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Getting Around Tours Airlines Dining Out

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  • (All numbers provided here are local when staying downtown. To call international dial 011-52-3 then the local number)

  • Emergency # 060

Emergencies

  • local police tel. 221-2588 or 221-0759

  • Tourist Protection tel. 01-800-90-39200

  • Intensive Care Ambulance tel. 225-0386

  • Red Cross tel. 222-1533

Safety Puerto Vallarta enjoys a very low crime rate throughout the city. Public transportation is perfectly safe to use, and tourist police (dressed in white safari uniforms with white hats) are available to answer questions, give directions, and offer assistance.

Puerto Vallartas water supply:

Puerto Vallarta is one of the few cities in Mexico that has a water purification system which is tested regularly and has been deemed safe for human consumption. To be on the safe side use bottled water for drinking. The water and ice used in most all restaurants and bars is purified.

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The State Tourism Office, at Plaza Marina L 144, 2nd floor (tel. 221-2676, 221-2677, or 221-2678) also offers promotional brochures, and can assist with specific questions about Puerto Vallarta and other points within the state of Jalisco, including Guadalajara, and the town of Tequila etc. It's open Monday through Friday from 9am to 7pm and Saturday from 9am to 1pm

The Municipal Tourism Office, at Juárez and Independencia (tel. 223-2500, ask for the Tourism office), is in a corner of the white Presidencia Municipal building (city hall) on the north end of the main square. In addition to offering a listing of current events and a collection of promotional brochures for local activities and services, they can also assist with specific questions--there's always an English-speaking person on staff. This is also the office of the tourist police. It's open Monday through Friday from 8am to 8pm.

Consumer Assistance Tourists with complaints about stores, taxis etc, or other matters should contact Profeco- the consumer protection office, this agency is committed to maintaining the integrity of the business community in Vallarta. Tel 225-0018 Open: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm

American Express The local office is located in town at Morelos 660, at the corner of Abasolo (tel. 01-800-333-3211and in Mexico, or 223-2955). It's open Monday through Friday from 9am to 6pm Saturday from 9am to 1pm, and offers excellent, efficient travel agency services in addition to money exchange and travelers checks.

The U.S. Consular Agency office (tel. 222-0069; fax 223-0074, 24 hours a day for emergencies) is open Monday through Friday from 10am to 2pm.

The Canadian Consulate (tel. 222-5398 or 223-0858; emergencies 01-800-706-2900, 24 hours) is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm.

Ameri-Med Urgent Care Located at Plaza Neptune at the entrance of Marina Vallarta(U.S.-standards health care service, available 24 hours) tel. 221-0023 or 221-0026, www.amerimed.com.mx

MEDASIST Hospital: Located at the entrance to Mex 200 at the south end of town.

  • Also offers 24hr emergency services. Tel: 223-0444

CMQ Hospital Located at 365 Basilio Bodillo.

  • It has a 24hr Pharmacy. Tel: 223-2423 Emergency 223-1919

Pharmacies: Late night Cmq Farmacia, 365 Basilio Badillio Open 24hrs Tel: 222-1330

English speaking dentist: DR. ANNA 0’CONNER 224-2636

English speaking doctor: DR. Carlos Munguia 222-5399

Post office: Located at 188 Mina. Tel 222-1888

Open from Mon-Fri 9am to 8pm & Sat from 9am-1pm.

Telephones: Mexico has only one telephone company (Telmex).

If you need to call the USA or Canada and you have a calling card you can call one of the toll-free numbers listed below.

You will be connected directly to a English speaking operator in the USA or Canada for a small fee.

Canada Direct (Bell Canada) 01-800-123-0200

United States (AT&T) 01 800 288 2878

If you don’t have a calling card, it is cheaper to make long distance calls after 8pm.

Airlines:

Aero Mexico (tel. 224-2777), Alaska Airlines (tel. 221-1350), American (tel. 221-1799), American West (tel. 221-1025), Delta Airlines (tel. 221-1734), Continental Airlines (tel. 221-1213), Mexicana (tel. 224-8900)

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Internet Access Puerto Vallarta is one of the better-connected destinations in Mexico when it comes to internet access. Of the several cybercafes around town, one of the most popular is Puerto Net, Juárez 388, one block north of the main square (tel. 222-0204), open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 11pm and Sunday from 3pm to 9pm.

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Dining Out favourite picks ]

Argentinean, ]Pibes steak restaurant in the Marina District,

Italian, Dulce Vida downtown on the Malecon.

French, Café Des Artistes downtown, excellent décor.

International, ]Trio 2 minutes from the villas.

Breakfast, La Palapa, Le Bistro downtown, (]El set, fantastic Bay view of Vallarta, my favorite, you need to take a taxi approx 5 minutes.

Oriental, Mikados in the Marriott hotel, its like a Kobe steak house, lots of fun.

Mexican, ]Famous Pipis. Very busy, always a line up.

