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What to do in Puerto Vallarta for the day?

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We have never been to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico before.

 

I was wondering would you recommend doing here for the day??

 

If you have been to Puerto Vallarta before, what did you do there for the day??

 

Does the cruise ships dock near the city? or do we dock a long way from it?

 

Any ideas / suggestions are very welcome :D

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Cruiseships donot dock near the center and it is a bit too far to walk. You can take a cab (the yellow ones on the highway charge less then those at the cruise terminal.). Or take a blue white bus that says centro or Olas Altas. Walk the Malecon, have a drink/meal at Playa los Muertos. Lots of details about Vallarta on this website: http://vallartainfo.com/

The cruiseterminal is on the page hotelzone: it says Marine Terminal, Malecon on page Downtown, and Playa los Muertos onsuthside downtown near the Pier). Have fun!

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We have been to Puerto Vallarta many times. We always walk out of the port area and take a taxi to the malecon(mah-lay-cone)-boardwalk-. You can walk along with the sea on one side and shops and restaurants on the other.

The pathway crosses a river and if you want you can explore the ships along the river bank or continue to the beach on the other side of the pedestrian bridge. You can stop at a restaurant for a drink/meal. You can arrange for a water activity /tour. You can walk out onto the interesting pier shaped like a sail.

We have also taken tours into the countryside from the ship.

There are also zip line tours or boat tours to beaches farther south.

What you do will depend on your interests and activity level.

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What to do with your day depends much on your own interests. But if you enjoy a long walk, like to eat, drink and browse shops then we do have a suggested simply itinerary. As Ine says, you will need to use some kind of transportation to get into town (unless you want to walk nearly 3 miles). Follow Ine's advice on transport. If you take a yellow taxi (some of them are now white) make sure you know the price before you get in the taxi (many drivers will increase their prices for cruisers). Ask the driver to drop you by the Rosita Hotel. If on a bus you will want to get off a few blocks from the Rosita and then walk (downhill) to the Malecon. On a bus you can ask other gringo passengers where to get off :). The driver might be helfpul (if you mention "Rosita Hotel") but the drivers also may not be helpful :(. Once at the Rosita you are right at the Northern end of the Malecon (its essentially our boardwalk) and you start walking along the Malecon (it translates to Sea Wall). You will have the sea on your right with the shops and restaurants on your left. Enjoy, browse, eat, drink, relax and have fun. This part of PV is called "Centro" or downtown. Eventually you will near the Rio Cujale where there is a pedestrian bridge which takes you to the Romantic Zone (also called Old Town or the Southside). At this point you might want to explore the island that is in the river or just cross the bridge to the Romantic Zone (our home) where there are plenty of shops and decent eating venues. The food and drink in PV are wonderful and safe. All the restaurants/cafes and bars that deal with tourists use purified ice and bottled water (they have large 5 gallon jugs in the back).

 

You can easily spend an entire day just strolling eating and drinking. Once you reach the Romantic Zone you might want to walk on the beach which is lines with plenty of eating venues and bars. There is no right or wrong...but rather you do what feels good :). We first discovered PV on a cruise and have lived there for the past 12 Winters. Despite traveling all over the world, PV remains our favorite "go-to" place because of its healthy mix of both Mexican and Gringo culture. And its truly a "foodie" town with so many excellent eating options.

 

Hank

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We took a cab from the pier to Rio Cuale. Next time, we'll got to the street as it was more expensive from the pier. Walked across a rickety bridge..yikes! We were a little early for the flea market so we wandered. Bought some stuff..:). Then we stopped at a dress shop across from the Mercado on Calle Matomoras and bought more stuff. We wandered to the cathedral. Then down to the Malecon. Had a fantastic oyster/beer centric lunch (total 50.00 US!!) at Cerveceria Union, which we went to by chance. Walked around a little more and then went back to the ship. We had never been to PV before but I made my loose plan beforehand using Google maps. I'm sure we missed stuff..which we will hopefully hit on our retutn visit this Decemeber. Our day was relaxed..really really fun...Best day and best port of the cruise for us.

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Just a reminder about the taxi situation which is somewhat unique in PV (and Mexico). The taxis located at the Port have a federal franchise which gives them exclusive use of the port. These taxis get all their business at the port or airport and are not permitted to pick-up passengers from other places in PV. They charge somewhat higher prices and normally price by the person (not by the taxi). If you walk out of the Port towards the main road (you will see a shopping center with Sams, Walmart and a mall across the street) you can hail a yellow taxi (which can also be white). These taxis do not have meters and are supposed to charge according to zones. The rates are regulated by the government but the taxi drivers tend to "forget" the proper rates...especially if they know you are from a cruise ship. Before you even get into a taxi tell the driver where you want to go and ask the price. You can negotiate. These taxis charge one price for the taxi (not per person). Drivers prefer Pesos but will accept US Dollars. If you use dollars they will often try to charge you even more by using a lousy exchange rate.

