Tips & Tricks For Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Like My last blog, “ My top 5 favorite restaurants in Puerto Vallarta”  had mentioned, I have been traveling to Puerto Vallarta for a long time, and there is definitely an insider track on some things that will make your stay in Puerto Vallarta that much easier. Especially if you are like me and like to save a few bucks here and there.

Here is a picture of the first time our family visited Puerto Vallarta 15+ years ago.

The first tip I have to tell you about is right when you are leaving the airport. There will be ALOT of people bombarding you to get a cab from them. In my experience, we have learned a little trick along the way. We ignore all the offers for cabs and leave the airport with bags in hand. If you just walk a little further you can get a cab for half the price… no I’m not joking half the price. Its a little more on the adventures side, so if you are headed to Mexico and really don’t care about price then just disregard this tip. But, if you are like me, then saving a few bucks here and there definitely doesn’t hurt. When you walk out of the airport you will see a ramp to the left that leads to a bridge. We walk up the ramp, across the bridge and back down. Under the bridge there is usually 3-4 cabs waiting to take you anywhere you please, and usually with a significant price break. You may be wondering how come its so much cheaper? Well, I’ll tell you why… the only cabs that are allowed to take people from the airport to there hotels are the ones that are all white. The ones that are under the bridge waiting for you will be yellow. Don’t be afraid, all the yellow cabs are usually just fine. In fact, if you plan on taking a cab at any point from your hotel to say.. dinner, it will be a yellow cab. So if you want to save a few bucks, walking a little further may be worth it. Especially if you are like my crazy family who usually had 8-10 people and little kids running around. It adds up!
2) The second tip I have for you is that you don’t have to do all inclusive when your booking your hotel. Or I guess I should say you don’t always have to opt for that option. Some hotels are only all inclusive.. But some hotels have it as an add on. For example, the last time my family and I went to Mexico we stayed at the Krystal hotel. I booked thru cheap tickets because at the time they were offering the best promo code for hotels. When I was booking it gave me the option with my room to do all-inclusive for an extra 52.00/day per person. Pretty great deal right?! However, I knew that by the time we fly in that the day is pretty much over and the day we fly out, we were basically leaving at breakfast (which was already offered in our stay thru the promo). Also, our family usually likes to do one excursion while we visit, and on those days your barely at the hotel. So I opted out of the all inclusive. I did know that there would be a few days in our stay that we would be strictly at the pool/ocean and would easily spent more than 52.00 per person in alcohol/ food/ and water. So I called the hotel directly and guess what?! I was quoted the same price 52.00/day per person. So I selected those days as all inclusive days. Saved myself 208.00 for me and my friend by doing that. Not to shabby right? Although, I do suggest you calling the hotel before you book and make sure you can add it on later. Also, make sure you can pick which days you want to do it. Not all hotels are the same and theres always different rules. I suggest writing down who you spoke with in case there is any confusion at time of check in.

Staying at the resort all day, and being all inclusive can be so relaxing.

3) The third tip I have for you is if you haven’t planned on all inclusive, to make sure you do a quick run to Costco or some grocery store near by to get a case or two (depending on how long you stay). The price of water in Mexico, if you buy from your hotel, is outrageous. Talk about a mark up!! And you don’t want to drink the water from the tap, better safe then sorry!

4) The fourth tip I have for you is that to call ahead and ask for a bed pad to be already on your bed when you arrive. The beds in most places I have stayed in Mexico, are ROCK hard!! If you like a firm, and I mean very firm bed, then this doesn’t apply to you. But, if you are like me, comfort is key! So I call ahead and ask for it be on there upon check in. Otherwise, once you feel the bed and you realize its to hard,  you will have to get in touch with housekeeping and then stick around for them to show up… or worst sometimes they don’t even have any more available. So my suggestion…call ahead.. you’ll thank me later

