PV: A little bit of joy ahead.

Old Jun 1st, 2014, 05:34 PM
  #1  
pdx
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PV: A little bit of joy ahead.

April was a tough, kick-my-ass month and that's all there is to it. I went through May in a bit of a haze and now I've got a lovely week in Puerto Vallarta to look forward to. Friends gave us a week at a time share and I happened to have a companion fare for Alaska Airlines. So, for a pretty decent price, I'm going to MEXICO! My husband can't go so my adult niece is going with me. She has two kids and is always up for a chance to get away with or without them. We used to travel together quite a bit but then I got married and then she had two kids and life happened. This will be fun, just the two of us. We'll be there in June.
We'll be staying at the Raintree Regina. Wondering if there is a grocery store nearby? Or should we stop on the way from the airport and pick up groceries? Which also brings up the question, do we have a refrigerator or a kitchenette? Ha! Didn't think about that. We have a one bedroom and I assumed that meant at least a frig and microwave. Hmmm.
I'm also wondering if I should pick up pesos at the airport or do you recommend buying pesos at home before the trip?
I want to snorkel and swim (read that as floating in the water, bobbing in the swell) as much as possible. When I look up snorkeling PV, it's all about tours. Is there any snorkeling off the beach? It doesn't have to be great, just pleasant.
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Old Jun 1st, 2014, 06:43 PM
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I'm no expert on PV as I have been only on 3 different occasions but I can certainly attest to the fact that snorkeling is not the best. I tried it the one time in the Mismaloya beach area, and I gave it up after 10 minutes. The water is not clear, somewhat merky, needless to say that I never came close to seeing anything that ressembled a fish. I always buy my pesos at home as I can shop for the best price either by phone or internet. Once in PV you can also get your money straight from the AT at the bank. If you care to withdraw a considerable amount you can go to the teller inside but will need your passport.
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Old Jun 1st, 2014, 10:30 PM
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pdx
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Thank you, Rohelio. I won't bother packing snorkel gear. We may or may not take a tour. It just sounds like an ordeal to commit to an all day tour but we might reconsider once we are there.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 06:28 AM
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Your hotel is in the Marina and there's a Comercial Mexicana supermarket in the Plaza Marina shopping center close by, see map: http://vallartainfo.com/vallarta_marina_map.html
Snorkelling on sandy beaches is never any good, as the fish like rocks, there is some decent places in the bay, but you'll nee to go on a boat tour to get there.
There are three ATM machines in the airport, don't use the Exchange Booth there - worst rates in town. Also a couple of banks in the same shopping center.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 10:56 AM
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I always use the ATM associated with a bank- I was warned not to use the ones you find on the streets without a bank association.

I recommend PV Sea dive as company to snorkel with- owned by a funny lady from England named Sue. Its a small boat - only takes 6 out at a time. They take out divers and snorkelers. We had a very fun day with them.

http://pvseadive.com

Or- you could go with Vallarta Adventures to Las Caletes which is an all day trip. You have to go by boat to get there. Once you arrive you can snorkel, paddelboard, kayak - lunch is included.

You get a better price with most tour operators if you use cash
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 11:05 AM
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Went with Pegaso Charters a few years ago, good captain and crew and classic sailing yacht. We went to Yelapa and stopped to snorkel en route and the snorkeling was just OK but the trip was fun and it included snacks on board like guacamole and lunch on the beach afterward, There were only 7 of us.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 11:26 AM
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First, let me say welcome to Puerto Vallarta! You're gonna love it!

I'm not all that familiar with The Marina area (having only stayed there once at Casa Magna Marriott) but I have been going to PV for years. One of my favorite places

If you want to have peso upon arrival, you can order them from your home bank. There is sometimes a fee and not-so-great exchange rate, but if you want to do so for the convenience that's OK.

The other way it to use your ATM bank debit card in a bank machine there to withdraw peso directly. Works just like it does at home (except remember to request your number in PESO, i.e., if you want approx. $200usd-worth, you'd request 2000).

A third way is to take USD in cash with you and change it at your resort front desk (some have good rates, some not so good) or a "casa de cambio". These are little money exchange booths or window scattered all over town. Daily rates are posted.

I'd call or email your resort directly to ask about the kitchen and what all is in your room.

There really isn't great snorkeling off shore. And definitely not in The Marina area.

You didn't ask about this, but it's easy to get around. Taxis are everywhere and quite reasonably priced, it's a system set by zones. Just confirm *before* getting into the taxi how much it will cost.

Taxis around town are yellow and more reasonably priced. Taxis at the airport are white (federally regulated) and you buy a ticket at a booth in the airport lobby. Again rates are set by zone.

