All-Inclusive Beachfront Resort with Welcoming Staff and Live Shows
On Mexico's Pacific coast, Puerto Vallarta sits between the placid Bahía de Banderas (the Bay of Flags) and the rolling Sierra Madre foothills. This romantic setting helped earn the city the No. 1 spot among Mexican destinations in TripAdvisor's Travelers’ Choice 2012 awards. In the city’s zona hotelera, Friendly Vallarta Beach Resort & Spa stands out for its staff members, who are as welcoming as the hotel's name suggests. Whether they’re helping build sand castles at the kids’ club or mixing drinks as part of the hotel’s all-inclusive package, the attentive staffers make sure each guest has a memorable trip.
Friendly Vallarta’s all-inclusive package includes all meals at its five restaurants, many of which are located right along the beachfront to offer open-air seating. Although there's entertainment every evening, the week’s shows build up to Saturdays at the Diner Theater. There, guests dine in luxury, from the linen tablecloths to the tableside drink service. During the day, you can attend complimentary yoga and Pilates classes at Grand Spa or check out a kayak to explore the waves of Banderas Bay.
Thanks to angled balconies, each superior room overlooks either the oceanfront or the pool deck, where terra-cotta-colored tiled roofs border multiple pools, jacuzzis, and palm trees. Inside the rooms, blond-wood furniture and navy prints echo the beach’s sand and sea hues.
During the included city-and-tequila tour, you'll board a bus to Old Vallarta to visit the Malecón and the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a turn-of-the-century building topped with a giant crown. After driving past the stunning seascapes at Mismaloya and el Eden, you'll learn how local tequila is fermented from blue-agave sap before sampling aged varieties.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: Tropical Paradise with Cosmopolitan Flair
Puerto Vallarta is perhaps Mexico’s most sophisticated vacation destination, with expansive beaches, trendy restaurants, and cobblestone streets leading to beautifully preserved 19th-century churches. A 16-block boardwalk known as the Malecón offers unobstructed ocean views as it extends from the city center, past fountains and a famous 9-foot-high statue of a boy riding a seahorse.
Called “the most gay-friendly city in Mexico” by Frommer’s, Vallarta draws a diverse crowd of vacationers intent on relaxing during the day and living it up at night, bouncing between the city’s numerous dance clubs and bouncy castles. For a glimpse of the city's history, head to Viejo Vallarta, also known as Old Town, where artists peddle shawls and piñatas and mariachi bands serenade couples dancing on Plaza Principal.
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