Top 10 budget beach hotels and B&Bs on Mexico’s Pacific coast
Mexico’s Pacific coast, more than 1,000 miles of it, is renowned for its beaches, as well as the resorts which have attracted Hollywood royalty. However, it’s also an area that can experience tropical storms, usually between June and December. The most recent was Hurricane Patricia, the strongest hurricane ever recorded at sea, which swept across the region at the end of October, but caused less damage than anticipated. Hotels are now operating as normal.
1. Hotel Posada Freeman, Mazatlán, Sinaloa
This 12-storey hotel, built in 1944 on Old Mazatlán’s seafront (and not to be confused with the newer Posada Freeman Zona Dorado), hosted the likes of Rock Hudson and John Wayne while they shot westerns in Mexico. Its early 2000s restoration helped resuscitate the historic colonial centre, Mazatlán’s most alluring neighbourhood, and it’s just across the street from Olas Altas beach. It has bright, comfortable rooms with ocean views, a top-floor bar and an outdoor pool on the 11th floor. It’s not the cheapest Mazatlán has to offer, but it’s one of a very few beachfront lodgings outside the expensive and often insufferable Zona Dorada hotel zone at the north end of town.
• Doubles from $57 B&B, +52 669 985 6060, bestwestern.com
2. Casa Roxana Bungalows, San Blas, Nayarit
San Blas is best known for its jungle cruise through the La Tovara estuary (and an optional visit to a crocodile nursery). On a tranquil back street one block from another estuary, Casa Roxana is a small compound of spacious white bungalows. Interiors are simple but spotless and comfy with two double beds, kitchenettes, air conditioning, a screened porch and reliable Wi-Fi. The surrounding gardens are lush and meticulously maintained and with a small pool. The estuary is a magnet for birders who delight in spotting both resident and migrant species.
•Doubles from $60 room only, +52 323 285 0573, casaroxanna.com
3. Hotel Posada La Misión, Rincón de Guayabitos, Nayarit
On the Riviera Nayarit – the coastline north of Puerto Vallarta dotted by villages just awakening to tourism – Sayulita was discovered first and is well on its way to over-development. Travellers pressing north in search of unspoiled beaches will find the greatest selection of lodging in Guayabitos. This beachfront hotel goes for colonial arches (windows, doorways, corridors), carved wood and wrought iron in a big way; minimalists are advised to focus instead on the comfy, high-ceilinged rooms and abundant ocean views at a price rarely found on the beach. Guests do have to walk past the adjacent restaurant to reach the sand (the hotel’s own restaurant is on the street side), a hardship amply compensated for by the price.
•Doubles from $30, or $42 (bungalow with kitchen) room only, +52 327 274 1000 or 274 0895, hotelposadalamision.com
4. Eloisa Hotel, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
Ignore the blocky exterior; rooms at this stalwart in the old town, or Romantic Zone as it now brands itself, have some zip. Accented by warm colours and wooden furniture, the modest quarters are bright and inviting, and many have balconies with beautiful views. Stay away from the courtyard rooms, which are darker and can get musty in the tropical heat. The location is ideal, two blocks south of the Río Cuale and less than a block from Playa Olas Altas in a quiet cul-de-sac adjacent to the lovely Plaza Lázaro Cárdenas. There’s a cafe and bar, two outdoor pools and a rooftop deck with fine ocean, city and mountain panoramas.
•Doubles from $55 B&B, +52 322 222 6465, hoteleloisa.com
5. Casa Bahia Bonita, Yelapa, Jalisco
Accessible only by water taxi and swathed in jungle at the southern end of Banderas Bay, Yelapa is usually a day trip visit from Puerto Vallarta (45 minutes way). With no roads leading from the coastal highway through the jungle, it is removed from any motor vehicle traffic, providing a serene retreat where rooms command top dollar. Casa Bahia Bonita bucks that trend, the trade-off being lack of a pool and Wi-Fi (the town’s service doesn’t quite reach this end of the beach), and the need for substantial climbing to get here. But lazing on the huge patio overlooking the ocean, well away from other buildings, will make you forget those inconveniences. Higher-priced upper-level balcony rooms are bigger and have panoramic views. For stays of three weeks or more, see the discounted prepaid plans.
•Doubles from $48 room only, +52 1 322 125 2421, casabahiabonita.com.mx
6. La Posada, Manzanillo, Colima
Excessive pink exterior aside, this small colonial-style inn, makes a supremely relaxing getaway. It commands a long ribbon of golden sand at the end of the Las Brisas peninsula, where Manzanillo is the only major destination on the sparsely travelled stretch of coast between Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco. Some of the big, airy rooms have air conditioning and balconies; all have exposed brick walls, tile floors, modest handmade furniture and Mexican rugs and blankets. Public spaces include a library, a restaurant and ocean-view bar. Guests can cool off in the freshwater pool or, a few steps away, in a bay teeming with tropical fish.
•Doubles from $59 B&B, +52 314 333 1899, hotel-la-posada.info
7. Hotel Palacios, Zihuatanejo, Guerrero
This family-friendly place overlooking the east end of Playa Madera was one of the original hotels in Zihuatanejo. It has few frills, but it doesn’t feel bare bones, either. Wood accents and traditional colours lend the white interior a distinctly Mexican flavour. Five of the 28 rooms face the ocean and have large terraces, as well as in-room refrigerators. The small pool is rarely used as guests more often opt for the beach, but the separate children’s pool is a bonus. The hotel restaurant is right on the beach, with the option of eating at a table set in the sand.
• Doubles from $48 room only, +52 755 554 2055, hotelpalacioszihuatanejo.com
8. Hacienda Eden, Playa Troncones, Guerrero
The name is not an idle boast: commanding a spot in the middle of gorgeous Manzanillo Bay, 22 miles north of Zihuatanejo, Hacienda Eden’s 10 rooms and four bungalows fill primarily with repeat guests. Ocean-view rooms and terraces draped with hammocks occupy the two-storey main house, while four bungalows with private terraces open onto the ocean. All are venues for beamed ceilings, Talavera tile, wood trim and colourful accents. The restaurant is one of the best on the beach. The catch? It closes from 1 May to 1 Nov.
• Doubles from $105 room only, +52 755 553 2802, edenmex.com
9. Cabañas Balamjuyuc, Mazunte, Oaxaca
The only fault of southern Oaxaca’s ethereally beautiful Bays of Huatulco is a dearth of affordable beach lodging. Fortunately, much of the coast to the north is also stunning, and much better served by budget digs. This eco-hostel, set in a tropical garden on a hill above Mazunte Beach’s west end – with stairs leading down to the sand – offers camping space and six cabanas of varying configurations, all with shared showers. The solar-powered property offers a traditional temescal (a version of ancient Mexico’s ceremonial sweat lodges), therapeutic massage and help with sifting through the many eco-tourism options.
• Doubles from $41 room only, but including shuttle service, +52 958 583 7667, facebook.com/mazuntebalamjuyuc
10. Bahia de La Luna, Pochutla, Oaxaca
This is the embodiment of a tropical escape. These 12 rustic yet thoughtfully designed adobe cabanas are on a palmy beach cradled by rocky headlands two miles east of Puerto Angel and about 50 miles from Puerto Escondido. Some cabanas peek out from the forested hillside rising above La Boquilla beach, while others are set right on the sand. Except for two suites and a villa, all are one large room with a private bathroom, cooled by ocean breezes and ceiling fans. The hotel’s restaurant is worth savouring.