On Avenida Fco. I. Madero, just downhill from the corner of Jacarandas, stand Puerto Vallarta’s most recommendable economy hotels. These bare-bulb—but respectable and clean—one-star hostelries have tiers of interior rooms with few amenities other than four walls, a shower bath (check for hot water), and a double bed. The prices, however, are certainly right.
The best of the bunch are probably Hotel Analiz (Madero 429, tel. 322/222-1757, $16 s, $20 d) and Hotel Bernal (tel. 322/222-3605, $18 s, $23 d), next door. Also, you might check out Hotel Cartagena (Madero 426, tel. 322/222-6914, $21 s, $25 d), across the street.
Also especially worthy is the slightly pricier Hotel Villa del Mar (Madero 440, tel. 322/222-0785, h_villadelmar [at] hotmail [dot] com), whose longtime loyal patrons swear by it as the one remnant of Puerto Vallarta “like it used to be.” The austere dark-wood lobby on the corner of Madero and Jacarandas leads to a double warren of clean upstairs rooms, arranged in interior and exterior sections. The 30 or so exterior-facing rooms (about $25 s, $30 d, $35 t year-round) are generally the best, with non- deluxe but comfortable amenities including queen-size beds, traditional-style dark-wood decor, ceiling fans, more light and quiet, and in some cases even private street-view balconies. The less desirable interior-wing rooms (about $20 s, $25 d, $30 t year-round), by contrast, have windows that line walkways around a sound-reflective, and therefore often noisy, interior tiled atrium, and guests must draw curtains for quiet and privacy. Rooms vary, so inspect a few before you decide. No TV, phones, or pool are available, and credit cards are not accepted.
The Hotel Yasmín (Basilio Badillo 168, tel. 322/222-0087, about $35 s, $40 d with fan, add $5 for a/c, year-round), downhill at Pino Suárez, a block from the beach, offers another budget choice. The Yasmín’s positives are its plant- festooned inner patio and Café de Olla, a good restaurant next door. Its negative (whenever I’ve been there) is a glum management. Although the three stories of plain rooms are clean, many are small. Inspect before you pay. You can compensate by renting one of the lighter, more secluded sunny-side upper rooms.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Puerto Vallarta, 7th edition