Puerto Vallarta Transportation
Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR) is located in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. PVR Airport, located on the southeast side of the city, is a midsize 2-terminal 2-story airport that does domestic and international flights. It is located about a 25-minute drive south from the main tourist area in Mazatlán. In 2019, PVR Airport served nearly 5,000,000 passengers with direct flights from mostly from Mexico City, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, Phoenix, Denver, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Vancouver, Guadalajara, Cabo San Lucas, Oakland, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, San Diego, Toronto and Montreal. Airlines serving PVR Airport include: Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska, American, Copa, Delata, Frontier, Southwest, Sun Country, TUI, United, and Westjet.
The immigration officer will typically only ask you to fill in the number of days that you are allowed to stay in the country, typically 180. The terminal has two levels. The upper level hosts a wide variety of restaurants and gift shops located before the security area. Past the security area are more places to eat, a lounge area and duty-free shops in Hall A, while Hall B hosts newer gates for most international flights. PVR features WiFi, a foreign exchange office, ATM from the major local or international banks like HSBC, Scotiabank, Banorte or Bancomer. Review the charges for foreign ATM transactions for each of your cards that you plan to use. Rather than bring pesos to Puerto Vallarta, exchange for pesos at the ATM once you arrive.
In 2021, another large terminal opens to enable as much as a 60% growth in future passengers. Construction includes a new bus terminal and improved parking lots.
Pre-booked Airport Transfers are handle by reputable a private companies such as Puerto Vallarta Tours or Vallarta Transfers. They give peace of mind, comfort rides, air-conditioning, and some companies feature English-speaking drivers. When you pre-book airport transfer, your driver waits for you holding a sign with your name on it or the company’s name. Ask company for instructions navigating to your driver. Your driver will show you to your vehicle and help with your luggage. Price from/to the airport cost US $30-40, depending on how far your hotel is from the airport.
Government taxis are located at the airport and you can buy tickets for them at the booth, just beyond the timeshare area (don’t fall for their sales pitch). Taxi rates/mile (or KM in Mexico) are higher than for city taxis — comparable to a private transfer. So you may as well pre-book an airport transfer.
Rental cars by most major brands are available, including Hertz, Alamo, Budget, Europcar, Avis, National, Thrifty and Dollar,. If you booked with Hotwire or Priceline for their discounts, be sure to read their fine print on restrictions in Mexico. Most people do not rent cars in Puerto Vallarta because the traffic can be pretty crazy. The good news is there are taxis, shuttles and trolleys running along the Malecon and points south.
See also airport shuttles and transfers in Cabo San Lucas, Cancun, Cozumel, Mazatlan and Playa del Carmen for information on those popular Mexican locations.
Puerto Vallarta is part of the popular Mexican Riviera cruise circuit of Los Angeles, San Diego, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. Carnival, Disney, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess, Regent Seven Seas and Oceania cruise lines have a Puerto Vallarta port-of-call. The harbor has been dredged such that large cruise ships dock at Muelle de Cruceros Puerto Vallarta, next to a large boulevard. There are no long tender rides from ship to shore.
Take a taxi with fellow cruisers to save cost to the historic district or a preferred destination on the Malecon. Alternatively, some active visitors take a short taxi ride to the first resort a few blocks south of the cruise port. After cocktails, they casually walk down the mile-long Malecon for exercise, sightseeing and more resort hotel visits.
Jalista state in Mexico, home to Puerto Vallarta, requires caution outside the tourist areas. Its a good idea to first review the U.S. State Department COVID-19 Mexico Travel Advisory for reopening Puerto Vallarta to international tourism. For an extra layer of safety upon arrival by airport, only use a transfer service recommended by the airport information booth.
Getting involved in the drug trade will increase the risk of crime against you. Don’t make yourself a target. Wearing fancy jewelry, flashing large cash or being drunk in public gets the attention of the wrong people. The laws concerning recreational use of Cannabis in Mexico are still in flux, but seem headed in the same direction as America.