Planning A Beach Vacation In Puerto Vallarta: Resorts, Cost, Clothing And Weather

Puerto Vallarta's tropical weather makes it an ideal destination for a beach vacation. Planning ahead will help you make the most of it.

Puerto Vallarta Weather

You can enjoy the beaches in Puerto Vallarta almost all year round. The best weather is during the winter months, when temperatures range from the low 70s to the upper 80s November through April. Besides your swimming suit for days on the beach, you'll be most comfortable in typical tropical vacation clothing: light clothing such as cotton shorts or skirts, and tank tops or T-shirts. Plan on bringing warmer clothing with you, though, for late evenings when the weather can be a little cooler. Light cotton pants and a light jacket or sweater are usually enough.

If you think there's a possibility you might want to take an excursion into the nearby mountains while you're on your vacation, you'll need to plan ahead and bring even warmer clothing with you. Nights in the mountainous jungles can get very chilly, and you'll need warm shoes and sock and a medium weight shirt and jacket.

The summer months are Puerto Vallarta's rainy season, when the weather is also hotter and more humid. Because the weather is so warm during the summer you can follow the same clothing guidelines as for the winter months, with one exception: you might want to include a portable umbrella. Even though it usually only lasts a few hours at most, plan on getting caught in the rain a time or two if you visit Puerto Vallarta during the summer.

Vacation Resorts in Puerto Vallarta

Now that Puerto Vallarta is a favorite vacation destination, long gone are the days when it cost only pennies on the dollar for a stay at a luxury resort in Mexico. The exchange rate isn't what it used to be, which is good for the people of Mexico but not for tourists hoping to keep costs down. In tourist areas, items like food, clothing, art and souvenirs cost nearly the same as they would in the U.S. There are still some bargains, but usually only off the beaten track.

You can still find some good deals at some of the older, smaller resorts in Puerto Vallarta, but don't expect a lot of luxury at these resorts. They're also less likely to be located next to a beach, although they're usually within a reasonable walking distance.

On the north end of town in Puerto Vallarta's "˜Marina Vallarta' district, you'll find a concentration of large new luxury resorts right on the beach. These cost the same or more than a similar hotel in a large U.S. city, but they also have the high quality you'd expect for the price. You'll also find some luxury vacation resorts on the south end of Puerto Vallarta, although not quite as many. Despite the cost, many visitors prefer one of these newer resorts because the beaches are private property for use by resort guests only - on the public beaches there can be stiff competition for space.

In the downtown area of Puerto Vallarta, also known as "˜Old Town', there are many budget hotels of wildly varying quality. Some tourists prefer the hotels in this area because of their low cost, and Old Town is also where most of the bars and restaurants in Puerto Vallarta are located.

Puerto Vallarta Beaches

Puerto Vallarta's greatest attraction, of course, is its beaches, and the reason why most people plan their vacations there. There are many different beach areas to discover, and some are only accessible by a boat tour. Playa de Los Muertos is the largest public beach, located in the Old Town district. You'll see outdoor tables and chairs with large umbrellas set right on the beach, but be aware that these are for the patrons of the many bars and restaurants along the beach. If you're not a paying customer, you may be politely asked to move.

In many areas, you won't find the white sandy beaches you may have seen in Southern California or Florida. The sand on some of Puerto Vallarta's beaches is somewhat coarse, so if you plan on spending a lot of time sun tanning you might want to take along an extra towel for comfort. Also, don't plan on finding any clothing-optional beaches in Puerto Vallarta. The Mexican people are very conservative, and although you might find a public clothing-optional beach somewhere in a remote part of the Mexican coastline, you won't find one in Puerto Vallarta. The Mexican people are also very conservative in the way they dress, so you'll want to be a polite guest and leave your beach clothing in your hotel room when you go to a restaurant.

If you spend any time at all on the public beach in the Old Town area, plan on being approached by local vendors trying to sell trinkets and souvenirs to tourists. If you're not interested in what they're selling, a polite "no" is all it takes before they move on. The Mexican people place a high priority on courtesy, and extend that courtesy to tourists. If you always remain aware that you're a guest in another country and return the same respect to the Mexican people, they'll treat you with a warmth and hospitality that will make you want to return to Puerto Vallarta again and again.

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