Oh so very different. Huatulco has many beautiful bays and beaches, probably the nicest beaches on the Pacific coast. Small and quiet, great hot weather. It is a very unique area, much different than most Mexican sun destinations.
Puerto Vallarta is a bustling city, lots of traffic, noise, people, hustlers, timeshare salespeople
everywhere....The beaches are not very good unless you get outside the city.. Some love the place and go back year after year.There are very good restaurants and some cool sites.
So it depends on the type of vacation you want, very layed back, or busy and bustling....very different experiences.
Been to both and enjoyed both. What speed0 said above is bang-on. PV is very touristy, while HUX is not so much...yet.
We found nights and mornings in PV cool in February a couple of years ago. Temps in HUX were much warmer. No rain either place in February.
We went to Puerto Vallarta for many years and enjoyed all of them. All of the comments above are spot on. If you like it a little cooler, than PV would be for you. I don't think the beach experience even compares; when in PV we never went in the water, just stayed by the pool. Water is dark and stony. Huatulco is all about the beaches (IMO). The last time we went to PV (7 years ago or so), it seemed like prices had skyrocketed and it's charm and appeal that we loved about it kind of disappeared. Never say never, if the right deal came along I could be persuaded to go back, but in my book, Huatulco beats PV hands down!
Was in Nuevo Vallarta 2 yrs ago and Huatulco this past March. Nuevo has a longer beach that you can walk for miles, down to Bucerias. Whereas Huatulco has its bays with wonderful beaches. I found riptides at both but moreso in Nuevo. The temperature is hotter in Huatulco, no need for a jacket in the early morning which is a must in Nuevo. As a diver, the water temperature was also much warmer in Huatulco.
Puerto Vallarta is a large city complete with Walmarts and Burger Kings. Huatulco has much more of a medium sized town feel to it, without the Walmarts etc. We will be returning to Huatulco this coming year, can't see going back to PV. That says it all!
What speed-O said.
Huatulco is perfect for a more relaxing and laid back beach vacation....most beautiful beaches on the Pacific side. But it can be too hot for some people- not for us, for short vacations, but it is very hot!
PV is more temperate...also more busy and crowded, more variety of bars and restaurants and better shopping. Best if you want an active vacation and some nightlife. But PV does not have nearly as nice beaches as HUX, unless you get out of the bay. We don't stay in PV anymore but still fly in there every couple years and stay north at one of the smaller and less busy places.
I agree with what everyone above has mentioned. PV is packed with people, Huatulco isn't concentrated in one area like PV. That being said, when we went to PV we stayed at Garza Blanca - which is about 20 minutes south of the main town - and it was gorgeous....unfortunately, nowadays, the price isn't as affordable as it was when we went 2 years ago...it's gone up quite a bit.
PV is more lush - tropical. Huatulco is more arid, but still lovely. My first visit to HUX was in November, my second was in May. If I ever go back, it will be in November again - everything was green and more lush - in May, most of the trees have no leaves and it looks dry and barren because the rainy season has yet to begin.
Both are great, but PV is very commercialized and busy. The beaches in the main part of PV are LOADED with people, and the water/beaches don't look as clean as HUX. If I went back to PV, I would love to stay at Garza again if I could afford it -- but if not, I would probably look to Nuevo Vallarta as I think it is probably less crowded.
Personally, I prefer the heat on the Pacific side of Mexico. The sun feels hotter - maybe because you don't get the constant wind that you get on the Riviera Maya side. You still get breezes on the Pacific side, but it is not constant wind like the Cancun-to-Tulum corridor.
Apples and oranges. If you want beautiful beaches and a laid back atmosphere, Huatulco is for you. PV? I've only been there once so certainly no expert! For me, the highlights were ziplining and the Cuban restaurant on the malecon- best mojitos I have ever had, and spending time with my sister and niece ........ Definitely more night life in PV also. I can't say it was a bad trip because we were in Mexico and we had a great time but the traffic, American fast food joints and timeshare sharks around every corner were disappointing to say the least. And the beach wasn't anything to write home about either. If I went back, I think I would find a place outside the main area. Nueva Vallarta looked nice and Yelapa sounded very interesting as well but all the quieter areas were also a long and expensive taxi ride from town. As spread out as Huatulco can seem, if you are staying in Tangolunda or Conejos, you can be in "town" for dinner in just a few minutes and it will only cost around $5.00 each way.
We generally travel in December, so hands down Huatulco for weather.
Hate to be hassled when shopping or just out and about--Huatulco wins again
Adventure--hmmm, had a great zip line all day adventure last time in PV..that was FUN. Do love the walking and beaches of Huatulco though. Some good excursions too...that's a hard one, tie maybe
Relaxing feel--gotta love Huatulco...gotta say I dislike being chased down the street saying I dropped something (PV salespeople)
OK, it's Huatulco for me. been there 6 years in a row...failed to disappoint. Planning already for next winter.
We have been to PV three times, the last time a few years ago on an amazing sell off deal so it was ok. We rode the local bus to the botanical gardens and we were alone there and it was beautiful. We did the zip tour also, that was fun. WE sort of hid out at night though...didn't want to venture off the property, just didn't feel safe. Our long walks were on busy streets and we really didn't like that so much.
So, all things being even, I would go farther south...my beloved Huatulco....
Yeah...I'd have to jump in on the Huatulco side of the fence.
PV was just freaking...annoying. Timeshares, tours and tequila promotions everywhere you went...you can't move, you can't breath without somebody hitting on you, hard.
Huatulco is simply more...organic?...sure, folks are still trying to sell stuff, but it's go with the flow and you end up hanging out with these fine folk for a time.
That alone tips the scales but the bays and beaches of Huatulco are so varied and enjoyable with warmer water - not quite Riviera Maya warm - but comfortable, with an engaging ambiance that ranges from isolated and raw to casual touristy and easy marketing
And getting out and about is dead simple in Huatulco, so many places to walkabout, or wander about for an easy cab fare or car rental...
I could go on and on but this forum speaks for itself I think.
It is what it is, but my money's on a more laid back, reliably warmer, more friendly and human experience.
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