 

Puerto Vallarta also now has Uber and their pricing can be checked online at the usual Uber Fare Estimator. If you summon an Uber car (in PV I think they are all Uber X) you would use your phone app and know the price in advance. Uber is generally 25-50% cheaper then the taxis but it does vary depending on surge pricing. As you can imagine, Uber is not very popular with the regular taxi drivers.

 

Hank

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We pay the taxis we get outside the port somewhere between $6-8 to take us to the malecon. For us that is not expensive so we don't bother with Uber in Mexico. BTW the bus is even less. Perhaps Hank knows the price??

IF you pay the bus in USA $$s you won't get change.

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We pay the taxis we get outside the port somewhere between $6-8 to take us to the malecon. For us that is not expensive so we don't bother with Uber in Mexico. BTW the bus is even less. Perhaps Hank knows the price??

IF you pay the bus in USA $$s you won't get change.

 

I had posted the bus price which is 7.5 Pesos. By the way, in Mexico they use the dollar sign for their Pesos which can confuse folks. So if you see $7.5 it means about 35 cents :). A taxi to the Malecon for $6 would be a good price. But expect taxi drivers to ask for $10 or more....and be prepared to bargain. Many locals call the high prices "gringo prices."

 

Hank

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We spend a week or two in PV in the winter. Most places the bus fare is 7.5 or 8 pesos, more if heading out to the Botanical gardens. Usually for the two of us, if I don't still have pesos I just give the driver a dollar. Still a very inexpensive means of travel.

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We took a cab from the pier to Rio Cuale. Next time, we'll got to the street as it was more expensive from the pier. Walked across a rickety bridge..yikes! We were a little early for the flea market so we wandered. Bought some stuff..:). Then we stopped at a dress shop across from the Mercado on Calle Matomoras and bought more stuff. We wandered to the cathedral. Then down to the Malecon. Had a fantastic oyster/beer centric lunch (total 50.00 US!!) at Cerveceria Union, which we went to by chance. Walked around a little more and then went back to the ship. We had never been to PV before but I made my loose plan beforehand using Google maps. I'm sure we missed stuff..which we will hopefully hit on our retutn visit this Decemeber. Our day was relaxed..really really fun...Best day and best port of the cruise for us.

 

 

Hi-you mentioned a flea market & this is the first time Ive read @ a flea market in PV. Can you please tell me, if you know, if the flea operates daily??

 

Also, we are a party of 6, do the typical white/yellow cabs hold 6 or should we plan on getting 2 cabs?

 

It sounds like you guys had a great time in PV, thank you for the tips/advice.

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I have seen on the news that the cartels have 'taken over' PV. Is it safe during the daytime? Have they been having cartel/terror incidents involving cruisers?

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I have seen on the news that the cartels have 'taken over' PV. Is it safe during the daytime? Have they been having cartel/terror incidents involving cruisers?

 

Interesting news and we thank you. We live in PV for 10 weeks a year (for the past 12 years) and had no idea :).

 

Hank

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I apologize for my previous sarcastic post but am no fan of fake and oft exaggerated news. Suffice it to say that PV is very safe during the daytime and even safe at nighttime. I normally will go out about 5am (long before sunrise) and take a 10-12 mile walk returning a little after the sun comes up over the mountain (about 8am in the winter). If I thought it was dangerous there is no way I would be walking those quiet dark streets in and outside the city.

 

In the interests of full disclosure there is a powerful cartel that exists in the State of Jalisco which is where PV happens to be located. If anyone cares the cartel is called the New Generation cartel. If would seem that their only interest in gringos and tourism is to keep hands off as they benefit from a healthy tourist market. We cannot predict the future but unless things change we expect to be happy in PV for many years to come.

 

Hank

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I apologize for my previous sarcastic post but am no fan of fake and oft exaggerated news.

 

Apology accepted. I asked about the safety of PV because I read news accounts and I also read the March 16, 2018 Travel Advisory issued by the US State Department where they advised "Reconsider travel due to crime. Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Jalisco state." Although the State Department does say that they do not restrict Government Employees from going to PV, they did not classify it as being "safe." They followed up their info regarding PV with the recommendation to check their web page "Travel to High Risk-Areas." I am in the process of "Reconsidering travel to PV" and as a part of the process I am asking fellow cruisers about their experiences and evaluation of the safety in PV. Thank you for the information you provided in your second post. It will help me evaluate whether or not I plan to get off the boat in PV.

 

I give you the above information to help explain what induced me to inquire about PV, I'm not debating the safety, I've never been, so I'm looking to learn.

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I have seen on the news that the cartels have 'taken over' PV. Is it safe during the daytime? Have they been having cartel/terror incidents involving cruisers?

