Where should the guests stay during my wedding in the Banderas Bay area and what are the benefits or disadvantages of the different towns and locations? This is a frequent question from brides who are getting married in the Puerto Vallarta area, which is all part of a very large bay.
So, in order to include as many locations as are relevant to the Sayulita-Bucerias-Vallarta corridor, I must describe these towns briefly and with help of a map for the different locations that are excellent choices for your guests. I grew up here in the area and know what people always want to know regarding where to stay during their wedding vacation. I have answered this many times. However, since this is a general overview it will not be too specific. These are general pointers and tips that direct you to the next step or if you need detailed information we can help with our wedding services.
Email James@Martoca.com for detailed info.
Most of the confusion of our tourists are generated because Puerto Vallarta and Nayarit are mentioned together often, yet one is a city and one is a state. PV is actually a city located in the state of Jalisco while Nayarit is the state that borders Jalisco. Nayarit however did not have a major city close to Puerto Vallarta. Only small villages were close by. Since these were all small towns but no major towns that were famous, they had no single identity like PV did, nor did they have an airport. So, Puerto Vallarta is the name people recognize but the other towns are where people love to stay and go to the beach and get married in; so we named all this section with towns Riviera-Nayarit so we could promote them as one. But in reality there are many different towns. So it is like the San Francisco Bay area where San Francisco was and is the most famous city but there are many cities and areas to visit both North and South of the San Francisco city area such as San Jose, Santa Cruz, Napa, Oakland and so on. Or think of California in general, Puerto Vallarta would be where Los Angeles is and San Francisco area would be where Riviera-Nayarit is and Caletas,Yelapa, Mismaloya and Careyes are is where San Diego would be. I hope this makes sense, when I explain it to my American clients it makes sense since so many are familiar with California. Here is a great description of the Bay of Banderas area with maps and photos. Or this link is very good as well: Banderas News publication.
Martoca Wedding Garden Venue is located on the beach where the red arrow is (see picture of La Martoca to the right and map above) which is the town and residential area of Bucerias in Riviera Nayarit. Bucerias is a small village with all the charm you think of when people describe a Mexican coastal village. It has a plaza (main Square) surrounded by shops and eateries and food stands and fun bars with ex-pats and locals. It is very convenient for those who want to be near Puerto Vallarta airport (20 minute drive) and downtown PV (40 minute drive) and only 10 minute drive from Nuevo Vallarta (not a village just residential area and hotels) which in my opinion has all the hotel types you can ask for and even private condos and homes.
In general terms, the video below of the area helps to describe Puerto Vallarta and the Banderas Bay. PV is in the middle of the bay as you can see in the above map. The Airport is even closer to Nayarit which is full of hotels and beach towns. So PV proper is south of the airport and Riviera-Nayarit is North of the airport.
OK so, the city of PV is the main hub, but now you know we have many towns and beaches all surrounding the main city and attraction that downtown Vallarta is and it’s airport as well. I suggest to couples to decide if they want to be in the main city or if they want beaches or if they want seclusion. Basically those are the main differences between all these areas.
TOP CHOICES FOR GUESTS STAYING INSIDE THE BAY
Bucerias is all about location and coastal village charm. Overall the best located town with the “best of both worlds” location for those who want some local culture and walking distance bars and amazing beach and short cab rides to PV and NV and Airport which are all less than a 10 dollar cab ride from your hotel or condo. Bucerias is not in PV, but still inside the bay and around everything like supermarket, restaurants, tours, marina, hotel zone, pharmacy, hospital and airport and 5 star hotels 5 minutes away in Nuevo Vallarta. This is where Martoca Wedding Venue is located and my hometown; So we may be a bit biased! For more information or booking a wedding contact us here.
Puerto Vallarta is for those who want to be downtown and see the historical town. See the nightlife and the original colonial town and walking around everywhere with the jungle and mountains meeting the town. It is amazing and romantic. Beaches are just OK. PV is more famous for the town and mountains rather than the beaches. Beautiful beaches are either north or south from downtown. Hotels here are up to 5 star and some BandB and Beautique hotels. There are many LGBT friendly hotels in the south part of town known as Olas Altas where the main pier is located.
Nuevo Vallarta is the most complete residential and hotel area since it is a newer area it was built as a tourist zone. Hotels of all levels and types are located here. No local villagers per se or village life here, but it has great hotels and some good restaurants and a few shopping areas. It does have a great beach and it is only 10 minutes from airport. It is a great choice for those who just want all-inclusives and great beaches and maybe visit PV a couple of times. Hotels listed here from 7 diamond to 3 star and condos. Email me, James, for fun accommodations!
THE REST OF THE LOCATIONS INSIDE THE BAY
South Puerto Vallarta includes Mismaloya, Yelapa, Quimixto and Conchas Chinas and some other secluded beach villas and BandBs.
North Puerto Vallarta (AKA Riviera-Nayarit) This is the best web site I have found that describes the towns in the area known as Riviera-Nayarit. Where we believe the best locations are for those who want to be on the beach but away from the hussle and bustle of Puerto Vallarta proper. For secluded beaches or towns and mansions, we recommend La Cruz Marina, Punta Esmeralda, Veneros, Rancho Banderas, Punta de Mita.
OUTSIDE THE BAY
Sayulita is known as a surfer camping beach town that probably has the most foreign influence and “artsy vibe” of all of the ones mentioned. It is ex-pat heaven and surfing friendly town outside the bay. On the north side and in the heart of Riviera Nayarit. If you like to be among ex-pats and locals alike then this is a great choice. It is open water so the beaches are beautiful but not as safe for kids as Bucerias or Nuevo Vallarta. Some of our guests like to practice surfing there. If you can stay in a fancy villa it will be amazing. Just do not expect to go to a nice super market close by or a colonial city. A bit dirty and dusty but it does have personality. It is a mix of million dollar villas and tent packing surfers. It is realistically about 1.5 hours from Downtown Puerto Vallarta by bus or shared cab and in a private car or cab it would be about 1 hour drive. I recommend this highly for a younger crowd or adventurous middle-aged couples. I do not recommend for senior couples or handicap people.
San Pancho is a very nice secluded beach town with great seafood restaurants about 1 hour from Puerto Vallarta’s downtown area by bus or shared cab. In a private car you could do it in one hour. So if you want a town that is away from the crowd this is it. Beautiful beach and surfing available. Clean yet with cobblestone streets and well organized. I love San Pancho but I would not consider it a Puerto Vallarta because your guests will maybe see Puerto Vallarta once when they arrive an once when they leave. Same goes for Sayulita. If you want a secluded beach town that has enough amenities, but not everything you need like a big super market etc. they you are in the right place. I would rent a car.
So stay in PV area or Riviera-Nayarit, either one will fabulous! And enjoy a spectacular vacation and a dream wedding! Anywhere you choose to stay will be fabulous in the end. As long as the margaritas and Coronas are flowing, you shall be fine.
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