5) My fifth, and final tip for you is to ride the bus. Yes, your heard me right.. Ride the bus. If you do it once, at least for the experience it’s worth it. Once again, you have to want to be a bit adventurous but we always ride the bus into town and then take a taxi back. It usually significantly cheaper and its actually fun. You literally always come off with a story. There have been times where there is clowns preforming, singing, or even chickens! Its fun for our family and I would suggest it to anyone else’s too. It bumpy and usually pretty hot and sticky on it, so like I said, if you like an adventure you probably would enjoy it. If they doesn’t sound fun to you, then stick to the cabs. We are usually headed into town so we look for the blue and white buses that say “Centro” – there is usually a bus stop in front of all the hotels or pretty near by.  If your not sure, you can ask the bus drivers, they are all pretty helpful and friendly.

Riding the bus down with my family… In all of our SEAHAWK gear! Football Sunday even in Mexico.
Bus ride into town, notice the live entertainment?


Have you ever been to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico? Do you have any tips or tricks you would like to share. Leave me a comment below if you do!! 🙂


Top 5 Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – This is one of my families favorite places to go for our annual family vacations. We have been going there consistently for over 10+ years. After spending so much time there, I thought I should share some of the useful information I have gathered over the years. One of our favorite things to do in Puerto Vallarta is enjoy the amazing food. Its pretty easy to get sucked into all- inclusive and in some cases, it is very price efficient too. However, I would suggest getting out at least one night to check out one of these resultants so you can really enjoy what Puerto Vallarta is all about. After years of eating out, and asking many locals about there top suggestions, here are my top 5 FAVORITE restaurants in Puerto Vallarta.
1)River Cafe – This place is truly Magical.  We usually save this place for the last night when we eat out. It’s a little higher in price but it is absolutely stunning. They take reservations, so emailing or calling ahead is always a good idea. Whenever I place a reservation with this restaurant I always ask for one of the tables in there cabana’s. It is so beautiful out there, you hear the river rushing past, the frogs, and you are surrounded by candle light. How could you not love it?!

In one of the cabana’s by the river.

2) Ah Caramba – If you are looking for a killer sunset view above the city this place is the place to go. Absolutely breath taking! You do need to get a cab to come up to this place as it is a trek otherwise, but let me tell you.. you wont regret it!!!! If for nothing else at least for a drinks at sunset.

Cloudy Sunset picture from Ah Cramba, Overlooking all of Puerto Vallarta.
Beer- A- Rita

3) La Dolce Vita – One of the BEST Italian restaurants you can find in Puerto Vallarta, and also another great location for the sunset. Sometimes when you are down in Mexico, its hard to believe but you can actually get sick of….Mexican food. So, when you need a break, this place is so yummy! Its right on the Malecon, so very easy to get too. The service is primo as well, and you can also call/email ahead for reservations.

A picture from the last time we were visiting. A little wine and pizza always does the trick!
A picture of one of the first times we visited the restaurant 10+ years ago. Things have definitely changed since then.

4) Joe Jack Fish Shack- Some of the best fish tacos you can find! All of there food tastes super fresh and they have a mojito that you cant refuse… I mean it even comes with a mermaid in your drink. How could you not have one…or two ;). It is located in old town Mexico. They also take reservations, and the last few times I have been there its not a bad idea to make one because word has gotten out about how good this place is.

Joe’s Fish Shake Mojito’s are my FAVORITE!! Notice the cute little mermaid?? Its all in the details. 

5) Cafe de Olla’s – This place has always been a family favorite for us. Its tradition the first night to come here. Family run and there margaritas are top notch!! They aim to please here. It is more on the rustic side, but the food is delicious, servers are always characters and like I said the margaritas are yummy and…HUGE!  They don’t accept reservations but if you have a big enough group coming they will usually try to accommodate you the best they can.

Almost the whole family last time at Cafe De Olla’s
Margarita Time!!!


Whats your favorite place to eat in Puerto Vallarta? I would love to know!! Leave a comment below if you have any thoughts! Thanks for reading 🙂