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BigJon

My day in Puerto Vallarta: city bus to Malecon

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DW and I are taking our first Mexican Riviera cruise next February and looking forward to spending a few days in LA pre-cruise as well. Concerning PV, would you suggest we do our own sightseeing as opposed to the ship excursions? DW speaks Spanish and I get along with it as well.

 

Tks:D

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DW and I are taking our first Mexican Riviera cruise next February and looking forward to spending a few days in LA pre-cruise as well. Concerning PV, would you suggest we do our own sightseeing as opposed to the ship excursions? DW speaks Spanish and I get along with it as well.

 

Tks:D

 

I have been to PV many times and have always felt comfortable doing my own thing. I usually feel safer in PV than many big US or Canadian cities. It is easy to get around and the people are lovely.

 

I have written extensively about Mexican ports and LA in my travel blog (link in address) if you are looking for ideas or what we did in each port.

 

enjoy

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DW and I are taking our first Mexican Riviera cruise next February and looking forward to spending a few days in LA pre-cruise as well. Concerning PV, would you suggest we do our own sightseeing as opposed to the ship excursions? DW speaks Spanish and I get along with it as well.

 

Tks:D

 

Whether to take a tour..or not, is simply a personal preference and depends on your personal level of comfort and what you want to do during your port day. The one cruise ship excursion that I think has lots of merit is the Las Caletas tour. This is a good option for those just wanting a beach day (with lunch) and is not an option for DIY since the place is leased by Vallarta Adventures...who contracts with the cruise lines to offer the excursion (at a higher cost then is available to locals).

 

If you want to just explore (and enjoy) Puerto Vallarta (both the downtown Centro area and the Southside Romantic Zone/Old Town neighborhood) then we think many folks can benefit from simply doing this on their own. You can get downtown on the local buses (only about 50cents per ride) or by taking a taxi (use the Yellow taxis that are outside of the port area). The city of PV is best enjoyed on foot, and it does not take a PhD to walk through the town enjoying the shops, many food venues, outdoor art (along the Malecon) etc.

 

Many ask us about safety, and we think (after spending the past 9 winters in PV) that the city is about as safe as it gets in any city! There are some pickpockets in the region, but simple/routine precautions easily nullify this problem (the PV pickpockets we have seen are not very skilled). The biggest safety risk in PV is getting hit by a bus (or car) when crossing a street :).

 

As to language, when we first started living in PV we expected to learn Spanish. But we quickly found that nearly everyone who deals with tourists speaks pretty decent English. A friendly Buenos Dias and the frequent use of "Gracias" will suffice for nearly every situation. There are always plenty of "gringos" and helpful Mexicans around that can help with the few language issues (very rare) that might arise.

 

DW and I are truly biased when it comes to PV. We simply love the city (and area) and although could winter anywhere in the world we continue to choose PV. We want to see our fellow cruise lovers discover the magic of this region and hope they later choose to come back on an extended vacation. If anyone calls us "Cheerleaders" for PV (and the Bay of Bandaras) we plead guilty as charged :)

 

Hank

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I just booked a cruise to Mexico and PV was one of the main reasons we booked this. Over 30 years ago when we first started traveling we stayed for 2 weeks up in the Marina area at Villa Pacifico when it was just the small bldgs. on the ocean side, no high rise hotel then. We have been back numerous times for 2 weeks at a time and love PV. We had some fun experiences on the bus and took it all over. We also walked everywhere and always felt safe. It has been many years since we have been to PV but we are really looking forward to visiting it again in September!

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This is a great thread, thanks to everyone who has contributed! I've been to Pv several times and it's one of my favorite places. This time I'll be there with my mother and two teenagers. We'll take the bus to the malecon as suggested. Is it still 7.5 pesos each. So for the 4 of us should I pay $2 or $3?

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Yes it still is. However it is up to the driver to accept dollars or not. Although you now often get 15 pesos for a dollar, you better count on 1 dollar each per ride, maybe get change in pesos, maybe not. Remember the driver needs to go the bank in his freetime to change and often lines are long.

