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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.


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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.