Tips For Puerto Vallarta
First time in Puerto Vallarta
Tips for traveling to Puerto Vallarta
Do take an extra check in bag. The airport is small and waiting time is a minimum for baggage.
Take cabs they are safe (this isn't Mexico City) and ridiculously cheap.
Forget Traveler’s Checks, Use a Paypal Debt Card
Here is a tip that could save you a substantial amount of money. Get a Paypal card and put all your funds on the card. Credit and debt cards will charge you a fee to convert your transaction to dollars and that is beside the regular bank fees of using your card which have international fees.
Paypal will only charge you $1.00 for all withdraws and transactions which is a much lower charge then your credit and debt cards will charge you. Last time I went to Puerto Vallarta for ten days I only took $100.00 and a Paypal card. I would withdraw $5000 pesos when I needed money and was charged only $1.00 each time.
Another nice thing about using a bank card such as Paypal is that a ATM withdraw is automatically converted to dollars at the market rate.. Oh, leave the travelers checks at home. First you have to pay a fee to buy the checks, second when you cash them you will get less than the market rate
You Want All Inclusive? Go to Cancun
Yes, Puerto Vallarta has all-inclusive resorts but the charm and vibrant nature of PV is in Old Vallarta or, the “Romantic Zone.” This area is South of the Rio Cuale rive. Immediately North of the River is El Centro.
The Romantic Zone has, bars, coffee chops, outstanding restaurants, and my favorite beach, Los Muertos. The area is very safe There are also countless shops and stalls selling silver and Mexican jewelry and crafts.
Lodging is very affordable. I have paid $45.00 dollars for a clean, safe, simple room in the middle of everything and two blocks from the beach. There are also many apartments and condos which can be rented for an extended stay here.
Los Muertos Beach
Los Muertos is a bustling beach which, unlike the beaches of the all- inclusive resorts, have a mixture of Mexicans and tourists sitting side by side on the beach. My definition of the location of Los Muertos Beach may not be correct by I have always considered the beach to expand to the North anchored by Burros Bar (Great place with good food and cheap drinks) to the South by The Beach Club (get reservations early to get a chair here on the beach).
There are many small fish shacks on the beach, most with simple tables and a charcoal grill but they all serve up inexpensive, fresh fish. There really is no menu at these places but instead an open cooler with fish freshly caught, and you pick your fish to be cooked. The question has been asked is the food here safe? Absolutely. Every year I saw the same guy on the beach selling raw oysters and was always tempted to try some. Last year, on my last day I decided to take the plunge and thought, what the heck. I get sick I will at least be home. I didn't get sick. Since then a Mexican friend showed me a spot on the beach about a half mile away where they shuck the freshly caught oysters.
If you want to splurge, try some lobster tacos and a daiquiri at Daiquiri Dick's. Though my choice of drink is usually a Pacifico, I make an exception here. Another place to splurge is going to La Palapa, a gourmet, open air restaurant on the beach. My choice would be the Asian Stack, a sushi dish with a wonton.
Favorite Things to do on Los Muertos Beach
Ok, my all time favorite time of day is going to the small open air bar, Cuates y Cuetes or CyC's an hour before sundown. You will find a variety of people there. Expats, a few Mexicans, and tourists all getting to know each other while waiting for the stunning free show each night. This is where the day ends in PV and the night begins. Many times here I have watched the sun set over the ocean here while a “pirate ship” (cruise, dinner ship) sailed in the distance. When the Sun slides under the ocean everyone at CyC's clinks glasses and applauds.
I also like coming back to the beach a little after the sun has come back up and have breakfast at one of the thatched roof restaurants that over look the ocean while reading a book. I watch the few people on the beach walking dogs, looking for shells or just strolling alone.
Midday sometimes, I just like to get a bucket of beer and snooze on a chair under the sun at the Burros Bar. Not exactly exciting but I'm a simple guy.
Indulge a Guilty Pleasure
If your going to paradise why not indulge? Here's a few ideas to be decadent. You deserve it. At least that's my excuse.
Get a massage. They are cheap, anywhere from $30 to $55 pesos for an hour. There are many places to get a massage in PV, my favorite being Metamorfosis just a couple of blocks from Los Muertos beach. Angie, I believe is the owner and gives a great massage.
I love a good cigar. Vallarta Cigar factory is a great experience. You can watch cigars being hand rolled and have a smoke ( try the cigars with half Mexican, half Cuban tobacco) and a beer while watching out the windows of the busy streets of the El Centro neighborhood with the major “flea market” just yards away.
Here is a two for one. Head down to La Bodeguita del Medio, a fantastic Cuban bar/restaurant. Besides the Vallarta Cigar Factory, I only buy my cigars here and at the same time have their signature drink, a Mojito. Happy hour gives you two for the price of one.
Go on a Day Trip
Take a cheap, public bus (can transfer to other buses at the (Walmart) to Sayulita or Bucerlas.
I first learned of Sayulita through a book called “Gringos in Paradise” about an American couple that built their dream house in this small beach city. It's a relaxing small town known for surfing. Sadly real estate prices are sky rocking as people find out about the place.
Bucerlas is mostly known for good deals on silver. I found the town to be low-key and a small corridor of eager venders wanting to sell you items. A nice place to get way from the crowds.
Mismaloya is a short bus ride from the Romantic Zone and if you're not already informed, the move site of “Night of the Iguana” a 1964 John Houston film. It's a pleasant get away with the nearby PV zoo.
Yelapa, is a destination that can be reached by taking a small boat from the pier by CyC's. I highly recommend a trip to this small town. Very nice beaches and a very primitive town. If you go off the beaten track you'll see donkey's and chickens. I have yet to stay the night here but would like to some time.
Finally before you leave for home a bit sunburned and already planning your trip back, drop in at Andale's Bar and tell them Alice sent you. She will be glad to see you.
Great condo I have stayed at many times
- Luxury Accommodations In Puerto Vallarta on the Cheap
Where I stay in Puerto Vallarta now, affordable condos.
My other links on Puerto Vallarta
- Being Young Again In Puerto Vallarta
Characters I have met during my years visiting Puerto Vallarta and why Puerto Vallarta makes me feel young.
- What part of Puerto Vallarta to stay, Hotel Zone or the South Side?
Why it's best to stay on the South Side or also called the Romantic zone or old town instead of the hotel zone.
- Luxury Accommodations In Puerto Vallarta on the Cheap
Over the years traveling solo to Puerto Vallarta I have always stayed on the South Side also known as Romantica Zone or Old Town. My first few years I have stayed at a budget hotel, Posada Rodgers. I found this small hotel to meet most of my...
More by this Author
I never realized how important the correct white balance setting was in regards to taking a great picture until I bought my Nikon D5000. Even most simple point and shoot cameras have a WB setting which most people...
The real cost of Obamacare for the working-poor
Using the Nikon D5000 and other cameras for HDR photography