When comparing Puerto Vallarta vs Cabo San Lucas which do you try?
Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas are two of the most popular destinations for tourists and visitors in Mexico.
So much so, that each has a specific place in the hearts of their visitors and are known as the go-to spots for Americans.
Puerto Vallarta vs Cabo San Lucas
Although Cancun and the Yucatan Peninsula is known as the most popular spot outside of Mexico City for tourists, there is a lot to be said for its overcrowding and overrated appeal.
Chances are, you can find a luxury holiday spot on the Pacific coast for a fraction of the price you’d find on the Caribbean side, with better conditions no less.
You’ve chosen the Pacific side, so which spot suits you?
The spot in Jalisco has thousands of visitors every year and is one of the most competitive spots in Mexico in terms of value, experience, and climate.
Many people choose Puerto Vallarta over Cancun, and it’s easy to see why. Trust us, Vallarta has some of the best Tequila in all of Mexico.
Where is Puerto Vallarta?
If you decide to take the Pacific Coastal roads whilst backpacking Mexico or on a nomadic trip through the country, this is guaranteed to be one of the best stops on your trip.
Even if you decide to take the Baja route, you can catch a ferry from La Paz to Topolobampo, heading southward towards Acapulco and Guatemala.
Puerto Vallarta is easily one of the most picturesque spots in the North American continent.
The infamous Banderas Bay overlooks the world’s largest ocean: the Pacific, giving you easy access to places such as Sayulita and the Sierra Madre mountain range.
Puerto Vallarta is situated technically inside the region of Jalisco, but it sits on the border to the neighboring region of Nayarit.
Due to its location, it seems as though it could potentially be a dangerous spot, but it’s one of the safest spots with a couple of hundred miles in diameter.
The nearest city is the historic town of Guadalajara, which is famous for its Tequila and rich history.
Is Puerto Vallarta expensive?
Staying in places like Mio Vallarta can make average daily cost (including bed and board) for a trip to Puerto Vallarta is around $33 (USD) per day per person.
This is considerably cheaper than most popular tourist spots in Mexico, including Mexico City and the spots on the Atlantic Coast.
You’ll find that more luxury trips to Puerto Vallarta staying in the sought after Marriot hotel can make the average cost around $66 (USD) per person.
These prices are incredible compared to the rest of the continent, not just the rest of the country. The average cost for one person to take a two-week trip is just $904 (USD).
As you can see, Puerto Vallarta is a serious contender best budget location in Mexico. It has everything you’d need for a safe retreat at a fraction of Cancun.
Is Puerto Vallarta safe?
If you have concerns about the safety of Puerto Vallarta, check out our article: Is Puerto Vallarta Safe?
In short, the safety of Puerto Vallarta is very minimal compared to the nearest major city Guadalajara.
And by the way, Guadalajara is still 5 hours’ drive away inland, so there’s no possibility of seeing any of the crime you hear about.
Millions of people typically visit this part of Mexico every year for the world-famous tequila that originates from here.
Petty crime can be a problem, but for the most part, Puerto Vallarta is very safe.
Best month to go to Puerto Vallarta?
The best time to visit Puerto Vallarta is between the months of April and June when the weather is pleasant and the room rates are affordable.
During these months, rain is scarce and there are fewer tourists compared to the winter high season.
Although many do travel during the Summer months, the temperatures soar to highs of 34 degrees Celsius.
If you’re interested in whale watching, however, visit from December to March. When deciding between Puerto Vallarta or Cabo this you may want to bear this in mind.
The temperature can stoop to lows of 14 degrees Celsius, but for whale watching in North America, these are some of the higher temperatures compared to Alaska or North Eastern United States.
Places to Visit in Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta doesn’t just attract its thousands of visitors with climate and beaches alone.
There is a beachside promenade with boutique shops and unique sculptures. See this guide on things to do in Puerto Vallarta for ideas.
Whale watching is huge in Puerto Vallarta, with boat trips running regularly to ensure you get your share of the leviathan beasts.
Extreme activities such as skydiving, rock-climbing, zip-lining, and ATV tours are available here, with some of the best natural landscapes to explore as well as escape to.
Cabo San Lucas
The popular spot at the tip of the Baja California Peninsula is a mainstay for the classic American road trip.
