A trip to Puerto Vallarta will offer plenty to keep you active – whatever your age – from golf and scuba diving to food tours, market shopping and kayaking around the Pacific waters of the Bay of Banderas. If a busy itinerary isn’t for you, the town’s best five-star and luxury hotels will cater to your every need and ensure you get the rest and relaxation you are after. Best of all, you can book your stay right here on Culture Trip.
With rooms set in tall towers overlooking a palm-shaded pool complex, Secrets isn’t as secluded as the name suggests. But it is in a plum spot – right on the sand and just a stroll from the sunset boardwalk, El Malecón. Rooms come in modern, muted tones with balconies affording ocean views. You are unlikely to get bored here as there are plenty of organized activities on offer.
With giant chess pieces in the glitzy lobby, polished stone suites and sofas in imperial purples and regal reds, the adults-only Mousai brings Dubai-style opulence to Puerto Vallarta. There’s a rooftop infinity pool in which you can float, cocktail-in hand, as you watch the sunset, a spa with pampering for two and even a wedding package for honeymooners.
Self-consciously kitschy – think giant pink clam-shell chaise lounges in fountain-tinkling ponds and cocktails served in flamingo floats at the pool bar – and with booming DJ-driven pool parties, Almar is aimed at LGBTQ couples who want to smooch and party. Suites in cream, beige and soft pistachio hues come with big jacuzzi-bath balconies, and the thumping beach club bar serves cocktails all day and most of the night.
A spot on the Puerto Vallarta slopes affords dreamy views at the appropriately named Grand Miramar. The vistas are probably best enjoyed from the half-sunken loungers in the hotel’s infinity pool, cocktail in hand. Here, each of the rooms and suites has a bay-view terrace, the top-end with a jacuzzi, too. Dining is relaxed (think sushi and sandwiches for dinner), and there’s a spa with a floatation experience.
Just south of the main town, Grand Fiesta Americana is an imposing, all-white high-rise wrapped by forested slopes. It’s the type of place where there’s always something to do: the beach offers snorkeling and paddleboarding, while the free-form infinity pool is perhaps a gentler way to admire the Pacific (come in winter and you might spot a humpback whale or two.) There are also myriad restaurants and bars, including a tequila lounge with ocean views.
Luxury and family-friendly rarely mix, but Barceló breaks the mold. A vibrant kids’ club keeps littles ones entertained with a movie theater, handicrafts and piñatas, while the dedicated family rooms provide child-friendly accommodation. Four swimming pools and a semi-private beach will keep everyone entertained, while dinner is taken care of with a broad selection of restaurants.
The nature surrounding this luxury hotel, combined with its modern design, makes it a perfect oasis for honeymooners. Start your morning with a yoga class in a space that allows you to connect with nature, and continue your day with a spa treatment. Activities at the resort include nature photography, kayaking, games for kids and wine tasting.
Still looking for your perfect stay? Check out our guide to the best hotels in Puerto Vallarta, and book your stay now on Culture Trip.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Alex Robinson contributed additional reporting to this article.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.