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Sargassum-Free Beaches & Vibrant Culture: Mexico Beach Destination Surges In Popularity

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With sargassum battering much of the Cancun coast and tarnishing the otherwise pristine look of the white-sand beaches, it's no surprise that a growing number of American travelers are swapping the Mexican Caribbean for the Pacific side.

Aerial View Of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

Famous for being not only seaweed-free, but offering world-class hospitality and that vibrant Hispanic culture, Puerto Vallarta (PV) is seeing a significant increase in demand, with new data from Amadeus confirming a 33% rise in bookings so far in 2024.

PV is closing in on Cancun, and in case you've been wondering why vacationers can't get enough of it, well, allow us to enlighten you:

Could Puerto Vallarta Be Coming For Cancun's Crown?

Aerial View Of A Development Zone In Peurto Vallarta, Pacific Coast Of Mexico, Latin America

Cancun is Mexico's number one beach destination by a mile, and it's unlikely Puerto Vallarta will dethrone it anytime soon, regardless of how fast it's growing, but it does have something the Caribbean giant lacks: the cultural value.

You see, Cancun is a resort city built to cater to the needs of wealthy, vacationing foreigners, having been formally founded as a municipality only in the 1970s; PV, on the other hand, is far older with more historical significance, dating back 172 years.

Mismaloya Beach In Puerto Vallarta, Pacific Coast Of Mexico, Latin America

In short, one could argue its old center, dominated by a majestic Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, and criss-crossed by cobbled streets lined by colorful buildings and casual Mexican restaurants is far more authentic than the Riviera Maya's Hotel Zone.

Puerto Vallarta is no ancient wonder—it's still a much younger settlement than the cultural behemoths that are Mexico City or Merida—but it has some of that Old World charm most Americans are craving when they take trips south of the border.

Big Spenders And Budget Travelers Alike Are Welcome

Colorful apartment building in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Other than the fascinating culture, Puerto Vallarta is just as sought-after for its all-inclusive stays, in line with other Mexican coastal resorts: there are as many as 20 such properties listed on, from family-friendly to adults-only.

The range of prices is particularly wide, meaning all are welcome, be it big spenders or budget travelers; you can either opt for the luxurious experience getting pampered 24/7 and gorging on all-you-can-eat buffets, or a simpler, easy-on-the-wallet bed & breakfast.

A Busy Sandy Beach In Puerto Vallarta, Near The Malecon Boardwalk, Jalisco, Mexico

In the former category, overnights at the Crown Paradise Golden All Inclusive Resort (Google Reviews here) start from an acceptable $215 this summer, while Master Suites at the landmark, award-winning Casa Velas (Google Reviews here) average a whopping $569.

If you're simply looking for a place comfortable enough to rest in the evenings, and you'll be out and about exploring and beaching all day, single rooms in the lively ‘Zona Romántica' are available for as cheap as $69 per night at the Joint Boutique Hotel (Google Reviews here).

Puerto Vallarta Is Relatively Safe For Tourists

view of puerto vallarta cathedral with the bright blue ocean behind

Safety is a primary concern for Americans going to Mexico, especially when the media portrayal of the country isn't the most flattering, and though you should never let your guard down traveling really, as risks exist anywhere, Puerto Vallarta is a relatively safe destination:

In fact, over 80% of residents consider it perfectly safe to live in, as assessed in a recent research by ENSU, Mexico's National Urban Public Security Survey, and very few tourists report crime-related incidents.

Church In Puerto Vallarta

That's not to say they do not occur, but in general, day-to-day concerns surround pickpocketing in beach locations and scammers, as opposed to violent crime; that being said, there is a travel warning in place for the state of Jalisco, which Puerto Vallarta is a part of.

The State Department advises Americans to reconsider travel to parts of the state due to gang activity, but lucky for PV-bound tourists, the city is one of the low-risk zones, as there are ‘no restrictions on travel‘ for U.S. government employees themselves.

Sargassum-Free Beaches

Puerto Vallarta Coastline, Jalisco, Pacific Coast Of Mexico

Last but not least, beaches in Puerto Vallarta retain their unspoiled nature year-round as the smelly algae that plagues the Caribbean does not proliferate in the Pacific: in other words, sargassum is not at all a common occurrence here.

There's already been a slowdown for flights headed to Cancun this season, so much so that American Airlines has temporarily suspended service from New York this summer; the rise in sargassum levels is not the only explanation, but it's clear Americans are turning their gaze elsewhere.

Playa Las Animas in Mexico. It is a beautiful beach in the southern zone of Puerto Vallarta.

This year, the seaweed started making landfall on Cancun and Tulum beaches as early as February, when they're usually expected from April, spelling bad news for local authorities and visitors alike, who would very much rather the pristine white sands remain, well, pristine white.

At this point, having a sargassum-free vacation in Cancun is never a given, and unless you're willing to take the risk and trust authorities to do their part in cleaning and installing anti-sargassum barriers on time, escaping to the Pacific instead might be a good call.

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This article originally appeared on

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


The most extensive coastline of Mexico is not only seaweed-free, but it offers vibrant Hispanic culture