Nearly everything is cheaper on the south
side of Puerto Vallarta!
At the moment the exchange rate in Puerto Vallarta is now hovering around 14 pesos to one $1 US. Don't expect to get the best rate at 'Casa
de Cambios' and
given at the hotels is usually the worst.
With beach vendors and flea
market places they may give you a lot less, as they have to go to the bank
and change them to pesos.
Most banks are now not exchanging dollars to pesos, or you must show your passport, with a copy, and are restricted to exchange $1,500 a month or $300 per day. Merchants have similar restrictions, so many will not accept dollars for payments over $100.
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 for an International withdrawal.
your maximum, (the machine will show amounts in
pesos and some are restricted to 4,000 pesos) you get the best exchange rate when including your bank charge. The
ATM machines here
small charge (you may see a screen saying, that there is a peso
your PIN is four digits and 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 most banks not exchanging US Dollars.
When arriving at the airport, after exiting customs and
the infamous timeshare trap, you will find two ATM machines.
Exchange rate for US Dollars and other currencies - Click
here - Currency Exchange
Many people believe that US dollars are very much sought after here,
this is not necessarily true. Years ago, when the peso was less stable, many 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 stronger against the US Dollar.
If you do bring foreign currency, be sure that
none of the bills are defaced in
tear, or ink mark,
coins can not be used at all, 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.
Other currencies accepted here are Canadian Dollars, Pounds Sterling
- Breakfast (Desayunos)
from 30 to 60 pesos (La Esperanza)
to 100 pesos( Freddy's Toucan)
from 65 pesos (Gaby's)
to 210 pesos(La Bodeguita del Medio)
from 85 pesos ( La Ronda )
to 300 pesos ( Le Bistro)
These are just examples, see The
Insider for other restaurants with good value and the full restaurant
And don't forget the Taco Stands, see - Street
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
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 200 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 1.40c at Happy Hour, Happy Hour at ¿Por K No? for $US 1.15c
Gringo Loco - F. Madero # 403, at Aguacate. Beer
17 pesos at Happy Hour, 15 peso margaritas at Happy Hour 6pm -8pm.
Pour Favor - Lázaro Cárdenas #245 Map
20 pesos beers 7-9pm. Tel 222-1955.
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
Mandela - on the Malecón.
- Beer 50 pesos Or 2 for 90 pesos at 'Happy? Hour'
Also see the new 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.
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 have gone up and up. Now, of
course, everyone is growing this valuable plant and in about 8 years,
when all the plants become mature, there will be a glut on the market
and prices will take a dive.
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 anesthetic
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. Below is an explanation by my friend Alejandro, 'el patron'
of La Bodeguita del Medio - an authentic branch of the famous watering
hole of 'Papa' Hemingway in Havana.
La Bodeguita del Medio serves excellent Cuban food and drinks - try the
Mojitos (Papa's favorite drink), live Cuban music and also has a cigar
shop with the genuine article.
Yours truly and Alejandro at
La B del M in Puerto Vallarta.
"In Puerto Vallarta you will find a lot of places that sell Cuban
cigars, the question is "are they real habanos?" The thing
is that you can not know until you smoke it. Cuban cigars are expensive
all over the world, but in Vallarta you will find for example a different
price in every store for the same cigar, one COHIBA ESPLENDIDO can
go from 70 pesos to 190 pesos depending where you buy it. In Cuba
for a box of 25 cohiba esplendido you pay no less than 200 dollars
that means 8 dollars for each one, then to get them into Mexico we
have to pay taxes, no less than 2 dollars per cigar, and adding the
cost for the trip for every cigar, the cost of each one to the store
will have to be no less that 11 dollars, if you add the profit that
the store has to make to pay the rent and employees, the right price
to me will be 190 pesos ( 19 dollars). Obviously the ones being sold
at 70 pesos can not be real habanos. The point is that if you like HABANOS look
for quality don't go for the cheap price." Alejandro de la Peña.
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
at Los Arcos, see
a wonderful collection of artifacts 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, dirt street, colonia, see MAP.
I recommend the Ribs at El Rio BBQ, especially Sunday afternoons,
when the Mariachis play.
For a Few Dollars More.
Take the bus to El Tuito, corner of Aguacate and Carranza on the south
side MAP, for 27 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
Compact $60 , Jeep $65 per day, cheaper by the week, $325 - $380. Gecko Renta A Car is the only rental place I can recommend. Although based in Bucerias, they will meet you at the airport. telephone from the US/CAN 011-52-329-298-0339
If you're offered a Jeep for $10 - beware - it's those dreaded timeshare
But finding a parking space downtown, in the season,
can be a problem, you might consider the price of a taxi all day at
about 150 Pesos ($15) per hr.(min.2 hrs.), or make a deal for half
/full day, with no extra payments for Insurance, Gasoline or parking
Real fun way to see the town. At Estigo Scooters you can rent Scooters. US$69 per day or even weekly. Or an ATV, a great way to get around on our cobbled streets, US$89 per day.
Francisco Medina Ascencio # 1951
Tel 322-223-8143 Cell 044-322-100-9464 or Vonage US number 213-353-9665.
$25 per day (front suspension) $35 per day (full suspension) or $5 & $7
per hr, includes all the equipment you need - helmet, gloves, water
Jet skis only last about one year and are therefore expensive to rent,
I've only seen the sit down type here, about $35 for 30 min. But great Wave Runner trips HERE.
Half day or full day from $85 to $400, with a captain - required by
law. No bare-boat charters. For more information, feel free to e-mail