Just returned from a four day stay at Playa Los Arcos with my best friend. Two girls in Mexico, downtown. Safe? Very! Contrary to popular (and totally incorrect) beliefs, it's really safe to vacation in Mexico, and yes, even if you're just with a girlfriend. Yes, of course there will be the typical whistling and hollering and Mexican guys hitting on you if you're a girl, but just be cordial and polite and they will get the hint!
My point form review below:
Cost: 85$ a night at Playa, purchased through Hotels.com. This is the all-inclusive option for two people. That's a great deal! After taxes it worked out to $97 and change per night. Still good.
Room: Really average. Some might say below average. Decor, I wouldn't even have anything to say about that. My gf and I were given a king size bed (which is really two twins pushed together - and when we complained we wanted two beds, they promptly sent someone up to "separate the beds"). We weren't too happy with the room, there was a balcony and you could see ocean views but mainly you looked down onto the pool.
We complained, and Gabriel at the front desk assured that we'd have a kickass room the next day.
The next day rolled around and sure enough, we had a small room with two twin beds (a tube TV!) and a big patio with our own tanning chairs and a great view of the ocean. Loved it. I chose the bed closest to the window and noticed a dead cockroach on its back on the floor - no biggie, it's Mexico, what do you expect!
Food: There's only one restaurant and it serves breakfast, lunch, dinner. Kind of boring selection and I knew this was going to happen, but that's why I chose to stay in downtown because you can always leave the hotel to eat on the cheap. My go-to buffet selections were always the pineapple, watermelon and papaya. The ribs were alright and fish is always a safe bet.
Drinks: I barely drank. I had maybe 2 drinks a day. Red wine is served cold. Mango margaritas were ok, it's all syrup and ice and booze at the end of the day.
Pool/Beach: The sun never really hits the pool and it's a family-friendly place. Luckily the hotel is beach front, so a few steps away is the towel station - trade in your towel cards for your towels and a guy helps you set up an umbrella and your tanning chair.
Staff: Great staff! Everyone was really helpful and I have no complaints about the service. Gabriel at front desk was attentive and friendly. We didn't know how to work the safe, so someone came up to help us and politely waited outside our room for 10 minutes while the safe reset itself. Housekeeping was great too, attention to detail, swan towel figurine included!
Excursion (El Eden Ziplining Tour): While tanning on the beach, you'll be approached endlessly by vendors. My gf and I inquired about zip lining a few times (at a booth on the malecon, another time at the concierge at the hotel). One vendor on the beach solicited zip lining tours. We chatted with him and asked what his bestbestbest price was. He said 350 pesos (around $35). We weren't sure if we could trust him but it sure was cheaper than the booth on the Malecon (420 pesos) and the hotel concierge (600 pesos). To reassure us, he provided two government issued ID cards that showed he was legally allowed to sell tours on the beach. He also said, instead of giving him the full amount, we could pay a deposit of 150 pesos and that he would personally meet us at the hotel the next morning at 10:45AM (the tour bus picks you up at various locations - for us it was at The Blue Shrimp next door to our hotel).
We decided to bite the bullet and give him the deposit, feeling a little sketchy but hey, if we lost 150 pesos, it's ok at least we know for next time.
The next morning, we headed down to the beach and sure enough, ALDO was standing there waiting for us. He walked us to The Blue Shrimp, we paid the balance and off we went to our zip lining tour.
I highly recommend asking for ALDO. He's fantastic and hey, you KNOW you can trust him! The guys at the towel station will be able to find you for him.
On the zip lining tour, a cool military-style truck picks you up and whisks you off on a (close to) 1hr drive up the mountain. It's scenic and the second half is extremely bumpy but the driver is sooooo careful and goes slow on the bumps.
We met some locals on the tour (it was their day off and they work in the hospitality industry) and they said we got a great deal for $35.
Tips & Tricks
* If you want to do excursions, ask the towel station guys to find you ALDO the beach vendor. When you meet ALDO, tell him Sarah/Angela sent you (the two asian girls who did El Eden zip lining).
* At the buffet, stick to fruit, cooked veggies and fish -- for a real authentic meal, head over to Pancho's Takos, and order the Al Pastor soft tacos. I promise you, cheap & delicious eats.
* For a special dinner outing, head over to The Blue Shrimp and ORDER THE COCONUT SHRIMP! To die for, and we waited 6 months to come back just so we could order coconut shrimp.
* If you're cabbing to the airport, from the hotel to airport it should only cost about 150 pesos. That's how much we paid. From airport to hotel, don't pay more than 250 pesos. But up to 260 pesos MAX!
* Take a stroll to the Malecon to where all the nightlife and touristy spots are. It's less than a 2 mile walk and it doesn't take that long. And you won't notice the time go by as there's tons to look at - including the actual market.
Conclusion: Would I go back? Sure! But there are so many other places to stay at, so I'd probably try another different place next time. That said, Hotels.com always has a daily deal special so keep your eyes peeled on a daily basis!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Playa Los Arcos Hotel Beach Resort & Spa is a splendid colonial Boutique Style Hotel that invites you to enjoy the vacatioon of your dreams.The quality of its facilities, hospitality and tradition of excellence in service will make your stay a trully pleasurable experience. Located in front of the best beach of Vallarta "Playa del Sol" in the heart of the exciting Romantic Zone, is one of the best tourist areas of Vallarta. Here you can find all types of residences, prestigios restaurants, cafes, boutiques, galleries and the best nightlife. Only a few steps from the new Malecon, the Cathedral and the New Pier. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Playa Los Arcos Hotel Beach Puerto Vallarta
- Playa Los Arcos Hotel Beach Resort And Spa
- Playa Los Arcos Puerto Vallarta