Planning your vacation to Mexico FAQs

Planning your vacation to Mexico FAQs2020-06-02T12:19:42-05:00
What do I tip?2019-07-31T15:26:48-05:00

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:  https://visit-vallarta.com/about-puerto-vallarta/tipping-guide/?fbclid=IwAR0uTkFyHyy6Kk50qF9gaxXti3z1z6kF2gxa6lVHa6T_7R0aOzpXMV3YExM

Expired or soon-to-expire Passport2019-07-31T15:27:22-05:00

Some airlines enforce a 6 month valid rule, so it’s best to check in with them before your flight.  They may not let you board your flight.  You might be okay, but why risk it?  Take a look at your passport – if you have less than 6 months until the expiration date, get it renewed now.

Wheelchair accessibility2019-07-31T15:29:43-05:00

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.

Bug Bites2019-07-31T15:33:01-05:00

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.

When is the best whale watching in the bay?2019-07-31T15:33:49-05:00

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 before eating?2019-07-31T15:34:51-05:00

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 Markets2019-07-31T15:35:27-05:00

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

Emotional Support Animal2019-07-31T15:36:00-05:00

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 Practioner. 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 into Mexico2019-07-31T15:36:26-05:00

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.

Resort Daypass Guide2019-07-31T15:41:59-05:00

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

Cooking Class2019-07-31T15:42:35-05:00

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.

Car Rental2019-07-31T15:43:11-05:00

After you pay for the insurance and gas prices here, you may find it MUCH less expensive to use an Uber or taxi.  If you decide to rent a car, Gecko, comes recommended to us.  There are other rental car agencies:  Payless, Fox, Budget and Enterprise.  If you’re staying in Emiliano Zapata, Prestige is a good place to rent a car for an overnight.

Bike Rentals2019-07-31T15:44:22-05:00

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 222.puertovallartacycling.com.

What is Casa Kimberly?2019-07-31T15:45:01-05:00

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 dial the US or CAN from Mexico using my cell phone?2019-07-31T15:46:34-05:00

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.

When is day of the dead?2019-07-31T15:48:54-05:00

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

Should I rent a car?2019-07-31T15:50:00-05:00

Unless you are planning to do day trips to different areas, a car is unnecessary to get around PV.  There is a great bus system as well as Uber and local taxis.  Most Ubers/taxis cost you about $50-90 pesos to get around most places.

Parking is likely going to be your issue if you decide to rent a car as space is scarce.

Can I bring my dog?2019-07-31T15:56:00-05:00

Most small dogs are allowed to travel in the cabin with you for a fee.  Larger dogs can travel in the cargo area during certain times of the year.  The airline will have rules and processes about traveling with a pet – you’ll want to check with the airline as they can vary.

You’ll also need to visit the vet for proper vaccinations before you travel.  You should plan a few months in advance for travel if you plan to bring your dog.

Will my US or CAN phone work in PV?2019-07-31T23:40:18-05:00

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.

What are the seasons/weather?2019-07-31T23:39:59-05:00

In general, the best weather starts towards the middle of October and goes through the end of June.  During this time, the sun shines, there is little to no rain, little to no humidity.  The average daily temperature is around 86°.  June is the hottest month and when the rainy season starts.  September is the most humid month.  The rains come and go quickly but they can be furious.  Most welcome the rain to cool down the temps.

How much is a taxi from the airport?2019-07-31T23:39:37-05:00

The taxi fare is pre-determined at the airport.  It will depend on which area you are traveling to as to how much you’ll pay.  You can flag a taxi down just as you approach the exit doors for the airport.  You can also visit the taxi counter and purchase your fare there, they will direct you to your cab.

For more options, take a look at our article:  Traveling from the Airport

Does Uber pickup at the airport?2019-07-31T23:39:30-05:00

No, at this time Uber is not allowed to pickup at the airport.  You can however, go across the pedestrian bridge and order Uber from there.  You’ll need to have cell service to do so.  For all options, take a look at our article:  Traveling from the Airport.

What is the exchange rate?2019-07-31T23:39:23-05:00

Google ‘Exchange rate in Mexico’ and it will tell you how many pesos to the dollar.  This information changes daily, so the best way to know is to check the internet.  Many shops/restaurants will post their own exchange rate, which is usually less than what you’ll find on the internet.  To learn the best way to exchange your money here in PV, check out our article:  Best Place to Exchange Money

Best place to exchange money2019-08-02T14:43:31-05:00

Your best options for money exchange are the ATMs and the bank directly.  Check out our full post here on getting the best exchange rate for your money.