Puerto Vallarta is one of the most sought-after destinations in Mexico. Having registered a record increase in tourism this year and high occupancy rates from January through July, it looks set for an even hotter fall as demand for off-season vacays grows.
According to Sectur, Mexico’s leading Tourism Authority, Vallarta ranks sixth nationally in terms of occupancy rate with 76.3% of rooms sold out for the first semester, placing right behind Cancun, and though bookings unexpectedly went down over summer, it is now seeing a fall uptick.
Now, experts even anticipate an ‘early high season‘ for Vallarta, as travelers return to its glitzy hotel zone and Pacific beaches en masse. Here are 4 reasons why this is happening:
More Nonstop Flights
This fall, the average American wants to go wherever it’s easy to reach – namely, destinations that are not sitting across the pond – and most importantly, they want cheaper airfares and vacation deals that will not break the bank.
Unsurprisingly, Puerto Vallarta has risen to prominence as one of their go-to sunny spots, with the local airport having recorded as many as 4.7 million annual visitors up to August, with further growth predicted for the remainder of the year.
With flights originating in Denver (DEN) available for as cheap as $191 round-trip when booked through budget carrier Frontier, or $192 when flying from Los Angeles (LAX) with Spirit Airlines this November, now is probably the best time to book that sunny getaway before the peak season starts.
Lower Hotel Rates
Similarly to airfares, hotel rates also tend to be lower in the off-season.
Though Vallarta is bracing for a surge in tourism in October, in spite of the recurrent tropical storms and occasional rainy day, accommodation will be cheaper than in the winter period.
This October, overnight stays at the Crown Paradise Golden All Inclusive Resort, located in the lively Las Glorias district, start from only $168, down from $237, while the Luxury Patio Azul Hotel is offering a ‘Late Escape Deal’ for as cheap as $143, when normally a standard suite would cost $269.
For travelers on a budget who simply want a cozy bed to sleep while being closer to the sea, a ‘King Room’ at the Holiday Inn Express Puerto Vallarta, located in a quieter part of town near a beach and 8.6 km from the Zona Romantica will set you back by a mere $83 per night.
A Fascinating Culture
Besides the cheaper airfares and hotel rates, another reason why tourists will be flocking to the Pacific gem this fall is the city’s impressive cultural offer.
Wandering the cobbled streets of the Zona Romantica, the oldest part of Vallarta, they will feel like stepping back in time to when the Spanish Empire was still the ruling power in these lands, as much of the colonial and traditional architecture has been preserved.
Though the civic buildings and colorful houses are certainly not as old as Yucatan’s Magical Towns, the area is still considered a cultural heritage zone by the Mexican Government in recognition of its aesthetic, and protected as such.
Other than architecture, which in itself is a major attraction, numerous cultural events routinely take place in Vallarta in the fall.
November 2 will see locals celebrate the world-famous Day of the Dead, and the city streets are expected to be decorated flamboyantly to mark the occasion.
On November 20, Vallarta will also celebrate the Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution, and colorful parades are in order. Then again from November 23 to December 2, as winter approaches, the Puerto Vallarta Gourmet Festival will be held.
Celebrating Mexican haute cuisine, yet another important part of Vallarta’s tourist offer, the festival is a favorite among foodies due to its numerous cocktail parties and cooking demonstrations, often with the participation of the city’s top-rated restaurants.
This year, as many as 10 Vallarta restaurants made it to Open Table’s ‘Top 50 Restaurants in Mexico’ list, including La Cappella, a popular pizza place, and Barcelona Tapas, where you can have Sunday brunch and Spanish-style tapa-sized dishes.
Puerto Vallarta Is Safe
Finally, there is the fact that Puerto Vallarta is incredibly safe for tourists.
Local authorities have truly gone above and beyond to ensure the resort zone is crime-free, deploying more police to critical sites and increasing surveillance in both the Zona Romantica, frequented by visitors during the day, and municipal beaches.
As a result, very few incidents affecting tourists are reported every year, and criminal offenses are mostly restricted to suburban districts where there are no major landmarks or attractions to be seen. Just this year, 150 more officers were posted to the city.
Read more about Puerto Vallarta and how you can begin planning your tropical getaway here.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com