Language - SPANISH. Don't assume that because there are a fair number of English speaking residents and visitors that all Mexicans are able to speak English well. A good many do, about 60-65%, the remainder enough to answer basic questions. Be considerate and don't automatically rattle off in English - you never know if the person is fluent or not. Speak English slowly and clearly.
Location - Puerto Vallarta is situated on the Pacific coast of Mexico in the northwest corner of the state of Jalisco.
Geography- Puerto Vallarta is a quaint, colonial seaside village encircled by rugged, tropical Sierra Madre mountains to the east and fronted by the Bay of Banderas, Mexico's largest natural bay. The center of town is divided by the Cuale River.
Climate - January - April Average High 86 / low 63 May - December Average High 92 / low 70 Rainy Season: Late June through September, mainly afternoon showers.
Arrival - The Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport located four miles north of downtown (centro). There are frequent taxi or van transfers from the airport at reasonable rates. Pay at the taxi booth and they'll assign you to a taxi/van that will take you to your destination. Proof of citizenship is necessary to cross the border into Mexico. Either a current passport, birth certificate or voter's registration will suffice. Upon arrival, visitors are given a Tourist Card which must be turned in upon departure at the airport. At that time, a departure tax is charged and payable in U.S. dollars or Mexican pesos. Some airlines now include this tax when ticketing, but check ahead to make sure.
Currency - Pesos, although U.S. dollars are widely accepted in businesses throughout town. Major credit cards are also accepted in most establishments.
Electricity - Mexico operates on the same 110-volt-60 current as the United States.
Population - Puerto Vallarta is home to 350,000 residents and attracts more than 2 million visitors annually.
Water Quality - The water and ice in local restaurants is pure and safe to drink. Our water authority, Seapal, has received certification for four consecutive years ensuring that our water is clean for human consumption. If you want to play it extra safe, bottled water is sold in town. Microdine is sold to purify vegetable and salad greens.
Tipping - The cost of living in Mexico is less than other parts of the world and so are salaries. PLEASE remember that anyone who assists you in a restaurant, hotel, on a tour and with any tourist-related activity is paid minimum wage, the tips are the real living wage. Minimum wage is $25 PESOS per day. Please don't be a tightwad.
Transportation in Vallarta - Local Buses - Buses will take you from one end of town to the other, or anywhere in-between for only 7.5 pesos. If you are downtown around the plaza or on the Malecon, take the bus that says "Olas Altas." This will take you to the south part of town across the Rio Cuale, towards Los Muertos beach. To head north towards the airport and large hotels, take a bus that says "Hotels" or "Airport." Travel to and within the Marina Vallarta area is also possible, just look for the Marina buses. Push the button marked "timbre" to signal the driver to stop.
Taxis - Puerto Vallarta has more than 1,000 taxis available around town. The union has preset tariffs for travel rather than meters. Fare within the Centro zone, downtown, is only 25 pesos. Hotels often post the rates to popular destinations, but it is always a good idea to ask about the cost before you travel Also, while locals do not tip taxi drivers, if you've gotten good service please show your gratitude.
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