Here is some advice to make your trip a little easier and more enjoyable.
TIME ZONE: The entire state of Jalisco is on Central Time, as is the southern part of the State of Nayarit starting from Guayabitos in the north.
BUSES: A system of urban buses with different routes can bring you from one end of the bay to the other and all the spots in between. Current fare is $7.50 pesos per ticket and passengers must purchase a new ticket every time they board another bus. There are no “transfers”.
TAXIS: There are set rates within defined zones of town. Do not enter a taxi without agreeing on the price with the driver first. Price is per trip not person.
Although you may have to wait in line for a few minutes, banks will give you a higher rate of exchange than the exchange booths (caja de cambio). You will need your passport. Better yet, use your bank card to withdraw funds from any ATM machine. Note that ATM’s in the banks are the safest to use and generally charge lower fees.
DRINKING WATER: For the year 18 in a row, Puerto Vallarta’s water has been awarded a certification of purity for human consumption. The quality of the water tested at the purification plant varies greatly from what comes out of the tap at the other end. So do be careful. If you want to be doubly sure, you can pick up bottled water just about anywhere.
EXPORTING PETS: Falling love with the street dog outside your hotel or a puppy on the Malecon doesn’t mean they can’t come home with you.
The process is fairly inexpensive and only takes a day or two. You need a certificate of health from a local vet among other things. The time of year that pets can travel in the cargo section of the plane may be your biggest challenge. For the most up-to-date information contact the Puerto Vallarta SPCA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
COMMON SENSE: Just as you wouldn’t walk around your hometown drunk and beligerent, it is not acceptable to do that here. While Mexicans are a forgiving bunch, basic politeness is appreciated.
For the guys, peeing in public is a major faux pas and if you are caught, can get you tossed in jail or an expensive fine. Pay attention to your surroundings. Pay your bills. Be courteous. And have fun!
DRINKING AND DRIVING: First off – just don’t. The consequences are not worth it. Taxis are cheap and plentiful. Fines are as much as 10,000 pesos. You can be taken to jail and your vehicle impounded. There are many checkstops on the weekends and you will be asked to blow if they suspect you have been drinking.
LEGAL SYSTEM: Not knowing the law is not an valid excuse in Mexico or anywhere. If you find yourself caught in a legal situation be aware that guilt is presumed until your innocence can be proven. This is a very difficult lesson to learn if you are visiting from the United States or Canada in particular. Immediately contact your consulate for assistance.