The FAQs on PV
For those of you planning on coming to Puerto Vallarta for THE wedding of a lifetime, here are a few things you will need to know, based on our expert travel experience in April and Fodor’s 2010 Puerto Vallarta travel publication.
Our wedding is a full on event! The itinerary is in your invitation and will be coming to you in the mail soon. Included in the event is a boat ride. It is very important that you arrive at the marina on time for the boat’s departure. If you miss it, there will be no way for you to attend the wedding.
You will be on the island all day until we depart for the return back to Puerto Vallarta. You will not be able to leave the island until the evening is over. Exceptions are made in cases of emergency only.
Wear Sunscreen! It gets hot!
This is not a black tie affair – it’s a beach wedding so leave those 3 piece suits and gowns at home. Sun dresses and slacks and shirts are fine! We will be on the island all night so a sweater might be smart too, just in case.
For you New Yorkers, if you fly on Saturdays and Sundays, there are roundtrip flights available through Continental Airlines. Otherwise, expect connecting flights.
When in Puerto Vallarta you do not need a car. Taxi’s are pretty cheap and are priced by “zone” rather than a meter. That being said, you should always agree upon a price with your driver prior to getting in the car. For instance, a ride from the airport to Zona Romantica is about 200-230 pesos. It is the same price from Zona Romantica to Nuevo Vallarta, which is past the airport; about a 40 minute cab ride.
If you still want to rent a car in Mexico, there are a few things you should know. First, the parking will be difficult, especially downtown. The roads are narrow and predominantly cobblestone which makes for a very bumpy ride. Make sure you always lock your car and never leave any valuables in the body of the car. A few of the locals also stated that the cops have a bit of a reputation of scamming tourists. Therefore, be careful if you are pulled over and always be nice to the officers if you are stopped. Never make a right on red; it is illegal. Finally, and most importantly, on the highways in Mexico, do not use your left turn signal to turn left. Mexicans use the left turn signal to signal the person behind them that it is safe to pass. We want you to be able to attend the wedding since you traveled all that way!!!
You have the option of riding the bus for a very small fee. All of the locals do it! And you never know who or what will join you, it could be a band, a man with a chicken, or even a clown.
Walking is best and you will do a lot of it. We highly suggest that you bring sneakers. Do not make the mistake we did by bringing only your flip flops, you will regret it. Again, the cobblestone streets are killer- not only for the cars but your tootsies too.
You will be traveling by boat on the wedding day from the marina in Puerto Vallarta to the island where we will be having the ceremony. This ride is very smooth; however we suggest you bring sunscreen. The sun is hot in PV and we want you to be comfortable.
For shoes, make sure you bring some flip flops and sneakers. You really won’t need anything else, unless you want to amp it up with some hot pumps or dress shoes for a night out on the town.
Puerto Vallarta is a very casual beach town. That being said, you can eat in almost every restaurant in flip flops, a shirt and shorts. At night, you will find that the Mexicans do dress it up. You may want to too. That does not mean you have to bring a suit or anything – pants and a nice shirt for the guys and sundresses for the girls would be just fine. But, if you feel the need to amp it up more than that, by all means, go for it!
Make sure you bring a bathing suit, or two. Or don’t, and purchase one at the many clothing stores off the Malecon.
Tom and I suggest you bring about 2-3 extra sets of clothing and underwear…you’ll be amazed how many times you will change throughout this trip. The heat is strong and the walking is in abundance. Better to be prepared.
Bring a hat. You’ll be glad you did.
At night it can get a little chilly sometimes (especially if you are sun burned) so you may want to bring a sweatshirt or sweater just in case.
Tom and I found it very helpful to bring a backpack or messenger bag for those long walks and shopping trips. Or if you plan on doing any activities, it’s helpful to carry a change of clothes.
Mexican currency comes in denominations of 20-, 50-, 100-, 200-, and 500- peso bills and coins come in 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 pesos, and 20 an 50 centavos. Some of these bills look very similar, so always check them carefully. The bills are easily distinguishable due to their different colors.
While US currency (bills only) is accepted almost everywhere, it is suggested that you exchange your money into pesos. You receive better prices if you pay in pesos and who doesn’t want a better price?! Also, if you pay in pesos, you save the workers a trip to the bank to exchange currency. The current exchange rate is about 12 pesos for 1.00 US dollar. You can typically exchange money at the various exchange centers, hotels, banks, or airports. Airports exchange money for the cheapest fees, and second to that are the ATMS. The highest fees are in restaurants, bus stations, hotels and stores.
When tipping in Mexico, remember that the minimum wage is less than $5.00 per day. It is customary to tip 15%, up to 20% for excellent service.
