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Puerto Vallarta compared to Playa Del Carmen

Doylestown...
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Puerto Vallarta compared to Playa Del Carmen

We are big fans of PDC but are interested in visiting the other side of Mexico. How similar is PV to PDC? Pros/cons of PV vs. PDC?

Thank you!

United States
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1. Re: Puerto Vallarta compared to Playa Del Carmen

I am just the opposite of you! Big fan of Puerto Vallarta but last March we went to PDC! There have been many discussions and comparisons between the two.

I'll name a few things: Puerto Vallarta has majestic sunsets every night. PDC has none. Puerto Vallarta has the Malecon/Boardwalk and is situated right on Banderas Bay with a great breeze. You can see the sand sculptures, bronze statues by various artists, vendors and lots of activity. PDC has 5th Avenue which is strolled mostly at night because of the heat and no cross breeze. The shops are fun and lots of activity there. Puerto Vallarta is nestled into the Sierra Madre Mountains, beautiful flowers, amazing restaurants, a walking city with quaint Mexican charm. Bus and taxi system is very easy to use. PDC is more spread out, Mayan ruins to visit, restaurants are good and a different feel than PV. The Colectivo and ADO buses are fun to take and easy to use.

Puerto Vallarta has hot and sometimes rough sand and dark blue water. PDC has cool soft sand and crystal blue windex water.

PV is closer for me and costs less and I love the culture. There are so many little day side trips you can take with water taxis. I've gone to PV lots and do so much every time I go. I never seem to get everything done that I want to do. My list just grows and grows and grows.......

Shawnee, Kansas
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2. Re: Puerto Vallarta compared to Playa Del Carmen

Been to PDC a couple times.....

I also just want to mention that so far both of us are describing Puerto Vallarta and this doesn't apply to Nuevo Vallarta. People get confused but they are two different places.

I think generally the distances to do things are shorter and the transportation system is far better in PV. Lots of buses and cabs and they're cheap.

Many tourists in PDC stick to 5th ave. and I never saw a Mexican strolling there, unless they were on their way to work. I loved the shopping and the restaurants though. In PV the Mexicans love and use PV's pedestrian only Malecon as much as the tourists. In PV the tourists use the whole city and rub shoulders with the locals much more.

In PV the shopping is excellent and there are many more restaurants to choose from, but they aren't all only on one street. PV is a more interesting town than PDC was to me, and it's about the best walking town I've ever visited.

In PV the sand is sand and the water is blue and much nicer than the Atlantic imo. There is no seaweed in the bay where most people swim, but there are rock outcroppings because the mountains literally flow to the sea, it makes it pretty to me. Some beaches might have some pebbles at the water line, but not all.

In PDC the water is clearer, and the sand is finer and there are no vendors allowed on the beach. In PV there are lots of vendors selling all manner of things. I like it that way.....it keeps things interesting. I can only stare at the horizon for so long.

I didn't feel a special vibe flowing everywhere in PDC that I feel in PV. I have felt it in Isla Mujeres though. You will have to visit PV to know what vibe I'm talking about. :-)

Edmonton
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3. Re: Puerto Vallarta compared to Playa Del Carmen

We love both and continue to go back to both. We just returned from the Mayan a while back and I am in the midst of planning our next trip to PV. The one thing you need to be aware of is the difference in water. The mayan has beautiful turquoise water and white sand beaches. In PV it is golden sand and dark blue water, so not nearly as nice and no real snorkeling to speak of in comparison to the mayan. The beaches either south of town or north of town are much nicer than the ones in town, so if you require a nice beach, I would stay at one of those with the south beaches generally being in small coves and the north beaches being long expansive ones that you can walk for miles, all the way to the small town of Bucerias. If you prefer to just be in town for walking around and not traveling in and are OK with not as good beaches, then you should stay in town. It will also depend on what kind of accommodation you are looking for (AI, non AI, big complex, etc.).

Good luck:)

Minneapolis
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4. Re: Puerto Vallarta compared to Playa Del Carmen

We have been going to PV for 12 years - went to PDC once during that time - the ONLY thing we liked about Playa was Wicky's (dueling piano bar) and that was the ONLY thing. Hubby says he will never go back - no charm for him.

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Puerto Vallarta compared to Playa Del Carmen

When I asked my Mexican friends where to go,choosing between PDC and PV.They suggested that since I wanted to discover Mexico.They would go with PV which is a "real"Mexican city compared to PDC which was more of a "Gringo ghetto".As previously noted,few Mexicans go there.I have not been to either place yet,But looking forward to PV.I had a great stay last summer in San Diego Sur AKA Cabo.But this summer looking forward to touring PV,Riviera Nayarit,Tequila Y Guadalajara .I can go visit Miami Sur another summer which I will probably combine with a visit to Merida.

Edmonton
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6. Re: Puerto Vallarta compared to Playa Del Carmen

Vancouver, you have to remember that the mayan area has many towns that are all not as touristy as PDC. Just as some small towns near PV are not as touristy as PV. In the mayan there is Puerto Morelos, Tulum, across on a ferry Isla Mujueres and I've been to both and there are many Mexicans vacationing in the mayan. Lots and lots and I've been there tonnes. I don't know who told you few Mexicans go there, because from first hand experience, that is just not true.

Calgary, Canada
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7. Re: Puerto Vallarta compared to Playa Del Carmen

I am in PV right now and loving it but....have also been in PdeC many times and love it. They are different from one another but that's good! I agree with maried11 comments re Mexicans in the Mayan Riviera - there are many. Each coast has its charm so enjoy the differences.

Terre Haute, Indiana
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8. Re: Puerto Vallarta compared to Playa Del Carmen

Been to both many times....I think it depends on what you want from that vacation. Do you want to be in the water snorkling, playing in the waves, hiking, shopping......the areas are very different. We chose PV last year because we wanted to hike in the mountains and do more inland stuff...although the waves are fun. We go to the PDC side for snorkling and water activites. (We do not like PDC town though...Akumal, Isla Mujeres, Puerto Morelos are more our cup of tea). What do you like to do, or want to do on your vacation?

Montreal, Canada
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9. Re: Puerto Vallarta compared to Playa Del Carmen

I prefer Playa Del Carmen for the sea :-))) much nicer than Puerto Vallarta's. First time in Puerto Vallarta, like the area, but really MISSED the nice blue and green water of the sea waters of the Riviera Maya or Cancun Area. The Paicific Waters are ordinary....

Robert, Montréal, Québec, CANADA

Saskatoon, Canada
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10. Re: Puerto Vallarta compared to Playa Del Carmen

We love Isla Mujeres and PDC area for the ocean and beaches, snorkeling and diving- but we prefer the better winter weather and nicer scenery and sunsets, and more authentic 'old Mexico' feel of the Pacific coast. The Mayan side is very unique and very different from the Pacific coast, in general.