North Side of Town
At the Bucerías’s serene north end is the Playas de Huanacaxtle subdivision, with big flower-decorated villas owned by well-heeled Mexicans and North Americans. Sprinkled among the intimate, palm-shaded retornos (cul-de-sacs) are a number of good bungalow-style beachside lodgings.
As you move southward from the north edge of town, the top-value accommodations begin with the Vista Vallarta Suites (Av. de los Picos s/n, Playas de Huanacaxtle, tel. 329/298-0361 or 329/298-0360, toll-free Mex. tel. 01-800/570-7292, toll-free U.S./Can. tel. 888/888-9127, www.vistavallartasuites.com). Here, three stories of comfortably furnished stucco-and-tile apartments cluster intimately around a palm-tufted beachside pool and patio. A loyal cadre of longtime guests—mostly U.S. and Canadian retiree-couples—return year after year to enjoy the big blue pool, the palapa restaurant, walks along the beach, and the company of fellow vacationers. All enjoy fully furnished two-bedroom suites with dining room, kitchenette, living room, cable TV, and private oceanview balconies. Maids clean rooms daily, while downstairs friendly English-speaking clerks manage the desk and rent cars, boogie boards, and surfboards. High-season rates run $95 d, $165 q; low season $70 d, $130 q. Discounts may be negotiable for long-term rentals.
A block south, the family-style Bungalows Princess (Retorno Destiladeras, Playas de Huanacaxtle, tel. 329/298-0100 or 329/298-0110, fax 329/298-0068, www.vallarta-info.com/rentals/princess.html) looks out on the blue Bay of Banderas beneath the rustling fronds of lazy coco palms. Their several two-story detached beachfront bungalows provide all the ingredients for a restful vacation for a family or group of friends. Behind the bungalows, beside an interior pool patio, a stone’s throw from the beach, a motel-style lineup of rooms and suites fills the economy needs of couples and small families.
A total of 36 bungalows, suites, and rooms are available. The big, semi-deluxe (2-bedroom, 2-bath) beachfront housekeeping bungalows rent for about $200 high season, $160 low. A row of about six “interior” beachfront poolside (2-bedroom, 2-bath) housekeeping bungalow apartments go for about $165 high season, $120 low. Away from the beach, facing a second pool patio, a lineup of junior suites and rooms rent, respectively, for about $110 high season, $90 low, and $75 high, $55 low. Discounts and cheaper long-term rates are often available during the low months of January, May–June, and September–November. All rooms feature TV with HBO, phone, and air-conditioning; hotel amenities include desk service, a minimarket, and two pools, and credit cards are accepted.
Continuing south, nearby Bungalows Los Picos (Av. los Picos and Retorno Pontoque, Playas de Huanacaxtle, tel. 329/298-0470, fax 329/298-0131, www.lospicos.com.mx) shares the same palm-shadowed Bucerías beachfront. The rambling, Mexican family–style complex centers around a big inner pool patio, spreading shoreward, to a second motel-style bungalow wing beside a breezy beachside pool area. The most desirable units are the big three-bedroom oceanfront kitchenette bungalows (about $200 high, $160 low, with choice of a/c or fans, sleeping up to eight). Other units, off the beach, around a nevertheless inviting interior pool patio include one-bedroom kitchenette apartments (about $125 high, $100 low, with choice of fans or a/c, sleeping four); and adjacent, smaller four-person kitchenette suites ($95 high, $80 low, all with a/c). A few smaller fan-only rooms ($50 high, $42 low) are also available. All units are clean and comfortably furnished. Amenities include cable TV, snack restaurant, lounge, Internet café, two pools, parking, and credit cards accepted. During low seasons, the management sometimes offers such promotions as three nights for the price of two; discounts for long-term rentals are usually available. Bargain under all conditions.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Puerto Vallarta, 7th edition