When you are on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, it is surprisingly easy to get about using public transport. Of course, the weather and scenery make it a wonderful place to walk around too, but there are some journeys that are just a little longer and would be better served by a bus, taxi or rental car. The public transport in Puerto Vallarta is rustic but pretty regular, very cheap and easy to get the hang of. Let us give you the run-down of key things to know about public transport in Puerto Vallarta for your next visit.
Taxis are a sure-fire way to get anywhere while you are on vacation abroad. In Puerto Vallarta you certainly won’t have any trouble getting a taxi; in fact, if you need one you are pretty sure to be pre-empted by a passing taxi honking at you. We recommend that you negotiate the fare before you climb into the cab, however. You could ask the bellboys what you can expect to pay for a taxi to your destination, if you wish, but there are generally standard prices per zone. This means that your fare to and from your destination should be pretty much the same. Federal zones tend to be more expensive due to the licenses that are required (this will generally include trips to the airport and to the official maritime port known as the API). Cream and white taxis and vans will also tend to charge more than yellow cabs. It is unlikely that Uber will be making their entrance into Puerto Vallarta anytime soon.
Though the thought of using the bus service in a foreign country can be really daunting we urge you to give the bus service in Puerto Vallarta a chance; it’s much simpler than you might imagine. The buses can get you as far as Punta Mita and Sayulita, and while a hot, sticky bus is hardly the most luxurious setting, it has a certain air of adventure to it that other modes of transport lack. The buses in Puerto Vallarta may require you to change once or twice, but they are very cheap and they will get you from A to B, possible with live music on the way! You can expect your fare to cost around 10 pesos (that’s about 50 cents).
If you wish to go south from Hotel Mousai then you will want to get an orange bus that says “Mismaloya”. These leave from Basilio Badillo street, just outside the OXXO convenience store in Puerto Vallarta’s romantic zone and pass by Garza Blanca Preserve where Hotel Mousai is located. This bus takes you to places like Le Kliff, the Zoo, the Set, and all the way to Boca de Tomatlán where you can get water taxis to the beaches on the south shore.
To get from Hotel Mousai into Puerto Vallarta’s downtown area, you will also take the orange Mismaloya bus, but in the opposite direction. Once you arrive to the OXXO store you will need to get off the bus. For other areas, you will then change to take a blue bus that says “Ixtapa”, “Marina Vallarta”, or “Walmart” which will take you to most of the attractions like the Malecon (which you could walk to from the OXXO), the Marina, the bullring, cinemas and shopping Malls etc. To get to the airport or the long distance bus station you’ll need the Ixtapa bus. Avoid the green bus (unless you are looking to go to the local neighborhood of Pitillal or the Los Mangos Library).
For Punta Mita, Sayulita and San Pancho
To go even further afield in Banderas Bay, you will need to change from a blue bus at the main Wal-Mart opposite the cruise port. There is usually someone from the bus companies there to point you to the right bus. These buses will cost you more than 7.5 pesos depending on the distance you travel.
Hiring a rental car is definitely more convenient than using buses or taxis, but can be the more expensive of all the options available to you. If you’re definitely going to go for a rental car then the cheapest way to do it is to rent one before you arrive to Puerto Vallarta as it will be more pricey when you get here, and often over-priced at the airport.
Most of the city streets are tied into a well sign-posted one-way system, but you should keep in mind that if you want to turn left on the main road, Blvd. Francisco Medina Ascencio, you’ll need to join a slip road and wait at a set of lights rather than sitting in the middle of the road. This is actually a more efficient and less stress inducing way to do it, but it does catch some people off-guard when they’re not expecting it. Also take care of your speed as the traffic police are very vigilant.