Vallarta is Always Relaxing,
but it's NOT Always Quiet!
locals in Puerto Vallarta and Mexicans
in general use a variety of signals
to indicate the arrival of a lot of
of these are universal throughout the
country, and Puerto Vallarta is no exception.
You're really only likely to experience
some of these if you're not staying
in one of the major hotels or resorts.
In downtown Puerto Vallarta and in surrounding
towns, a ‘runner’ dashes
through the streets in advance of the
arrival of the garbage truck. This is
the time to take your trash to the corner,
and shortly it will disappear.
Whistle: Bottled water
vendors. Accompanied by shouts of “Agua!”
just in case you didn’t notice
the shrill whistle.
Flute: Bring out your dull
knives, and the guy playing the pan
flute will sharpen them for you. He
carries his own stool and grinding wheel,
and will make your old knives like new!
Jazzy Jingles: The
gas trucks. Each company has their own
jazzy little jingles on tape and boradcast
via loudspeakers on the truck. Those
few that don’t just drive around
shouting “El Gas!”, banging
the cylinders with a wrench.
“The Alley Cat Waltz”:
Ice cream vendor with a loudspeaker
on his/her car.
Small Bells or bicycle horn:
Ice cream vendor with a push-cart. Might
be hand-scooped into a cone, or 'paletas',
which are frozen fruit on a popsicle
stick. Try the coconut, it's delicious!
Big ‘booms’ in
the evening coming from Downtown Puerto
Vallarta: It’s the nightly
attack on the Pirate Ship, a fireworks
display each evening around 9pm.
Car Alarm: Could be
an actual car alarm, or could be one
of the many extra noise-generating devices
installed by many Mexican drivers to
hopefully get the attention of a friend or of an attractive
and Drums: Either a small parade
(Mexicans love to parade), or could
be a small (as few as one person) drum
and bugle corp that traverse the streets
for entertainment. Children who collect
will accompany the band, going door
to door seeking a few coins as payment
for the free concert.
Klaxon Horn: Police
signaling somebody to pull over or to
move their illegally-parked car.
Unintelligible Voice on Loudspeaker:
It’s unintelligible because either
the loudspeaker is broken or because
you don’t understand Spanish,
or both. In any case, it’s somebody
selling something…might be fresh
strawberries, melons, shrimp, or other
produce. Other mobile loudspeakers advertise
repairs for appliances, buyers of scrap
metal, selling of furniture, etc.
shouting in the streets (not amplified):
You may witness vendors of all sorts
wandering the streets of the city, selling
fresh cheeses (delicious), donuts, fresh
bread, long-handled plumes for dusting
the high rafters or ceiling fans, chairs
or other furniture, or ????? In Puerto
Vallarta as in Mexico in general, you
don’t necessarily have to go shopping…often,
the stuff comes to you!
Beep-Beep-Beep: (Car horn)
to the rhythm of "Let's Go Mex-i-co!"
usually indicates a celebration of a
National Soccer Team victory, although
this country is so soccer-crazy they
celebrate even if the team loses but
made a good showing.
Mariachi Music: Somebody's
having a wedding party, or a 'quinceano'
(celebration of a daughter's 15th birthday,
her 'coming of age' party), or other
important celebration. In Mexico and
Jalisco State especially (Jalisco is
the birthplace of Mariachi music), hiring
a band is common for any big party.
If it's too loud or too late, your best
bet is to go join the party. Resident
gringos know that to attempt lowering
the volume on a neighbor's party is
fruitless, so they just go join the
party, where they are nearly always
welcomed with sincere grace and pleasure.
HERE for more on Mariachi Music in Puerto Vallarta.