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Yes it still is. However it is up to the driver to accept dollars or not. Although you now often get 15 pesos for a dollar, you better count on 1 dollar each per ride, maybe get change in pesos, maybe not. Remember the driver needs to go the bank in his freetime to change and often lines are long.

 

Good point, thank you! I definitely don't want to be rude! Is there an atm at the port? It's our first stop, and I'll want some cash anyways, maybe it's better just to pay in pesos?

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Good point, thank you! I definitely don't want to be rude! Is there an atm at the port? It's our first stop, and I'll want some cash anyways, maybe it's better just to pay in pesos?

 

Yes there is. Also in Walmart and Sorianas (supermarket just past the Pemex gastation.)

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Yes there is. Also in Walmart and Sorianas (supermarket just past the Pemex gastation.)

 

If you go to WalMart, you can always buy a few items, pay in dollars and ask for change back in pesos. Their exchange rate is close to the official rate.

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The Soriana market would be a little closer, and the bus to downtown stops right in front of Soriana.

 

 

Indeed and the exchange rate at Soriana is even better then Walmart at the moment.

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Sorry if this is a dumb question but...

Where do do catch the bus (at the Malecon) to go back to the cruise ship? I know I'll get dropped off near Walmart and need to cross the street.

TIA!

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Sorry if this is a dumb question but...

Where do do catch the bus (at the Malecon) to go back to the cruise ship? I know I'll get dropped off near Walmart and need to cross the street.

TIA!

 

It is actually a great question. If you are walking along the Malecon in "Centro", which is the main part of the Malecon north of the Rio Cujale, then you simply need to walk inland 2 blocks to Juarez Street and wait along that street (on the east side) at any of several bus stops. Most of the bus stops are not marked so you just need to look at the corners until you see a crowd of folks waiting for the bus (its usually very obvious). Since there are buses running darn near every few seconds you will also quickly notice where the buses stop. Juarez is easy to find because it runs one-way to the North (towards the port) and the street often seems to be full of buses (they all use that street).

 

As has already been noted, you should take a bus that has "Walmart" and "Sams" written on the windshield (or side) in white paint. We now like to add that one should look for "Sams" because there are actually 2 different Walmarts in PV...one of which is not near the port. The buses that go out to Walmart/Sams use two different routes which will impact where you get off the bus. Some of the buses continue on past Sams and you can get off at the stop right in front of Sams or a block earlier (if you are alert). But there is another route where the buses make a right turn (this takes them away from the port) right before they get to Sams, in which case you would ideally get off before it makes that right turn. If you mess up and the bus does turn just get off at the next stop which will leave you 1-2 blocks further away from the port.

 

In practice this is actually much easier then it sounds. If you are in doubt just ask any of the "Gringos" where to get off since any of us who live in PV know this stuff. You could also ask a Mexican that speaks English and they would also help. PV is one of the friendliest places we have visited on earth which is why we made it our winter home. So if you need help or have a question just ask somebody and pray that they are also not from your ship :).

 

Hank

Edited by Hlitner

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Thanks, Hank. I rode the bus once in PV but I was with my SiL (she has a timeshare and spends time in Mexico). I was just following her around and couldn't remember how we got back to the ship. ;):)

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Sorry if this is a dumb question but...

Where do do catch the bus (at the Malecon) to go back to the cruise ship? I know I'll get dropped off near Walmart and need to cross the street.

TIA!

 

If you walk to the North end of the malecon, go away from the ocean about two blocks and look for buses going North. There is a Woolworth store close and the buses stop near the middle of that block. Or you will see people waiting on the sidewalk. Some of the bus stops have a blue and white sign that looks like the front of a bus to mark the location.

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We are going to spend the day at La Palapa - can you tell me what bus top we should get off on that would be closest to that restaurant? Thanks!

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We are going to spend the day at La Palapa - can you tell me what bus top we should get off on that would be closest to that restaurant? Thanks!

 

The closest will be Plaza Lazaro Cardenas. The square where many blue/white centro buses (also with the sign Olas Altas) more or less start their return journey. After passing the Rio Cuale bridge the bus makes a right, another right and you will see the square. (different for the tunel buses).