Fish market, You can find a wide and colorful variety of local fresh fish, lobster, and shrimp. Look for the huge ]Tiger Prawns the size of your hand for around 240 pesos per kilo. Next to the fish market are several food vendors, my recommendation is to try the Seafood cocktail and] Shrimp Cerviche.

International, Bogarts, top of the line, elegant and pricey.

Night Life

Fun and upbeat The Zoo, ]Carlos o Bryans, Senor Frogs, and Mariachi Loco and Tequilas.

Clubs, ]Christines and Cactus

Tours

]You will find most of these tours offered to you from little kiosks while walking along the "Malecon" boardwalk by the beach. I highly recommend that you listen to the guides and try at least one.

Organized Tours BOAT TOURS--Puerto Vallarta offers a number of different boat trips, including sunset cruises and trips for snorkeling, swimming, and diving. They generally travel one of two routes: to the Marietas Islands, which are about a 30- to 45 minute boat ride off the northern shore of Banderas Bay, or to Yelapa, Las Ánimas, or Quimixto along the southern shore. The trips to the southern beaches make a stop at Los Arcos, an island rock formation south of Puerto Vallarta, for snorkeling. When comparing all of these boat cruises, note that some include lunch, while most provide music and an open bar on board. Most leave around 9:30am, stop for 45 minutes of snorkeling, and arrive at the beach destination around noon for a 2½-hour stay before returning around 3pm. At Quimixto and Yelapa, visitors can take a half-hour hike to a jungle waterfall or rent a horse for the ride.

One boat, the ]Marigalante, is an exact replica of Columbus's ship the Santa Maria, built in honor of the 500-year anniversary of his voyage to the Americas. It features a daytime "pirate's cruise" complete with picnic barbecue and treasure hunt, or a sunset dinner cruises with folkloric dance and fireworks.

One of the best trips is the new tour to Caletas, the cove where John Houston made his home for years. Vallarta Adventures, holds the exclusive lease on this private cove, and has done an excellent job of restoring Houston's former home, adding exceptional day-spa facilities, and landscaping the beach, which is wonderful for snorkeling. The quality facilities, combined with the relative privacy this excursion offers, has made it one of the most popular. They also offer an evening cruise, complete with dinner and a spectacular contemporary dance show,] "Rhythms of the Night."

Whale Watching Tours are becoming more popular each year, since viewing humpback whales is almost a certainty from mid- to late November through March. The majestic whales have migrated to this bay for centuries (in the 1600s, it was called "Humpback Bay") to reproduce and bear calves. The noted local authorities are Open Air Expeditions, Guerrero 339, who offer ecologically oriented tours (up to eight people) in small boats. They also spearhead a photo-ID project to track returning whales--each one has unique markings on its fluke, or tail. Vallarta Adventures offers whale watching on their tours to the Marietas Islands. Lunch time at a private beach, and a more festive than educational ambiance aboard the large catamaran boats.

LAND TOURS--Tukari Tours can arrange bird-watching trips to the fertile birding grounds near San Blas, 3 to 4 hours north of Puerto Vallarta in the state of Nayarit; shopping trips to Tlaquepaque and Tonalá (6 hr. inland near Guadalajara); or a day-trip to Rancho Altamira, a 50-acre, hilltop, working ranch for a barbecue lunch and horseback riding, then a stroll through El Tuito, a small nearby colonial-era village. They can also arrange an unforgettable morning at ]Terra Noble Art & Healing Center; www.terranoble.com.mx), a mountaintop day spa and center for the arts where participants can get a massage or treatment, work in clay and paint, and have lunch in a heavenly setting overlooking the bay.

Hotel travel desks and travel agencies, can also book the ever-popular Tropical Tour or Jungle Tour, basically an orientation to the area. These tours are really expanded city tours that include a drive through the workers' village of Pitillal, the posh neighborhood of Conchas Chinas, the cathedral, the market, the Taylor-Burton houses, and lunch at a jungle restaurant.

The Sierra Madre Expedition is another excellent tour offered by Vallarta Adventures. This daily excursion travels in special Mercedes all-terrain vehicles north of Puerto Vallarta through jungle trails, stopping at a small town, into a forest for a brief nature walk, and winding up on a beach for lunch and swimming. The outing is worthwhile because it takes tourists into scenery that would otherwise be off-limits.

AIR TOURS You can explore some of the most remote and undiscovered reaches of the Sierra Madre Mountains in Vallarta Adventure's newest excursion, the ]]San Sebastian Air Adventure. A 15-minute flight aboard a 14-seat turbo prop Cessna Caravan takes you into the heart of the Sierra Madre. The plane is equipped with raised wings, which allows you to admire the mountain scenery below. The plane arrives on a gravel landing strip in the old mining town of San Sebastian, a beautiful, antiquated village dating back to 1605. One of the oldest mining towns in Mexico, it reached its peak in the 1700's when it prospered with over 30,000 inhabitants. Today, San Sebastian remains an outstanding example of how people lived and worked in a remote Mexican mountain town--it's a living museum. The half-day adventure, and includes flight, a walking tour of the town, and brunch at the old Hacienda Jalisco, a favored getaway of John Houston, Liz and Dick and their friends.

