Is Puerto Vallarta Better Than Cancun, Riviera Maya, or Playa Del Carmen (Where to Go)?

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco’s entry for Mexico’s best has become a favorite among frequent Mexico holidaymakers. With its charming, quaint beaches, surfing culture, nearby visit-worthy spots, and beachside bars, Puerto Vallarta, despite its size, can compete with Mexico’s giants.
Is Puerto Vallarta Better Than Cancun, Riviera Maya or Playa Del Carmen
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Offering a more authentic vibe, giving a closer look to the Mexican life, Puerto Vallarta’s charm never goes out of style. From it’s cheaper prices, Old town flavors, unique twists, smaller city feel, and friendly locals, Puerto Vallarta is undoubtedly a Mexican holiday rite of passage.

Which is Nicer – Puerto Vallarta or Cancun?

Puerto Vallarta and Cancun, two of the best of Mexico, have their own twists and flavors to an unforgettable Mexican getaway. But, ultimately, the defining criteria that will determine which one is nicer depends on what kind of experience you want to have, and the atmosphere you’re looking for.

Cancun, the most touristy, Americanized, holiday destination in Mexico. Probably Mexico’s biggest hotspot, Cancun consistently ranks high in people’s recommendations. With the most number of hotels and a long beach strip, Cancun offers turquoise Caribbean waters, the largest party scene, and a bustling tourist-saturated city.

While Puerto Vallarta is relatively smaller yet big on authenticity and culture, offering a closer look at real Mexican living. Its laid-back atmosphere drives beach lovers from all over to its golden shores. Puerto Vallarta might have a smaller party scene and lesser hotels than Cancun, but the plethora of unique flavors from each of its zones makes for an interesting experience.

At the end of the day, the flavors and the unique twists of these cities will help determine which is which and what is the best for that Mexican experience that you want to have.

Which Beach is Better – Cancun or Puerto Vallarta?

When it comes to beaches, Cancun’s turquoise Caribbean waters take center stage with Mexico’s best. Nestled at the northeastern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, along the Mayan Riviera, Cancun is gifted with crystal clear blue waters, vast beaches lined with world-class hotels, engulfing another body of water inside.

The geography and the coast of Cancun alone makes up for a picturesque view and an interesting getaway with a big city at your disposal. However, Cancun might have problems with seaweeds on its shores, environmental organizations and the local government are working to keep the shores swim-worthy.

While Puerto Vallarta doesn’t have the gifts Cancun has, it certainly makes up for it with its surfing culture, and authentic Mexican atmosphere. Fronting the might Pacific, surfing is big, and Puerto Vallarta’s best beaches are located just at the outskirts of the town if you’re up for a serene and picturesque experience.

Is the Water Warmer in Cancun or Puerto Vallarta?

The average water around Puerto Vallarta is around 24 C or 76 F, while Cancun has an average of about 26 C or 80 F. This difference is because of them being situated at the opposite sides of the country.

Cancun lies at the easternmost coast, in the Atlantic, west of the Caribbean. While Puerto Vallarta is at the central-western side, at the eastern Pacific.

Is Cancun or Puerto Vallarta Safest?

Puerto Vallarta’s manageable size, friendly locals, and smaller nightlife experience relatively lower threat than Cancun’s uber-lively, tourist-saturated, bustling city. It can have its challenges, especially with small-time crimes.

While both see their fair share of threats and dangers. Cancun’s disadvantage lies in its size, and the sheer number of people that inhabit it, locals and visitors altogether. Drug wars and petty crimes still exist all over Mexico, with a level-two warning from the U.S. State Department.

Is Puerto Vallarta Cheaper Than Cancun?

According to visitors who have frequented both cities, Puerto Vallarta is by far the most economical choice. With cheaper hotels, tours, and food – with an authentic flair to add. To add to its charm, if you compare prices from Cancun, Cabo, and Puerto Vallarta, PV takes the number spot as the cheapest.

How Far Away is Puerto Vallarta From Cancun?

The distance between Puerto Vallarta and Cancun is about 1,189 miles or 1,914 km as the crow flies. But, if you choose to drive it takes about 1,544 miles or 2,485 km nonstop.

How Far is Puerto Vallarta From Cancun Airport?

Flying from Puerto Vallarta straight to the Cancun Airport is approximately 1,180 miles or 1,900 km. Fly time takes about 4 hours and 25 minutes.

How Do I Get From Cancun to Puerto Vallarta?

The fastest, most convenient way has to be flying. From the Puerto Vallarta Airport to Cancun International Airport that takes about 4 hours and a half. These two airports have available flights that take passengers directly to them, from Aeromexico to Volaris Airlines.

Another way is to take a long bus ride in between coasts. This can be a cheaper option and provides a view of central Mexico along the way, however, it takes up an entire day to get from point to point.

Driving from Cancun to Puerto Vallarta is also possible, some car rental companies offer units that allow you to drive from coast to coast. However, it might take more than a day of travel, and on top of rental fees, you have gas to take care of as well.

Should I Go to Cancun or Puerto Vallarta?

It will always depend on what type of experience you’re looking to have in Mexico. Cancun offers the best beaches, and views, with more hotel and resort options to choose from. The city also has tons of activities and places to discover, and the party scene in Cancun has to be the biggest in Mexico.

Puerto Vallarta, unlike Cancun, has a smaller, more laid-back, and relaxed atmosphere, with a more authentic touch. Puerto Vallarta is a charming beach town without the pretense of a coastal touristy city, even though it is a smaller version of one.

If you have enough money to spend, you could visit the two, as part of your Mexican getaway. Experience the contrasts and similarities giving you an even bigger picture of Mexico.

Which is Better – Puerto Vallarta or Riviera Maya?

Riviera Maya boasts the best beaches in Mexico, while Puerto Vallarta’s coast is always overshadowed by its bigger neighbors. However, Riviera Maya is not a city like Puerto Vallarta, but rather a stretch of coast.

Puerto Vallarta is a charming and vibrant major coastal city that boasts authentic Mexican seaside charm and a smaller yet equally lively scene. While Riviera Maya refers to the entire stretch of coast east of the Yucatan, in the state of Quintana Roo

Riviera Maya’s prime jewels, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel Island, and Tulum, are some of the pride of Mexico. These premier destinations help put the country on the tourist map. Puerto Vallarta at the Banderas Bay is one of the main attractions of Jalisco.

Which is Better – Puerto Vallarta or Playa Del Carmen?

Puerto Vallarta offers Mexican authenticity with a side of a charming beach scend, dotted with fun beachside bars and interesting activities. While Playa del Carmen boasts some of the best beaches, with fewer interesting touches than Puerto Vallarta.

Deciding which is which can be tough as they both have their similarities and their quirks, however, it will always depend on each tourists’ unique perspectives. Many visitors prefer Puerto Vallarta’s overall interesting charms, over Playa’s pretty beaches, and a relatively smaller town vibe.

You can say that Puerto Vallarta is the west coast’s smaller sister to Cabo, while Playa del Carmen is the east’s smaller sister to Cancun. Both have their charms and more authentic feel, with relatively smaller beach culture and party scene.

How Far is Puerto Vallarta From Playa Del Carmen?

The distance between Puerto Vallarta and Playa del Carmen is around 1,175 miles or 1,891 km. Flight duration could take about 2 hours.