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Cash only

Denver, Colorado
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Cash only

This isn't so much a question as it is a comment. I've been an annual visitor to PV for many, many years and I noticed a trend this year that I'd thought I'd mention because it seems like a lot of people are caught unprepared. It seems to me that more and more restaurants/bars/businesses are no longer taking credit cards. I think it's a common expectation among visitors to popular tourist destinations that "every place" accepts credit cards. This is no longer true. For whatever reason, I'm guessing it's the fees that the credit card companies charge businesses, more businesses are on a "cash only" basis - even some higher end places. Smart to check in advance of going out or carry a peso stash just in case. Even if a business takes credit cards, they'd rather have cash.

Puerto Vallarta
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10,893 posts
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1. Re: Cash only

Thanks for your post, it is a great reminder!

Credit Cards Accepted or Not: It's been like this ever since I moved here in 2002. All of the big box stores take credit cards as well as some "bigger" restaurants, Farmacia Guadalajara, etc. but the credit card fees for smaller businesses is outrageous plus, the credit card machines (or the banking network) goes down and if it is after hours, you have a hard time contacting someone o=to report the problem or getting it fixed.

Credit cards are a pain for businesses, so yes, it is best to pay cash and in some shops you will get a discount for paying cash (If they accept credit cards).

Calgary, Canada
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2. Re: Cash only

It's always a handy reminder for travelers that like to use credit cards when they travel, that in PV it's good to carry backup cash just in case.

I got caught myself in the fall when I went to pay for some artwork in a shop I normally deal with that I know takes plastic...as noted by bzy1, the machines can be finicky, and on that particular day the shop's system decided to not play nice and the owner was unable to reach anyone to assist them from the financial institution to find out why it decided to go on strike. Luckily I had a friend with me who had made a bank run and had enough pesos to cover me until we returned to the hotel and I could reimburse, but it was again a reminder not to just rely on one payment method when out and about. (-:

Denver, Colorado
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3. Re: Cash only

@bzy1 -

Good point on discounts for cash. I always ask if there is a discount for cash, especially on more expensive retail purchases. Saved me 5-10% a couple of times this last trip on some pricy swimwear and new glasses.

Seattle
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4. Re: Cash only

Good reminder. I've even been in the situation where a restaurant did not take credit cards *that day* when only a few days earlier I have used one there.

Denver, Colorado
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5. Re: Cash only

I should have named this post "helpful hints". But, while I'm making observations about changes in Vallarta over the years, here's one more. We tend to dine later than a lot of US visitors (can't generalize to other countries) and it seems like Vallarta restaurants have been "trained" by US tourists to cater to an earlier crowd. You may be surprised to find a favorite place in the process of closing at 9:00 p.m. - or experience, as we did, a chilly reception later in the evening. Also encountered staff standing around staring at us grumpily when we were their last table if we were lingering. We used to think nothing of showing up for dinner at 10:00 p.m. or even later - not anymore.

SoCal
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6. Re: Cash only

Excellent reminder to visitors that they should expect to use mostly use cash. I rarely use a CC, I'd say at least 99% of our trip I use pesos, many trips I never use a CC.

Depending on the ATM I get 5000 or 10000 pesos (of course the amount is limited to the daily withdrawal limit set by your bank, I had ours increased to $1000USD). No I do not carry that much around with me, most of it stays locked up in the condo.

We usually eat dinner around 9pm, most places we go to are open until 10 or 11.

Seattle, Washington
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810 posts
36 reviews
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7. Re: Cash only

I haven't never used credit card in PV. We pay cash for all our purchases, which are small souvenirs, bus or taxi, a few visits to bakery or street food stands, gas money for friends that drive us around, and for tips. we are big on planning what we will do before our trip, so we know almost down to the penny what we will need. we are on tight budget and always all inclusive at PLA. This time we plan to get sandals made. we are so blessed to be able to come to PV once or twice a year. That is enough for me :)

Edited: 14 March 2014, 16:23
Puerto Vallarta...
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28,777 posts
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8. Re: Cash only

Another reason merchants here don't like CCs, is they often take a long time to pay. Cash can be used by them the same day :)

United States
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for Puerto Vallarta
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9,810 posts
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9. Re: Cash only

I'm a peso cash girl all the way.

Burnaby, Canada
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227 reviews
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10. Re: Cash only

It's using cash (in pesos) all the time for us as well. We learned early in our Vallarta stays, that pretty much all of the places where we wished to dine only took cash!! It works for them, and has always worked for us as well.

We're actually quite used to the "cash only" thing ... as our some of our favourite Chinese restaurants here have only been taking cash for years (despite the current "age of cards"!!).