Travel Tips

Read & Heed

Some suggestions,
when traveling in Mexico

  • Long pants & a long sleeve shirt for cooler nights
  • Windbreaker or sweatshirt for the boat ride to Yelapa
  • A small flashlight to maneuver at night or in a mine
  • Zip lock bags for wet bathing suites & dirty clothing
  • Don’t over pack! Bring enough clothing to last a week
  • Remember all the Colonial Towns have laundry service!
  • Three ounce containers for all carry on liquids
  • After going through customs, speak to sales people, only if you want to buy a condo
  • Put your passport, extra cash and tourist card in the safety deposit box at your hotel
  • Best exchange rate is at the local ATM
  • Avoid taking too much sun the first two days, best 8-11 am and 2-6 pm, not mid day
  • Eating at taco and fruit stands, we’ve never experienced Montezuma’s Revenge
  • If you have an AT&T cell phone, they provide free unlimited calling to and from Mexico
  • Nicknames are very common in Mexico, ask if they have one “Tiene un apodo?”
  • Having the same name of a person like “Mary & Maria” is called tocaya, for men “John & Juan” is called tocayo
  • Crossing any street, Look Both Ways, even on one way streets
  • Have a good meal before any long bus ride or boat trip, it prevents motion sickness
  • When traveling by car or bus take a roll of toilet paper, you never know when you might need it
  • If you want the check, just say “La Cuenta, por favor
  • Usually they only bring you the check when you ask for it
  • If you want to leave a tip, it’s best to leave cash in PESOS not US dollars
  • If you like Cabernet Sauvignon, I’d suggest buying or ordering RESERVADO 2019 from Chile
  • If you’d like some lemon for your seafood, ask for limon pronounced “Leemon” por favor, it will be a lime not the yellow lemon that you see back home
  • If you buy beans in bulk to cook yourself, chew them slowly since on occasion you might find a stone.
  • If you are a light sleeper, ask for a quiet room away from the street and families
  • In Mexico and other Latin countries small hotels are called Posadas
  • When you see netting above the bed, use it, it’s not for decoration
  • If your traveling independently, pay one day at a time in case you get inspired to move on
  • If your pillow is too hard or soft, roll up a towel, then put it in the pillow slip to adjust the height and softness as you like
  • Anytime you’re inland or near vegetation, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts to protect you from the local gnats commonly called No Seeums
  • Leave your fine jewelry and watches at home
  • In small towns, if you’d like to blend in, men should wear long pants
  • Always settle on the price before getting in, ask a local or front deck what it costs
  • Use small bills to pay. NEVER a $500 peso bill
  • If the driver offers to wait or return for you, make sure you settle on the price
  • Most cab drivers speak a little English, so asking their name, nickname or apodo, and where they’re from shows them your interested in them and Mexico
  • Drivers are very accommodating, they will gladly adjust the music or A/C.
  • Official taxis (sedans) are always yellow and only take up to four passengers, it’s the law
  • If you’re a group of five or more, they’ll call for a larger taxi or van taxi
  • When renting a car, it is required to take Mexican insurance
  • The flashing green light appears just before the red light comes on
  • To make a left turn, on the road from Old Puerto Vallarta to the airport, go to the right lane and wait for the green left turn signal
  • When you see the word “Tope” on a road sign, it indicates a speed bump ahead
  • Never drive at night, animals love to cross roads after dark
  • If you have to drive at night, make sure to follow a car with brake lights to give you advance warning of up-coming obstacles and Topes, “the silent police bumps” in the road
  • When traveling by car or bus take a roll of toilet paper, you never know when you might need it
ATM Public Buses

Leave to San Sebastian, Mascota, and Talpa from a small bus terminal on Calle Lucerna #128, near Plaza Las Glorias.

They leave Vallarta at 6:30 am, 9:00 am, 2:40 pm, 4:30 pm, and 6:30 pm.

Their Vallarta phone is 322-222-4816, operators speak only Spanish.

  • To La Estancia 1.5 hours for $100 pesos (nearest stop to San Sebastian then take a taxi for 120 pesos to San Sebastian, about 5 miles or hitch a ride)
  • To Mascota $165 pesos, 2.45 hours
  • To Talpa $190 pesos,3.5 hours.

One way fares and travel times:


Another way to and from San Sebastian, Mascota, or Talpa

  • They use 10-14 passenger Vans. The 6 am driver is Adan who speaks English. He can also arrange a Private Charter, call him at 322-147-8056
  • San Sebastian (the nearest stop is La Estancia), for $120 pesos in 1.15 hours, then you can take a Taxi for about 5 miles $120 pesos to San Sebastian or hitch a ride
  • Mascota for $180 pesos in 2.15 hours and drops you off in the main plaza near hotels and restaurants
  • Talpa for $200 pesos in 3.15 hours leaves you at their terminal across from San Rafael Church, then $40 pesos via taxi to any part of town
  • Lanutran Vans leave Puerto Vallarta to Talpa at 6 am and 2 pm
  • Lanutran Vans leave Talpa to Puerto Vallarta at 6 am and 12:30 pm. They offer clean 7- 14 passenger vans. Call 388-101-0052 to make your reservation
  • Lanutran Vans pickup location in Puerto Vallarta is at the entrance to SAM’S CLUB near the Cruise Ship Terminal
Public Buses
  • Leave to San Pancho, Punta de Mita, Sayulita, and San Juan from the bus stop at HSBC Bank, across from the Coppel Store
  • Every half hour between 7 am to 8 pm and take about 45 minutes to 1.5 hours for $22 to $62 pesos depending on your destination
  • Public Buses return to PV about 9 pm
  • Puerto Vallarta public buses are $10 pesos per person. Always use the $10 peso coin
  • The front row seats marked in Yellow are for people over 60
  • If you’d like to see the coastline sit on the right facing forward going south and on left traveling north
  • If you are traveling long distances, use the bathroom prior to boarding and have a good meal to help prevent motion sickness
  • When you pay the bus driver in Mexico, they will give you a receipt that proves you where on the bus in case of an accident. Yes, they have insurance
  • You can’t choose who is going to stop, but you can choose not to get in
    • The smell of alcohol is a clue
    • The only danger we’ve encountered in our hitching for 10 years, was climbing into the back of pickups
  • Hitching as a couple works best
  • Hitch from a place where it is safe for them to pull over, that’s obvious
  • Take your sunglasses off and make eye contact
    • Smile even if they pass you by
    • People have often turned around to pick us up
  • When the driver asks “Where are you going?”
    • It’s best to say ”Wherever you are going” or the name of the town you’d like to go to.
    • That guarantees you a ride to that town and further depending on the driver’s destination
  • The person who speaks the best Spanish should sit next to the driver to converse
  • It is not unusual to get rides from women and families
  • Every town has drop-off laundry services, they charge by the load or weight.
  • Average cost is about $3 to $4 US for washing, drying, and folding
  • Your laundry will usually be ready the same day if you deliver it before 12 noon
  • To avoid any inconvenience, make sure you know the days and hours of operation
  • If you are sensitive to chemicals, request organic soap or bring your own

If traveling to San Sebastian, Mascota or Talpa:

Just before you cross the long Main Bridge before La Estancia, stop at Panadoria Carmen’s Bakery.

Their relaxed garden atmosphere is just a few feet from a spectacular bridge.

They are open 7 am – 3 pm weekdays (closed on Tuesdays). On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 6 am – noon.

If you have a group, best to call ahead to order your muffins, since they often sell out. Ask for Carmen or Jesus. Call 322-132-0620.