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Nuevo/PV Trip Rpt (April-May 09): car rental matters

Seattle, Washington
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Nuevo/PV Trip Rpt (April-May 09): car rental matters

On the subject of car rental, we know you don’t really need a car anywhere in Nuevo or PV and, in many cases, are far better off without one and so is the environment. The bus system in the whole area is really the bomb and dirt cheap and we often use it.

But because of my increasingly unpredictable cardiac misbehavior in the rising heat and humidity of May, as well as our usual wish to be free to go poke around smaller places outside Nuevo or PV on the spur of the moment without having to plan bus schedules, we splurged on a car again this time. As usual, after shopping around we rented from Alamo through Costco and picked it up not at the airport location (which costs an extra 12%, I think it is, and always seems too frenzied), but instead took a cab to the Westin at the PV Marina and picked it up there.

Shaidy León Santana, who manned (or rather womanned) the Westin Alamo counter this time, was great to deal with on the 3 different days we had occasion to and we were very happy with her and the whole arrangement, which took some tweaking.

The first car we got was the commonest Alamo compact, which we have had several times before – an older white Nissan Tsuru (commonest PV taxicab) which, like most Mexican rental compacts, was much more modestly equipped than its category counterpart in the US. You know, no looker, but cheap (as Mexican rentals go, that is, where you have to take the liability insurance even if your credit card covers CDW) and it had all the necessities.

However, over the next several days various things about the car began to go wrong: semi-alarming whiny sound at every corner, shotgun window hard to roll up and down, dead battery one night, piece of door trim that fell off every time we opened the door, just fairly minor niggling stuff but an increasing annoyance. Finally we went back to Shaidy and told her we didn’t need a fancy car and didn't care to upgrade to a higher category, but we just couldn’t stand this particular Tsuru anymore and had begun to refer to it as the White Maggot. Did she not, we asked, have the “Chevy Monza or equivalent” that the Alamo website specified? At the Westin location she did not, but bless her heart she got on the phone and made a few calls and within minutes got us switched to an almost-new Nissan something-or-other (we don’t have a similar model in the US and I am not a car-oriented person who remembers model names) that felt like a limo by comparison. Same price, and it even had what is to me the gold standard of extra rental car accessories, an iPod jack. What a difference that car made in our various little excursions -- we actually enjoyed them! In fact, we liked it so much that, though we had planned to dispense with a car the 2nd week of our trip while we were in PV, we decided to keep it the whole time. (I had medical reasons I won’t go into...) With the Costco 1 free day per every 5 coupon, the “estimated total” figure on our rental contract was $127/wk including tax, not counting the mandatory Mexican liability insurance add-on which was something like $11 a day. Sorry, don’t have the rental contract here at hand so I can’t be exact.

More to come....

Puerto Vallarta...
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1. Re: Nuevo/PV Trip Rpt (April-May 09): car rental matters

Hi Judy: Glad you had a good experience with Alamo and the agent at the Westin.

Did you drive anywhere interesting? I love to hear about road trips, etc.

Thanks again.

Naperville, Illinois
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for Bucerias, Riviera Nayarit
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2. Re: Nuevo/PV Trip Rpt (April-May 09): car rental matters

At first I was wondering how you were able to get a car for less than what Gecko in Bucerias charges for such a low price, but then I added it up. You paid approx. $304.00 and Denis charges $325 for a Nissan or Dodge 4-door compact sedan, automatic with AC. Price includes taxes, liability and collision, and you don't have to be a member at something like Costco. Actually, Gecko's price came out to be better since the price includes airport pickup and dropoff.

Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: Nuevo/PV Trip Rpt (April-May 09): car rental matters

Yeah, elenamex, I know Gecko is very well-regarded and I quite seriously considered them this time, too. If we'd been in Nuevo or Bucerias the whole time, that may well have been our choice.

We stuck with Alamo primarily because our 2nd week was in PV itself, not north. As it turned out, since the "WM" became a dud car for us, we were glad it was so easy to make the swap at the Westin, just down the Paseo de la Marina from where we were staying at Velas Vallarta.

(Of course, I realize that with Gecko we might not have had to MAKE a swap! But this is our first trouble at all with Alamo in PV, and they more than rectified the issue to our satisfaction. Next trip, ¿quien sabe?)

Cincinnati
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4. Re: Nuevo/PV Trip Rpt (April-May 09): car rental matters

I have a question, please...

When renting from Gecko do you need to go to Bucerias to get the car or will they bring the car to PV? Is the company more for those north of PV?

Naperville, Illinois
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5. Re: Nuevo/PV Trip Rpt (April-May 09): car rental matters

You can contact Gecko at www.geckorentcar.com. Their site says they serve the airport and points north, but in the FAQ section, it also mentions something about "if you're staying south of the airport...". In the past, they would pick us up at the airport, take us to their office in Bucerias to fill out the paperwork and we would be on our way with our car. Denis and Adam are very customer-service oriented and will take good care of you.

Seattle, Washington
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6. Re: Nuevo/PV Trip Rpt (April-May 09): car rental matters

Hi careyeroslib --

Sorry I overlooked your question about our drives. The short answer is yes, we took some drives (other than just using the car for practical transportation), though a medical situation arose during our second week that more or less clipped our wings.

We really enjoy the smaller Mexican towns and villages north of Nuevo, so we were in Bucerias frequently, made one trip as far as Sayulita via Punta de Mita (my how the PdM area has changed since we first began going out there to swim and snorkel at deserted beaches years ago!), and another straight shot to Sayulita and back.

On the latter one our initial plan was to drive to La Peñita for its Thursday market and then go nose around in adjacent Rincón de Guayabitos, where we've stayed very happily before. We hadn't been there for 5 or 6 years, and even when we stayed there we somehow never knew about the La Peñita market. So we were quite eager to do this. But we got a bit later start than we had expected and then got behind a L-O-N-G backup of freight trucks on the winding 2-lane part of the highway north of Bucerias and just crawled along at a snail's pace. As it was around 11 by then and I couldn't remember exactly how long the La Peñita market lasts, not to mention the fact that we think it's best to arrive at markets like this soon after they open (which I think is 8 for LP), we finally decided it just wasn't our day to get there. We didn't want to rush up and down the highway and have relatively little time to walk around, take photos, etc. in a leisurely fashion, so we still have not made it to the LP market or back to RdG! However, we both really like Sayulita, so we were happy to spend another several hours there just walking around town, taking lots of photos, and enjoying a good lunch by the beach.

We had also wanted to go up to San Blas, but were disappointed that we did not make it because my heart was acting up. Instead, we were "forced" to spend that day just lolling about the pool at Velas Vallarta, which wasn't too hard to take :-). But in all our visits to the greater PV area, we have STILL never made it to San Blas. One of these days.....

7. Re: Nuevo/PV Trip Rpt (April-May 09): car rental matters

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