The constant flow of vacationing Mexican families at Lo de Marcos supports a pair of moderately priced hotels on the main street, on the right, about a quarter- mile from the highway. Best by far is Hotel Bungalows Las Tortugas (Luis Echevarría 28, tel./fax 327/275-0092, $35 d). The major attraction is the layout of about 18 kitchenette apartments in two stories around a broad, invitingly tropical designer pool and patio, with kiddie pool and hot tub. Inside, the units, all with kitchenettes, TV, dishes and utensils, and fans, are bare-bulb (bring your own lampshade), sparely but comfortably furnished, spacious, and clean. The second-floor apartments, with king-size beds, are more inviting than some others. Look at more than one before deciding. Asking rates run high, but, except during holidays and some weekends, discounts may be negotiable, so be sure to ask for a descuento (days-koo-AYN-toh).
If Las Tortugas is full, take a look at the plainer but recommendable Bungalows Padre Nuestro (tel. 327/275-0025, fax 327/275-0055, $33 except Christmas and Easter holidays), a few doors back toward the highway, with pool and a big family-friendly grassy picnic palapa and patio in back. Although the approximately 20 kitchenette apartments are plain, they’re clean and the prices are right.
For something fancier, consider the big Villas and Bungalows Tlaquepaque (Pie de Av. Luis Echeverría, tel./fax 327/275-0080, villastlaquepaque [at] prodigy [dot] net [dot] mx). Past the imposing neocolonial front gate and reception spreads a manicured, grassy park, with luxurious blue-pool patio, basketball court, soccer field, and kiddie playground, interspersed among handsome accommodations tiers. Lodgings vary from one-bedroom studios to big three- bedroom, three-bath extended-family suites.
The lodgings themselves are immaculate and handsomely decorated in white stucco, bright Spanish tiles, and traditional handcrafted wooden furniture. A number of the studios are cozy and comfortable, with bright garden views and two double beds. Considering all the family- friendly facilities, the lower-end prices are moderate, beginning at about $45 d for the studios during the low season (Sept.–Dec. 15 and Jan.–Mar.), with breakfast sometimes included, and ranging up to $150 for two-bedroom family suites. Look at the several options before choosing. With plenty of space to run around and only a block from the beach, this is a great place for kids. Reservations are generally not necessary except July–August and Christmas and Easter holidays and maybe some weekends.
If you prefer to stay closer to the sand and waves, a sprinkling of newish family-friendly beachfront lodgings appears promising: Check out Bungalows Arco Iris (Camino a las Minitas 22, tel. 327/275-0321). Here in a big apartment- style complex you have your choice of seven simply furnished rooms ($32 d, $40 d holidays) with hot-water showers, or seven one-bedroom bungalows ($55 d, $70 d holidays) with kitchenette. All have TV, fans, and a beachside pool patio. Get there by turning left from the main town highway entrance street, at the last road before the beach.
Also on the beachfront, a block farther south, get a bit more for your money at welcoming Bungalows El Coral (Camino a las Minitas 39, tel. 327/275-0008, elcoraldelodemarcos [at] hotmail [dot] com), with a big beautiful pool patio. Here, rooms run about $32 d; kitchenette bungalows about $40 d, with cable and fans (or a/c for an additional $10).
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Puerto Vallarta, 7th edition