own restaurant and the cutest, kid friendliest beach you'll ever see. http://www.hotelconchaschinas.com/ Enjoy! Ericka Lutz
I went to Puerto Vallarta 2 years ago with my husband, 18 month old and 3 year old. I was 5 month pregnant. We stayed at Villa Del Palmar. http://www.villadelpalmarvallarta.com/

There was a grocery story across the street, so we could buy kid food and cook most of our meals in our room with a view.

They have an excellent kid pool. You can borrow sand toys. They have a ''kids village'' with art class during the day. We hired a hotel staff member to watch our kids when we went out to dinner.

Like all of the hotels down there you will get a long winded pitch about buying a time-share. They will offer you discounts on your excursion trips - like boating, para-gliding etc. These discounts do not exist. We bought our ''kids swim with a dolphin trip'' on site from a different person (not part of the time-share scam) for the same ''discount'' price. The time share people have a prominent desk at the entrance of the hotel to make it look really official. All of the hotels seem to do this. Just tell them you are not interested and enjoy your trip! Also, I would not recommend buying the \x93food included\x94 plan. It is very expensive per day, and the hotel food is not worth that much money. We often went to neighboring hotels to get a variety of places to eat. P.S. Ask to have a room over-looking the pools. Thrifty mama

Off the beaten path spots near Puerto Vallarta

June 2004

We will be traveling to Puerta Vallarta this fall with a large family group and are thinking of extending our week-long stay and spending another week somewhere nearby, yet off the beaten track. Has anyone visited Yelapa (or any other nearby villages/towns) with kids? Any advice/recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks. jessica

A great place to stay with kids is Costa Azul Adventure Resort, about an hour north of PV in the town of San Francisco and walking distance to Sayulita -- a big surfing spot. The towns are very quaint and right on the water. Our extended family of 15 (kids ages 4 mos, 6-, 8-, 10- and 12-yos) spent a week there before Christmastime and had a blast. You can choose a package rate whereby meals and a daily adventure (surfing lessons, wildlife/river tour, snorkeling) are included. Each day we all picked different things to do and came together for meals. See www.costaazul.com for their website.

One of the adventure/day trips we did from Costa Azul was a boat ride and guided hike to waterfalls in Yelapa. Yelapa is absolutely charming with a beautiful beach and thatched huts along the water, but I had a hard time envisioning being able to spend more than three days there before running out of things to see/do, unless extreme beach lounging/relaxation is your thing. Noreen

I wouldn't recommend Yelapa for kids-its more of a drinking spot for adult vacations. There ia a town north of PV called Sayulita-small town, great beach for swimming, nice places to stay, good food. I have stayed there a few times-I really like it. You can rent houses in town or there are a couple hotels. This is a great place to enjoy the beach, take surf lessons, go out on a fishing boat, hang out in the town square. Local buses run up there during the day-its about 25-35 pesos. Chelle

More Advice about Puerto Vallarta

March 2005

We are planning to take a family vacation with our 3 year old son and our 6 month old infant and we want to go to an all- inclusive resort that is kid-friendly and family oriented in the WEST COAST of Mexico. Any suggestions of any good places to stay? mart

I was with my family last Fall at Meli Puerto Vallarta, and my 3 year-old really enjoyed it. It has a very nice swimming pool for smaller kids, playground, etc. It's also all inclusive. toni
Jan 2005

Re: Warm, cheap, hassle-free place in Mexico?

