The Punta Mita area is a very safe and tourist-oriented part of Mexico. However, to make your trip seamless, it is always a good idea to be prepared. Although our knowledgeable staff can help you arrange anything from money exchange to getting to and from the airport, here are some basic travel tips that are helpful to know when traveling to the Riviera Maya.
You will need a US passport to travel, by air, to Mexico. Upon arrival in Mexico, you will receive a temporary tourist card called an FMM. It is only available when you arrive in Mexico, not online prior to travel. It will cost approximately $22 US dollars and you will be required to hold onto it and turn it back in to immigration upon departure. The airline you fly in on usually collects the fee on behalf of Mexico's government as it is included in the price of total airfare. However, if you are entering Mexico by land, you will need to obtain a tourist card at the border and pay the fee at a Mexican bank. When coming back into the US, you will also be required to fill out a customs form, declaring what you bought while abroad. When in doubt about an item, be thorough—there is an $800 gift allowance for items purchased on your trip. Do not try to enter either Mexico or the US with any fruits or agricultural items—they will only be confiscated. Cuban cigars are also not allowed back onto US soil. Information and requirements can change. Please check the Mexico Embassy website for the most up to date information.
To and From the Airport
Arriving in a foreign airport can be a fun and sometimes intimidating experience! Luckily, the Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport in Puerto Vallarta is pretty easy to navigate. After you pass through immigration, you’ll collect your luggage and both you and your bags will be scanned. Note: Make sure to grab one of the free carts available here to help you with your luggage! You’ll either get a green light to proceed out of the airport or you’ll get a red light and you’ll move to the tables to have your bags hand checked. After the luggage area, you’ll pass through a hallway of sorts, where timeshare folks will try to sell you on their product. You don’t need to stop here—only if you’re interested in finding out more about a timeshare. After the timeshare area, you’ll proceed outside where taxis will be waiting. Punta Mita is about 26 miles from the Puerto Vallarta Airport.
An easy and stress-free way to get to Punta Mita is by taxi. Taxi fares are federally regulated and are non-negotiable. It is best to pay in pesos if possible (exchange your US dollars while you’re in the airport to get the best rate.) Taxis will also accept US dollars. Taxis and vans (for larger parties) charge per vehicle, not per person. You can buy your ticket at the ticket booth on the sidewalk. Make sure you have your address readily available because fares will depend on zones. A 2-3 person taxi to Punta Mita will cost approximately 800-900 pesos ($50-$60 US.)
Renting a Car
If you are planning on being adventurous and exploring the Riviera Maya, a rental car might be the way to go! If you’re the type that would rather just relax at your villa, then a car rental might not be worth the hassle and cost. There are several reputable car rental companies represented at the Puerto Vallarta airport, AVIS being one that is highly recommended for quoting you a more accurate price ahead of time. The car rental companies tend to quote a lower rate which does not include mandatory insurance, resulting in much higher rates when you arrive at the desk. US car insurance does not automatically cover travelers while in Mexico, so you should check with your insurance. Often major credit cards will offer collision insurance on the vehicle if you use the card to pay for the rental. Check with your credit card company ahead of time.
If you’re getting a taxi from our resort, our staff can help with that. We use reputable taxi companies that will provide a safe and comfortable ride. If you are getting a taxi on the street while traveling around, it is always best to negotiate a price ahead of time. Many of the smaller taxi companies are not bound by federal regulations and can charge when they want. Driving in Mexico can be an adventure in and of itself! Although many of the traffic laws are similar to ours (including driving on the right) some of the local customs might be different. When driving in Mexico, it’s always best to be conservative—drive the speed limit or even a little slower, especially when going through small towns. The illegal “mordida” or bribe system is still alive and well in many places throughout Mexico, so it is best not to get pulled over so you don’t put yourself in an unsure situation. Your rental car company should have a decent map for you to use—otherwise, a little Spanish will get you a long way, as locals are almost always very friendly and ready to help a visitor. Furthermore, if you’re setting out from our villas, our concierge service can give you directions and tips, depending on where you’re heading to.
Internet & Phone
While there are internet cafés in Puerto Vallarta, you shouldn’t need them because most of our luxury rentals have high speed internet available directly on the property. Phones are available as well. If you carry your own cell phone, there is usually good coverage, but you should check with your service provider beforehand to make sure you know how to access the feature needed for an international call. Also check international rates with your provider, as even texts can get quite pricey!
Cash and Credit Cards
The best exchange rate for cash will be at the money exchange kiosk in the Puerto Vallarta airport. You can also get pesos with a credit or debit card at one of the bank machines in Punta Mita; however, there are no full service banks available. Most establishments take major credit cards but it is a good idea to always have some cash on hand for smaller restaurants, shops, street vendors, tips, etc. Another tip for international travel is to notify your credit card company you will be going out of the country, so you won’t trigger a fraud alert when you purchase something in Mexico. Credit cards usually offer the best exchange rate, and are a handy way to keep track of expenses.
Most of our luxury properties are well equipped to handle business meetings. Check with us ahead of time to make sure we have what you need.
Even though Puerto Vallarta has an excellent hospital, there may be situations requiring medical evacuation, and that can be extremely expensive. It is a good idea to have extra travel insurance for any international trip. For smaller pharmaceutical items, there are pharmacies in every small town that are usually open late. In Punta Mita, there is FarmaPlus Pharmacy on Avenida Anclote 19-A, which is open from 9 am to 8 pm daily. They accept Visa and Mastercard and will be able to help you with most minor problems. Whatever your needs, our staff can provide you the most up-to-date information available—from taxi information to making international phone calls to money exchange. Feel free to contact us before or during your stay with any questions or needs. We are here to help make your vacation effortless and enjoyable!