Hot-Air Balloon Tours, Morelos 56 at Corona, offers two hot-air balloon trips a day at 7am and at 5pm (weather permitting). The balloons glide along the coast, over beaches, jungle, and farmland; the trip ends with a round of champagne.

TOURS IN TOWN Every Wednesday and Thursday in high season (from late Nov through Easter), the International Friendship Club offers a Private Home Tour of four private villas in town for a donation, with proceeds donated to local charities. Tour arrangements begin at 10am at the Hotel Molino de Agua (avenida Ignacio L. Vallarta no. 130, adjacent to the southbound bridge over the Río Cuale) where you can buy breakfast while you wait for the group to gather--and arrive early, because this tour sells out quickly! The tour departs at 11am and lasts approximately 2½ hours.

An Artist's Studio Tour starts from Galería Pacífico, Aldama 174, every Monday from 10am to 3pm. Gary Thompson, owner/curator of Galería Pacífico, gives an overview of the Puerto Vallarta and Latin American art scene before guiding the group to the working studios of between four and six artists.

You can also tour the ]Taylor/Burton villas (Casa Kimberley; tel. 222-1336), located at 445 calle Zaragoza. Tours of the two houses owned by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton just ring the bell between 10am and 6pm, and if the manager is available, she will take you through the house.

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Getting Around

A Stroll Through Town

Puerto Vallartas cobblestone streets are a fun to explore; they're full of tiny shops, and views of red-tile roofs and the sea. Start with a walk up and down the malecón, the seafront boardwalk.

Among the sights you shouldn't miss is the municipal building, on the main square (next to the tourism office), which has a large Manuel Lepe mural inside in its stairwell. Nearby, up Independencia, sits the Guadalupe Cathedral, Hidalgo 370, topped with a crown supported in place by angels--a replica of the one worn by Empress Carlotta during her brief reign. On its steps, women sell religious mementos and native herbs for curing common ailments. Services in English are held Sunday at 10 am. Regular parish hours are 7am until 9:30 or 10pm daily.

Three blocks south of the church, head east on Libertad, to the local flea market by the river,be prepared to bater for the best deal. After exploring the market, cross the bridge to the island in the river; sometimes an artist is at work on its banks. Walk down the center of the island toward the sea and you'll come to the tiny Museo Río Cuale which has a small but impressive permanent exhibit of pre-Columbian figurines. It's open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm, and an English-language tour is provided at 2pm.

SPECIAL NOTE : This is where the villas are located. Retrace your steps back to the market and Libertad and follow calle Miramar to the brightly colored steps up to Zaragoza. Midway is a magnificent view over rooftops to the sea, plus a cute café, ]Graffiti Mention you are guests in our villas and receive 10% off, where you can break for a cappuccino and a snack. Up Zaragoza to the right one block is the famous pink arched bridge that once connected Richard Burton's and Elizabeth Taylor's houses. This area, known as "Gringo Gulch," is where many Americans have their villas.

By Taxi: There are over 1000 taxis and are relatively inexpensive. Rates are charged by zone. Taxis can also be hired by the hour or day for longer trips, when you'd prefer to leave the driving to someone else. Discounts available for full-day rates.

By Car: Rental cars are available at the airport and through travel agencies, and kiosks. Budget rent a car (tel. 222-2980), Avis (tel. 221-1112), National Rental (tel. 222-2742), and Alamo (tel. 224-1071).

By Bus: City buses run from the airport through the Hotel Zone along Morelos street (1 block inland from the malecón), across the Río Cuale, and inland on Vallarta street, looping back through the downtown hotel and restaurant districts on Insurgentes and several other downtown streets. These buses, costing about 3 pesos, will serve just about all your transportation needs frequently and inexpensively. Buses run generally from 5:45am to 11pm, and it's rare to wait more than a few minutes for one. Another bus route travels south every 10 to 15 minutes to either Mismaloya Beach or Boca de Tomatlán (the destination will be indicated in the front window) from Plaza Lázaro Cárdenas, a few blocks south of the river at Cárdenas and Suárez.

By Boat The cruise ship pier (muelle), also called Terminal Marítima, is where excursion boats to ]Yelapa, Las Ánimas, Quimixto, and the Marietas Islands depart. It's north of town near the airport and an inexpensive taxi or bus ride from town. Just take any bus marked IXTAPA and tell the driver to let you off at the Terminal Marítima.

Water taxis offering direct transportation to Yelapa, Las Ánimas, and Quimixto leave at 10:30am and 11am from the pier at Los Muertos Beach (only a short walk from our villas, 8-10 minutes) on Rodolfo Rodríguez next to the Hotel Marsol. Another water taxi departs at 11am from the beachfront pier at the northern edge of the malecón(only a short walk from our villas, 4 minutes). Return trips usually depart between 3 to 4pm, but confirm the pick up time with your water taxi captain.

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(All information, collected from past visits, internet, books, & directories, we hope this will help!)

*Disclaimer* All medical information herein is considered to be for reference purposes only.

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