Local & General FAQs

in Puerto Vallarta


Can I recycle here?

Unfortunately, PV doesn’t recognize a recycling program at this time.  All of the trash goes to the curb every day and is picked up.  You will often see people fetching cans and bottles to recycle but there are no separate receptacles for this.  Slowly, changes are being made – such as the introduction of biodegradable straws, which are now standard here.  You can always help by bringing your own ‘To Go’ container to a restaurant to avoid the styrofoam, tinfoil and plastic bags it will be wrapped in.

Do I need to know spanish?

Many Mexicans, especially those that work in the tourism industry, speak English.  You do not need to know how to speak Spanish to get by.


If you’re planning on staying for an extended bit, its wise to learn a little bit of conversational Spanish – you will find that Mexicans will welcome and help you speak the language.  If you do speak, even only a little Spanish, give it a try while you’re here – don’t be shy – and you’ll enjoy the experience even more so!

Is there a 12 step program in PV?

There is a 12-step community in PV.  Meetings are held at 329 Basilio Badillio.  Visit the website for various group meetings and times.

What time zone is PV in?

In 2010, the entire Bay of Banderas adopted Central Time.  Just to the north in the state of Nayarit, the time changes to Mountain Time (one hour behind PV).


The time zone was complicated throughout the bay – there were so many issues with the airport being in a different time zone, they changed the zone so that the entire state of Jalisco was in Central Time.

What is the local economy in PV?

The local economy is based on tourism, construction and to a lesser degree, agriculture – mainly tropical fruit.

How many people live in PV?

About 350,000 people live in the greater PV area.

Can I live here without Facebook?

I suppose you could…but Facebook will be your source to connect with people living here to ask questions and make friends.  There are several groups you can join – check out  L.O.C.A (Ladies Outdoor Club Adventures) or the PV Happy Hour Group.  There are lots of groups that you can ask random questions and there is the MarketPlace where people sell nearly-new items at a great discount.

Can I negotiate on goods I want to purchase?

Most Mexicans will negotiate with you on the price.  Don’t assume that you can get something for ‘half’ of their starting price.  It will depend on what you are negotiating for – a service (like a massage or music) or an item (like a dress or food) – as to how much they will be able to discount.  Some work for themselves, so they can freely negotiate, others work for someone else and may not be able to go below a certain price.  It never hurts to ask for a discount.


Keep in mind, at full price, most items cost less than you would pay back home.  These people work HARD so be kind and considerate when you negotiate with them.  The beach vendors walk the beach all day, carrying their goods – in the hot sun.  You don’t even need to leave your beach chair to knock off your souvenirs for the kids back home – so consider that.

Wheelchair Accessibility

You can find additional assistance at this website.

The Malecon is a nice place to get around because there is no auto traffic but not every place along the way is wheelchair accessible.  Many employees are happy to carry the wheelchair up over a curb if necessary, so be sure to ask if you need help.

There is a walking tour for wheelchair travelers here.

Can I work in Mexico?

You are not allowed to work on a Tourist Visa.  As a Temporary Resident, you can apply for a work visa, they will determine whether you will receive permission – only then can you apply for work.  Be patient, this can take 30+ days.  As a Permanent Resident, you can work here – you must report to the Consular office to report your employment information.  You’ll need a document from your employer.


They say that you cannot have a job that would take away from a Mexican but I haven’t found this to be entirely true.  Keep in mind that the average daily wage in Mexico is less than $8 US dollars PER DAY. So be sure to do your research on the pay rate before you get to far into the process.


Check in with an immigration attorney if you are considering working here and earning pesos.

What do I tip?

The minimum daily wage as of Jan 1, 2019 was 102.68 Mexican pesos which is about $5.10.  Per day.  Ready that again, it’s not a typo.  That’s what your maid is being paid.  Per day.


Please tip in pesos.  Leaving US coins is useless, if you leave US dollars, they need to physically go to the bank and exchange it (and pay the exchange rate).  If you can leave your tip in cash, do so since some restaurants will take the service fee out of the tip.


Tip your maid!  If you’ve left your place a little messy, tip her a little more.  75 pesos is customary per cleaning.  Leave it on your pillow or with a note that says ‘gracias!’.


Tip the people that bag your groceries, they are not employed by the store.  A government program allows young people and seniors to work for tips.  15 pesos is customary.


Many times the servers have to pool their tips and pay out to the bartender, chef, etc.  You should leave between 15-20% for their service.  These employees make their money during the ‘high’ season, some of the restaurants they work at close during low season so they are out of work for a period of time each year.


Musicians performing at restaurants/bars soley rely on tips.


