PV PLZ: Review of My Free Stay at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta

Still reeling about the completely relaxing Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarata. Now that I’m back in Dallas, I can start to process it.

The 3 nights I spent here were completely free. I used 60,000 Hyatt points for a stay that retailed for $1,300+ for the dates I was there.

In fact, the whole trip only cost me $90 out-of-pocket. Here’s how I booked it.

Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta Review

View of the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta from the beach

Back to the hotel!

PV PLZ trip report index

Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta Review

The flight from Dallas took longer than usual because of incredibly strong headwinds. That added a solid hour, but we still arrived in under 4 hours total. Fine by me, I watched “Groundhog Day” and holy crap I forgot how hilarious this movie is! I was totally that guy raffing to himself with headphones on. 😸

Then I watched “An Inconvenient Sequel.” Total pivot. But as soon as it was done, we descended into PVR. So yeah, loved American’s IFE selections.

My friend from Chicago landed within 15 minutes of me. The immigration line was lightning fast. Maybe 10 minutes? After so many hour-long immigration experiences, I was pleasantly surprised how efficient it was here.

a sculpture in a room

Entrance of the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta

We didn’t take the bait from drivers wooing us to take their cheap taxis after exiting customs. Instead, we took an Uber that was only ~$6 from the airport all the way to the hotel. The drive goes through the “touristy” section of the city. We pulled up to the Ziva 25 minutes later. Smooth and easy – and cheap!

We had to give our names to a security guard to get through a gate. Which he checked from a printed list. The hotel is completely secured from the outside. And you have to go through security to enter and exit. Every. Time.


The concierge came to take our bags from the car and showed us to the check-in desk. While we waited, they brought us tropical drinks made with tequila and Fresca.

a lobby with a palm tree and a person at the counter

Check-in desk

The desk agent was welcoming and thorough. He offered us an “upgrade” to the Club Tower for $125 a night. The main differences were a private club room and… that’s it, I think? I was like, it’s an all-inclusive anyway, why do we need a private lounge with food? The only reason I’d upgrade is to have a private swim-up pool. But they didn’t have any available. So I was like nah, we’ll take the regular room.

a hallway with white pillars and purple walls

Hallways of the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta

We got our room keys and headed to the room to drop our bags before circling the property.

The room

We walked to the main tower over a short pedestrian bridge. The grounds here are so lovely. The landscaping is impeccable. And there are tons of colorful flowers and plants everywhere you look, which add to the tropical feel.

When we took the elevator up to the room, concierge was already waiting with our bags.

a room with a bed and a chair

View upon walking in

The room was bright with sunshine. And decorated in neutral colors with dark wood accents.

For a resort room, it was a great size. Not huge, but certainly not tiny. I felt like I had plenty of room to move. There were spaces to store our things, and lots of surfaces to set down luggage.

a closet with luggage on it

Luggage rack and drawers

I understand Hyatt renovated this resort. And the property has changed hands a few times in the past 50 years.

While the history is there, the room itself was modern. Hyatt did a great job updating the fixtures and giving it a beachy feel without being gauche.

a closet with white robes and swingers

We definitely wore these robes

a wooden shelf with a safe and iron

Iron, safe, shelving

a mini fridge with cans of soda and water

Well-stocked minibar with Mexican beers. Mmmm, Dos Equis XX 🇲🇽

There were a few bottles of water in the room. And the fridge had juice and beers. Certainly not as voluminous as the Hyatt Zilara in Cancun, which even had liquor dispensers in the room. Not that it was an issue. Just an observation of the differences.


a basket with towels and a lotion on it

Bathroom toiletries (KenetMD brand) and more water

a shower with a light in the shower

Big walk-in shower with rain shower head, bench, and frosted glass window

a toilet in a bathroom

Toilet with its own door that we kept stubbing our toes on 🤬

The bathroom had a shower to the left. And a little toilet room to the right. In the middle, we had double sinks with *just enough* space to spread our toiletries.

a bathroom with marble counter top and marble countertop

Double sinks with extra towels. That scale was my foe

a room with two beds and a lamp

View of the room from the window

There was also a TV, desk, and chair we didn’t use even a single time. We were out too much to watch TV! And I didn’t bring my computer with me on this trip – that was a first for me and it was amazing!

