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Any advice for a first timer?

albuquerque, nm
Level Contributor
55 posts
2 reviews
Any advice for a first timer?

My husband and I (30's) are getting ready for our first trip to PV on May 8th. This is our first time to Mexico and I'm getting excited (and a little nervous). I'm looking for overall advice from anyone willing to share. I speak a little Spanish - can you get by with just knowing basics, or should I invest in a book for translations? Are taxi prices well marked, or do you have to "negotiate" the price first? I'm not very brave about getting off the beaten path in an unfamiliar environment - will I miss out on too much by being a chicken? Are there any good suggestions for off-the-beaten-path shops/restaurants/attractions that a weenie like me won't be too scared to explore? Any help would be appreciated. This website has been a god-send for planning this trip; I'm glad that I found it!

Burnaby, Canada
Level Contributor
12,636 posts
269 reviews
1. Re: Any advice for a first timer?

Do look at the following two websites as well -- you will find them very helpful in acquainting yourself with Vallarta, in "overcoming" your concerns, and pre-planning your stay, and all. They each contain a wealth of information - good practical, down-to-earth, and very usable stuff - presented by people who live there, and know and love Vallarta (and are two of the experts here on this forum).

-- vallartainfo (dot) com 'and' allvallarta (dot) com (just add the www and replace the (dot) with a dot, and you'll be there)

Hope they help get you "off and running" -- I'm sure they will get you even more excited about your proposed trip!! Good luck!!

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
278 posts
4 reviews
2. Re: Any advice for a first timer?

No need to worry, PV is a tourist town wherein their main / only business is tourism and the by-products of tourism.

It is a good first choice for going to Mexico as it is geared towards the tourist and you can get by with very llittle spanish. Honestly, there is no need to be scared.

Taxi fares are set by zone; however the are not posted in the cab but the front desk at your hotel can tell you how much you should be paying to go to the different zones. You can also take the bus, it is very cheap and easy to get around, 5 pesos (around 50 cents U.S.).

Both the websites recommended above have restaurant recommendations. In particular, look at the maps on the vallarta info website to get your bearings and find out exactly what part of PV your hotel is located.

My only advise is do not buy tours from people on the street as they are a "front" for timeshares. Tours can be purchased on line before you leave home if you are interested in tours.

Post a trip report on this Forum after you return; we would love to hear what you did.

Have a wonderful trip!

Destination Expert
for Puerto Vallarta
Level Contributor
5,311 posts
171 reviews
3. Re: Any advice for a first timer?

Great advice given thus far...just wanted to tell you to relax, don't worry, everyone will make you feel so comfortable and the little Spanish you do know will work just fine! You picked a great place to go on your first trip to Mexico....most of us on this forum have fallen in love with PV and it is because of the local people and the beauty!

Enjoy your trip and we do enjoy reading trip reports...so if you have time to write one when you return, we would love to hear from you.

Level Contributor
52,140 posts
22 reviews
4. Re: Any advice for a first timer?

Puerto Vallarta is a perfect first trip to Mexico. It is a very welcoming town, proud of their tourist industry. Local people are friendly and helpful, almost without exception.

You should ask the taxi fare before you get in, but pretty much everyone charges the same - it's figured by zone (what's 40 peso one day will likely be 40 the next day with a different driver). At the airport the taxi fares are set, so you don't need to worry there, just buy a ticket from the TAXI booth window.

Definitely use any and all Spanish you can muster. People are very appreciate when you even try. I do carry both a small phrase book and dictionary, but that's more because I'm trying to improve my Spanish each trip, rather than as a necessity.

Drink bottled water, be careful not to get sunburned. Change your money into peso or use an ATM card to get them. That's about the basics.

There's good restaurants and some nice shopping on two streets on the south side of downtown - Basilo Badillo and Olas Altas. And in downtown on Juarez and Morelos.

Watch the sunsets. Stroll The Malecon (seawall promonade in downtown) in the evenings. Grab an ice cream cone.

After the first day or two, I'm guessing you will be over any hestiation. But no need to push it. Just do what is comfortable for you.


Level Contributor
247 posts
20 reviews
5. Re: Any advice for a first timer?

I agree with all the above posters, but must add visit puertovallarta.net/forum (add the www too) for a lot of info, and while you are there be very careful and stay away from the

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
24 posts
23 reviews
6. Re: Any advice for a first timer?

For restaurant suggestions - try the Vista Grill. I first went there over 20 yrs ago with a college buddy and although I remembered the place vividly I had forgotten the name. We had tried a few different places last week and when we finally found it everybody agreed it was quite spectacular and the food was first rate. Well worth the search.

For shopping, the municipal market is pretty cool for local type trinkets. It's big, shaded, lost of rest spots. It's on an island in the river. Cabbies should know where it is.

7. Re: Any advice for a first timer?

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