Some restrooms will have attendants, 5 pesos is customary.


Typically you don’t tip your taxi or Uber unless they perform another service, such as helping with your suitcase or grocery bags.  But by all means, if you want to tip them, go ahead.


There is a great Tipping Guide here:

Bug Bites

If you are being bitten by ‘je jenes’, known as ‘no seeums’,  there is little evidence of the bug – only the bite and welt they leave behind.  You won’t be able to see them and although you can read about many ways to prevent such bites on other websites, the only way to treat them is to use a topical cream that can be purchased in the pharmacy.  Simply show your bites to the pharmacist and they will sell you the cream/spray.

What are the symptoms of Dengue fever?

Dengue is a mosquito-borne virus. There are different strains of Dengue so your symptoms vary depending on what strain you get and whether or not you’ve had the same strain previously.


Stage 1:  lasts about 7 days:  sudden, high fever, muscle and joint pains, severe headache, swollen lymph nodes, mild to severe nausea/vomiting


Stage 2:  starts on the 2nd day:  this is a critical stage because you can start bleeding on the inside as your veins expand; avoid aspirin or ibuprofen as these can increase bleeding complications


Stage 3: recovery stage, you may get a rash but it is usually not harmful


On your FIRST SIGN OF FEVER, it is recommended that you call a doctor.  The medical care in PV is top notch and they know how to treat for this.  If you have other health issues, like diabetes for example, seek care – do not try to ride it out on your own.


You want to be careful that you stay hydrated.  Drink a lot of water and some electrolytes. Fresh papaya leaf juice can help to increase the platelet count and help with blood clotting.


Dengue never lasts more than 2 weeks, if you have something lasting longer, it’s likely you have something other than Dengue.


When the rainy season hits, that is the time we are most prone to getting bit by an infected mosquito.  Be sure there is no standing water near your condo as this is a breeding ground for mosquitos.  PV has trucks that will spray your street to kill mosquito eggs – the spray is not harmful to humans.

When is the best time for whale watching?

December through February are the best times, although sightings can happen beyond those months.  Read more about it here:  Whale Watching in the Bay

Should I wash my vegetables

Yes, you should always wash them with something that will kill parasites on the skin, like Microdyn.  Read more about it here:  Washing your food in Mexico

Farmers Markets

Three Hens and a Rooster, at the Lions Club building, Francisco Madero 280, Saturdays, 9am-1pm


Marsol, by the pier, 9:30am-1:30pm


Olas Altas Farmer’s Market, at Lazaro Cardenas Park, Saturdays, 9:30am-2pm


Marina at Plaza Neptuno, Thursdays from 6pm-10pm


Nuevo Vallarta, located in parking lot behind the Casino, Tuesdays from 9am-2pm


Nuevo Vallarta, located at the gazebo on the malecon, Saturdays from 9am-3pm


Bucerias, located in the parking lot of Chedraui Bucerias, Wednesdays from 9am-1pm

Food delivery

La Comer will deliver your groceries to you very reasonably.  Uber Eats is available here and many restaurants participate.  You can also call and ask a restaurant if they will deliver.

Shipping services - UPS - FedEx - DHL

Most people will tell you that if you want something from the US or CAN, you should bring it yourself, or have a friend that is visiting here bring it with them.  But sometimes, you just need something shipped to you while you’re here.


Services are improving but there are no guarantees – you can have your items delivered to your house but you’ll need to be present.  Or you can pick up at various locations (it depends on who you choose as a shipper) – this is likely the more reliable route.

Resort Day Pass Guide

Many resorts offer day passes that often include a credit to spend on food and beverage.  Vallarta Tribune puts together a great resort guide to help you choose the one that fits your needs.

Cooking Class

Restaurant Gaby, El Arrayan Restaurante, Arte Culinario by Mavi Graf, Miriam’s Mexican Kitchen, Rosie’s Vallarta Cooking just to name a few.


Take advantage of learning how to shop and cook authentic Mexican food while you’re here.

Bike Rentals

There are 3 places we’re aware of:  BiCiRentals and Hello Bike! – both of these are on FaceBook.  They may be able to deliver the bike to you.  If you’re looking for a ‘premium’ road bike or fat bike, visit puertovallartacycling.com.

What is Casa Kimberly?

Richard Burton first came to Puerto Vallarta, a sleepy fishing village to star in The Night of the Iguana. Burton and Taylor had met a few years before on the set of Cleopatra and were in the whirl of a scandalous romance -they were both married – but they couldn’t be apart from each other.


Richard Burton arranged for Elizabeth Taylor to stay at Casa Kimberly, directly across the street from his own home. He built a bridge connecting the two and gave Casa Kimberly to Taylor for her 32nd birthday in 1964.