I go to Mexico frequently and like inexpensive, warm, hassle free vacations. The past two years I stayed at a wonderful place for kids in Puerto Vallarta. It has 3 properties with 3 pools, entertainment, and all food and drink are included which for me works better than dragging little kids around to restaurants all day. It is very inexpensive--worked out to about $700 per week per person including airfare, food and hotel. (Book with Suntrips for Plaza Pelicanos). As in all of Mexico, if you stay at a hotel, they have a roped-off section of the beach where vendors cannot enter to approach you on sales. If you leave this area, however, you will be approached--but the vendors are polite and not persistent if you just say no thank you. If you stop to look, however, others will come up. Personally, I like the vendors at times. The prices are cheaper than in the stores and overall the merchandise is fine, especially if bought on the beach near your hotel. Kay

Hello, My family and I just returned from outside of Puerto Vallarta; we stayed at a 4-Seasons, so I will not recommend that vis-a-vis your request for a reasonably-priced place, but I can tell you that Punta Mita, the area of the 4-Seasons, does have rentals that may be able to be Googled; the area tends to have a lovely (!) beach. I do know the West coast of Mexico fairly well. I would say that Puerto Vallarta proper is fairly expensive and touristy and over-developed. I would even venture to say that some of the better/best eating establishments in PV were on a par, cost-wise, with the cost of eating at the 4-Seasons resort. One of the nicest, least spoiled, and reasonably-priced places in Mexico is Zihuantanejo, more South of PV, on the coast. The only reason that we didn't go there is that at the time of booking, there were no jet flights (other than Alaska Air, which we don't fly) into Zihua. A few weeks ago, United instituted a non-stop, once-weekly flight from LA to Zihuantanejo. There are many reasonably-priced places that are trim, clean, and on the beach/water in Zihuantanejo. The places that I have stayed there are all high end, but I know that other lovely places to stay exist in Zihua. The best place to look at and compare accommodations in Zihua is tripadvisory.com. They have the wonderful feature of many, many evaluations of accommodations in many global locales. One hotel that I know of that may or may not be in your price range in Zihua is ''Brisas del Mar,'' which is supposed to be lovely and reasonably-priced (great food!) and very much evocative of a cultural experience--it is beautifully situated on the water, as well. I think that you can also try for a AAA discount, as well. Additionally, tripadvisory.com offers comparative pricing from the many Internet wholesalers--Orbitz, hotel.com, etc. Next to Zihua is Ixtapa--more developed and commercial; they are a ten minute cab ride from each other. The cost of everything in Zihua is cheaper than PV, and the beach is better. PV, in my opinion, is nothing more than Miami beach transplanted to the Mexican coast, and the food is mediocre to good, not great. Finally, the beach in PV, proper, is unuseable--rough and inhospitable because of all the rivers feeding into its bay. Buena Suerte!
July 2002

Hello, We're trying to plan a vacation in either Acapulco or Puerto Vallerta - if you have experience in either place, which would you recommend? We're looking for recommendations for places to stay with our 4-year old son so if you know of a great resort, rental property, or hotel, we'd love to hear from you. Thanks! Aimee

Our extended family of 15 vacationed last December at Costa Azul resort about an hour north of Puerto Vallarta. Our group included 5 kids -- our 4 mo. old and 6-, 8-, 10- and 12- yr olds. Each family got a room or rooms overlooking the swimming pool and beach, with all activities and meals included. The beaches were quite clean, although the surf directly in front of the resort was a bit rough -- though an easy 10-minute walk south to a calmer area, and the nearby town. There were several activities each day, including trips to view wildlife, hike up to waterfalls, go snorkeling, take surf lessons, shop in PV, etc. -- we could choose a morning and/or afternoon activity. The flexibility and all-inclusive setup was great! Staff was super-friendly and helped arrange in-room massage and even babysitting when there was one snorkeling expedition that we all wanted to go on (thus no family members to babysit the infant). They have a web site -- www.costaazul.com -- and have special programs for kids, too. Noreen
My husband and I purchased a 2 bedroom/ocean-view piece of Paradise Village in Nuevo Vallarta (right next to the turtle egg sanctuary) because we wanted a place where our child and her grandparents would be comfortable. It certainly has lots of amenities, activities and we really enjoy the 'European-style' spa and back massages under the waterfall. You could either stay in our place which has no week restrictions, or follow up on some of those package deals offered by Sandals or SunTrips. Either way, it's a nice place to be! Deirdre