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Nuevo Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta

  • Submitted by: Debra, United States
  • Submission Date: 03rd Feb 2006

We vacationed to Nuevo Vallarta on 1/14/06 to stay at the Grand Mayan for a week through a RCI trade. The Grand Mayan Palace is a large, impressive resort located about 10 miles north of Puerto Vallarta.
Grand Mayan Palace
Our room was called a Grand Suite which has a nice size kitchen, dining area and living area with television. There are 2 couches in the living area which convert into trundle beds. They were comfortable and plenty wide enough for one person to sleep on. We did not use the trundle beds so I cannot comment on their comfort. The main and only bathroom had a large walk-in shower, toilet and double sinks with ample counter space. There was a small sink and counter outside of the bathroom but only the one shower and toilet inside the bathroom. The bedroom had a king bed, a garden tub and another sitting area with a couch and a couple of chairs along with a second television. Both the main room and the bedroom had sliding doors to the balcony which was large enough for 2 chaise lounge chairs and a large wading/cooling pool. Our room was located on the golf course side so we enjoyed watching the golfers while we were sitting on the balcony. We asked about the possibility of an ocean view room but were told those were reserved for owners not RCI members.
The kitchen was fairly well equipped with dishes, cups, utensils, several pots and pans, a coffee maker and toaster. We did think it was unusual that the dishes were placed in the cupboards under the stove and the pots and pans were placed in the cupboards above the sink. Otherwise the kitchen was fairly user friendly.
One of my complaints regarding the room was the lack of one more toilet and shower. When more that 2 people are staying in the suite there is bathroom time juggling going on. We did stay with friends for 1 night and had to do just that. The other not so important complaint would be lack of serving dishes and at least one pitcher for water or juice.
The maids did a wonderful job caring for us and the resort was always clean and shining. The pool areas were beautifully landscaped and well equipped with chairs and towels were plentiful. The lazy river was fun with and without the waves on and we floated around many times. The pool bars had good food and good drinks. The water slide was awesome fun and the palapas at the beach were very nice. We used the resort 5 out of 8 days and were very pleased.

Food, Restaurants and Pricing

We traveled to Bucerias which is about another 10 miles north of Nuevo Vallarta 2 different days and enjoyed the local beaches, restaurants and flea market. Food and drinks at Claudio’s Meson Bay was good and reasonably priced. We thoroughly enjoyed lunch at The Red Apple which is located about a block south of Meson Bay and a block in from the beach. The restaurant is located on top of the building with a very nice view of Bucerias all the way up to Punta de Mita. The food, the service and the clean, modest restaurant was terrific. The prices were very good for the quantity of food received and that was more than enough. My husband loved the hand made French fries! Somewhere on the Avendida del Pacifico we had a superb Mango Marguerita.
Our great find of the trip was Estudio Café which is located in Nuevo Vallarta at the Marina waterfront next to Vallarta Dolphin Adventures. Federico Leon de la Vega Lagos and his wife Lourdes (Luli) Tarango Flores have created a quaint waterfront café with a limited menu of great food. The “60 cent” cup of coffee is the best I have ever had in Mexico. The dinner special the night we were there was 2 large fillets of mahi-mahi with mango sauce, a green salad with jicima, beets and carrots with a vinaigrette dressing, steamed carrots, broccoli and cauliflower, and dessert was either mango mousse or a real banana split! Dinner, desserts and drinks for 2 were under $30 US and were excellent! We had to return for breakfast the next day and have the biggest breakfast burrito I have ever seen, overflowing with eggs, ham and cheese and refried beans on the side. We also ordered a side of bacon which was thick and cooked perfectly. Then there was orange juice and that AWESOME coffee. All of this for roughly $6 US per person. Find this little café if you are in Nuevo and you will be greatly pleased and totally full when you are done. The café currently seats about 30 but I imagine it will continue to grow as we all find this gem of Nuevo Vallarta Marina.
During the week we also dined at La Laguna where we had wonderful coconut shrimp and breaded shrimp. Dinner, desserts and drinks were reasonable at $60 US for 2 of us. The other Nuevo restaurant we visited was Los Almendritos which is a newer establishment with a wonderful atmosphere and more good food. Average price for dinner, dessert and drinks for one is $30 to $40 US. Both of these restaurant mentioned are on the entrance road leading into the Mayan Resorts.
In a nutshell, best meals with best prices has to go to Estudio Café in Nuevo Vallarta Marina. If you are in need of a huge plate of chicken or beef fajita’s then head to the Taco Break located on the golf course at the Mayan Resort in Nuevo. Best breakfast and prices in Puerto Vallarta goes to the Tequila Restaurant overlooking the Malecon. Running a close second for breakfast in Puerto Vallarta is Epoca. Prices are a bit higher but you are right on the beach at the south end of the Malecon over the new bridge and walkway.

A Couple More Comments

Just so you don’t think all we did was eating for 10 days, we did ride the bus from Nuevo to Puerto Vallarta one day and it was fun and easy to do. The cost was $1.65 US total per person one way. A cab ride would have been $16 US one way. We walked the Malecon, shopped at the flea markets, and had a wonderful day in Puerto Vallarta.
We did have one night at the end of the trip in Puerto Vallarta and stayed at Hotel La Siesta located on the hill behind and a few blocks north of the Church of Guadalupe. What a wonderful little, authentic Mexican hotel. There were 6 floors of rooms with 3 rooms per floor all with ocean (Banderas Bay?) views. We had a Junior Suite with a comfy king bed. The view was incredible as it was a corner suite facing Banderas Bay so we could see most the entire city. The small pool was clean and clear and heated just right. Atop La Siesta is the Panorama Restaurant which we should have only gone to for drinks as the food was good but not outstanding. My husband had to keep reminding me that half of the price of the food was for the location. Be prepared for the local photographer to hit you up for the photos at a cost.
Our 10 days in Nuevo and Puerto Vallarta was a wonderful experience. 99% of the people are glad to see you and will do what they can to make you feel right at home. The weather was perfect for us at 80 to 85 degrees each day. We are definitely going to plan another trip to that beautiful part of Mexico in the future!
I there is anything I can further assist you with or if you have more questions please feel free to email me at