Bed and view

We mostly used the room to shower, change, and sleep. As you well should at an all-inclusive!

a bed with white sheets and pillows in a room

My bed was sooo comfy

I took the bed closest to the window. And slept like a baby every night. The pillows were the perfect thickness and the mattress was a cushiony cloud. Or maybe I was just tipsy every time I was in it?

a swimming pool and palm trees by a beach

View from the room

Isn’t the view incredible? You can see the palms, bright flowers, and shining water on the property. And in the distance, layers of kneeling mountains descending into the ocean. It’s a view I won’t soon forget – simply gorgeous.

Welcome amenity

It’s worth mentioning they sent a bottle of Moet Chandon champagne to our room as a welcome amenity.

a champagne in a bucket with a paper on it


I’m a Hyatt “Discoverist” (lowest tier) elite member because of the Chase Hyatt card. The only time I stay is for award nights. I’m basically a peon.

So I thought this was a very classy gesture. I added some orange juice from the fridge and we had mimosas while we got beach-ready. Very kind of them to bring this to us.

What we did at the resort

I’ll save the restaurants for a whole other post – so be on the lookout for that!

There’s no shortage of activities. We swam in the ocean, took a stretching class, and watched karaoke in the tequila bar. To find out what’s going on, stop by the big hut outside the main building and ask each day. There’s always something going on. Here were the highlights.

Drinks on the beach

There were plenty of attendants in the beach area taking drink orders. There are 2 bars near the pool areas – one in the main pool and another by the adults-only pool. You can walk to either bar and order directly. Or you can place your order and someone will bring it to you while you put on sunscreen and read your Kindle (they’re on sale right now!). Guess which one I did? 😎

a man with sunglasses on his head holding a drink

Margs on the beach

Made for some good Instagram pics (I also post a lot of stories – follow me on there)!

Entertainment every day and night

During the day, they had water aerobics and volleyball. And in the evening, there’s a circus, water show, karaoke, and tequila tastings.

a person on a pole with lights and a building in the background

The water show was amaaazing

We participated in a couple of the events. They’re super low-key.

Some are announced over the beach intercom. Others just kinda happen. We asked each day what was going on. There were always multiple things to choose from. More than enough to keep busy, but not enough to distract us from gorging our faces. 😉


I mentioned the volleyball on the beach. There are also stretching classes, fitness training, a gym, a tennis court, and even Zumba.

The stretching class was slow and gentle. I figured it would be good to do a light detox before the day started.

I even saw some people doing hardcore running and lifting in the fitness center. To each their own!

Made guac

They brought out ingredients and showed us how to make traditional Mexican guacamole with serrano peppers.

a woman in a chef's hat preparing food

This was actually really fun

A little group formed around “Cheff Pelos” (Chef Hair) while he chopped the ingredients by hand. Then he scooped the result into avocado skins and served it up with a handful of tortilla chips. It was so fresh and tasty! Our group talked while it was prepared, and it was cool to hear where everyone visited from.

Hanging around

The funnest moments were the slow ones, where we sat around and shot the shit. Aren’t those always the best? But with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop and the salt air and breeze coming off the water… it was sublime to just be there.

sun shining through clouds over water

Beautiful sunsets over the water

a woman sitting on a balcony overlooking a beach

How’s this for a view while having a drink?

So while we did some activities, my M.O. was to relax. There were plenty of open spots around all the pools and certainly on the beach. I spent hours soaking up the fresh air and warm sunshine. And it was heaven.

Out of all the things we did, simply hanging out was my fave. 🙂

Overall impressions

  • I was a bit worried about this being a “family friendly” resort. But I must say, the kids were better behaved than the adults! I did see a few tots here and there, but it didn’t bother me in the slightest
  • The beach and pools have NO lifeguards. I got caught in an undercurrent at the Zilara Cancun and had to be hauled out of the ocean. This place doesn’t have an emergency team. And the water is fierce. I would NOT recommend getting in the ocean at all unless you’re an extremely competent swimmer. I got in to my knees and got out of there. The power of the ocean on this side is not worth the risk
  • The staff here was AMAZING. I loved how much fun everyone seemed to have. They were constantly laughing and offering us more drinks, desserts, more of everything. I was blown away at the generosity. Nothing was stingy about this place. Great staff from cooks in the kitchen to servers to check-in agents!
  • They did a great job distributing people throughout the property. Meaning no place felt crowded even though they were at 98% capacity. We found it easy to get a corner to ourselves, to get a table, and grab a spot by the water
  • The property is a perfect size. Big enough, but not sprawling, and still cozy
  • It’s similar to the Zilara Cancun in some ways, but not in others. I had to stop comparing them in my mind. They’re just different, but both incredible

Bottom line

I loved my stay at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta, and so did my friend. Our room was spacious and comfortable. And that feeling translated to the entire property. It really was the perfect place to get away for a few daze. 🌞

I was sad to check out. And when we did, we didn’t get a bill. The entire stay was paid for with 60,000 Hyatt points, with some transferred over from Chase Ultimate Rewards.

