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Villa Del Mar Flamingos vs Riu Palace Pacifico

St. George, Utah
5 posts
1 review
Villa Del Mar Flamingos vs Riu Palace Pacifico
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Hello;

We've traveled in Mexico several times, but only to Puerto Vallarta once on a cruise. I have no idea where to stay, but I think we have narrowed it down to the Nuevo Vallarta area and these two hotels. We love Cancun, but much prefer Cozumel (so a town nearby but not a huge city). We love to go into the small towns and eat and wander. We are traveling with our 9 y/o who is well traveled at this point ;) We love to spend time in the ocean; kayaking, paddle boarding and our son surfs and body boards. He is our caboose and therefore a kids club and kid friendly is important as he likes to make new friends to play with. Are we picking the right area? We have noticed there is a cute town close by Bucerías, Nayarit and we will most likely do a day trip to Sayulita. We like the AI as it makes it easy and convenient when we are on property. We don't drink alcohol much, but a diet coke is nice and our son loves to be adventures with the virgin pina colada's etc..

The beaches look so nice in this area and easier to watch him in the ocean when we are not always in with him. What about nightly entertainment?

Thank you to all you experts.

7 replies to this topic
Concord, California
Destination Expert
for Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta
Level Contributor
20,310 posts
222 reviews
367 helpful votes
1. Re: Villa Del Mar Flamingos vs Riu Palace Pacifico
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I haven't stayed at RIU Palace but have stayed at Villa del Palmar Flamingos a couple of times. As you probably know, the resorts are very close to each other and on the same beautiful beach.

VdP Flamingos is a little more north, so a few yards closer walk on the beach to Bucerias. Bucerias is a wonderful town ---- a real working Mexican town with a vibrant ex-pat, visitor community as well as a population of friendly/welcoming locals, restaurants of all sorts, an art community, some nightlife, traditional Mexican celebrations as well as a plaza and small church, and more. You name it.

Were you planning to do All-Inclusive at both resorts? Hopefully you know that Villa del Palmar F has an Optional All-Inclusive Plan, so that you can do it for part of the time (3-day minimum) but not your whole vacation, should you decide after a few days that you'd like to branch out.

We never do AI but do eat at the on site restaurants (very good food, with variety) ---- just not for every meal. We often go into Bucerias for dinner or other restaurants in Nuevo Vallarta. We also "cook in" some days, with an abundance of grocery stores nearby. Also, there is a very good deli on site, at the Palmita Market, where you can get sandwiches, etc.

You absolutely picked a good place for your son. It's a very safe area with a beach that an active 9-year old will be able to make best use of. The resort has much of the equipment (kayaks, etc) and resources your son needs for his ocean activities. It's actually a bay ---- but a big one with soft waves.

If you aren't big drinkers, I would suggest to try the 3-day Plan for All-Inclusive first, as opposed to committing yourself to your full vacation.

There is not robust nightlife at the resort, but there are Theme Nights and plenty to engage with up until a normal bedtime hour. Evening movies, etc.

I know nothing about the RIU Palace but there are plenty of other posters here who stay there so you should get additional information soon.

You are correct that the beaches are very nice (both resorts), and your son will find plenty to keep him busy. And ---- Walking to Bucerias for the day/night will offer you much variety in food, activities and some Mexican culture.

If you should want to go into the Big City (Puerto Vallarta) for the day, it's about 40 minutes south by cab. Sayulita is about a 40-45 minute cab ride north. None of us are recommending the buses these days, as they can be packed tight (to the point of standing room only) so it would be best to avoid them while COVID protocols are in place.

Have a fun, safe family trip. (I'm a Cozumel fan also, over Cancun).

Edited: 28 April 2021, 01:59
Oregon Coast, Oregon
Level Contributor
3,175 posts
66 reviews
147 helpful votes
2. Re: Villa Del Mar Flamingos vs Riu Palace Pacifico
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Highly recommend the RIU Palace. We have stayed there a few times and other RIUs many times. Have only visited Villa del Mar on a timeshare tour. It was a nice facility, but the RIUs are much more our style.

Westlock, Canada
Level Contributor
4,430 posts
1 review
3 helpful votes
3. Re: Villa Del Mar Flamingos vs Riu Palace Pacifico
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The Riu would be a more "true" AI experience as the property is AI. The Villa Flamingo is optional AI so not everyone is on the AI program. You will have to sign for every thing you eat or drink, not like an AI property where you just eat and drink and don't have to sign for it. The Riu will have true daily activities, non motorized water sports and nightly entertainment. While we do not always go AI, when we do, I much prefer a true AI resort as the ones that have it optional are just not the same.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
4,890 posts
9 reviews
17 helpful votes
4. Re: Villa Del Mar Flamingos vs Riu Palace Pacifico
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I think you are picking the right area. The RIU Palace will probably have a younger crowd and more kids for your son to meet and play with. The beach is perfect for boogie boarding and walking. Bucerias short cab ride away. La Cruz has a great Sunday market, if it's running during Covid times.

Concord, California
Destination Expert
for Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta
Level Contributor
20,310 posts
222 reviews
367 helpful votes
5. Re: Villa Del Mar Flamingos vs Riu Palace Pacifico
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Mlindie --- When are you planning your trip to Nuevo?

St. George, Utah
5 posts
1 review
6. Re: Villa Del Mar Flamingos vs Riu Palace Pacifico
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Such great responses. Thank you, it’s been helpful. We will be there June 15-23. Can’t wait... this year has been exhausting ;)

Concord, California
Destination Expert
for Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta
Level Contributor
20,310 posts
222 reviews
367 helpful votes
7. Re: Villa Del Mar Flamingos vs Riu Palace Pacifico
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So true, on the exhaustion. Please let us know what you decided. I'll be there when you are, but in the southern part of Nuevo. We all deserve a break.

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