Sporting new rooms renovated in 2019, the Riu Vallarta is much improved. The resort’s Room Quality score was upgraded from C to B+ with the renovation; this upgraded the Overall Beach Resort Rating one notch from B1 to Ba2 and improved the TripValue from Even to +1. The Riu hotel chain offers three all-inclusive hotels in Nuevo Vallarta: the more economical Riu Jalisco (B2) and Riu Vallarta (Ba2) and the mid-range Riu Palace Pacifico (Baa2). Compared to the Jalisco, the Riu Vallarta has a slightly better beach with plenty of lounge chairs and palm trees for shade, a better fitness center, and more modern rooms. The Jalisco has slightly better cuisine variety and better-kept grounds. The food (at both) is below average and there aren’t off-site restaurants within walking distance; but the Riu Vallarta property offers an often-lively atmosphere with a great swim-up bar and swimming pool area (such features are Riu trademarks; one pool is more for adults and the other is kid-oriented, with small waterslides). Rooms come with minibars, liquor dispensers, coffee makers, and balconies or terraces; the Double Rooms, Family Rooms, and Double Standard rooms are more upscale and modern than the others, equipped with more appealing hardwood flooring. Available water sports include scuba diving, jet skiing, Hobie Cat sailing, and kayaking. Horseback riding and golf are also offered nearby.
Guests returning to the U.S. can take the COVID-19 antigen test on-site. There is no additional cost for all adults and children. This service is available at all Riu resorts in Mexico (except Riu Plaza Guadalajara), Jamaica, Aruba, and Punta Cana and is provided by an accredited medical testing lab that complies with the requirements of the CDC. Test results are received within 72 hours prior to departure, as required by the CDC. In the event of a positive test, Riu Hotels will provide an extension of up to 10 days at no cost.