Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan are both world-class tourist destinations. It’s hard to beat Mexico in general as a travel adventure because it has so much to offer. These two destinations have sightseeing galore and are worth the trip, but the question remains, which one is best for your wallet? To start off, let’s take a look at what Puerto Vallarta has to offer:

Puerto Vallarta’s Sights to See

If you want to take a stroll by the ocean, Puerto Vallarta’s Malecon Boardwalk is lined with sculptures, galleries for art and crafts, shops, and restaurants. There are live performances and even seats where you can sit and watch a beautiful sunset. The area is known as Olas Atlas, or the Romantic Zone has everything you would imagine to expect in a true and vivid Mexican neighborhood. Olad Atlas is known as an LGBT neighborhood and has many of the city’s top restaurants and bars.


Visit the Lazaro Cardenas Park to see an open-air gallery and everything covered in mosaics. There’s also great shopping and golfing in the Marina Vallarta area, Vallarta Botanical gardens if you want to dive into nature, and Cuale River Island hosts the city’s center of art and culture. Cuale River Island has art events such as poetry, music, and literature.

Related: Puerto Vallarta Has More To Offer Than Just The Nightlife

Puerto Vallarta: Naturally Beautiful, And Easy On The Wallet

Puerto Vallarta grew from a small fishing village to a major tourist destination through enormous local effort. This small coastal city is full of brightly colored houses and businesses, and long sandy beaches. Let’s dive right into the cost of this extravagant vacation.

Hotel resorts in Puerto Vallarta start at $100 a night during the high season for travel, which is mid-November to the month of April, all the way up to almost a grand if you want to have a super fancy stay. As for getting there, Puerto Vallarta Airport (PVR) is very close to local hotels, and you can find flights from say, New York City, to PVR from as low as $200 one-way.

Of course, you have to take into account your expenses on the ground. Puerto Vallarta is known for being one of the cheapest places to visit in Mexico. If you are from the United States, you will be surprised how far the USD goes when you are ordered tacos and margaritas. It’s safe to say that you can get away with spending less than $50 per day.

All in all, it depends a lot on how many people you are traveling with, and how long you want to stay. If, say, you are planning a week-long honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta, expect to save $3000-3500 for your trip.

What To Do In Mazatlan

Mazatlan is home to neoclassical and baroque architectural styles, a famous beach called the Golden Zone, fishing, surfing, and diving. At the Cerron del Creston, you can take a hike to a majestic lighthouse. La Plazuela Machado is a favorite tourist spot with some of the best restaurants and nightlife the city has to offer. This area often hosts live music, where you can take part in Mexico’s rich culture.

Old Mazatlan is lined with restaurants and cafes where you can see the basilica built in 1856, as well as the Angela Peralta Theatre. It is quite easy to get around from the Golden Zone to Old Mazatlan by cab, as the areas are about a 15-minute drive from one another.

Related: Mazatlan Is A Tourist’s Dream: Here’s A Guide To Its Best Beaches

Should You Spend Your Time Oceanside In Mazatlan?

Mazatlan is another beach vacation where you should expect to be sitting poolside or oceanside with spectacular views. Unlike Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan International Airport is a 30-minute cab ride to the city center. This can ride will only set you back about 40 US dollars. Don’t forget to change some of your USD to Pesos at the airport before you set out because not everyone is going to take American money. If you are not traveling from the United States, it is especially true that you need to convert some money.

October or November is the best time to avoid the rainy season and the droves of tourists, and a flight from LAX to Mazatlan International Airport in October will cost you only between $100-$150 per person. Surprisingly, if you are traveling from as far as Boston, the cost is roughly the same. So, it looks like we are off to a cheaper start, but let’s discuss your hotel stay.

At the Costa de Oro Beach Hotel, there’s a beautiful seaside bool and a 10-minute walk to the beach for just $69 per night for their cheapest room. If you're looking for a hotel with its own private beach, Luna Palace Hotel and Suites https://www.lunapalace.com/fotos/ is an absolutely gorgeous hotel that will run you around $300 per night.

As for food and other travel expenses, Mazatlan will not be pinching your wallet. In Mazatlan, beer is cheaper than water, and a message only costs about $30. The total cost of visiting Mazatlan for a family of four for five days would be less than $2500.

And The Winner Is… Mazatlan!

Although there are many great sights to see in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan is the cheaper venture. Not only are the hotels on the less expensive side, but you will save money on plane tickets as well. Food will only cost you about $25 per day in Mazatlan, and the whole trip is cheaper in general. Although you will be paying for taxis more often in Mazatlan, as long as you have your Pesos with you everything will go smoothly and as planned, without throwing many of those Pesos away.