How to safely use public transportation in Puerto Vallarta

Tips for using Public Transportation in Puerto Vallarta

The city of Puerto Vallarta is one of the safest cities in all of Mexico, accelerating in demand & development each year. But because of the increase in tourism, the city has made getting around Puerto Vallarta easier than ever.  

From convenience to leisure, there are many options for public transportation in PV available to you; taxis, renting a car, hiking on foot, or the always popular bus system are some of the many ways to get around at a low rate with typically good, safe service.

Traveling by Public Bus

One of the most local & authentic experiences you will have in Mexico is the privilege to take a ride on the public bus. They’re privately owned, loud, bouncy & 1,000 degrees too hot, but they are soooo worth it.

Photo credit: Vallarta Lifestyles

Photo credit: Vallarta Lifestyles

Aside from costing only pennies to ride, the opportunity to travel local style will give you the pleasure of enjoying the sights, sounds & yes – the smells, of public transportation in Mexico.

Traveling Tips

  • Bus fare is one time use & it doesn’t transfer to another bus
  • You will receive a receipt when you pay the driver, but this is just for the inspectors that very infrequently check the passengers for proof of payment
  • Very safe
  • Very inexpensive
  • Frequent and convenient
  • Often comes with a highlight of live music performers
  • Be sure to confirm destination with the driver
  • Blue buses are for the Puerto Vallarta area, take CENTRO or TUNNEL
  • Buses can be flagged down like taxis
  • A little uncomfortable, no A/C, but a great experience
  • Sometimes there are no seats so expect to stand. Hold on!
  • Maximum capacity does not exist
  • Push the button when you need to confirm a stop

Cost from Puerto Vallarta

  • To Nuevo Vallarta 15-25 pesos
  • To  Bucerias 8-15 pesos
  • To Sayulita 42 pesos
  • To Mescales 15 pesos
  • Anywhere in PV 7.50 pesos

Bus Routes

  • “CENTRO” - Downtown to Olas Atlas
  • “TUNNEL” – Bypasses downtown by taking the tunnel to Olas Atlas
  • “AIRPORT” – Often market “Ixtapa”, “juntas” or “Las Palmas”
  • “MARINA”, “EL PITILLAL”, MISMALOYA”, “NUEVO VALLARTA” & “PUNTA MITA” are all marked accordingly

Traveling by Uber

In mid-2017, Uber arrived to Puerto Vallarta adding to the already convenient transportation options available. With the ever growing capacity of tourists entering into Vallarta each year, the community decided they needed to do something to accommodate the transportation demands driven by technology.


This is one of the best things to happen to public transportation in Vallarta; it’s safe, easy to use & you know who the driver is before you get in to the vehicle. After much dispute and indignation from the local taxi drivers, Uber finally hatched its way into PV.

Traveling Tips

  • Make sure you have access to the Uber app even if you are not on WIFI
  • Try to make your pick up location for your driver as convenient as possible
  • Uber is not allowed at the airport – Unfortunately there is still conflict between Uber & the long time running taxi services, so you must cross the sky bridge if you want to access Uber across the street from the airport
  • It’s sometimes easier to take a regular taxi from places like Walmart or one of the malls because crowds make it much harder for the driver to locate you
  • It’s usually cheaper than a taxi
  • But keep an eye on rising rates due to increased demand
  • Have your translator handy
  • Be respectful of your Uber driver, & give them a good rate if they deserve it
  • Be timely as you are rated as well
  • Tips are included in the rate

Cost for using Uber

  • Minimum Uber payment is 37.00 pesos
  • Walmart to Old Town 50-90 pesos
  • Old town to Nuevo Vallarta 60-120 pesos
  • Anywhere around the Romantic Zone around 37-50 pesos

Traveling by Taxi

Sometimes these guys get a bad rep. Overall, they’re friendly, fare (get it?!), & take you where you need to go professionally.


Negotiation is a possibility, but you gotta be good. These guys are used to heckling, so they usually start off at a higher rate, but not by much. The Taxi Syndicate worked to have established rates all over Vallarta, priced consistently & documented across the board.

Traveling Tips

  • Sometimes Taxi drivers will bully Uber drivers. It’s often less conflicting to take a taxi if there is any argument over territory
  • Higher rates than Uber but consistent
  • More convenient when leaving malls, Walmart, etc
  • Airport taxis are expensive, but sometimes you can get free rides with participating in a timeshare presentation
  • Negotiate your rate before you get in the vehicle
  • Check to make sure you have all of your belongings before exiting
  • Make sure you communicate your destination clearly & the driver understands
  • Keep your translator handy
  • Tip is often around 10%

Cost for using Taxis

From the Airport:

  • Nuevo Vallarta – 250 Pesos
  • La Cruz de Huanaxtle – 450 pesos
  • Bucerias – 350 pesos
  • Punta De Mita – 950 pesos
  • Sayulita -  800 peos

Traveling by Rent a Car

Driving in Mexico can be stressful, but if you’re confident in the fast paced city of Puerto Vallarta, then by all means rent a car. You may decide to take the opportunity for a road trip from Puerto Vallarta & go see a more rustic side of Mexico.

Rent a car.jpg

There are literally hundreds of rental car options available in the Puerto Vallarta/Nuevo Vallarta area, but it’s recommended to book one online before you come.

Traveling Tips

  • Freedom to move around & travel further distances
  • Expensive but potentially could pay off depending on how far you go
  • Compare prices before you buy
  • Take the opportunity to go on a road trip outside of Puerto Vallarta
  • Parking will be difficult so check with your accommodations to see if parking is included
  • Get insurance – the roads are mostly made of stone & drivers are aggressive
  • Don’t leave valuables in your car

Cost for using a Rent a Car

  • Averaging $6 USD - $20 USD per day

Traveling on Foot

This is probably the best way to travel around Puerto Vallarta unless you struggle with walking long distances. Traveling by foot gives you the opportunity to see all the nooks & crannies of this captivating city, explore Old town Puerto Vallarta, & stop for street food or a cold cerveza along the way.

Traveling Tips

  • Completely Safe
  • Great way to see the town
  • Get the right shoes
  • Be in strong shape, the stone streets are very hard to walk in for the elderly or disabled.
  • Be careful of the traffic in Vallarta as taxis, buses & the general public tend to drive with right-of-way, cutting off pedestrians or speeding.
  • Get in the habit of making eye contact with the drivers before you pass
  • Never walk with all of your valuables at eye sight, even in a safe city like PV
  • Find walking maps at any of the concierge stands
Walking PV.jpg

Thank you for reading!

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