Planning a vacation to a tropical destination is hard! I’ve been there. Paralyzed by the endless options and pretty places to spend your money, or points. It’s particularly hard when you’ve narrowed it down to one location or brand of hotel. Max and I are Hyatt Explorists and also have the Chase-Hyatt credit card, so needless to say, if we’re in need of a hotel, we tend to gear towards Hyatt when booking points rooms. Hyatt has a number of all-inclusive properties around the Caribbean and Mexico so we’ve been slowly chipping away at the list and checking out various properties in Mexico.
Several of the Ziva properties are only 20,000 Hyatt points per night, making them an incredible value. Hyatt’s tiers range from 5,000 points per night (think random airport Hyatt) up to 40,000 points per night (think Small Luxury Hotels properties they recently partnered with). 20,000 points per night for an all-inclusive is, frankly, crazy.
Pro Tip: if you open a World of Hyatt credit card account, you can get up to 50,000 points, so get excited for 2 free nights right off the bat. Alternatively, you can transfer points from your Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Since our recent trip to the Puerto Vallarta Ziva, we’ve received so many questions about Cabo versus Puerto Vallarta, so we thought we’d break down each Hyatt Ziva so you can decide what’s best for you.
Both the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos and Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta are prime, beachfront locations in their respective locations. They’re both located approximately 25-30 minutes from the airport and offer sweeping views of the sea.
There is one big difference in the location, though. The Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos is located on a stretch of beach that is more-often-than-not, un-swimmable. Due to the intense rip tide and waves, the majority of hotels in Cabo do not have great swimming beaches (with the exception of a few bays and Medano Beach). While Max and I did attempt to go swimming in Cabo, it was short lived and pretty dangerous. We would not recommend swimming here in most situations. The pools, however, are excellent. There are seemingly endless pool chairs lining the massive pools.
Meanwhile, the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta has an incredible swimming beach, as it’s nestled in a protected bay with warm, clear water. You can spend hours relaxing in the calm waves and watches the waves crash on the shore. If you’re looking for a beach vacation where you can spend most of your time in the ocean, then Puerto Vallarta wins out. While there is a pool, and even some swim-up suites, the pool chairs were quite frequently full. However, the beach chairs were plentiful.
Lobby & Check In
Both properties have stunning lobbies overlooking the grounds and ocean beyond. Check-in at both locations was efficient and friendly. As a Hyatt discoverist, explorist or globalist, you have access to a separate check-in counter at both properties, which is nice if there is a line at the main desk.
The Ziva Cabo did offer margaritas at check in, which we thought was a nice touch. The Cabo property also provides wrist-bands that are color coordinated based on your status. I can’t confirm this, but I do believe we received slightly elevated service in restaurants due to our obvious status (gold wrist bands). It’s worth noting that the Puerto Vallarta property is so secured and protected from the outside that they had no need for wrist-bands.
Hands down, the Puerto Vallarta property wins here. Vaulted ceilings in the club tower, modern amenities, beautiful artwork and decor as well as luxurious feeling furnishings tick all the boxes when thinking about a luxury hotel. The Ziva PV also had a full wall of windows that opened up to the large balcony, complete with a chaise lounge fit for two. The room experience was truly exceptional, and unexpected.
Los Cabos, however, did not have the same luxurious feel to the rooms. The rooms were quite dated and dark and had not been recently renovated. We found the rooms to be the most disappointing part of the experience at the Ziva Los Cabos, particularly when compared to the stunning rooms at the Puerto Vallarta property. Los Cabos is also a significantly larger property and is shaped like a large U with many sharp corners and and odd directions. If booking the lowest room type, it is much easier to end up in a mediocre corner or no-view room than at the Puerto Vallarta property, where the buildings are smaller and all face the ocean. Even in the lowest room type, you are likely to have a nice garden view or even a sliver of ocean.
Both properties have tremendous facilities available and they both offer so much for every type of traveler. There are constantly free activities like volleyball (which Max took part in at both properties), water Zumba, bingo and more. They both offer a spa and nice fitness centers (although, PV’s was larger and newer). Both properties also provided tours at a fee that were easy to book through the concierge.
Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta is located 5 minutes from a stunning downtown, so it’s easy to go out and explore.
When evaluating the facilities, they offer very comparable experiences and you can’t go wrong either way. I will say the Ziva PV was quieter in general, mostly due to the fact that it’s a much smaller hotel. In that sense, it was more “relaxing”.
The Los Cabos property seems more family friendly, due to it being the larger property and in turn, offering more activities.
When evaluating dining, we look at offerings and consistency. In both regards, Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos won this category. Not only do they have over 10 dining outlets, but the food was consistently better. One of our favorite features of this property was the Japanese restaurant with a sushi bar. Included in the all-inclusive was incredible, fresh sushi made in front of you and boy, did we take advantage. We ended up going to the Sushi restaurant twice in the 2.5 days we spent on property. We also found the other meals we had to be pretty consistent. We loved the cocktail bar as well, where you could order from an extensive menu and try new things.
Dining at Puerto Vallarta, however, was the only disappointing part of our stay. We found the food to be generally hit or miss at every outlet, of the 10+ outlets, we found only a few to be open at certain times and days. After the first day, we learned what we did like and stuck to those dishes whenever possible. However, it must be said that the old rumor is true: some all-inclusive restaurants give all-inclusives a bad name. Once we found the dishes we liked, we stuck with them throughout our stay (fajitas, Brazilian steakhouse, quesadillas). The property also had a beautiful bar that overlooked the ocean and was open late, but since they didn’t have any menus, it wasn’t as fun to sit there and try things you’d never order otherwise. It’s worth noting, though, that breakfast on our balcony was a true treat. We never “splurge” on room-service at hotels due to the price, but since it’s all included, we did it every morning.
Service across both hotels was fairly consistent. We found most staff members to be super helpful, friendly and eager to assist. If there was anything you needed, all you had to do was simply to ask. At both properties, we felt incredibly safe and our belongings felt secure. Los Cabos does have public beach access, so you cannot leave your belongings on the beach.
Overall, the style at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta was more in line with our personal taste. Across the property, they brought in elements from the Huichol tribes in terms of art, decor and furnishings. We loved the consistency in the theme across the board. This theme continued into our room and was excellently accomplished.
I will also say, though, that the Ziva Cabo had its own unique theme as well. The public spaces were well furnished and beautiful. Each restaurant had its own distinct themes and they were very well done, including the saloon, which was decked out for the world cup when we were there.
You can’t go wrong when looking at style, since both hotels had their own unique styles going on. The only difference here is in the rooms. The rooms at Puerto Vallarta were significantly newer, more luxurious and more in-theme. The Cabo property was a bit more dated, darker and provided less outdoor space and views overall.
At 20,000 points per night, or often around $250-$350 a night, it’s an excellent value across the board to stay at either hotel. Ultimately, it comes down to price (airfare, etc) or what you’re trying to get out of your vacation.
If you’re as ocean obsessed as we are, we’d personally recommend the Ziva Puerto Vallarta. The beach is absolutely spectacular and you can spend hours in the ocean. We also loved the easy access to town, incredible adventure activities within driving distance of the hotel and the beautiful surroundings of Puerto Vallarta hillsides. Therefore, we would recommend the Ziva Puerto Vallarta over the Cabo property.