It's easy to get around Puerto Vallarta using public transport, taxis or by hiring a car, although the latter can be expensive.
Buses in Puerto Vallarta are frequently used by locals and travelers. Bus fleets here are eclectic, and many feature unique personal touches ranging from religious iconography to blaring cumbia or norteño music. They are a safe and cheap way to get around. No matter where you’re waiting, a bus servicing any given route should come by at least every 15 minutes, and at less than US 0.50 for a ride, the price can’t be beaten. Don’t be surprised if a musical performer boards your bus and begins serenading passengers down the aisle. Tip a few pesos if you feel inclined.
To identify the right bus for you, study the words on its windshield as it approaches your stop. The system is pretty self-explanatory: “CENTRO” will take you to the center of town, “AEROPUERTO” will take you to the airport. Avoid any bus labeled “TUNEL” – these take a back route around the center of town, skipping safe areas to drop locals off at their homes on the outskirts of the city.
Here are a few extra tips:
Though significantly more expensive than buses, taxis in Puerto Vallarta are faster, more convenient, and still relatively cheap. But, taxis here aren't metered. Always agree on a fare before hopping in. To avoid getting ripped off, ask hostel staff about a fair price to your next destination.
In Mexico, tipping taxi drivers is not expected, but drivers will of course appreciate tips, but this is not the norm in Puerto Vallarta.
Almost all taxi drivers speak basic English, but don’t assume this will always be the case.
Avoid taking a taxi drivers' recommendations. Many local businesses offer kickbacks to taxi drivers for bringing customers to their establishments. A driver may try to convince you that the place you want to go is closed, but he’ll take you to a better place. If you know this isn't true, hop out and find another driver.
When it comes to finding a taxi at the airport, you have two options: buy a ticket from one of the taxi stands located near the final exit. One of these tickets will get you a ride in a specially-licensed airport taxi, immediately available directly outside. Though these taxis cost double the standard Puerto Vallarta taxi rates, they are the only taxis allowed to pick riders up directly from the airport.
The other option for visitors traveling light is to exit the airport and cross the pedestrian bridge over the highway in front of you. On the other side of the street you’ll be able to take a standard yellow Puerto Vallarta taxi, earning you a significantly lower fare.
Take a day trip to see the most picturesque beach on the planet, secluded in a crater on an uninhabited tropical island.
One of Mexico's most popular travel locations, the Pacific Coast has something for every type of nomad. But are places like Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita and others safe?