A good rule to follow, “The further from the beach, the less everything costs”
At the moment the exchange rate in Puerto Vallarta is a little over 17 pesos for US$1. Click here – Currency Exchange these are interbank rates, you will get a few points less at the ATMs. Don’t expect to get this rate at, Banks or ‘Casa de Cambios’ and the rate at the hotel is usually the worst.
With beach vendors and the flea market places they may give you a lot less, as they have to go to the bank and change them to pesos.
A lot of banks are no longer exchanging US dollars to pesos.
Those that do, require you to show your passport and also require a copy. They are restricted to exchange US$1,500 a month or US$300 per day. Merchants have similar restrictions, so many will not accept dollars for payments over $100.
These restrictions do not apply to CAN$, Pounds Sterling or Euros.
Your ATM card will work fine here and there are many machines around town. They will give you your best rate, depending on what your bank charges you for an International withdrawal.
By withdrawing your maximum, (the machine will show amounts in pesos and a few are restricted to 4,000 pesos) you get the best exchange rate after your bank charge. The ATM machines add a small charge (you may see a screen saying that there is a peso charge,).
Note. Make sure to tell your bank you’ll be using the card in Mexico, or they may put a ‘Hold’ on it.
ATMs are now even more important with some banks not exchanging US$.
When arriving at the airport, after customs and the infamous timeshare trap, you will find several ATM machines. Getting pesos here to pay for your taxi will save you money, the taxi booths will take dollars, but at a very low exchange rate.
Credit Cards are accepted at mostly high end stores and restaurants, but the stores will often give a discount for cash, as the CC costs them a fee.
Many people believe that US dollars are very much sought after here. Years ago, when the peso was less stable, some locals would try to hoard dollars and wait for the exchange rate to go up before cashing them in.
With the new restrictions, this is no longer true and the peso is now more a ‘bit’ more stable against the US Dollar than it used to be.
If you do bring foreign currency, be sure that none of the bills are defaced in any way – even a tiny tear, or ink mark, and they will not be accepted. Foreign coins can not be used at all, as they are worthless.
Inspect your pesos also, torn or mutilated notes will seldom be accepted. If you do get some torn notes, Banamex is the only bank that will exchange them.
- Breakfast (Desayunos)
from 30 to 70 pesos (La Esperanza)
to 100 pesos( Freddy’s Toucan)
from 70 pesos (La Dianita)
to 210 pesos(La Bodeguita del Medio)
from 95 pesos ( La Ronda )
to 350 pesos ( River Cafe)
And don’t forget the Taco Stands, see – Street Food
Gaby’s Comida Corrida 65 pesos
Now also a full restaurant with many items under 100 pesos.
At the market and depositos you will pay, for most brands (National) about 8.5 pesos +2.5 pesos for the bottle – we recycle – bring back an empty bottle and pay just pesos. Some places will charge you more (+ empty bottle) if it’s cold from the fridge. At a wholesale ‘deposito’ a case (20) of Pacifico is 248 pesos + a case of empties, keep your receipt for the case and return the empty bottles when you are leaving. At bars you will pay from $1.00 to $8 Depending where you are. See The Insider for cheap places.
At the current exchange rates of 13 pesos to the dollar, you can get beer at some of the bars I recommend for about $US 1.00 at Happy Hour.
Gringo Loco – F. Madero # 403, at Aguacate. Beer 20 pesos at Happy Hour, 25 peso cocktails at Happy Hour 1pm -4pm.
El Barrill – Guerrero #225, Upstairs on the corner of Juarez. Low prices and a nice feeling. Few, if any, tourists. Mon-Fri. 1pm – 2am. Happy Hour 2-4pm.
Mandela – on the Malecón. – Beer 50 pesos Or 2 for 90 pesos at ‘Happy? Hour’
Also see the Happy Hour Board
A big difference in prices, depending on where you are. The same cocktail in one of the bars on the Malecón that costs you 4-5 dollars, can be half that price at a bar on the south side – stronger too.
