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Beyond a varied selection of hotels and resorts, Puerto Vallarta offers many alternative accommodations. Oceanfront or marina-view condominiums and elegant private villas can offer families and small groups a better value and more ample space than a hotel. For short-term rentals, check out Costa Vallarta Boutique Villas (tel. 800/728-9098 in the U.S. and Canada, or 01-800/508-7923 in Mexico; www.costavallartaboutiquevillas.com). Office hours are Monday through Friday 9am to 6pm, Saturday 9am to 2pm. Prices start at $100 a night for non-beachside condos and reach into the thousands of dollars for penthouse condos or private villas. This site links to Mexico Boutique Hotels (www.mexicoboutiquehotels.com), which is an association of luxury boutique inns across the country, including Hacienda San Angel, El Careyes, Casa de Mita, El Tamarindo, and Verana, reviewed in this chapter. Upon request, the association organizes personalized trips in the region. Bayside Properties (tel. 322/222-8148; www.baysidepropertiespv.com) located at Francisco Rodríguez 160, on the corner of Olas Altas, rents condos, villas, and hotels for individuals and large groups, including gay-friendly accommodations. Another reputable full-service travel agency is Puerto Vallarta Villas (tel. 415/704-0455 in the U.S. or 322/221-5495; www.puertovallartavillas.com). For the ultimate, indulge in a Punta Mita Villa rental within this exclusive resort. Contact Mita Residential (tel. 877/561-2893 toll-free in the U.S., or 329/291-5300; www.mitaresidential.com).

This section lists hotels from the airport south along Banderas Bay.

Marina Vallarta

Marina Vallarta is the most modern and deluxe area of hotel development in Puerto Vallarta. Located immediately south of the airport and just north of the cruise ship terminal, it's a planned development whose centerpiece is a 450-slip modern marina.

In addition to the hotels reviewed, an excellent choice is Casa Velas, on the golf course at Pelícanos 311 (www.hotelcasavelas.com; tel. 866/529-8813 in the U.S., or 322/226-6688). High-season rates start at $210 per person, all-inclusive.

The Hotel Zone

The main street running between the airport and town is Avenida Francisco Medina Ascencio. The hotels here offer excellent wide beachfronts with generally tranquil waters for swimming. From here it's a quick 50-peso taxi or bus ride to downtown.

Downtown to Los Muertos Beach

This part of town has undergone a renaissance; economical hotels and good-value guesthouses dominate. Several blocks off the beach, you can find numerous budget inns offering clean, simply furnished rooms; most offer discounts for long-term stays. Many hotels in Viejo Vallarta (the old town, south of the Río Cuale) are gay- and straight-friendly.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.