 

Let me use the populair words:Fake News. We are in Puerto Vallarta since about 10 years each winter for 4 or 5 months, NEVER had any problems. We are driving our car, shop localy, make trips outside Vallarta etc. Of course one needs to be alert like in any other place in the world. Donot drink too much, leave expensive jewelry at home or on the ship, donot show a lot of money.

Just enjoy your day!

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We have been to PV multiple times from ships and have stayed at hotels on land in the surrounding area. The State Dept issues all sorts of "warnings" and if you read them closely (not just the headlines) they usually describe in detail the specific areas where the problems may exist.

I don't think they mention PV but may mention other parts of the state of Jalisco. Cartels are not usually interested in bothering tourists. Their violence is usually aimed at locals who have done something to disturb them.

PV is our favorite port! I hope you enjoy it also!!!

I just want to add the no one(including the state department) can guarantee your safety anywhere in the world including here in the USA. Just look at all the school shootings we have had where most folks though their children would be safe!!

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We have never been to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico before.

 

I was wondering would you recommend doing here for the day??

 

If you have been to Puerto Vallarta before, what did you do there for the day??

 

Does the cruise ships dock near the city? or do we dock a long way from it?

 

Any ideas / suggestions are very welcome :D

 

We take a shore excursion to Las Caletas. We love it.

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What to do with your day depends much on your own interests. But if you enjoy a long walk, like to eat, drink and browse shops then we do have a suggested simply itinerary. As Ine says, you will need to use some kind of transportation to get into town (unless you want to walk nearly 3 miles). Follow Ine's advice on transport. If you take a yellow taxi (some of them are now white) make sure you know the price before you get in the taxi (many drivers will increase their prices for cruisers). Ask the driver to drop you by the Rosita Hotel. If on a bus you will want to get off a few blocks from the Rosita and then walk (downhill) to the Malecon. On a bus you can ask other gringo passengers where to get off :). The driver might be helfpul (if you mention "Rosita Hotel") but the drivers also may not be helpful :(. Once at the Rosita you are right at the Northern end of the Malecon (its essentially our boardwalk) and you start walking along the Malecon (it translates to Sea Wall). You will have the sea on your right with the shops and restaurants on your left. Enjoy, browse, eat, drink, relax and have fun. This part of PV is called "Centro" or downtown. Eventually you will near the Rio Cujale where there is a pedestrian bridge which takes you to the Romantic Zone (also called Old Town or the Southside). At this point you might want to explore the island that is in the river or just cross the bridge to the Romantic Zone (our home) where there are plenty of shops and decent eating venues. The food and drink in PV are wonderful and safe. All the restaurants/cafes and bars that deal with tourists use purified ice and bottled water (they have large 5 gallon jugs in the back).

 

You can easily spend an entire day just strolling eating and drinking. Once you reach the Romantic Zone you might want to walk on the beach which is lines with plenty of eating venues and bars. There is no right or wrong...but rather you do what feels good :). We first discovered PV on a cruise and have lived there for the past 12 Winters. Despite traveling all over the world, PV remains our favorite "go-to" place because of its healthy mix of both Mexican and Gringo culture. And its truly a "foodie" town with so many excellent eating options.

 

Hank

 

Great Advise !

Do you recommend any excellent seafood stops ?

Thanks !!

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Great Advise !

Do you recommend any excellent seafood stops ?

Thanks !!

 

Argh! Nearly all of our favorite restaurants are only open for dinner :(. But there are still some decent lunch options in various price ranges. In the Old Town/Romantic Zone (our personal territory) Joe Jacks is open for lunch and is OK....but not at all fancy. In that same part of town on the beach, Daiquiri Dicks is open for lunch but this more upscale place has been hit/miss in recent years. An even more upscale beach front restaurant is La Palapa...although we have long thought this place is overpriced (but good).

 

If you want to move a bit North of the Malecon there is a laid back moderate place called El Barracuda which has its share of seafood. This restaurant is cash only and also located on the beach (you can even eat on the sand). Its certainly not fancy, but the food is usually OK (we have some good friends that love this place for a simple lunch).

 

Hank

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Hank.....

 

For those of us that would like to spend some time enjoying the Malecon, how plentiful are restrooms?

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It has been many years since we frequented Peurto Vallarta. There was a nice marina area across the port. It had shops and some very nice restaurants .Does it still exist ?

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Hank.....

 

 

 

For those of us that would like to spend some time enjoying the Malecon, how plentiful are restrooms?

 

 

 

There is a public restroom at the plaza, downstairs. Otherwise need to find a restaurant or grocery store willing to let the public in.

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It has been many years since we frequented Peurto Vallarta. There was a nice marina area across the port. It had shops and some very nice restaurants .Does it still exist ?

 

 

 

It’s being remodeled. Wasn’t too far done in March. Not too sure when it’ll be finished. No cruise line is using the South Pier until it’s finished.

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