Frequently Asked Questions
These are some of the most Frequently Asked Questions. We hope that they will help you and answer some of your questions about Puerto Vallarta. We will be adding to the list of questions and answers any time we feel it is necessary.
- Will I be able to use my credit cards? Can I get cash from the banks with my credit cards?
- What can I use as proof of citizenship to enter Mexico?
- What will the weather be like in January (or any other month)?
- What is the legal drinking age in México, and what time do the night clubs close?
- Will my hair dryer (portable iron, electric toothbrush, etc.) work in México?
- What about going topless or totally nude on the beaches?
- Can I buy Cuban cigars? Can I take them back with me?
- Can I drink the water?
- Will my cellular phone work in Mexico?
- Can I use my laptop computer to get my e-mail and have Internet access?
- Can we get married in Puerto Vallarta?
- Is it safe to walk around the town at night?
- Can you tell me what the taxi rates are?
- How will I know if I am getting a good deal on merchandise?
- What about hospitals and doctors?
- Are the beaches safe?
- When does the ferry leave for Cabo San Lucas?
- What countries require a Visa to travel to Mexico?
Will I be able to use my credit cards? Can I get cash from the banks with my credit cards?
Yes, to both questions. All major credit cards (except Discover) are widely accepted. In restaurants, it is best to ask before ordering, not every business accepts credit cards, just as back home. All of the banks will give cash advances, most have ATM machines at their locations, for after hours cash. If you lose a credit card call one of the numbers listed in Important Phone Numbers.
What can I use as proof of citizenship to enter Mexico?
You can find detailed information about the required documents on the U.S. Department of State Travel Website.
What will the weather be like in January (or any other month)?
Nobody can predict the weather. We have an Average Temperature Chart on our Local Weather page. Check this and call your hotel a few days before your arrival to make sure. Mexico does not enjoy the sophisticated weather prediction services that so many people take for granted in the U.S. and Canada.
What is the legal drinking age in México, and what time do the night clubs close?
The legal drinking age is 18. There is no set closing time, many of the night clubs stay open until the wee hours of the morning (3 or 4 AM).
Will my hair dryer (portable iron, electric toothbrush, etc.) work in México?
Yes, if you are from the U.S. or Canada. México uses the same voltage as the United States. If you are coming from Europe, or any country that uses 220 volts, you will need the proper adapters.
What about going topless or totally nude on the beaches?
Both are illegal in México although enforcement is ignored (the practice is tolerated), in some areas. Use your common sense, look around, see what others are doing, if there are others that are topless nearby, the chances are pretty good that it is, most likely, locally accepted.
Can I buy Cuban cigars? Can I take them back with me?
Yes you can buy them, and yes, they are expensive. No, you cannot take them back to the U.S., but if you are returning to Canada it is OK. Be careful of counterfeits.
Can I drink the water?
Puerto Vallarta has the cleanest water in Mexico. The water here is treated and purified, but the distribution system is not so perfect. In most hotels and restaurants, you will get purified water, if in doubt – ASK. (Auga purificada?) I would not drink the water from a private home or condo, unless you know there is a purification system installed, and working. Buy bottled water; why not be completely safe? Don’t take the chance of ruining your vacation?
Will my cellular phone work in Mexico?
There is local cellular service. Very few cellular services will allow you to roam in Mexico. Most cell phones will work, but they must be reprogrammed by the local service provider. If you bring your own, contact USACELL at 222-6633, she speaks English. USACELL will reprogram your phone at no charge when your buy their cellular service. Remember to have your phone reprogrammed again before returning to the U.S. If you really need cellular service in PV it might just be easier to rent a phone.
Can I use my laptop computer to get my e-mail and have Internet access?
You can bring your laptop computer, you will have to contact one of local ISP’s who will provide you with temporary Internet access for your limited stay. If you are staying in a hotel, make sure your modem will bypass their PBX phone system. If they have a data port on their phones you should have no problem, set your modem to dial whatever number you normally dial for an outside line, then your ISP’s access number. There are quite a few Cyber Cafes in PV. Bringing a laptop computer into Mexico is a legal and accepted practice, no hassles with Aduana (Customs).
Can we get married in Puerto Vallarta?
Most definitely, this is one of the most romantic spots on earth and many people get married here. It will be almost impossible unless you hire someone who, speaks the language, understands the legal requirements and procedures. You do not want to spend all of your time in PV running around after all of the necessary papers and permits. If you want to get married, check out our wedding section for more information.
Is it safe to walk around the town at night?
Yes, definitely. You should feel much safer in most parts of Puerto Vallarta than in the United States. There is very little crime here, and what does exist is usually petty compared to the U.S. The tourist police here are friendly and very helpful. Use your common sense, and be careful. Leave your fancy jewelry at home! After dark, stay on the main streets, do not wander on the beaches. Never flash large amounts of money.
Can you tell me what the taxi rates are?
No, but the taxi fares are set, and most drivers abide by the set rates. It is best to check with the desk at your hotel. They should be able to tell you what the fare should be. Then check again with the taxi driver. Do this before you get into the taxi! Check out our transportation page for other modes of transportation.
How will I know if I am getting a good deal on merchandise?
This is one question that nobody but you can answer. A good rule of thumb is, with street or beach vendors, always get at least a 30% discount, sometimes more. In most stores the prices are fixed, just as they are at home. If you are making large purchases or if there are several people in your party that are buying something, you can always ask for a discount. If you’re happy with the quality and price of of an item, then you are getting a good deal. Pretty simple really.
What about hospitals and doctors?
There are some very competent doctors in Puerto Vallarta. Many speak English. Check with your hotel for the name of an English-speaking doctor, write the phone number down and carry it with you. If there is any doubt in your mind about a doctor, procedure or medication, check with your doctor at home, if possible. Medical service here is not as sophisticated as in the U.S. or Canada. There are a few English speaking doctors listed (not necessarily recommended) on the Important Phone Numbers page. You can also find additional information on our hospitals page.
Are the beaches safe?
Generally, yes. As anywhere there are a few places to beware of. Remember, there are not many lifeguards here. During the summer there can be large swells, even in this protected bay. Be careful and buddy up, swim with a friend, always. Tell other people where you are going to swim and your expected return time.
When does the ferry leave for Cabo San Lucas?
The ferry has not left from PV for many years. There is a ferry that goes from Mazatlán to La Paz. Their phone number can be found on our Important Phone Numbers page.
What countries require a Visa to travel to Mexico?
You must obtain a visa to travel to Mexico unless you have a valid current United States Visa or you can provide proof of lawful permanent residents in the United States, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and the countries of the Schengen area.