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Tips For Puerto Vallarta

Updated on March 1, 2015

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.


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    • redwhiskeypete profile image

      redwhiskeypete 4 years ago from Indiana

      Thanks Kalmiya your right about the beachs but the main reason I go there is the people. Very friendly. I just went to Thailand for 30 days and used my paypal card.

    • Kalmiya profile image

      Kalmiya 4 years ago from North America

      Thanks for your tip on the PayPal debit card as I've never heard of it! I love traveling to Mexico's Pacific coast although I prefer Manzanillo as there are better beaches for swimming there and much less commercialism. Mismaloya is gorgeous of course and really worth checking out. Voted up!

    • redwhiskeypete profile image

      redwhiskeypete 5 years ago from Indiana

      Thanks I have been going to PV for over 8 years and always make a point of going to Mismaloya, I have wrote a few hubs on Puerto Vallarta

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Great tips. I honeymooned in Puerto Vallarta in 1993 at Mismaloya. It was wonderful. They played "Night of the Iguana" on their TV all day long.

    • redwhiskeypete profile image

      redwhiskeypete 6 years ago from Indiana

      I found the idea through Tripadvisor.Great Puerto Vallarta forum there.

    • breathe2travel profile image

      breathe2travel 6 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

      I did not even know there was a PayPal debit card! What an awesome idea!

      Voted up & useful.

      Your readers will probably need travel insurance, too.