Puerto Vallarta bar
20 peso Beers at Happy Hour

Puerto Vallarta Prices

Food - Beer - Tequila - Cigars - Tours - Car/Scooter Rental - Transport

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Nearly everything is cheaper on the south side of Puerto Vallarta!

At the moment the exchange rate in Puerto Vallarta is now a bit over 16 pesos to one $1 US. Don't expect to get the best rate at 'Casa de Cambios' and the rate 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.
By withdrawing 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 add a small charge (you may see a screen saying, that there is a peso charge,).
Note. make sure 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 any way - even a tiny tear, or ink mark, and they will not be accepted. Foreign 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 and Euros.



Breakfast (Desayunos)
from 30 to 60 pesos (La Esperanza)
to 100 pesos( Freddy's Toucan)
Lunch (Comida)
from 65 pesos (Gaby's)
to 210 pesos(La Bodeguita del Medio)
Dinner (Cena)
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 list here.

And don't forget the Taco Stands, see - Street Food

Puerto Vallarta restaurant

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 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
Some examples:-

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 2-4pm.

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.
Happy Hour

Other Drinks

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.


Puerto Vallarta cigars

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 amphitheater at Los Arcos, see MAP, has 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. Smiley
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 people again.
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 problems.


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.

Mountain Bike

$25 per day (front suspension) $35 per day (full suspension) or $5 & $7 per hr, includes all the equipment you need - helmet, gloves, water bottle etc.

Jet ski

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 me.