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Best Areas to Stay in Puerto Vallarta: Top 5 Neighborhoods

Are you thinking about buying your dream home in Puerto Vallarta? It’s essential to know the best areas to stay in Puerto Vallarta and Banderas Bay before making a significant decision like buying a home.

There are a lot of areas in Puerto Vallarta and the North Shore to choose from, so we broke it down into the most popular ones. We’ve done the homework for you.

ROMANTIC ZONE
If you’ve ever been to Puerto Vallarta, you’ve undoubtedly spent some time wandering around the Romantic Zone or the Zona Romantica. It’s also known as Viejo Vallarta, Old Vallarta, Colonia Emiliano Zapata, and Olas Altas, to name a few. However, no matter what you call it, it’s the liveliest and busiest neighborhood on this list, possibly in all of Vallarta.

Viejo Vallarta is located just south of the Cuale River, which wraps around the neighborhood and makes its northeast border. It is enveloped between the ocean, which makes its western border and the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountains, which means you will have stunning views at every turn.

The Romantic Zone may be full of energy, but it still has an old-world feel. The charming and narrow cobblestone streets are lined with more boutique hotels, art galleries, and restaurants than anywhere else in Puerto Vallarta. You’ll find five-star, white tablecloth establishments adjacent to family-owned US$2 taco joints.

It’s that eclectic mix that makes the Zona Romantica one of the best places to live in Vallarta.

The colorful, trendy, and open-minded community is filled with tourists, expats, and people from all walks of life enjoying themselves late into the night. The friendly Bohemian feel makes the Romantic Zone an ideal location to live for anyone who likes the diverse energy.

The Olas Altas Farmers Market on Saturdays (November – April) and Basilio Badillo’s Restaurant Row make it feel like a small neighborhood with a big heart.

The Romantic Zone is a self-contained city within itself. It is multifaceted and has everything from hospitals and 24-hour drugstores to Mom & Pop grocery stores and the most famous beach, Playa de Los Muertos.

The Romantic Zone Real Estate
Living here means condo living in the thick of it all within walking distance to everything. The neighborhood has a pueblo feel with all the modern amenities you could want. The cobblestone streets take you back in time, but the modern low and mid-rises keep it contemporary.

If you are looking for Puerto Vallarta real estate for sale with oceanfront views, you can find it in the Romantic Zone.

Living in the Zona Romantica is ideal if you love a big city feel within a small village. You’ll have everything at your footsteps and won’t need a car.

LOS MUERTOS BEACH
Despite its name, which translates to Beach of the Dead, Los Muertos is one of the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta and throughout Banderas Bay. However, if you’re looking for a quiet secluded beach, look elsewhere because this place is action-packed.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a long sandy beach with trendy restaurants and bars, and vendors selling you everything from beer to shrimp on a stick, you’re in the right place.

The beach is in the Middle of everything, right in the hear of the Romantic Zone, with everything you’ll need nearby.

Don’t let the name of the beach dissuade you from looking for real estate in the area. There are a few hypotheses about where the name comes from. However, it’s most likely that the site was originally an Indian burial ground. When the first settlers started digging to build their palapa huts, they found human remains and the shards of ceramic vessels.

Then, in the 1960s, when the foundation for the Marsol Hotel was being dug, they found bones and a perfectly polished green soapstone vase archaeologists believe was a funeral offering for an important person of the era.

In the late 1950s, when tourism started booming there, the government tried to change the name, preferring something like Playa del Sol (Sun Beach) and Las Delicias (The Delights), but it was a case of tradition over modernity, and tradition won.

The January 2013 inauguration of the new Los Muertos Pier brought even more attention to the beach with its eye-catching design and Insta-worthy sunset shots.

Sit on the caramel-colored sand, play in the gently rolling waves, and then complete the day by watching the dipping golden sun turn the sky a vibrant red.

Los Muertos Real Estate
If you like low or mid-rise condos with views of the ocean and hills (depending on how you’re facing), the Los Muertos Beach area is for you. However, you must love being in the thick of it all, at the busiest beach in town, or this area may not suit you.

It’s ideal if you don’t have transportation because everything, and we mean everything, is within walking distance.

Hot Tip: Stay tuned for info on a soon-to-be-announced, newly minted beachfront condominium development. It is slated to be the most desirable development in the area in decades and will set a new standard in neighborhood. Once you see the views from the infinity edge pool, you’ll never want to leave. For more information, email taniel(at)timothyrealestategroup.com.

AMAPAS AND CONCHAS CHINAS
Just five minutes south of the Romantic Zone, Amapas and Conchas Chinas are both charming and exclusive Puerto Vallarta neighborhoods with an entirely different feel.

Even the beaches in the area have a completely different vibe. For example, Los Muertos Beach is exuberant and action-packed. In contrast, the southern beaches of Amapas and Concha Chinas are peaceful and clear.

Conchas Chinas has a classic affluent feel, while Amapas emanates a more modern chic ambiance. Living in this quiet area means you’ll likely have ocean views while surrounded by a verdant jungle setting all nestled in the Sierra Madre mountains. There are several ocean view restaurants along the beach and in the mountainside.

Having transportation in these areas would be beneficial, especially if you live high in the hills.

