It’s a no-brainer for me. Whenever I come to Puerto Vallarta, I book a few nights at Casa Maria Malecon. Why? Because its across the street from my favorite (and most affordable) spa called Athena Spa where I get pedicures, facials and daily massages. It’s around the corner from my hair salon called Casa Maria Malecon where I fly to get my blonde hair done. It’s less than a minute walk to the malecon and the beach where I like to sit in the morning and evening. Plus, it’s affordable. I love this place.
The explorer who is coming to Puerto Vallarta for massages, spa treatments and beach time – who doesn’t necessarily plan to spend their whole day at their hotel or in their room.
It’s a self-check-in process that is really easy as long as you have your Booking.com app downloaded on your phone because they will send you instructions on how to access the lockbox and get the key. You don’t really need an orientation after that (especially since you’ve read this blog).
I will literally wake up in the morning and walk to the beach in my jammies to watch the day begin. That is how close you are. The neighborhood is called Cinco Deciembre. It’s closer to the expat area than the resorts and feels very safe.
…also don’t judge me but I love that you can walk to McDonalds and Starbucks.
There are two rooms I recommend you book…
The first is the cheapest. It’s a big apartment-style room but with no windows. That means a very dark sleep. There is a full kitchen and a fridge. And there is a balcony that leads right to the street. They also have Netflix!
The pros of this room: It’s just what you need to lay your head at night or cocoon during the day.
The cons of this room: During high season (Dec – April), you can hear music from down the street at Senor Frogs. Honestly, this doesn’t deter me. I just turn on rain noises on my laptop and go to sleep. The price and location are still worth it to me.
If this room is taken, I’ll book a room inside the building (instead of on the main floor with street access).
These rooms are inside the main building and are all pretty similar. They are more spacious and bright. And you might feel a bit safer because there is no direct street access.
The bed is bigger which is nice when my best friend and I are traveling together, too! I also find the Wifi to be more reliable in these rooms.
The rooftop is a lovely place to chill out and spend some downtime. To access it, go inside the building and keep walking up the stairs!
There’s also a little kitchen area.
The hallways are so bright and fun to walk through, and even have a little photoshoot.
Don’t worry. I eat more than McDonalds and Starbucks. Here are some spots to visit.
Cafe La Ventana – The best coffee spot with tables both outside and inside. I tend to make friends just sitting here.
El Pechugon – You must try this takeaway rotisserie chicken! Get it with potatoes. Whatever you don’t finish, put it in your fridge for later.
Tacos El Gato – An evening taco truck that you have to try. The locals love it. Get the al pastor.
Cameron en Barro – If you like aguachilles (or have never had aguachilles) then you must walk here. It’s about a ten minute walk. I recommend going along the back streets for a fun adventure.
Melissa’s – This place gets packed with expats in the evening but I promise you, it’s worth the wait. It’s a sit-down restaurant with decadent dishes and amazing margaritas!
There are two ways to meet people. One: Hang out on the rooftop. Two: Hang out inside at the kitchen table. Maybe do some work there. But I’ll be honest, I’ve never made a friend here. It’s been more of a solitary experience where I go to the spa, go eat, and then go to the beach – and I like it that way.
Most of the time. When you’re staying in the cheaper room with street access, you might get spooked by hearing people on the street at night. I’m never truly afraid. This is a really safe area and if you needed help, all you’d have to do is yell and the entire neighborhood would come outside.
But if you prefer a bit more security, get a room on the inside of the building with no street access.
Just leave the keys in your room and go. Everything is paid for online!
I keep coming back, so that says something. If you’re on vacation, you might want something fancier. If you’re traveling and looking for a place to rest and relax, this is perfect.
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I'm a bestselling author, hotel reviewer and pickleball player. I teach women how to travel the world solo without going broke or getting kidnapped.
In 2011, I left Seattle with just $200 in my pocket to travel the world solo. Today, I'm the founder and creator of The Solo Girl’s Travel Guide, the #1 travel guide book series for women - and the author of The One-Way Ticket Plan.