Basic Information for Traveling to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Passport and Visa Requirements for Travel to Mexico


A valid passport is required by nationals referred to in the chart above; however, it is highly advisable that your passport is valid for at least six months after the date of entry to Mexico as immigration officials and airlines may apply different criteria than those stated by official sources.

Visas are not required by nationals referred to in the chart above travelling for touristic or business purposes. You should obtain a landing card valid for 180 days from your airline on direct flights or at any port of entry. You may be asked to show a return/onward ticket and proof of financial means. You must keep your landing card throughout your stay as you will have to present it when you leave.

Visa note:
Nationals not referred to in the chart are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements for Mexico.

Using US Dollars in Mexico

The acceptance of US Dollars is becoming less popular in Mexico due to both US and Mexico banking laws to crack down on money laundering, drug cartels, and tax evasion. Restaurants and retailers who do accept US Dollars are giving exchange rates far below the bank rates, meaning you are paying upwards of 15% more for your purchase using US Dollars.

Using Credit Cards in Mexico

First, if you are planning a trip to Mexico and will be using your credit cards, it is suggested that you inform your card issuers of your vacation plans to Mexico and the dates you will be traveling. It is not uncommon for card issuers to suspend credit cards after the first use in Mexico, as the transaction is almost always flagged as suspicious. Reactivating your cards can be solved in a fast phone call, but who needs the headache while on vacation, inform your credit card companies of your planned trip.

Once in Mexico, credit cards are not accepted in most shops and restaurants as they probably are in your home country, mostly because the fees for merchants to accept credit cards in Mexico are rather expensive, so many businesses choose not to accept cards. Most larger restaurants and shops will accept cards, however if you intend to use a card, you are better off asking before eating, or loading your arms with goods.

Using ATM Machines in Puerto Vallarta

As a general rule, you should only use ATM machines located at bank branches and do not use the small portable ATM machines found in the OXXO or along the sidewalks. While most people use these machines without any issues, there is also a large enough portion of users who complain their cards have been cloned and money withdrawn from their accounts after using the small portable ATM machines. There is no reason to risk leaving your vacation with a compromised credit card, bank branches are everywhere.

There is one exception to this rule. We recommend not using any ATM machines at banks, along sidewalks, or in the OXXO in the Romantic Zone on Olas Altas or any road connecting with Olas Altas, this includes the large Banorte bank with three machines in the glass booths, they all have been known to compromise cards in that area. Not all cards used in this area are compromised, but enough that we recommend not using them and ending up regretting your vacation here.

Exchanging US Dollars for Pesos

As we mentioned, using pesos will save you money compared to using US Dollars at restaurants, bars, and some retailers that will accept dollars. However, if you plan on bringing US dollars (or any foreign currency) on your trip and then exchanging while you are in Puerto Vallarta, you may wish to reconsider. Again, because of laws to make it more difficult for the drug cartels and money laundering, it’s also sometimes a headache exchanging currency. You may be asked to give blood, or your first born child.

Use ATM machines and receive pesos, bring just enough cash with you to pay for your transportation at the airport, or however you have entered the city, and any tips and hotel check-in fees. Once you get settled in you can access the bank machines at many local branches. Almost all ATM machines are in English and Spanish.

Foreign Embassies in Mexico

Canadian Consulate in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Consulate of Canada in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Edificio Obelisco Local 108, Avenida Francisco Medina Ascencio, No. 1951, Zona Hotelera Las Glorias Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico 48300
PHONE: (011 52 322) 293-0098 / 293-0099
EMAIL: [email protected]

American Consulate in Guadalajara, Mexico
Consulate General of United States in Guadalajara, Mexico
Progreso 175, Col. Americana, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, C.P. 44160
PHONE: ( 01-33 ) 3268-2100
EMAIL: [email protected]

View complete list of all Embassies and Consulates in Mexico

Transportation in Puerto Vallarta

Getting around Puerto Vallarta is actually very easy with plenty of buses and taxi’s covering the city, sometimes it seems like they out-number the passenger vehicles.

Buses are a great economical option for getting around town and the routes are not too complicated when you are in centro, there are only two main roads used by buses to and from Centro and the Romantic Zone. Blue buses labeled with any of these; “Centro”, “Wal-Mart”, “Marina” have routes along the tourist areas of Romantic Zone, Centro, Hotel Zone, and the Marina.

Buses are $7.5 pesos one-way, and there are no transfers. Most bus drivers do not speak English. Buses are a great option for getting around town, however we provide one warning, the buses move fast, stop rapidly, and have a lot of “bounce” on the cobblestone streets, along with many in disrepair and seats not fully secured into the floor. We do not recommend the bus for individuals with back or neck problems. When boarding the bus, shake the seat to make sure it’s secure to the floor. If no seats are available, hold on to the standing rails, as noted the buses make rapid stops and it is easy to lose your footing. When you arrive on the bus, work your way as far back as possible on the bus, all exits should be done from the back of the bus and people will push you to the back if you are blocking the isle at the front. DO NOT exit the bus from the front door unless the bus is extremely crowded and making your way to the back isn’t possible. Exiting the bus from the front is a sign that you are a tourist, try to mix in with the culture and travel like a pro :)

The Orange Buses:
You can only get south of Puerto Vallarta using what we call “the orange buses”, they line up at Constitucion and Basilio Badillo, next to the OXXO. The orange buses travel south of the city to Boca de Tomatlan and Mismaloya, both areas that are highly recommended to visit and will take about 30 minutes on the bus. The orange buses are in better condition than the inner-city buses and the roads are paved and modern, making the travel easy for most people.

Taxis are a bit easier than the bus and most drivers in Puerto Vallarta speak English, or enough to communicate with you about your destination. Taxi’s do not use meters and there is no prices posted, you just need to ask how much the fees are to your destination. Keeping it real, the whiter the skin the more you will pay for a taxi in Puerto Vallarta, this is why we highly recommend the bus when possible, we do not support the practice of price gauging tourists, the main contributor to our economy, however we understand the bus isn’t an option for everyone. Take note that the price you paid to arrive at your destination will not be the same price to return, and fees increase nearly 40% at night.

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