Moving To Mexico 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.

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 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.

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.

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)

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

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

Does Amazon deliver here? delivers in Mexico along with some merchants from 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.

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

Emotional Support Animal

You’ll need to complete the paperwork through the particular airline you select.  Emotional Support Animals are very different from Service Dogs.  You will need your doctor to complete a form with a diagnosis as well as proper vaccinations for your pet.    Some airlines are requiring a psychologist or psychiatrist sign the letter, not your General Practitioner. Your pet needs to be well behaved and trained.  There is generally no cost to bring your pet in the cabin but it must fit within the footprint of your seat.

Bringing prescription drugs to Mexico.

If you have your original prescription bottle with your doctor’s name, that should be sufficient.  There are a few prescription drugs that you can’t bring into Mexico and a few non-prescription drugs (like Sudafed) that are off limits.  Best to Google this before your trip as this list is always changing.  Plan to bring enough for your trip or at lease 6 weeks, you can usually source the prescription here in a local pharmacy (some will require prescriptions, but keep trying other pharmacies, one is likely to sell it).  I recommend to start looking for meds you may need as soon as you arrive, don’t wait until you need them.

Driving to PV

You’ll need a notarized letter from the lien holder giving you permission to take the vehicle into Mexico (it’s so much easier if you own the vehicle outright).  You should plan to stay on the toll roads – have your pesos ready – these are the safest roads to drive.  Don’t opt to make this a sight seeing trip – unless you’ve done it several times before – you are moving all your personal belongings and that is stressful enough.  You need to itemize a list of your belongings – in case they ask you for it at the border.  You’ll need to know the address of where you are planning to unload.  Your vehicle will need an import permit plus you’ll pay an immigration fee.  Carrying a gun across the border can get you a $25,000 fine and up to 25 years in jail.  Don’t drive at night.  Not all hotels allow pets.  Nice to have a locking pin for your license plate, just in case.  Have a map in case you don’t have WiFi service.  You may be denied entry if you’ve had a DUI in the last 10 years.


In other words, be smart about it.  Do your research.  Go with your gut on choosing the safest place to stay.  Have a backup plan.