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Mexico's Baja and Puerto Vallarta to reopen: Here's what you need to know

July 06, 2020
6 min read
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Two of Mexico's most popular vacation destinations have reopened for tourism. Here's what you need to know about visiting Puerto Vallarta and Baja California Sur.

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Related: Jamaica is open to tourists, but only if you follow all of these rules

What to expect

The U.S.-Mexico land and sea border remains closed for non-essential travel through July 21. However, travelers are allowed to enter by air, provided they meet travel requirements.

The city of Puerto Vallarta in the Mexican state of Jalisco has been under total quarantine since early March. Since then, Puerto Vallarta has undergone a multi-phase reopening process that adhered to local and international protocols.

The Mexican state of Baja California Sur is home to several tourist destinations including Cabo San Lucas, capital city La Paz, and Loreto.

Puerto Vallarta:

Banderas Bay, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Banderas Bay, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (Photo by Westend61 / Getty Images)

Puerto Vallarta is implementing strict sanitation and hygiene protocols throughout the city, including in hotels, public transportation, and public spaces.

Restaurants must keep all patrons and their tables at a safe physical distance, while establishments must place disinfectant mats at entrances. There will also be antibacterial hand sanitizer distributed throughout public spaces. Travelers should also anticipate temperature checks from local officials.

The Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR) implemented rigorous safety protocols that earned the airport a "Safe Travels” stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). (The state of Jalisco also earned a separate "Safe Travels" stamp from the WTTC.)

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PVR airport employees are practicing social distancing, and airport entrances and exits are loaded with disinfectant mats, while thermal cameras within the immigration zone are tracking travelers for elevated temperatures.

All residents and visitors are asked to maintain social distancing practices when outdoors, and wear face masks when social distancing is not possible. Stores, public roads, and businesses are allowed to operate at 50 percent of capacity. Select businesses that do not generate crowds and adhere to social distancing guidelines are permitted to open.

Puerto Vallarta’s Malecon waterfront promenade is still undergoing phased reopening, with limited access to restaurants and shops. Bars remain closed for the time being.

Baja:

View of El Arco, Cabo san Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico. (Joe Petraglia / Getty Images)
View of El Arco, Cabo san Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico. (Joe Petraglia / Getty Images)

La Paz-area hotels and restaurants may now operate at up to 30% capacity, golf courses and sportfishing operators may resume service and designated beaches may open with limited capacity.

Social distancing, face mask requirements, and strict safety and hygiene protocols remain in place.

Additionally, establishments must adhere to a countrywide mandate on safety and sanitation practices.

La Paz, the capital city of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, also holds the WTTC "Safe Travels" stamp of global safety, which indicates destinations that meet the WTTC's global standard for health and hygiene protocols.

However, the state recently closed Baja California Sur beaches again, following a 128% spike in new coronavirus cases after a soft reopening — the region's highest COVID-19 rate thus far. The only exception is Los Cabos, where beaches remain open.

Related: 4 Caribbean ports to explore in a day, including Antigua

How to get there and where to stay

Airlines

Puerto Vallarta:

A number of airlines have resumed flights into PVR, including:

US airlines

  • Alaska Airlines — two daily flights from Los Angeles; one weekly flight every Saturday from San Francisco.
  • American Airlines — two daily flights from Dallas beginning July 7; one daily flight from Los Angeles; and one daily flight from Phoenix.
  • Delta Airlines — one daily flight from Los Angeles
  • United Airlines — one daily flight between Houston

Mexican airlines

  • Aeromar — Two weekly flights from Puebla; three weekly flights from Guadalajara
  • Aeroméxico — one daily flight from Mexico City
  • Interjet — 2 weekly flights between Mexico City
  • TAR Aerolíneas — three weekly flights from Aguascalientes; three weekly flights from Guadalajara
  • VivaAerobus — beginning July 13: three weekly flights from Guadalajara; two weekly flights from México City; three weekly flights from Monterrey
  • Volaris — one daily flight from México City except on Saturday; one daily flight from Tijuana.

Flights average $250 round trip from Los Angeles for all dates between July through September, on all four U.S. airlines.

Baja:

The best airport for accessing Baja California Sur is the Los Cabos International Airport (SJD). Prices into SJD are comparable to flight prices into Puerto Vallarta: $250 round trip from Los Angeles for almost all dates between July and September.

Hotels

Puerto Vallarta:

Puerto Vallarta has opened more than 45 hotels to incoming travelers at a maximum of 30% occupancy with modified access to on-site restaurants, pools and beaches. Additional hotels will open for the summer sometime in the month of July, with the remaining properties reopening toward the end of the year.

The Puerto Vallarta hotels that are currently operating under COVID-19 protocols include:

  • Velas Vallarta
  • Garza Blanca
  • Crown Paradise Club Puerto Vallarta
  • Flamingo Vallarta Hotel & Marina
  • Villa Mercedes
  • Blue Chairs
  • Emperador
  • Container Inn
  • Villa del Mar
  • Villa del Palmar
  • Mousai
  • Pelicanos Club
  • Pelicanos Grand
  • Hotel Rosita
  • Las Palmas by the Sea
  • Almar Resort
  • Fiesta Inn La isla
  • Sheraton
  • City Express
  • Friendly
  • Mío
  • Holiday Inn Express
  • Comfort Inn
  • The One
  • Crown Paradise Golden Hotel
  • Mar Sereno
  • Posada de Roger
  • Hotel Eloisa
  • Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta
  • Vamar Vallarta
  • Grand Fiesta Americana
  • Costa Club
  • Marriott — Category 5
  • Westin
  • Costa Sur
  • San Marino
  • Krystal
  • Buenaventura Grand
  • Villa Premiere
  • Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa
  • Playa Los Arcos
  • Hacienda Buenaventura
  • Las Alamandas Resort
  • Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta
  • Now Amber Puerto Vallarta
  • El Pescador
  • Meliá
  • Hilton

The Hilton Puerto Vallarta all-inclusive resort is available in late July for $246 per night in cash, or 55,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

The Category 5 Marriott Puerto Vallarta costs $98 per night in late July, or 35,000 points per night.

Baja:

Currently opened hotels include the Costa Baja Resort (rates from $100/night), Seven Crown Hotel (from $135/night) and Marine Waterfront Hotel (from $70/night).

Baja hotels are allowed to open pools, tennis, golf and other activities offered on property, but group tours are not yet allowed to resume operations.

Featured image by Getty Images/Westend61

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Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
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Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

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  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more