Getting Around Puerto Vallarta
The best way to get around Puerto Vallarta is by bus – there are plenty of stops and the fares are cheap. If you're looking for a less bumpy ride (though not by much) you can also take a taxi or an Uber. The bus is also the best means of getting from PV's Licenciado Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR) to the hotel zones. Renting a car is also an option, but you'll pay hefty fees for the privilege. To really get a feel for Puerto Vallarta's neighborhoods, you'll want to rely on your own two feet, especially in areas like the Zona Romantica.
Rental cars offer easy access to all of the main attractions throughout Puerto Vallarta, but rates can be expensive and driving through the city's steep, bumpy streets can be more trouble than it's worth. If you're going to rent a car, book online before your arrival. And remember to always lock your valuables in the trunk out of plain sight. Mexico recognizes U.S. driver's licenses, so travelers won't need an international driving permit unless they plan on driving more than 300 miles into Mexico during their stay.
Taxis are an excellent, inexpensive way to get around the city – you just need some street smarts. Fares are charged by zone, not meter, so ask the driver for a rate sheet to keep track and consult it before starting your ride. The minimum fare is usually around 40 to 70 pesos ($2.10 to $3.70) around town, but rides from the airport to most hotels will likely start around the equivalent of $10. Purchase a map and consult it yourself, so that you can ensure you're getting where you need to go quickly (and cheaply). And keep in mind that tipping isn't necessary unless the driver helps with your bags. The ride-hailing app Uber also operates in Puerto Vallarta.
PV buses service the downtown area, as well as the Hotel Zone, El Malecon, Zona Romantica and Marina Vallarta, and they're the cheapest option for getting around. Hold on tight to your ticket, literally. An inspector might come by at any time to check, not to mention that drivers tend to zip and race through the streets.
Take the blue, green or orange buses around town, and keep in mind that they'll have their destinations listed on the front of the windshield in Spanish. There are no transfers with tickets, so if you plan on taking two buses to reach your destination, be sure to buy two tickets. When boarding the bus, make sure you have correct change for the driver. For more information, check out the Visit Vallarta website.