Puerto Vallarta is very safe and hours away from the news stories of late regarding drug cartel killings, etc. However, as with anywhere, you should only carry the money you need on you for the day’s shopping and activities. Store your passport and other valuables in the hotel safe. Think of it as NYC and you’ll be fine. That means, if you are walking alone at night, take a taxi. If you are in groups of more than 3-4 people, walking is fine. If for some reason you are a victim of a crime, contact your local consulate or embassy in Mexico City.
If you do not yet own a passport, you will be required to obtain one for the trip to Puerto Vallarta. You can obtain an application for the passport at your local US Post Office or on their website. Photos can be obtained at various pharmacies. It is important that you obtain the passport months before your flight to ensure it arrives in time.
Once you arrive in Mexico, you will be given a tourist card. It is very important that you not lose this card. We suggest that you keep it with your passport in the hotel safe. You’ll be asked to hand it in when you depart Mexico and board your flight back to the US.
Despite the concerns raised by H1N1 since last year, the most common health risk is turista (traveler’s diarrhea) which is caused by contaminated fish, water, or vegetables. Therefore, drink only bottled water and avoid any questionable foods. This simply means smelling it. If it smells weird, send it back. If you develop turista, simply hydrate yourself and drink Gatorade. You may also take pepto bismol or Imodium – located at the various pharmacies.
Drink plenty of water! You will be walking a lot, in the sun a lot, and maybe even drinking a lot. Bottles water and sunscreen will be your best friends (next to Tom and Brian).
A few people have asked us if it would be ok to bring children to Mexico. Before we visited Mexico, we thought it would be fine. However, after being there a week and walking the island ourselves, we think that it would be safer if the wedding was adult only. In making this decision we took the following very important things into consideration: our adventure wedding takes place from 4:30pm – 12:30pm, and our guests will not be able to return to the mainland until the end of the night; the island is very natural, with sharp stones and steep steps – a potential danger zone for all of us, much less little ones; There is no electricity on the island; The reception is right on the beach and we do not want our little guests to be swept away at sea while mommy and daddy are dancing and drinking the night away. So, take this as an opportunity to let your hair down for some adult time. We hear parents these days don’t get enough of it.
Tom and Brian highly recommend staying in the Zona Romantica for a truly wonderful Mexican experience. This is the downtown area of Puerto Vallarta and is close to the beach, the malecon, shopping, and restaurants. Other areas you can stay include Nuevo Vallarta and the Marina, however there is a lot less to do in those areas and you will be about 45 minutes away from the activities we have planned. Still, if you are looking for a hotel with all the amenities of a resort, you will find that in these two areas.
In the Zona Romantica, there are no 4-star hotels. However, there is a beautiful hotel that we liked very much which stuck out among the others. It is one of few that is beach front, has a pool, and comes recommended by the locals as well as online reviewers. Every time we walked by it, we thought the hotel was beautiful. AND, it’s cheap! On Expedia.com you can find rates as low at $60.00 per night right now. It is the Tropicana Hotel. It is right by everything, and 10 minutes from our villa. Recommended for straight or gay guests. NOTE: IF you would like a SAFE in your room, please book the “Superior Rooms.” The Front Desk also has safety deposit boxes. We will not be reserving blocks or rooms because the rate is higher. For cheapest rates, please book though EXPEDIA.COM
Another wonderful option is to rent a condo or villa. This might be a great way to save, especially if there are a few of you that would like to stay together. There are listings for every price range. Here are a few sites you may want to check out:
If it’s activities you are looking for, there are tons of things to do in PV! You can swim with dolphins or stingrays, rent ATVs, go sailing or kayacking, para sailing or jetskiing, horseback riding, or hiking. You can sign up for canopy tours, all day beach excursions, or booze cruises. For more information on these types of events you can inquire with your hotel concierge or one of the local stands downtown. If you like, wecan also give you information on some of these activities. Just let us know.
There are about 15+ art galleries in Zona Romantica. Make sure you pick up an art walk brochure for a complete listing. Tom and I visited almost every one of them. We highly suggest if for those of you who are art lovers.
If you are anything like us, one of your activities will be to try all of the wonderful restaurants. There are TONS! Tom and I ate some of the best food of our lives in PV. To read about our experiences with the food in Zona Romantica, check out our blog here.
TRAVEL PLANS: WHAT ARE MOST PEOPLE DOING?
From what we have heard, the majority of guests planning to come to Mexico, are planning to make a mini vacation out of it. Some are traveling in on Tuesday or Wednesday and flying back out the following Monday or Tuesday. Others have informed us that they are coming in Friday and staying until Monday, for a long weekend.
Tom and I will be in Puerto Vallarta from Monday, October 11th and staying through Tuesday, October 18. Once all of our RSVP’s have arrived, we will be sending out itineraries of our week in Mexico should others decide to share in our plans. These will be sent to you via e-mail and may be made available on this website.