Nuevo Vallarta Essentials
Climate: Tropical and humid with an average of 300 sunny days/year. Temperatures average 28 C (82 F), cooling to around 20 C (70 F) at night. The hottest months of the year are June through October, during which time the high temperatures reach around 35 C (90 F). Rainy season kicks in end of June through October.
Language – Official language is Spanish, many here (especially those in the tourist establishments) speak some English too. Please remember to speak slowly and clearly with a smile as some are continually learning! It goes a long way when we make the effort to communicate using the Spanish we have learned. We encourage picking up a local phrasebook/dictionary to guide you. See our Spanish 101 page for some basics
Getting Here - When flying in, you arrive atthe International Airport (Gustavo Días Ordaz). This is only 6 km’s north of Puerto Vallarta and is the way most enter this great place. The weekly traffic during high seasons can get up to 450 flights with both domestic and international flights, especially coming from the larger cities in the US/Canada. Transfers fees from the airport to your destination are reasonable. Travelers must approach the taxi booth to pay the fee for the service at the air terminal, where they will be assigned a vehicle that will take them to their destination.
Drinking Water – For 17 years in a row, Puerto Vallarta water has been awarded a certification of the purity of human consumption. It is only one of two cities in Mexico that can boast of such accomplishment. Still, it is not considered drinkable, caution is needed. Larger hotels have their own purification equipment and most restaurants use purified water. If in doubt, put your mind at ease; purchase your own bottled water. For more information, please refer to our health & safety page.
Fruits & Vegetables - It is important treat all fresh fruits or vegetables with Microdyne (even the locals do). Put unpeeled fruits and vegetables in a large bowl or sink, fill with tap water, put in a few drops of Microdyne and let them sit for 20 minutes. The can then be dried off with towel and eaten.
Medical – Hospitals & Clinics are nearby to handle any Emergency. Most Pharmacies - Farmacia Guadalajara & CMQ are open 24 hrs/day. Many visitors even plan their visits to accommodate dental work, eye glasses and other surgeries while here.
Current Time Zone – When you are on vacation, time is not important, for those that just need to know the time… Nuevo Vallarta is on Central Standard Time (CST). This an adjustment as of April 4, 2010 and is now the same time as Puerto Vallarta and airport!
According to some resources, the change was made for economic reasons, due to problems related to missed flights and also with how the time change affects Mexican banks. This works out better for most as it eliminates a lot of confusion! Most of Nayarit have made the adjustment including Nuevo Vallarta, Mescales, La Cruz Huanacaxtle, Punta de Mita, Sayulita. However, Lo de Marcos, San Pancho, La Penita. Tepic will stay on Mountain Standard Time (MST)
Eating out – Nuevo Vallarta boasts some of the best restaurants in the bay, please remember to tip. It is also considered poor manners to present the check before it is requested, when you are ready to leave, practice your Spanish “La cuenta, por favor (the bill please)” and they will bring your bill.
Banking – Banks are open 9 am – 2 pm Monday - Friday, with a few Branches open till 5 pm. HSBC is open for the first half of Saturday in Bucerias. You can withdraw money here through ATM machines and get reasonable rates or get money exchanged at small currency exchange locations, which offer the same service as the larger bank and may mean less standing in line. Hotels traditionally are not as favorable to the traveler. Some have suggested using ATM machines attached to a bank. If there is a problem with not getting the correct amount, you can at least go into the bank to correct it. Withdrawl during business hours as much as possible so you can get help if needed.
Dialing – From Canada or the US to a local # here, dial 011-52-(area code) + local 7 digit number (Area code in Nuevo Vallarta is 322, Puerto Vallarta is 322, Bucerias - North is 329). Cell phones from Canada or US work here but likely very expensive. Some can be programmed here to work here at local rates. See our dialing in Mexico page & important Numbers page.
Transportation – For visitors, Buses & Taxi’s are the primary means of transportation or car rentals for those that prefer to have their own vehicle. Most take a Taxi; rates are fixed by law, but always double check before you get into the taxi. Refer to our getting around page to see where set rates and defined zones are. Essentially, It to take a Taxi, it will cost approx 250 pesos ($25) to get to Nuevo Vallarta from the Airport. The reverse, Nuevo Vallarta to PV will cost $150 Pesos ($12). If taking a bus, it will cost $10 pesos ($1) to get to PV Walmart, transfer for $4 Pesos ($0.40) into downtown PV.
Driving or walking about - Most of the accidents that do happen here are related to a Motor vehicle accident or swimming accidents and are the leading causes of injury to travelers, so please be careful when you walk the streets of Mexican tourist Cities. Road conditions and traffic regulation may take some time to get used to, very few street corners have stop signs and it is hard to determine whom as priority (Vehicles traditionally have the right away so be careful). If you are driving in Mexico, do so defensively and always wear seatbelts (despite what you observe around you). Infants should never be in the front seat (despite what you observe around you). Please remember, "Do not drink and drive" If you take a taxi within Nuevo Vallarta, it will cost you $20-$30 Pesos ($2-$3)
Beaches – All beaches are public, even in front of the Hotels. However, please be respectful of there property (chairs, umbrella’s, etc) that are reserved for there guests only. When you take a walk along the beach, take some time to see other accomodations to snoop around and look at some of the other hotels. Perhaps that could be where you go next time you come back to Nuevo Vallarta!
Trips & Tours – Mexico is like any other place, many here make a living off of tourism and with that come vacation getaways. Timeshare offers here are common, especially closer towards PV. Many timeshare sales people will try to entice you by offering a free trip or tour. You will get what they promised you, but understand you will have to attend a ½ day sales presentation. If this does not interest you, there are other ways to book a trip or tour. See our things to do page for ideas, we can book any tour for you, so check out any of our excursions and fill out the form or call us!
Public Holidays – Banks and Government offices dictate mainly what stays open or closed. Some business may either open late or close early on certain holiday. Watch for signs or announcements.
January 1 – New Years Day
* Please keep in mind, certain holidays have the nearest Monday added to create a 3 day weekend (February 5 – Constitution Day, March 21 – Benito Juarez Day, November 20 – Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution)
Volunteering – Nuevo Vallarta offers a great opportunity to get involved locally. Efforts are being made to improve living standards by recycling, Orphanages to help families to care for young ones, animal clinics, etc. If you would like to get involved, see our community page for local non-profit organizations.