There are many hotel zones in Puerto Vallarta itself, then when you head north into Nayarit there are even more. Most function like secluded resort areas though, without a lot of life outside the walls. If you want to enjoy the more Mexican vibe of downtown Puerto Vallarta and stroll real streets with real bars and restaurants, you don’t have to give up the beach resort feel though. Just park yourself at Mantamar Beach Club to lounge by the sea and swim in a pool.
This is a private club at the end of town, past the malecon, where several beach clubs are clustered together on Playa los Muertos. These are all day rate places where you pay a membership fee to enjoy the facilities. Some are primarily gay, while Mantamar welcomes all. They feel exclusive and have attentive service, so you can stay at any downtown hotel at night then come here to get your daytime sun and relaxation.
I was impressed with the facilities here when I visited last week and spent an afternoon soaking it all in. There are shaded beach chairs, a nice swimming pool, and hot tubs.
The real highlight, however, was the food. The full name is Mantamar Beach Club Bar & Grill and you don’t get simple beach grub just to get you through the afternoon here. There’s a talented chef at work in the kitchen who has obviously been well-trained on how to provide a nice wow factor in the presentation of each dish. You can see some lovely food shots on their website, but here is a sample cocktail and dish.
The cuisine is billed as a combination of Pacific and Mediterranean and of course there’s a big emphasis on fresh seafood and a few Mexican touches creep in. Try the duck tacos, crunchy tuna with dried chilies on tostadas, or the tamarind coconut shrimp. There are ample non-seafood options too though, like steaks, sandwiches, and salads.
If you live here you can join for a six-month or one-year period, but as a visitor the day pass is an excellent value. It’s 500 pesos (currently less than $35) for the run of the place, but you get 350 pesos of that back as a food and beverage credit. So hang out, have lunch, and get a couple pretty cocktails from the full bar. There are changing facilities, towels, and Wi-Fi if you need to post a selfie to make your friends jealous.
By the end of this year you’ll be able to stay downtown and come here without walking very far. There’s a new luxe all-suite hotel going up behind the club in two phases, the first currently scheduled to open in November. Rooms will have a great view of the water over the club. What this 120-suite resort will mean for the crowds here is the big question, so you might want to make reservations in advance for the beach club if you’re staying elsewhere.
Get more info at the Mantamar website.