Taxis & Buses
AIRPORT TAXI VS. CITY TAXI - Airport taxis are not the same as regular city taxis. Airport taxis are much more expensive than regular city taxis and have a completely separate rate chart. Taxis to La Cruz will run about $600 pesos and are available from the airport, you can cross the pedestrian bridge and catch a yellow taxi at about half the rate or the bus for 20 pesos per person if you do not have too many bags.
Once in La Cruz, getting around can be done by taxi or bus. The city ATM buses that run in the state of Nayarit are extremely comfortable and sometimes can be quite entertaining. They can take you to Punta de Mita to the north and all the way to Puerto Vallarta to the South. The fares run 7.50 pesos to 25 pesos depending on your destination. For example a bus from La Cruz to Puerto Vallarta would cost about 20 pesos per person. Taxis are also plentiful and are usually available 24 hours a day, the number for the local taxi stand is 329 295 5067. Fares to Puerto Vallarta are about $300-$350 pesos to the center of town.
Once in Puerto Vallarta, because it is a bigger city and a tourist town, there is never a problem finding a taxi. You can find taxis just about anywhere and at any time of the day or night. Just step onto any street curb and wave as one approaches, or ask your restaurant server to call a taxi for you. Always ask before getting in to the taxi, how much it will cost to take you to your destination because if you wait until you arrive to end of your trip it now becomes very difficult to negotiate a lower price. Fares in Puerto Vallarta are starting to be more consistent than they were in the past, and in most cases the driver will charge the correct fare. The minimum fare is $50 pesos which is about $3.00 USD. The rates taxis charge are per destination for all passengers within the cab, rates are not charged on a per person basis.
Keep in mind that taxis charge per vehicle, not per person. For the best rate be sure to pay in pesos. Whenever you pay in dollars the exchange rate used is 10:1. It’s always a good idea to carry several small bills with you at all times; this will come in very handy in the event your taxi driver claims that he does not have enough smaller bills to make correct change for you. It is not customary to tip taxi drivers unless they have assisted you with your luggage or groceries, or have really gone above and beyond the call of duty.
As you enter the taxi make a note of the cab number and sitio number (sitio refers to the taxi stand location). In the event you leave behind a personal item in the taxi, this information will come in very handy! It happens all the time and people forget to get this info and lose valuables.
BUSES IN PUERTO VALLARTA
Puerto Vallarta has great public transportation. Buses are non stop until about 11 PM and can be picked up on most corners, just look for the bus stop signs. Visitors find that it’s both easy and economical to get around the various areas of Puerto Vallarta. For traveling north to south in Vallarta, remember the blue buses run north to south and green buses move into neighborhoods. If you board the wrong one enjoy the ride and the sites or get off and catch a new one. Right away you’ll notice that some of the buses in Puerto Vallarta are newer vehicles with very comfortable seating, while others look pretty old and beat up. Generally your just trying to get from place to place and if your lucky, you will get some entertainment during your journey. Sometime you get singers, clowns or just someone selling something for charities but always entertaining.
The way you know where a bus is going is by reading the locations written on the front windshield. If you are ever in doubt, when a bus stops you can quickly ask the driver if your destination is on his route. The entry and exit points on the buses are very high and persons with certain physical disabilities may likely find them difficult to board. When you wish to get off a bus while it’s in route, simply depress one of the buttons (timbre) found near the exits. It’s important to note that the doors on these buses are not equipped with movement sensors or automated mechanisms, which means if you’re moving too slowly or stop and hesitate for a bit, you’d better watch out because the door will begin to close up on you.
As we discussed earlier, there are different buses which service areas outside the city. ATM (Auto Transportes de Medina) buses transport passengers to areas north of PV such as Nuevo Vallarta, Bucerias, Punta Mita and of course La Cruz. ATM buses heading north stop to pick up passengers at Plaza las Glorias in front of HSBC Bank (across the street from Coppel department store), in front of the Walmart/Sam’s Club complex (across from the maritime terminal) and under the pedestrian bridge across from the PVR airport. Compostela-Pacifico has green/white buses that travel north to Sayulita, San Pancho, and Rincon de Guayabitos. But just to be clear, not all Compostela buses go to Sayulita. Within Puerto Vallarta heading north, the Compostela buses pick up passengers at the same stops just mentioned for the ATM buses.
Now if you want to go south of Puerto Vallarta then there are orange-colored buses. These orange buses travel to areas south of PV such as Mismaloya, the Puerto Vallarta Zoo, Boca, and the Botanical Gardens plus all the small towns along the way. Again check the front of the bus to make sure the bus is going to your destination or ask the driver. These orange buses can be picked up in front of the Oxxo across from Nacho Daddy’s restaurant and night club on Basilio Badillo and Constitution.
For long-distance routes, Mexico has a great long-distance bus system via various transportation carriers. Beautiful and luxurious ETN buses transport passengers in comfort and style to more distant locations such as Guadalajara. Other comfortable but less plush long-distance carriers are Primera Plus and Vallarta Plus. Groupo Estrella Blanca operates their own bus lines such as Elite, Elite Plus, Turistar and a few others.
Using public transportation is a cheap, fun and very convenient way to access many exciting points of interest within the Banderas Bay area. And, just like hopping into a taxi cab, using the city’s buses it’s a very safe transportation option.
All of the buses in Puerto Vallarta are driver-owned vehicles. The more passengers they are able to transport during their shift, the more money the driver will be able to make. The stopping and starting can be quite abrupt, as all drivers want to quickly load in passengers at each stop and then just as quickly enter the road again. Whenever you get onto a bus it’s best to have the correct change ready as this will help speed up the process. The current price to travel travel within the Puerto Vallarta area is 7 pesos 50 centavos (2017). Bus transfers are not available. When you pay the driver upon boarding, he should hand you a ticket/receipt. These receipts help the transit authority keep track of the income generated by each bus. As soon as you board you’ll want to sit down quickly and hold on tight as these buses often take off like a bat out of hell. Please remember that two seats directly behind the driver are reserved for pregnant women, the elderly and the physically challenged. One fun thing about riding the bus is that sometimes musicians and other entertainers will board the bus and perform for tips
Take the time and explore all that La Cruz and Banderas Bay have to offer, check out and explore the many towns and cities around the bay and the best thing is, you get get to most of them on a bus.