We just returned from our 5 day vacation at Barcelo in Puerto Vallarta. Overall the hotel was pretty amazing. The rooms were very clean and the grounds were beautiful.
Food and Drinks: There are 3 main restaurants, a snack bar, buffet, and the catina bar. We ate at the Seafood and Steak, and Italian restaurants during our stay. At night, the open snack bar/grill is turned into the seafood and steak restaurants. The downside to this is the only beach access is through this area, so you may have people walking in and out by your table. Food selection is decent. I ordered a Rib Eye and it was AMAZING. My husband ordered the Surf and turf and received a tiny slab of meat and two pieces of shrimp. That was disappointing. I found the food selection at the Italian restaurant a little slim. I suggest before you make your dinner reservations, check out the menus they leave outside the places to see what best fits yours. As far as drinks go, I was pleasantly surprised. They don't have a set drink menu so you can order whatever you want. They also give you a significant amount of alcohol, some times it was almost too much for me. Every night the pool towel checkout area is set up into a tequila shot tasting area as well.
Beach and Pools: The beach was a HUGE disappointment for me. After looking at pictures and reading other reviews, I had a good idea of how small the beach was and how low quality the sand is. However, it turned out to be way worse that I expected. The sand was more like gravel for starters. It was painful to walk on barefoot. The beach size itself is not spectacular. There are maybe a dozen umbrellas and 40+ chairs. There are super annoying vendors constantly trying to get you to buy stuff. You can easily say no thank you, but a minute later a different person will come up to you. If you walk down the beach there is a public beach where a lot of locals go. There are cheap massages over there and a restaurant, but again, once you make your way over you are almost attacked by people asking you if you want to go jet-skiing or out on a boat, etc. The pools however were really nice. There are at least 3. We only went to the one with the swim up bar. They were all very nice though. Be careful walking over the bridge that goes over one however. It is very steep but there is a railing to hold onto.
Shopping: The resort has several shops in it, varying from knick-knacks, clothes and jewelry, and just basic needs (sunscreen, etc.) The stores can't accept US dollars. If you don't have pesos they will charge your room and the exchange rate will be higher. Every night there will be some vendors out in the main walkway. Bargain with them! We got an amazing sunset painting that was done by fingerprint for $200 pesos. If you are looking for a good shopping trip I highly suggest taking a cab to the flea market in town. The cab ride was about 150 pesos one way. There are a TON of shops and you can find some amazing deals! I am sad that I ran out of money and couldn't spend more time in town.
Excursions/ Other stuff to do: We booked the excursion out to Yelapa through the hotel. I was disappointed when we booked it because the guy said it was going to be $55 US dollars each charged to our hotel. However, they switched it to pesos then the hotel exchanged it back to dollars at a higher rate, making it about $67 each instead of $55. I didn't find this out until we checked out. Be careful about this and make sure you ask exactly how they are converting the money. The excursion itself was okay. We took a ride out to a catamaran where they had an open bar and lunch for us. We stopped at a spot and went snorkeling for a good hour then went over to the fishing village of Yelapa. We toured the small village (opportunity to buy stuff) and hiked up to the waterfall. The waterfall was beautiful but there were so many people in our group it was almost impossible to get under the water because there were greedy people who thought they owned the place. After you were finished there, you walked down to the beach. We got lost a couple times because the tour guides just left you to roam. After we got to the beach we went parasailing (about $1500 pesos for 4 of us- you could probably talk them down more). This was interesting because they strapped you in the harness on the beach and you took off from there and landed back on the beach. It was an adrenaline rush!
If you have time you MUST go to the zoo! This was the highlight of our trip. The zoo is less than a mile away from the hotel. We walked there. It was very easy to get too, just follow the signs. We paid $100 pesos each for admission and then we upgraded our package for $400 pesos, so we each got a bag of food to feed animals and had time to play with the baby tigers and monkeys at the end. If you don't want to play with the tigers and monkeys, a bag of food is only 50 pesos. I highly suggest paying in pesos for this. You'll end up paying more in US dollars if not. Bring bug spray. We all got bites on our legs, which we surprisingly didn't even notice bugs biting. Mine never itched but the other 3 people in my group had itchy legs the next day. You can feed almost every animal in the zoo. Watch out for some of the monkeys, they are tricky and try to grab your food or purses through the cages! Holding the baby tigers was awesome. They may chew a little on your arms, but it doesn't hurt. Their teeth aren't sharp yet. Amazing experience!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Barceló Puerto Vallarta***** (formerly Barceló La Jolla de Mismaloya) in Puerto Vallarta, is an elegant, all-inclusive Mexican-style resort. It offers 316 completely renovated and comfortable suites with excellent service, leisure, history, beautiful scenery, exuberant flora and privacy.Relax after a hard day’s work in the hotel spa, catch some rays at one of the hotel pools or take time out to practice your favourite water sport. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- La Jolla Mismaloya
- Barcelo La Jolla De Mismaloya Puerto Vallarta
- La Jolla Puerto Vallarta
- Puerto Vallarta La Jolla De Mismaloya
- Barcelo De Mismaloya
- Barcelo Mismaloya Puerto Vallarta
- Barcelo La Jolla Mismaloya