I saw some cheap cash rates later this year for $241 a night all-in. It’s easily worth it with everything you get. I’d 100% stay here again, although now I’m curious about the Ziva in Cabo.

Hyatt has a good thing going with their all-inclusives, although there are only 6 of them. The staff was impeccable. And the experience was relaxing and boozy – just what I needed. I’ll cover the restaurants soon in another post.

If you’ve stayed here, how does your experience compare? If I left out anything, feel free to ask questions!

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Memphis, traveling, and working toward financial independence.

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  1. I hated everything about that hotel and found it to be a rundown dump. I’m shocked at your review. From the horrific food to construction everywhere to the dead Christmas tree and numerous people pushing drugs on the beach, it was one of the worst hotels I have ever stayed at.

    • Wow, sorry to hear this! There wasn’t any construction while I was there and Xmas already passed. Some of the buffet food was meh but some of it was amazing. At the buffet, it didn’t really matter – can always go get something different. And the restaurants had some pretty great dishes too, I thought. What drugs were they pushing? That’s wild!

    • Drugs on the beach????? BS…..I’ve stayed there 5 times….3 times last year. It’s a great, friendly resort. No drug dealers on the beach…..are you a drug dealer????

  2. That looks like a great vacation! We just returned from Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall and it was awful. The Jamaica Ziva had horrible (nearly non-edible) food and alcohol was very poor.

    • Oof, that’s rough! Jamaica is honestly not on my list so kinda glad to hear I’m not missing out!

      Ziva PV let us choose from top-shelf tequilas for all our margaritas, even the ones they brought us on the beach!

  3. The Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta is only 20,000 points/night, so you really only spent 60,000 points, not 75,000. 🙂 We were at the hotel in January and loved our stay as well.

    • …You’re right! *updates post* I had it confused with the Zilara Cancun. Even better!

      Glad you had a good time there, too – and thanks for the catch! 😉

  4. I stayed at the Hyatt Ziva Cabo during Thanksgiving 2017 and we had a great time. I went with my wife and 3 kids. They had a special rate of I think $350/night including all 3 kids (1 slept in crib) so that wasn’t bad at all.

    The food was decent and we really enjoyed it. Has anyone that has stayed at both able to post a comparison?

  5. My husband and I are going there in a few months for our anniversary so I really appreciated your review! And now I’m even more excited! I’m looking forward to your restaurant reviews. Quick question (no judgement please) my husband and I are not drinkers and he doesn’t want the temptation in our room. Do you think it’s possible to call ahead of time and ask them to remove the alcohol from our room before we check in?

    • Oh heck yes, that shouldn’t be an issue at all. And no judgements here! 🙂 I hope you have a fantastic anniversary – it’s a beautiful resort!

  6. As part of two families consisting of 10 people, we stayed at the PVR ziva during its opening in Christmas 2014; went to the ziva Cabo for Christmas 2015, ziva Cancun for Christmas 2016 and back to Ziva PVR. Obviously, since the 10of us kept going back, we found all the trips to be enjoyable. Plus, the fact we could stay on points helped the decision.

    The Cabo location is much larger than pvr. It is probably a better location for families, where I’d say pvr might be better for adults. My guess is most of our group preferred pvr, but I’d say Cabo was probably a better resort, especially if staying longer than 3 or 4 days. We enjoyed both and also enjoyed Cancun, although the beach area in Cancun was not nearly as nice as the beaches in Cabo or pvr.

  7. Since you asked, they were selling cocaine and ecstasy. Funny that Thomas took such offense to my experience. And, not once but over and over again we were asked. Maybe because we were guys (without kids) in our late 30s-early 40s they thought to target us.

    I put together a full review here: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g150793-d481596-r550274009-Hyatt_Ziva_Puerto_Vallarta-Puerto_Vallarta.html#CHECK_RATES_CONT

    I’m glad you had a good trip but my experience was awful.

  8. We’ve done the PV location twice and love it.

    As you noticed, all locations are indeed different and I noticed your curiosity about the Los Cabos location. For us, it went REALLY bad and we’re currently in negotiations for a resolution. I tried to detail what our stay was like and I hope this helps you:

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