PUERTA VALLARTA TRAVEL INFORMATION
Mexico is the third largest nation in Latin America (after Brazil and Argentina) covering 1,972,550 square kilometers. The country has a wide variety of terrain, from high rugged mountains and low coastal plains, to rain forests, high plateaus and desert. Various massive mountain ranges include the Sierra Madre Occidental in the west, the Sierra Madre Oriental in the east, the Cordillera Neovolcanica in the center and the Sierra Madre del Sur in the south. Lowlands are largely along the coasts and the Yucatan Peninsula. The interior country is high plateau. There are many rivers in Mexico, though few are navigable. Most are short and run from the mountain ranges to the coast. The city, located on the Pacific coast of Mexico in the state of Guerrero
The official currency of Mexico is the Mexican Peso. The rate of exchange against the US dollar fluctuates daily. Most hotels have a currency exchange desk, but you will get the best rates at banks and exchange houses. Mexican banks are generally open from 9am to 2:30pm weekdays. Exchange houses are open longer and provide faster service. Banks will give cash advances in pesos, for a fee, if you have a major credit card. Most restaurants, bars and shops accept major credit cards. You may want to notify your credit card company in advance to be sure you are set up to access your card outside the country. ATM machines are readily available. Keep in mind the machines will dispense Mexican Pesos, not U.S. Dollars.
Spanish is the official language of Mexico, spoken by nearly all. About 8% of the population speaks an indigenous language; most of these people speak Spanish as a second language. Knowledge of the English language is increasing rapidly, especially among business people, the middle class, returned emigrants, and the young. In major travel destinations, such as Puerto Vallarta, English is spoken in most shops, restaurants, and public places.
The government of Mexico requires that all U.S. and Canadian citizens present a valid passport when entering the country via international flight. Driver's permits, voter registration cards, affidavits and similar documents are no longer accepted to prove citizenship.
Upon arrival in Mexico, business travelers must complete and submit a form (Form FM-N 30 days) authorizing the conduct of business, but not employment, for a 30-day period.
Children traveling without either parents or guardians will need a notarized letter from the absent parent or guardian authorizing the trip to and from Mexico.
It is always recommended that visitors make two copies of their passport identification page. This will facilitate replacement if a passport is lost or stolen. Leave one copy at home with friends or relatives. Carry the other with you in a separate place from your passport.
Puerto Vallarta is on Central Standard Time, changing accordingly with the Daylight savings time.
Taxi rates vary greatly depending on the company and time of day. There are no set rates in Cabo San Lucas. Make sure to confirm a
price BEFORE entering the taxi. Taxi rates are usually posted in front of your hotel or you can consult the bellman.
Taxi fares from the corridor are expensive, especially at night, so be careful.
The Public buses are safe, cheap and reliable. Bus trips cost around 6.50 pesos, which is about 50 US cents that you pay to the bus driver when board the bus. It is easy to find a bus stop. You will see large amounts of people loitering on the sidewalk. If you wait a few minutes, a bus will stop as they run quite frequently. Look for your travel location on the bus windshield. Buses stop almost every five to ten blocks and at peak hours tend to get very full & can get very hot, so be ready for that.
Some like it HOT! During the day, temperatures range from the mid to high 80s, but the light ocean breeze makes the climate quite enjoyable. A message to those who worship the sun - WEAR THAT SUNSCREEN! The evening weather is a bit cool; it's nature's way of keeping the hot clubs from catching fire! Rain is very rare for the spring break season!
The are not strict dress codes for the nightclubs. The most common dress is club clothes, however most clubs will let you in with decent shorts.
No worries, your blow dryers and clothes irons will work without adapters.
Every dollar counts when you are a college student, but please don't forget to tip the people who are good to you: bartenders, waitresses, maids, bellboys.
Roaming charges can be very expensive. Check with your cell provider before leaving on your vacation. By far the most popular way to call home from Puerto Vallarta is with a calling card. Calling cards are readily available at any convenience store or hotel shop; 30 pesos for 3 minutes; 50 pesos for 5 minutes; 100 pesos for 10 minutes. The cards can be used at the white Telmex pay phones by inserting the card. There is a language button on the phone that will allow you to receive instructions in English. If you are going to place a collect call, it is wise to check with the hotel operator before you call to verify what the charges will be. Calls made from the hotel can cost around $40 US for just a few minutes, so it is best to call people in the states from a pay phone and five them your number in Mexico. It is less expensive to call Mexico from the US. It's also best to have the hotel turn off your long distance priviledges so that you know that your hotel phone bill will not incur an unexpected charge at the end of the week. The cheapest and easiest way to contact home is by email. Ask your STS representative on location for the closest CyberCafe or Internet service provider.
Keep all medication with you at all times. Do not put it in with your checked luggage and keep it in the prescription bottle.
Most stores are open from 10am to 10pm Monday thru Saturday. Some stores may close between 2pm and 4pm for the traditional siesta. Many convenience stores, including Wal-Mart stay open 24 hours as well. If you are bargain shopping, and you don't mind "haggling" for the best price, you will want to visit the Mexican Flea Markets. Be prepared to be bombarded, the locals will try to persuade you to look and buy their wares. Don't ever pay the first price they give you - They will try to rip you off! Bargain with the salesperson to get your best price.
Mexico has a chief executive (president), a bicameral legislature, a judicial system with a Supreme Court, local and federal courts, and an administrative subdivision of 31 states and one federal district.
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