Transportation in Puerto Vallarta, México
Federal Zone Taxis
Taxis at the airport and at the cruise ship dock are Federal Zone taxis. These taxis have set prices by zone and are generally more expensive than a yellow city taxi.
All taxis at the airport are Federal Zone taxis and have the required federal license plates. You can either purchase the tickets at the ticket booth marked TAXI, or any one of the numerous drivers that will approach you. For larger groups, there are vans available, but at a higher price per person. Usually, these are a bit more luxurious and can fit more luggage.
All paid transportation inside the airport grounds must have federal plates, thus, the prices for a taxi from the airport to the hotel is more expensive than a taxi ride from hotel to airport.
A good rule of thumb for tipping the taxi drivers is about $1.00 to $2.00 USD per bag.
City taxis in Puerto Vallarta are typically yellow. These are usually a Nissan sedan with a four passenger maximum limit. If you are a party of five people, by law, you will need to take two taxis.
Taxis are just about everywhere, on almost every street corner. It is estimated Puerto Vallarta has over 1000 taxis in the area. The only times it is difficult to hail a taxi is during Christmas and New Years.
Taxi drivers are quite congenial people, many speaking very good English. If you have an uncommon destination, it may help to have the address to show the driver.
It is not expected to tip a taxi driver unless they transport your luggage or go out of their way to please you.
Taxi prices are set by zone, but some drivers are known to inflate the price. Always ask the fare before getting into a taxi. You can also ask the concierge or bell boy at the hotel for the cost, and many hotels have the fare from the hotel to points of interest posted near the bell stand. Taxis in Vallarta do not have meters.
It is also a good idea to make a note of the number on the taxi cab in case you leave something behind. Most taxis are individually owned, and there is not a central taxi company, station or lost and found. While most taxi drivers are very honest and will do whatever they can to return a lost object, they cannot return it if they cannot find you.
The same rules and tips above apply for taxis in Nuevo Vallarta/Nayarit, except they are usually white in color and have "Nayarit" or "Nuevo" painted on them.
Taking the local bus in Vallarta is one of the most economical and exciting means of transportation. Once you get on, make sure you grab something quick or you might find yourself sitting in someone’s lap when the driver hits the gas pedal. At 5 pesos, you can take a bus from the north end of Vallarta all the way south past Mismaloya. There are no bus transfers, so once you get off the bus, you must pay again to transfer to another.
Long Rage Buses
There is one central bus station that houses the major long range bus companies that service Puerto Vallarta.
Six major bus companies service Puerto Vallarta. These are Futura, Primera Plus, Pacifico, ETN, Elite, and TNS. Some of the cities you may bus to from Puerto Vallarta are; Guadalajara, Mexico D.F., Acapulco, Manzanillo, Melaque, Tijuana, Mazatlan and Leon.
You can purchase tickets directly at the bus station. Some bus companies sell tickets via the internet.