You can book one of several rooms or dine at the restaurant/bar on the rooftop.  It is located in the neighborhood of Gringo Gulch, at Calle Zaragoza 445.

How do I call the US or Canada from Mexico using my cell phone?

Many cell phone plans have call plans now that you can add as necessary.

To call the US or CAN, hold down the ZERO key so that the ‘+’ sign pops up on your screen, then dial 1 and the phone number including the area code.

Can I pay bills at OXXO?

Paying your bills at Oxxo is convenient.  Simply bring the bill in, they will scan the bar code.  They will often show you the account number – make sure this is correct.   There is a small commission charge, usually around 10 pesos.  KEEP YOUR RECEIPT in the event you have to prove that it was paid.  Usually you have to pay these bills in cash, if they say you can use your credit card, don’t be surprised if it is declined.  It’s not a credit card issue, its an Oxxo issue.

How do I dial a Mexican phone number?

As of Aug 3, 2019, the rules of dialing a Mexican phone have changed:


To call a Mexican cell phone and land line:  +52 (phone number including area code)


The ‘1’, ’44’ or ’45’ is no longer required.  The ‘+’ automatically directs your call to an international switch-board-computer.  You must dial a + for all international calls.


To call a Mexican cell phone:  +52 1 (phone number including area code)


To call a Mexican land line:  +52 (phone number including area code)

What is red tide?

Red tide damages oxygen levels in the water which affects marine life.  If one consumes fish or shellfish that has been affected by red tide, there will be tingling in the lips, tongue and face.  There could also be difficulty breathing, dizziness and vomiting.  The symptoms usually appear within 30-60 minutes after ingestion.  The preferred basic treatment is to induce vomiting by administering warm salt water (from a clean source) and seek the attention of a doctor immediately.  The best way to know if red tide is in effect for Banderas Bay is to do a simple Google search:  red tide in PV (and the month and year you are inquiring about).  The local papers will report it.

When is day of the dead?

Day of the dead (did de Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrating the lives of those who have passed.  The celebration is on November 1 and 2.


Check out our full post here:  Day of the Dead

What and when is semana santa?

Semana Santa is the Holy Week which happens the week before Easter.  This is the most celebrated holiday in Mexico and is a very busy week in PV, especially for Mexican visitors.

Do I need a Mexican bank account?

You may not need a bank account in Mexico.  To open an account here, you’ll need a passport and a bill showing your PV address (like your electric bill).


Transferwise is a great app that will allow you to wire funds without paying high wire fees.


Intercam is a recommended bank as they will allow you to deposit your checks in US dollars.


Read more about it here:  Best Place to Exchange Money

Can I use my costco card from home in PV?

 Yes, you are able to use your US or Canada Costco card.  If you need to purchase a Mexican Costco membership, you may do this right at the Costco store in PV.

Is is expensive to live in PV?

Regardless of where you are from, you’re going to find the cost of living or visiting Mexico to be less than you are accustomed to.  In general, it can be about 1/3 to 2/3 of the price you would pay ‘back home’.  The closer to the beach you are, the higher the prices.

Read more about this here:  Life in PV, Part 1

Can I get dental work done in PV?

Many Americans and Canadians have their dental work done here for a fraction of the cost back home.  A typical cleaning costs you about $20-25 USD.  Check out our Directory for preferred recommendations.

Does Amazon deliver here?

Amazon.com.mx delivers in Mexico along with some merchants from amazon.com. Many ex-pats living here use this service.

Where do I go for a notery?

The position of a notary here is much different than that of one in the US.  In order to be a notary in Mexico, you must posses a law degreee – the notary has more authority than a lawyer here.


If you are in need of a notary because of a real estate transaction, your real estate attorney usually has a relationship with one and can recommend, although who you use is up to you.

Best place to watch a game?

Visit our Top 10 places to watch a game article here: Top 10 Sports Bars in PV

Will my US or CAN phone work in PV?

Your cell phone plan may charge you fees if you don’t have a plan with them that allows calls outside the US.  Call your provider and tell them what your plans are – you are visiting for 1 week, you plan to stay for 6 months, etc – and they will give you your options.

If you don’t have a plan to call outside the US, before you depart from the airport to Mexico, turn your phone to ‘Airplane Mode’ and this will prevent you from connecting to your service plan.  You can still connect to WiFi while Airplane Mode is ON, so you can use your phone to take photos and make calls/connect to the internet through a WiFi connection.

I have an emergency, can I dial 911?

The answer is yes!  Check out our full post here: Making a 911 call