Informal trade hurting businesses in Puerto Vallarta

During the winter months, the Puerto Vallarta malecòn is saturated with informal trade, street vendors, taking advantage of the tourist season.

Alberto Lopez, local shop owner selling handcrafts on Calle Morelos, says that during the tourist season there are over 100 of these vendors that are not locals who sell their goods on the malecón with little regulation from the city.

Street vendors sell CD’s, sparklers, puppets, video games, handcrafts, jewelry, hats, and food, all creating unfair competition to the local shop owners.

Lobez said he believes it’s the city’s obligation to curb street vendors, especially along the malecón and shopping districts where local residents depend on tourism to sustain their businesses. Lobez urges the new city Mayor to crackdown on street vendors operation without licenses and also limit the number of vendor licenses issued.

The beaches of Puerto Vallarta are also popular spots for street vendors, making it nearly impossible to enjoy a conversation with friends and family for longer than 60-seconds without being interrupted by a vendor. Locally, many joke that the beaches in Puerto Vallarta are Mexico’s answer to the Home Shopping Network, just wait long enough and you can buy anything on the beach.

Street vendors and informal employment makes up nearly 20% of Mexico’s workforce and has been a growing problem in tourist areas over recent years. The Pyramid at Chichén Itzá in currently in danger of losing its status as a ‘Seven Wonders of the World’ because of the growing number of informal merchants that have started to saturate the historic site, according to the ‘Seven Wonders’ organization.

14 Responses
  1. PeterH

    Too many of them, selling all the same junk. Then number of them should be decreased, with priority given to vendors who live locally, while being sure not to hurt the local stores.

  2. I think the intent of the information being presented is being completely overlooked. Vendors are an integral part if the PV experience as well as other tourist destinations around the world. Allowing an overpopulation of NEW vendors presents multiple problems including the inability to enforce business regulations that our long time vendors have adhered to religiously.

  3. Exactly. Enough is enough. As tourists it is very convenient to shop at the street vendirs. But they do not pay taxes, rent and are unfair practice to those that do.

  4. Christopher Dalton

    One cannot have a conversation on the beach or even in restaurants without the same old stuff one just said no to, being thrust in one’s face again. Very annoying.

    1. Helene Remzi-Bey Stevens

      I totally agree Michelle…. In other countries they would be sitting on the sidewalk begging!

  5. It’s mexico….. Been that way since I can remember. Those street vendors are usually very poor people. And they work really hard. At least they are trying to make a living. I respect them more that the bums in fairbanks that sit on their ass with a sign smoking a cigarette……

    1. Go elsewhere! We have been coming to Vallarta for 14 years..we love the vendors. They are usually very polite and kind. Just the other day we were looking for a gift that we could not see. We asked a vendor and he walked us to his stand where his wife was working. They very nicely showed us all the variety of Items we were looking for. We bargained gently and came to an agreement that suited us both. We left with a big thank you and a hug. You can’t beat that! If you want nothing and do not want to talk..lower your eyes..otherwise a very polite no gracias will do. Their life is very hard and inconsistent so be nice, be polite, and give them a smile once in a while. If this lively lovely city and it’s customs do not suit you, you may want to go somewhere more to your liking.

    2. Oye – these comments such as ” Go elsewhere ” can be irritating .
      Very ” Trumpy ” . We who live here or not & frequent local businesses are entitled to our experience .

    3. That response was a little over the top. I too have been coming to PV for more than 10 years and loved the vendors in the early years. I speak Spanish and have no problem communicating with them. I consider PV my Mexican home. This article addresses another side of the evolution of the vendor business that I have experienced occurring in European destinations as well. When I visit PV I’m interested in supporting businesses and vendors that are deeply vested in their community, truly represent the culture, and are there for the long haul. That is what I strive to do. PV would do well to do what they can to protect these businesses/vendors from an overpopulation of new vendors. I feel confident they will as PV has always been ahead of the curve in this area. I am entitled to my perspective, having read the article in its entirety, as are you and I appreciate the opportunity share in this discussion in a respectful manner.

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