We are not supposed to have a favorite spot when we are travel writers ... just like we're not supposed to have favorite children.
But I must let you in on my little secret: The Velas Vallarta is now my go-to recommendation for a family looking for an affordable all-inclusive resort. As the queen of deals (I do own a the great deal site, CertifiKID!), I know how to spot real value at an incredible price.
I have actually been to two other Velas Properties (Grand Velas Riviera Maya and Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit) with my family before. My kids still rave about how much they loved them both!
Grand Velas would actually be my top pick for an all-inclusive resort if money was no object, but Velas Vallarta is an excellent option for those looking for a vacation that is super affordable as well.
The author received a complimentary stay for the purposes of this review. All thoughts and opinions are her own.
So when I was invited to check out Velas Vallarta, I jumped on the opportunity and invited my mom to join me so she could experience Puerto Vallarta for the first time. Our getaway didn't disappoint: We had such a lovely trip with fantastic weather, true relaxation, and a wonderful time together.
Velas Vallarta is only 5 minutes away from the Puerto Vallarta Airport so, depending on where your local airport offers flights, a getaway to this resort could be an incredibly easy weekend or long weekend trip and could even cost you a lot less than anywhere in the U.S.!
Here are five more reasons I encourage you to book this affordable all-inclusive resort for your next getaway (wait until you get to the part where I got to release baby turtles!):
1. The incredible food
I am a huge foodie, and food is one of the most important pieces for me when it comes to travel. All-inclusive resorts are not always the best bet for true foodies... but I must tell you that I had some incredible meals at this resort. There are tons of options to eat and drink on the property for both adults and kids.
Let me start with breakfast. You have your choice of room service, buffet, or off-the-menu. There is something for everyone — from American options like waffles, omelets, and bacon — to delish Mexican breakfast food like chilaquiles and sope, which blew my mind and taste buds. I am a bit of a healthy eater and became obsessed with these vegan pancakes made of oatmeal, almond milk, and bananas.
For lunch, you can choose the restaurant by the pool ... or you can order food at the pool. Lunch was my favorite meal by far. I tended to lean into the Mexican options with fresh guacamole and salsa, steak quesadillas, and shrimp tacos. They have everything for the kids too — like chicken nuggets and pizza!
The Velas Vallarta staff keep the drinks flowing and they are REALLY GOOD drinks. My mom said she does not remember having so many different drinks in her life, but we had to try them all. Right? Velas Vallarta uses all premium products and their staff really takes pride in their incredible drinks. There is a swim-up bar, of course.
There are several choices for dinners. We had one delicious and elegant meal at Restaurant Andrea that was delivered with phenomenal service. I enjoyed a yummy fresh salmon dish.
The next night, we were able to experience the new Táu Beach Club where we enjoyed a Mariachi band and some really creative menu items.
The dessert blew my mind with a sweet taco. It must have had pop rock candy in it because my mouth exploded!
The last night, we had a gorgeous dinner on the beach. It was so special to see the sunset on the beach while relaxing together.
2. The fantastic rooms
Let’s start with the fact that the rooms at Velas Vallarta are enormous. My mom and I shared a one-bedroom suite. It felt like an apartment ... and for good reason. I found out later the resort was actually built in 1990 as an apartment complex and later converted into a hotel. So the rooms are actually set up like an apartment — each has its own kitchen (with a stocked fridge), dining area, living room area, bedroom, and bathroom. We also had a gigantic balcony where a room service meal would have been splendid. All the rooms have great water views!
@jamieratner #velasvallarta ♬ Paradise - Ikson
If I came back with my family, I would upgrade to the two-bedroom option (there are three-bedroom options as well). There are even rooms available with their own private pools on the balcony. For a family, it is just spectacular to have so much space and privacy on a vacation.
I was impressed at the other Grand Velas resorts I visited by the wonderful toiletry products and bedding. Guess what? Velas Vallarta has the same great stuff! I was thrilled by that. Those kinds of touches make it feel really luxurious, clean, and comfortable in their rooms.
3. The luxurious surroundings
From the gardens to the pools to the rooms, every aspect of this resort makes your eyes pop with beauty. Just gorgeous! They take meticulous care of the property and keep it super clean. I was really impressed with the pools. They are enormous and delightful.
@jamieratner Learning how to make Tik Tok videos. #30dayschallenge #puertavallarta #velasvallarta #certifikid #macaronikid #familytravel ♬ original sound - AjWavy
The resort is a very manageable size so you do not need to walk too far to get anywhere. It seems really great for kids because parents don't need to worry about those who are old enough to go off by themselves getting lost.
There was also a peacock roaming the property, huge fish in the ponds, and lizards out and about.
I loved all the nature ... and wait until you hear about my baby turtle experience!
4. The outstanding service
This is really the No. 1 reason to come to Velas Vallarta. The level of service at Velas Properties is superior to anything I have felt elsewhere. Everyone is so warm and helpful. Throughout the trip, I genuinely felt like every single person I came across wanted to make sure I had the best experience possible. The people in Puerto Vallarta just seem like really fantastic and kind human beings!
5. Activities galore ... and baby turtles!
This is a fantastic resort for both families and adult-only travelers. The resort has something for everyone and does an excellent job of allowing you to go with the vibe you are looking for.
My favorite experience? the baby sea turtles! There's obviously no guarantee when turtles will hatch so I felt incredibly lucky to be in the right place at the right time for this experience. The resort has a nursery for hatching sea turtles to help with the reproduction and care of sea turtles. They incubate the eggs and then let them out to sea when they hatch.
The night we were having our special dinner out on the beach it turned out that some of the turtles had hatched and were ready for send-off. We were able to participate in and experience letting them go out to sea. I learned that the females will come back to the exact spot we let them out in 15 years. I almost feel like I need to plan a trip in 15 years to honor my turtle (I named it Macaroni!) ... assuming she is a female. The turtles were the cutest things I have ever seen.
@jamieratner best experience ever releasing baby sea turtles at Velas Vallarta 🐢#fyp #macaronikid #certifikid #savetheturtles #velasvallarta #puertavallarta ♬ original sound - SweeetTails
Other great experiences I had at the resort included a delightful massage and facial at the spa.
My mom and I also had so much fun with their Calavera Painting experience with Ancestral Drink Tasting!
My mom enjoyed taking water aerobics and won a shirt for my dad playing Bingo by the pool one afternoon. Other fun day activities include a brand-new gym, tennis and pickleball courts, yoga on the beach, and nightly activities like karaoke and casino games.
Now onto the kid stuff! There is a fantastic kids club that was recently renovated. Visits by kids here are included with your stay (a parent’s dream)! The club is available for children under 13 and includes supervised activities like a treasure hunt, face painting, sand castles, and crafting with beads.
Here are some pictures of the facility and a sample schedule for what they were offering while we were visiting:
So much fun, relaxation, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences at a price tag of around $190 per person per night to stay, play, eat and drink….how could you not book your next vacation at Velas Vallarta?
Jamie Ratner is the CEO of Macaroni KID and the founder and CEO of CertifiKID.