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Arriving in Puerto Vallarta.

Puerto Vallarta shore.

Arriving in Puerto Vallarta by Air

In Puerto Vallarta and likely some other airports, when you enter, you will no longer use an FMM. You will have a stamp in your passport and in that stamp will be written the number of days you may be in Mexico


At Immigration (Migración) you will show your passport and receive a stamp with the number of days you need.
Together with your Customs Declaration form, available online here  (NB: Under “Port of Entry” choose Guadalajara,) you will be presenting these documents at the airport.
Our airport now has a Web Site. most of which works.


After Immigration you will go and claim your luggage, carts are free, proceeding to the Red and Green light system of Customs. This is where you try your luck, every family gets to push a button and see whether they get a Green Light = Proceed without Inspection, or the Red Light = Get Inspected.
Note: stay together, only one person per family has to do this, if they are in a group). If you get a Red the Customs Inspection is usually cursory.
You got a luggage cart, either before or after the green/red light, after the next stage, see below, you’ll find porters to help you. These guys do not get paid, they rely on tips, and will help you get through the next challenge.


The next test is, by far, the worst. After exiting the automatic sliding doors after Customs you enter two, obviously secure parts of the airport, with counters around the sides, uniformed attendants and other ‘official’ looking people sporting badges. They will immediately try to usher you towards the counters on some pretext.
This is all TIMESHARE.
Now, if you want to waste 20 minutes there, arranging a timeshare viewing (never less than 4 hours of High Pressure Sales), for a free breakfast and a discount on some tours, go ahead and let them lead you away. If, on the other hand, this doesn’t sit well with you, put your head down and get out of there, through the automatic sliding doors. They are not allowed to physically contact you and there are lines on the floor that they are not allowed to cross.
Having made your escape, you will find there are some ATMs in the airport. This will save you a lot on the cost of your taxi, by paying in Pesos. In general using your ATM card and withdrawing the maximum that you can, will spread what your bank charges for an International Withdrawal. Some will ask you to approve an exchange rate, always deny this and you will get a  better rate of exchange. The local ATMs are charging on withdrawals, but it’s a very small amount. They will give you the best rate of exchange and are also very convenient. Avoid the Airport Foreign Exchange desk, they have the worse rate in town.
Out of Customs, through the timeshare trap, got your pesos, you’ll see 3 or more taxi ticket tables, rates are posted. Now individual taxi ticket sellers are in the area, with rate cards hanging on them, buy your tickets. The price is pretty well set and about double the city (yellow) taxi, but it’s a Federal Zone, requires expensive Federal Plates and they have to come back empty, since they can not pick up in town. You can also find these taxi people outside where you pay for the ticket as the taxi leaves the airport. There’s a guide to prices on the Transport page.

Crossing the road to get a yellow city taxi will save you about – 2/3 of the price, but maybe no AC..
Get to your accommodation and start enjoying your stay.

Arriving in Puerto Vallarta by Cruise Ship

Arriving in Puerto Vallarta on a cruise you’ll be at the Marine Terminal which is an other Federal Zone, so Federal Plated taxis will be there, Save some money and exit the Marine Terminal, walk out towards the main road and catch a yellow city cab. Don’t let the yellow city taxis tell you a price per person, that’s illegal, but they know the Federal plated taxi charge more. Maybe at the gas station or walk down to the Chedraui Market and get some pesos, then catch a taxi, see Map.
Or, exit the Marine Terminal turn left, to the highway, left again at the light and there’s a bus stop, Any bus with ‘Centro’ in the windshield (usually a sign at the bottom) will take to downtown for 10 pesos each.

Booking tours in Puerto Vallarta

We would not recommend booking your city tours via the cruise ship, these tours will take you to the establishments (stores and restaurants) that have paid a hefty fee to the cruise line. This fee is passed on to you as higher prices, some restaurants even have a separate menu for cruise ship customers. Many cruise lines try and frighten their passengers into taking the ship tours, claiming that the passengers will get sick or cheated otherwise.
Only passengers who have bought tours through the ship, will be allowed to disembark first, the other passengers have to wait about an hour before they can leave. Keep in mind that most cruise ships keep to a ‘ship time’ which is one hour earlier than ‘local time’, so if the ship docks at 7am, it’s could actually be 8am.
Passengers can not book Rhythms of the Night, Las Caletas and other Vallarta Adventures tours except through the ship.

Recommended Tours

Other tours, like the very popular Rhythms of the Night, River Canopy, Las Caletas, are also very good and you can book for various pick-up locations in the area. If you book online for these tours and others, you’ll save yourself a lot of money.
If you want to go on the Canopy Tour, don’t try and book for the 9am or 10am trips, they will be full of the passengers who bought the tour through the Cruise Line – at very inflated prices.  Better to take the 11am, 12 noon or even later ones. The Canopy Tours tours take about 4 hours and you’d still have plenty of time to get back to the ship. Many other tours available through this site, See Here