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First-Timers - Few Questions

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First-Timers - Few Questions

Hi,

We'll be travelling to PV for the first time March 27 to April 5 - four adults, one child. This is our first time in PV and its also the first time we are staying in a condo and not at an AI resort. We'll be staying in Zona Romantica.

Questions :)

Currency - pesos? or US dollars? best place to exchange? safe atms?

What's the best way to get from the airport to our accommodations and approximate cost?

Who runs the best company to book tours through? What are your recommended must-do attractions for new visitors?

Nicest beach, safe for a child to swim in?

Where can I find online excellent area maps?

Can we still watch whales this time of year?

Where is the best snorkeling? Spotting turtles?

Thank you so much,

Tash

Edited: 14 January 2013, 19:30
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Zona Romantica
Zona Romantica
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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Calgary, Canada
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1. Re: First-Timers - Few Questions

Currency - pesos? or US dollars? best place to exchange? safe atms?

~Pesos. You're Canadian, no need for USD. You can exchange cash at cambios, banks or hotel front desks (least recommended). ATMs are as safe there as they are at home where you live, you need to do your own level of personal due diligence to ensure safety (both there and at home), and also notify your bank you'll be using the card down there. ATMs will dispense in pesos so remember that the display will show peso amounts not dollar amounts, ie: 2000 pesos, 5000 pesos, etc.

What's the best way to get from the airport to our accommodations and approximate cost?

~Airport taxi is easiest and fastest. All info is in the Top Questions on the right, first link. South side where you're staying is Zone 2.

Who runs the best company to book tours through? What are your recommended must-do attractions for new visitors?

~I recommend Vallarta Adventures. Best quality tours in PV. Also Los Veranos for the canopy tour, and Superior Tours Vallarta for great land and personal guided tours.

Nicest beach, safe for a child to swim in?

~Define "nicest". I am perfectly content with Los Muertos beach myself as it has tons of beach restaurants to choose from and lots of activities, but other people don't like it. So we need a bit more info. For child safe I would look at somewhere like the beach in front of the Lindo Mar Resort just south of town, as they have small tide pools that are shallow and unless the tide is high are quite calm. I see families in there with little ones all the time. You can use the facilities at LM as long as you're purchasing food/drink.

Where can I find online excellent area maps?

~ vallartainfo.com/puerto_vallarta_maps.html

Can we still watch whales this time of year?

~Official whale watching season ends March 23, you can no longer take a licensed tour after that. You may see some whales from shore before they start heading north again, but you will no longer be able to get on a boat specifically to go watch whales.

Where is the best snorkeling? Spotting turtles?

~PV is in a bay, so snorkeling is generally best from a boat near rock formations. There is some snorkeling at the above mentioned Lindo Mar too from the beach, but you'll need your own equipment.

~Contact Superior Tours Vallarta with respect to whether there will be any more turtle releases when you are there...it might be off season.

EDIT: I'll just add that there is a ton of excellent information in the Top Questions section on the right. I would peruse it as well for more tips and info.

Edited: 14 January 2013, 19:48
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Vallarta Adventures
Vallarta Adventures
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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Superior Tours Vallarta
Superior Tours Vallarta
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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Lindo Mar Resort
Lindo Mar Resort
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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Toronto
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2. Re: First-Timers - Few Questions

Thank you so much. Nice to me - means clean, no littler on it - nearby places to visit to shop/food/activities/etc. It doesn't have to be pristine white sand, just clean :) I'm quite happy with a bustling beach.

Calgary, Canada
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3. Re: First-Timers - Few Questions

Most of the inhabited beach areas are very clean. The establishments (resorts, condos, hotels, restaurants/bars) take a great deal of pride in keeping the areas tidy for guests. Most places are out raking first thing in the morning.

Can I ask what condo complex you are in? This would give me an idea of how far you are, or whether you're on the beach already and where.

I still usually take water shoes, that's mostly for hot sand walking and because sometimes at the shorelines there are small rocks (PV is a bay that was once a volcano...that is now cratered...so there will be volcanic rock in various places that can be hard on tender feet).

The vendors bring the shopping to you at the beach. Jewelry, pottery, clothing pieces, artwork, you name it.

In terms of food/drink, a wide variety of choice on Los Muertos from cheap and cheerful to upscale. They all display their menus out front so find something/somewhere that appeals and enjoy your day.

Now, just of note as you have a little one, and people sometimes accuse us of not giving full information. At the southern end of Los Muertos it tends to be more gay friendly in terms of lodging and beach clubs. While it doesn't bother 99% of us, it's full disclosure to point that out so you can make your own choices about where to go. (I will note however one of my favourite beach clubs is Ritmos/Green Chairs, which is right in the middle of this area, as they have great food/service and facilities). If it's of no concern to you, great, and you'll enjoy the area.

Have fun. (-:

Chicago
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4. Re: First-Timers - Few Questions

Also be aware that Easter is March 31, so the week before and after will be very busy with many Nationals on vacation during those 2 weeks.

Calgary, Canada
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5. Re: First-Timers - Few Questions

This is very true. Los Muertos is very popular at Easter and will be very busy. I'd avoid the beach during that weekend if you can, and use your condo pool instead if possible.

I will still recommend the little beach at the Lindo Mar for a good place to splash with a child. I'd avoid it on weekends as the restaurant (La Playita) has a weekend brunch buffet that's insanely popular so it gets really busy. Go on a weekday and it's quieter.

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La Playita
La Playita
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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Toronto
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6. Re: First-Timers - Few Questions

My child is 8 but not the best swimmer so I usually try to avoid beaches with a lot of undertow.

The condo is at L. Vallarta and Basilo Badillo - that help?

My brother is gay and we are very very comfortable with that lifestyle :)

We were in Mexico at Easter (Mayan Riveria) about 5 years ago - it was VERY busy.

Thanks again.

Seattle
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7. Re: First-Timers - Few Questions

I Vallarta & B. Badillo is the corner where Hotel Posada de Roger is located. I can't picture any condos right there?

1. peso. "exchange" at any cambio, rates are posted. or use any ATM that is associated with a bank.

2. just grab an airport taxi, to south-side $26usd or 260p

3. sorry don't know never done tours or attractions

4. most of the beaches are a little rough for safe swimming for small children. i'd swim in the pool, if you have one and just play in the sand at the beach.

5. vallartainfo.com for maps

6. sorry don't know, never seen a whale

7. sorry don't know, never gone snorkeling or seen a turtle

suze

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8. Re: First-Timers - Few Questions

There are some condos tucked in along the south side of the Badillo and I.L. Vallarta, as that intersection doesn't end except for traffic - it's a one way cul-de-sac on the south side of the street so I'm thinking your condo may be there if that's the address. Do you have a name?

Anyways, you're probably about a two block walk straight west to the beach along Badillo.

The undertow seems to be hit/miss at beaches, seeing as you're in a bay. That small beach area at LM you won't have that problem.

Most areas along LM there are often kids swimming and playing in the surf. I'd follow the lead of the others...if the kids seem okay, then that's where I'd let your little guy swim.

Again, as a Canadian, you have no need to pay for anything in USD, even the airport taxi. That would require you to purchase some foreign currency before you leave (being the USD) for such purpose and that is counterproductive an inefficient. Plus you'll lose money, both with the exchange and with paying in USD.

Edited: 14 January 2013, 21:26
Toronto
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9. Re: First-Timers - Few Questions

The property is vallarta vida, http://www.vrbo.com/39387. Thanks again everyone this is one of the friendliest forums I have ever visited on trip advisor :-)

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10. Re: First-Timers - Few Questions

Whoops http://mobile.vrbo.com/439387