Bus and Subway Travel

Flying from your hometown to Guadalajara, then back home from PV can be a good deal; flying round-trip to Guadalajara from Puerto Vallarta is not. The bus is much cheaper, scenic, and efficient. Luxury buses between PV and Guadalajara take 4½ hours and cost $30–$35. With one wide seat on one side of the aisle and only two on the other, ETN is the most upscale line and has about nine trips a day to and from PV, except Sunday, which has only one. Within Mexico, it accepts advance reservations with a credit card. Estrella Blanca is an umbrella of different bus lines, many of which head straight for Guadalajara. TAP (Transportes del Pacifico) is a first-class line that serves major Pacific Coast destinations between Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo and the U.S. border, including service to Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, and Tepic. Many bus lines do not accept credit cards. Guadalajara's Nueva Central Camionera (New Central Bus Station) is 10 km (6 miles) southeast of downtown.

Most city buses (45¢) run from every few minutes to every half hour between 6 am and 9 pm; some run until 11 pm. The city's public transit buses are infamously fatal; drivers killed more than 100 pedestrians annually in the late 1990s before the government intervened. These poorly designed, noisy, noxious buses are still driven ruthlessly and cause at least a dozen deaths per year.

Large mint-green Tur and red Cardinal buses are the safest, quickest, and least crowded and go to Zapopan, Tlaquepaque, and Tonalá for around 10 pesos. Wait for these along Avenida 16 de Septiembre.

Autotransportes Guadalajara–Chapala serves the lakeside towns from Guadalajara's new bus station (Central Camionera Nueva) and from the old bus station (Antigua Central Camionera); the cost is around $4. It's 45 minutes to Chapala and another 15 minutes to Ajijic; there are departures every half hour from 6 am to 9:30 pm. Make sure you ask for the directo (direct) as opposed to the segunda clase (second-class) bus, which stops at every little pueblo en route.

Guadalajara's underground tren ligero (light train) system is clean and efficient. Trains run every 10 minutes from 5 am to midnight; a token for one trip costs about 40¢.

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