Happy Hours abound, but some places don’t have a unhappy hour – even at 2 for 1 the cost is high, again the south side is the place to be. Here’s a web page that shows our Happy Hours in real time, see the Happy Hour Board
Puerto Vallarta is in the state of Jalisco which happens to be the birthplace of Tequila. Once a drink looked down upon by middle class Mexicans (drinkers in the USA consume far more than in Mexico), it has now gained in popularity. In part due to the production of a much higher quality product, there is now on the market a Tequila in a crystal bottle for $1,000.00 US.
A very successful marketing campaign, but without the necessary forethought to increase the planting of Agave, caused a shortage of the raw material and prices went up and up. Now, of course, everyone is growing this valuable plant, but it takes about 8 years to become mature, so they started planting more logically and the prices have come down.
There is one other unique beverage associated with the area around Vallarta, this is ‘Raicilla’ a local moonshine made from a relative to the Agave Azul from which Tequila is made. This is the Agave Lechuguilla which only grows in our area of Jalisco. Raicilla is now available legally for the first time, unfortunately at a reduced alcohol level, about 40%, the illegal (untaxed) version is usually way up above 60%. Warning!, this drink has been compared to a cross between a local anaesthetic and rocket fuel. See Raicilla.
You will find many stores selling ‘Cuban’ cigars, but beware they may not be what they seem. Many are seconds or rejects smuggled out of Havana or made somewhere else in Central America and dressed up with a Cuban label.
Unfortunately, having been embargoed for so long most Americans have never smoked a true Cuban cigar. The problem thus becomes how to avoid the many unscrupulous dealers and vendors who recognise and prey on this fact.
All licensed cigar shop in PV buy from Habanos SA, the official exporter of Cuban cigars.
Thus the cost is the same to all shops whatever the price they charge, but the cost of cigars in Vallarta varies from store to store. Why? Because of their overhead cost.
We at Old Town Cigars & Smoke Shop strive to keep our overhead low and thus our prices are the lowest in Vallarta. All our Cubans are authentic and carry the proper stamps. You can now take 100 cigars, duty free, into USA .
Small smoking lounge with wifi. Full service smoke shop, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, cigarette tobacco, rolling papers, flavoured cigarettes, electronic cigarettes and juice. 279 Lázaro Cárdenas.
How about Free?
The Navel Museum (open 9am – 7:30pm Tue – Friday: Weekends 10am – 5:30pm but closed from 2pm-3pm) right next to the amphitheater at Los Arcos, see MAP, has a wonderful collection of artefacts and models depicting the history of Mexico’s discovery, occupation by the Spanish and also other Spanish holdings in the world. Air conditioned and free.
On the 2nd floor they have an art gallery and a coffee shop, serving breakfast, ex.- eggs & bacon – 25 pesos. Extremely clean and ship shape. There’re two balconies you can sit at.
Just walking around town is entertaining, you never know what you’ll see. I’m talking non tourist areas, such as Gringo Gulch, except the Taylor/Burton bridge, generally the area behind the church and it’s up a steep hill, so you’ll need to be fit for this. Another reason it’s not a tourist area.😄
The south side of town is flatter and the further you are away from the beach the less touristy the area will be.
A 7.5 peso investment (almost free) can put you on the Paso Ancho bus, number #04, and this will take you to a small, colonia, see MAP. I recommend the Ribs at El Rio BBQ, especially Friday afternoons, when Bobby & Gilberto play.
For a Few Dollars More.
Take the bus to El Tuito, corner of Aguacate and Carranza on the south side MAP, for 28 pesos.
After looking at the town, check out the several new restaurants around the plaza. You’ll be at about 1.000′ elevation in the cool with lots of pine trees and still the occasional palm tree.
For a Real Adventure,
Catch any bus and ride it to the end of the line and back, a ‘Magical Mystery Ride” for 15 pesos return.
Get Great Discounts.
By booking your tours on-line through this site, up to 15% off – TOURS