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by Michael J. Shapiro | December 01, 2013
Why Here?
Puerto Vallarta and the coastal region to its north, the Riviera Nayarit, offer a wide variety of accommodations on picturesque Pacific beaches, from ritzy resorts to guest homes. The 327-suite all-inclusive Now Amber Puerto Vallarta, pictured above, can accommodate 870 guests for meetings or receptions.

In Nature's Lap
 The Puerto Vallarta International Convention Center is the world's only such facility surrounded by a protected natural estuary. Some center revenue is directed toward preservation of the area.

Shore Leave
The Riviera Nayarit encompasses 192 miles of coastline.
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PUERTO VALLARTA/RIVIERA NAYARIT
Puerto Vallarta debuted a US$2.4 million makeover of its Los Muertos Port at the beginning of this year. The port, south of the river in the downtown area, is a primary point of departure for short boat trips to other sites on the Bay of Banderas. The new 2,182-square-foot port provides plenty of pedestrian space, a waterfront promenade, dramatic lighting and a dock for six medium-sized boats. Evening receptions can be held on the dock; by extending them on to the beach, as many as 1,500 attendees can be accommodated.

A 420-room AM Resorts property, Now Pearl Puerto Vallarta, currently is in development in the city's Hotel Zone and is scheduled to open in December 2016.

A 125-room Hotel One and a 115-room Holiday Inn Express are in development in Puerto Vallarta's Marina Zone. Construction has begun on both properties; the latter is expected to open in early 2014. The hotels will be conveniently close to the convention center and will target meetings and conventions attendees.

The 120-room Best Western Plus Suites Puerto Vallarta, a conversion of the former Presidente InterContinental, opened earlier this year. The property is on a naturally secluded beach just south of the "Romantic Zone," on the road to Mismaloya. Highlights include three restaurants, a pool, a fitness center, indoor meeting space and a banquet-friendly area on the beach.
 
The all-inclusive Iberostar Playa Mita debuts this month in the Riviera Nayarit, about a 45-minute drive from the airport in Puerto Vallarta. The 452-room resort, Iberostar's first in the region, is in the Litibú development, near Punta Mita. Part of Iberostar's Premium category, the property includes 120 oceanfront junior suites and two presidential suites, as well as two swimming pools, the on-site SPA Sensations, tennis courts and a fitness center. On-site are four specialty restaurants, a buffet, a snack bar, several bars and 24-hour room service. The hotel also has nearly 5,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

The 173-room Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita unveiled its US$1.5 million Takua Event Palapa in October, with 4,310 square feet of beach-facing ballroom space. The venue can host up to 400 attendees. The resort now offers a total of 8,000 square feet of indoor meeting space and an additional 14,000 square feet of outdoor space.

Meeting Hotels
Among meeting-friendly hotels in Puerto Vallarta are the 475-room Sheraton Buganvilias Resort & Convention Center; 433-room CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa; 396-room Canto del Sol, Plaza Vallarta; 345-room Velas Vallarta; 327-room Now Amber Puerto Vallarta; 318-room Meliá Puerto Vallarta; 316-room Barceló Puerto Vallarta; 305-room Dreams Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa; 291-room Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta; 280-room Westin Resort & Spa; 271-room Secrets Vallarta Bay, and 259-room Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort.

Resorts with meeting space in Nuevo Vallarta, in Riviera Nayarit, include the 700-room Paradise Village Resort, 550-room Riu Vallarta, 495-room Marival Re­sort and Suites, 445-room Riu Palace Paci­fico, 348-room Val­larta Palace, 275-room Villa del Palmar Flamingos Beach Resort & Spa, 267-room Grand Velas, 245-room Villa La Es­tancia, 233-room Dreams Vil­lamagna and 135-room Tahéima Resort & Spa.

Around Punta Mita, resorts include the 452-room Iberostar Playa Mita, 173-room Four Seasons Resort and 120-room St. Regis Punta Mita.

Convention Center
Puerto Vallarta International Convention Center; exhibit space, 53,820 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 6; 011 52 (322) 2262870; cicpuertovallarta.com 

Taxes
Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit: sales tax, 16%; lodging tax, 3%; total tax on hotel rooms, 19%. Mexico is terminating the VAT exemption for foreign groups, but is providing a grace period. Qualified groups that have paid in full by June 30, 2014, still can apply for the exemption.

Group Venue
Perched on a hilltop overlooking Puerto Vallarta's malecón (boardwalk) and the Bay of Banderas, Barcelona is a three-story restaurant with fantastic views and even better tapas. The paella and sangria both are noteworthy, but the small plates such as the angus beef brochete with carmelized red onions are real standouts.  The top patio can seat 70, while the middle floor seats 45 and the first floor 40. 011 (322) 2230831; barcelonatapas.net

Contact
Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board, 011 52 (322) 2241175; visitpuertovallarta.com

Riviera Nayarit Convention & Visitors Bureau, 011 52 (998) 8729499; rivieranayarit.com