Puerto Vallarta is located on the gold coast of Mexico nestled in the center of Banderas Bay the largest bay in Mexico . The Bay is known for its annual attraction of whales to have their calves during the winter months.
The climate is very similar to Hawaii or southern Florida with high humidity during the summer months which is also the rainy season. The rains are typically late afternoon or early evening thunder storms while the days are clear and sunny.
Puerto Vallarta is in the central time zone while cities like Bucerias and La Cruz are on Mountain time. Almost everyone recognizes Vallarta time, especially when you are catching a plane.
The currency is the Mexican Peso which fluctuates daily and can be exchanged in any bank or a number of exchange houses in the area. We have actually found the best rate of exchange to be in the airport bank. Yes, we have ATM machines but they will only provide pesos so remember when you enter the amount, it will be in pesos.
Buses run about every 15 minutes and many people have found them to be not only convenient but very entertaining. There are no lack of taxi's which is another mode of transportation if you are not renting a car - just make sure you ask the rate prior to taking your trip.
Car rentals are available in the airport or through our favorite Gecko Rent A Car in Bucerias who will pick you up at the airport and take you back. Driving is not as difficult as one may think as we have traffic lights just as you do. One major difference is the lateral roads that parallel the highway which enables you to make left hand turns safely or just visit one of your favorite stores. Pemex is the name of the only gas station in Mexico so there are no options. They sell gas by the liter and only accept pesos.
There are a great variety of restaurants to choose from with a selection of foods from around the world. Many of the restaurants accept dollars but prefer pesos. Just remember when you pay in dollars you will get pesos as your change.
Water is typically a concern; however, all of our homes either have water purification systems or provide bottled water. Reputable restaurants provide bottled water and you can purchase it in most stores. If by some chance you were unfortunate to come down with the trots or good old Montezuma at his best, which is rare, first you would not be the first and second it's easily fixed. Go to the local Pharmacy (Farmacia) and ask for a box of Lomatil which are small white pills that will become your friend. Normally the problem is solved in a few hours and you're off enjoying your vacation.
There are a number of good sized stores in Vallarta and one very close to the airport that carries about everything you could possibly want. The name of the store is Comercial Mexicana and very similar to the stores you shop at home. We also have Sam's Club with an excellent variety of USDA meats and excellent produce. Normal staples like bread, milk, soda and, of course, beer can be purchase most anywhere locally.
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