There's also a very good (if confusing at first glance) local bus system, really cheap and fun and easy way to get around.

Enjoy PV! It's addicting ;-)
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 03:02 PM
  #8  
pdx
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Thank you for all the info. I was asking about pesos because we'll need to pay the cab driver from the airport to the hotel. But I see from your information, Suze, that we will pay for the fare inside the airport. I suppose they will take USD or a card.
I'm so ready to gorge on tacos and margaritas! And lots of fresh fish and hopefully mangoes and fruit cups.
I will have your recommendations for tour companies in case we decide to go out on a snorkel trip and will pay cash. I'm starting to talk myself into it.
That is an excellent little map, carbon. I hope there are copies of it available in PV? I especially like the little crocodile.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 03:15 PM
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You can pay for the airport taxi in either USD or peso. Not sure about a credit card (I never use them in PV).

Nope you'll need to download or print out the excellent maps at Vallarta Info provided by cabron. They are better than the ones in print you'll find around town, although you can find paper maps in the newspaper or at the tourist bureau.

Everyone's different but in 20+ trips I've yet to take any kind of formal tour or do an "activity" you pay for in PV.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 03:42 PM
  #10  
pdx
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Ok, thanks, Suze. I will print. I like those maps.
Our main goal is to hang out but I probably will need to pay to go snorkel.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2014, 05:50 AM
  #11  
KVR
 
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We used Vallarta Adventures to go to Majahuitas and Yelapa. We snorkeled at Majahuitas, but it was quite disappointing. As said above, the water is really murkey and you can hardly see anything. I would suggest Yelapa. We also went to Caletas and El Eden.

I have never found the need to use pesos in Mexico. We just returned from Puerto Morelos, MX last week and US was fine. I've never seen a taxi in Mexico that would take a credit card. Taxi drivers in PV are crazy, so hold on tight. Avoid the time share reps like the plague. They are so much more annoying than the Caribbean side of Mexico.

If you really want to snorkel, next trip go to the Caribbean side of Mexico. Great areas to snorkel. That is why we stayed in PM this last trip as there is a reef right off the resort area.

If your interested I have our PV trip pics posted:

https://kvrlvnphotogallery.shutterfly.com/pictures/3168

Click "all" at the top.

Have fun and enjoy your trip.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2014, 09:15 AM
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You can easily go to Yelepa without a tour- take a water taxi from the Malecon area ( from the pier) - nice boat ride, relax on the beach all day and return on late afternoon taxi- make sure you try the coconut pie from the pie lady!

Or take a bus to Boca- cute beach town- at the end of the bus line-
I did not see anyone snorkeling at either of those areas though
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Old Jun 3rd, 2014, 09:18 AM
  #13  
 
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You'll find that booking online is the cheapest way to book tours. You can pay for your airport taxi at the taxi ticket booths with dollars, but you won't get a good exchange rate, the fare to your hotel is 200 pesos for up to 3 adults with luggage.
To change dollars these days you'll need your passport and possibly copies of the same.
I also recommend Pegaso Charters. http://www.pegasochartering.com.mx
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Old Jun 3rd, 2014, 10:12 AM
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One good reason for using peso is you get a better value.

The current bank exchange rate is around 13/1 or 12/1, but when you spend USD directly many businesses will use a 10/1 ratio for the exchange. So you are basically paying extra, every time you purchase something using USD.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2014, 01:10 PM
  #15  
KVR
 
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I guess it depends on what you are buying. We purchase all tours on-line before arriving with a credit card. The prices are in US, so there is no exchange rate. In the little souvenir shops, restaurants, bars and the airport it's all stated in US. Taxis you probably will save in Pesos, but not in convenience of having to take the time and effort to exchange and then back again when you leave. I've never had a problem using US and giving a little extra to the locals is not that big of deal, and appreciated.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2014, 02:11 PM
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You aren't doing the locals any favors by giving them USD. As long as you tip an equivalent amount they'd rather have peso (to pay their rent, buy their groceries, etc.)

KVR, I think you stay at All-Inclusives resorts, right? You need to understand your experience does not necessarily directly apply for people who stay at regular Mexican hotels in the downtown area, eat meals in the independent local restaurants, shop in the smaller locally-owned shops, etc.

There is zero "time and effort to exchange" the way I do it, and I don't exchange in reverse when I leave. I plan it so I have enough to get me thru the PV airport (which is still priced in peso) or save whatever I have left over until the next trip.
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Old Jun 4th, 2014, 07:32 AM
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"but not in convenience of having to take the time and effort to exchange"
so leave that problem to the person you give the dollars to ?
I do believe it's actually against the law to show prices only in Dollars.
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