It is the green square in this map: http://vallartainfo.com/vallarta-southside-map.html

La Palapa is just south of the pier. Either walk down Olas Altas or the boardwalk.

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The closest will be Plaza Lazaro Cardenas. The square where many blue/white centro buses (also with the sign Olas Altas) more or less start their return journey. After passing the Rio Cuale bridge the bus makes a right, another right and you will see the square. (different for the tunel buses).

It is the green square in this map: http://vallartainfo.com/vallarta-southside-map.html

La Palapa is just south of the pier. Either walk down Olas Altas or the boardwalk.

 

Thank you so much for the information Ine! I was hoping you'd see my question and give me your insider scoop!

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Two more questions for Ine please...about how long, or what distance, is the trip from the port to Plaza Lazaro Cardenas? Just want to know when we should start looking out for our stop. It's been several years since we've been to PV and I don't recall how far down Los Muertos Beach area is.

 

Lastly, if we want to go and walk the Malecon area in the later afternoon, is it walk-able from La Palapa, or would we need to get on the bus to get back up that way?

 

Thank you again!

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Two more questions for Ine please...about how long, or what distance, is the trip from the port to Plaza Lazaro Cardenas? Just want to know when we should start looking out for our stop. It's been several years since we've been to PV and I don't recall how far down Los Muertos Beach area is.

 

Lastly, if we want to go and walk the Malecon area in the later afternoon, is it walk-able from La Palapa, or would we need to get on the bus to get back up that way?

 

Thank you again!

 

The busride itself will be around 20 minutes to Plaza Lazaro. Just watch you take the blue/white one Centro (not tunel).

Walking back from La Palapa is indeed easy and pleasant, just follow the board walk, with a slight detour on Plaza Cardenas. Check the map info I gave before.

Centro Buses back to the terminal follow the street Juarez, which is just 2 streets up from the Malecon. Stops on almost any corner ( you will see people waiting for the bus). http://vallartainfo.com/vallarta-downtown-map.html

Buses to airport, marina etc. have a stop at Walmart, buses to Pitilla have a stop at the Casino just before the corner with Walmart. You will see your ship anyway to know where to get off.

http://vallartainfo.com/hotelzone.html

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The busride itself will be around 20 minutes to Plaza Lazaro. Just watch you take the blue/white one Centro (not tunel).

Walking back from La Palapa is indeed easy and pleasant, just follow the board walk, with a slight detour on Plaza Cardenas. Check the map info I gave before.

Centro Buses back to the terminal follow the street Juarez, which is just 2 streets up from the Malecon. Stops on almost any corner ( you will see people waiting for the bus). http://vallartainfo.com/vallarta-downtown-map.html

Buses to airport, marina etc. have a stop at Walmart, buses to Pitilla have a stop at the Casino just before the corner with Walmart. You will see your ship anyway to know where to get off.

http://vallartainfo.com/hotelzone.html

 

Thank you so much Ine! You're our resident CC PV expert! Looking forward to our visit there next month!

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Thank you so much Ine! You're our resident CC PV expert! Looking forward to our visit there next month!

 

Only partime, winter in Vallarta, summer in The Netherlands.

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Thank you so much for all the info on PV. I was a bit worried about our visit here, but after reading all the posts not so much. We will be riding the bus to see the beautiful city.

 

Mrsosci

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My cruise ship in February will be porting overnight in PV, and the first night we have an excursion that does not start until 5:30 PM, so I figured in the morning we'd try to figure out how to get down to the Malecon. This has all been extremely helpful and I'm bookmarking and saving it. Bus shouldn't scare us too much....may not be as new and fancy as the ones in Manhattan, but as a New Yorker, we're used to wild rides!

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My cruise ship in February will be porting overnight in PV, and the first night we have an excursion that does not start until 5:30 PM, so I figured in the morning we'd try to figure out how to get down to the Malecon. This has all been extremely helpful and I'm bookmarking and saving it. Bus shouldn't scare us too much....may not be as new and fancy as the ones in Manhattan, but as a New Yorker, we're used to wild rides!

 

A few of us will be on that cruise with you, so you can just follow the old ugly guys with our elderly beautiful wives and we will get you there !!!!

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