Outdoor restaurants, Lover’s Beach, and El Arco are extremely popular spots for Americans and Mexicans alike.
Remember during your stay that only a certain number of beaches allow swimming due to strong undercurrents.
How To Get To Cabo San Lucas?
Cabo is famous for having the best beaches and serene landscapes in the whole country. It’s no surprise that its airport lies within touching distance.
You can catch flights from many of the major American airports to the terminal at Cabo, as well as some Canadian flights too.
If you’re from outside North America, you’ll have to catch a connecting flight. The airport is quite small, but it’s still a 2 terminal international airport nonetheless.
One of the best ways of discovering Baja California however is by driving the peninsula.
The 1,600-kilometer route going through two regions can be done safely with a coach or by bus hopping.
This was a regular scenic driving route for American tourists in the 50s, but it has been known to be dangerous in recent years.
It’s also possible to reach the Baja Peninsula via a ferry from Topolobampo to La Paz.
Cabo San Lucas is one of the world’s prime vacation spots for good reason.
Accommodations range from ultra-luxury retreats to down-to-earth glamping getaways, with levels of hospitality to match.
There are plenty of resorts and European-style outdoor restaurants and swimming pools.
However, the state in which it is situated, Baja California Sur, has high levels of crime.
This is true for the rest of the state, but the locations near the southern tip including La Paz and Cabo are very safe and there’s no need for concern.
What you should concern yourself with is whether you can drink the water, whether you can swim in certain areas and the local wildlife such as snakes and scorpions.
Most visits by foreigners are trouble-free, but for more information, visit our page Is Cabo San Lucas Safe? for more on Cabo.
Is Cabo San Lucas Expensive?
Compared with the average prices in Puerto Vallarta, Cabo is slightly more expensive.
This is due to Cabo’s popularity and the demand, increasing the prices slightly.
The average daily cost for Cabo in a place like Mar Cortez is around $36 (USD) per day. which is almost the same as Puerto Vallarta ($33).
As far as the average price goes, Cabo is very similar to Puerto Vallarta but is a lot cheaper still than stays in Mexican locations such as Cancun or Mexico City.
For a two-week luxury stay in Cabo San Lucas in a place such as the Marina Fiesta Resort, the average is $997 (USD) per person.
That’s around $90 more than the average cost for a 2-week luxury stay in Puerto Vallarta ($904).
It’s for this reason that Puerto Vallarta is known for its budget holidays. Cabo isn’t far off by any means, but it’s still cheap considering the incredible surroundings.
If you want to mix up your travel style and try out something new, you can stay in an old brothel that was converted into a stunning hotel.
Best Time Of Year To Go To Cabo San Lucas?
May to June is the best time to visit Cabo when the wintertime crowds have gone home and the summertime storms have yet to hit.
October and November are also nice months for a visit, but you’ll need to begin your hotel search now if you want to save money.
If you’re into whale watching or want to get more acquainted with ocean life, plan to visit between mid-December and mid-April.
If you like to fish, look to come in late summer or fall. Keep in mind: Pacific hurricane season runs from mid-May to November.
Though Cabo typically only experiences tropical storms during the hurricane season, the city has seen hurricanes make landfall in the region, most notably Hurricane Odile in 2014.
Cabo is known for its incredible year-round weather and ocean breeze keeping the higher temperatures more moderate and easier to handle.
Most hotels have air conditioning though, so there isn’t too much to worry about.
Puerto Vallarta vs Cabo San Lucas
Whether you’re looking for a budget holiday in Vallarta, or an escape full of natural wonder in Cabo, Mexico has something for everyone.
Maybe now you have more of an understanding as to which Mexican Pacific location suits you most.
Either way, each location offering resort-level quality and comfort on the Pacific coast has its own claim to fame so you’ll always be able to find the right place for you.
Get even more ideas on safe places to visit in Mexico here.
📌 Like this article? Pin it…
💬 Leave a comment below or let’s start a meaningful conversation…
“Dear friend! Some links in this post contain affiliate links. Meaning, if you click through and make a purchase, book a hostel or sign up for a tour, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Your support means a lot and helps me to keep traveling and maintaining the quality of this site for you.”