Amapas and Conchas Chinas Real Estate
Well-known for its exclusive and luxurious homes, the area is peppered with high-end villas, lavish condos and upscale hotels. Real estate in this area is some of the most luxurious in Puerto Vallarta and offers exceptional resale value. Amapas and Conchas Chinas are Puerto Vallarta’s best neighborhoods if you are looking for that perfect beachfront or hillside luxury estate.

FLUVIAL AND VERSALLES
About 10-15 minutes northeast of downtown Puerto Vallarta, or El Centro, are the neighboring areas of Fluvial and Versalles. With partial views of the deep azure ocean, the Sierra Madres, and lush green nature, you’ll get a little bit of everything in these delightful regions.

Both neighborhoods are booming yet mellow and charming and full of character.

Fluvial’s paved streets and new sidewalks are lined with single-family homes. On the other hand, Versalles has mid-range and luxury condo developments with cafes and restaurants on every corner. Newly paved roads and planned sidewalks make this one of the best areas to stay in Puerto Vallarta for anyone with mobility challenges.

Fluvial is known as one of the best places to stay in Puerto Vallarta for families. With beaches nearby and La Isla Plaza, a modern shopping, entertainment, and dining area, you’ll never need to leave the neighborhood for your daily amenities.

It is a fantastic middle-class neighborhood alongside Colonia Gaviotas, where a lot of the area’s private schools are located. In addition, a Costco and a La Comer gourmet grocery store make the community complete and make your life easy.

Versalles is one of the older neighborhoods on this list, so it has a charming traditional feel. It’s populated more by locals than expats and tourists, which means the prices are lower—but that’s starting to change.

Versalles has been developing a little faster over the years, so you have the best of both worlds here. But Fluvial is starting to catch up with a number of new condominium developments in the pipeline.

Versalles is known for its traditional residential areas and old-world Mexican homes. Classic architecture mixes with lush tropical landscapes creating a unique blend. These neighborhoods are scenic and walkable, with plenty of independently owned shops and restaurants.

Fluvial & Versalles Real Estate
Unlike many of Puerto Vallarta’s areas built into the hills, both Fluvial and Versalles are on flat land, making it easy and accessible for everyone.

This area has contemporary single-family homes as well as boutique condos and townhouses. It is connected by city buses, but it wouldn’t hurt to have transportation if you lived here, just as a convenience factor.

Fluvial Vallarta, one of the largest developments in the area, was meticulously planned with green spaces and aesthetics in mind. As a result, some of the city’s best walking and biking trails and public parks are all within the area.

Hot Tip: A brand-new condominium development offering ideal urban living, with commercial spaces and residential units, is slated to break ground in Fluvial in the coming months. For more information on this soon-to-be-announced project, contact taniel(at)timothyrealestategroup.com.

BUCERIAS
Bucerias is an up-and-coming town about 20-minutes north of the Puerto Vallarta International Airport. It used to be a small fishing village and, in some ways, has retained that local charm. Living in Bucerias means having a quieter, slower-paced life.

The name means “place of divers” because of how its early inhabitants made their living. Today the town boasts 5-miles of gorgeous sandy beach. It’s not a resort town, so the beaches are relatively uncrowded and peaceful. The surf is very mellow here, so it’s an excellent place for family and small kids to play.

Bucerias has an authentic Mexican town feel with all the amenities you need to call it home. Its cobblestone streets and zocalo, or main plaza, give the town an old-world charm. Regardless of how old-world it may be on the one hand, on the other, there is a Wal-Mart and a Sam’s Club.

Bucerias has a relaxed lifestyle with urban amenities at affordable prices.

Bucerias Real Estate
In the last decade, the town has grown at a rapid rate. Developments are booming in the area, with new condos and townhouses being built regularly. However, if you’d prefer a more traditional Mexican home, Bucerias has them in spades at affordable prices.

This town is popular with people who want a more laidback lifestyle without the highest price tag and still want to be close enough to the action. It’s become one of the best places to stay near Puerto Vallarta.

THE FINAL SAY
Choosing the best area to stay in Puerto Vallarta or the North Shore isn’t an easy task. It really depends on what you are looking for. A private villa with a swimming pool? Look in Amapas and Conchas Chinas. Something funky within walking distance to the beach? The Zona Romantica is for you.

BONUS
Check out these Puerto Vallarta neighborhood driving tours featuring some of the above mentioned areas, on YouTube series ‘Modern Aging.’

Taniel Chemsian is one of the top real estate sales associates for Timothy Real Estate Group in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. He moved to Puerto Vallarta from Los Angeles in 2003, became a real estate agent in 2006, and has never looked back. He has sold hundreds of homes in the region over the last 15 years, and is often seen on House Hunters International (HGTV). So, if you are interested in moving to Puerto Vallarta, Taniel can help you find the home that’s right for you. For more information, visit his website, his Facebook page, or contact him at taniel(at)timothyrealestategroup.com.


The number one selling and listing agency in the greater Bay of Banderas region since 2011, Timothy Real Estate Group is a locally-owned and operated real estate brokerage with a strategic location in the city’s Romantic Zone. Because the Puerto Vallarta area has varying neighborhood personalities, we practice localized real estate and, with 5 sales offices around the bay, we know our communities well. If you are looking to sell or purchase a property in the Banderas Bay area, download their Free Real Estate Buyer and Seller’s Guides to learn more, then contact one of the Timothy Real Estate Group agents for the best experience in Puerto Vallarta real estate. For more information, visit TimothyRealEstateGroup.com.

Click HERE to learn more about Timothy Real Estate Group

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