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Taxis in Puerto Vallarta Mexico

Taxis in Puerto Vallarta

Yellow taxis will likely be a primary mode of transportation for you in Puerto Vallarta.

If you are staying in Nuevo Vallarta or other northern parts of the Vallarta area, your taxi will be white, but it will still look like a taxi. (There are a few white ‘port’ taxis, but these are licensed only for trips FROM the airport and cruise ship terminal. See more on PORT TAXIS below.) The majority of the Vallarta taxis are late-model Nissan Sentras, plenty of room for up to 3 passengers, a little cramped for 4, and downright crowded for any more. In fact, the police (and therefore taxi drivers) frown on more than 4 passengers, so if you’re in a larger group, plan on taking 2 or more taxis, or consider hiring a larger van or Chevy Suburban.

You can hail a taxi anywhere you see them driving…just hold out your arm at a right angle, or point to the taxi and make a ‘come here’ motion. There are also numerous taxi stands through-out town…along the malecòn, near the supermarkets and shopping centers, and at the entrances to hotel driveways. If you’re emerging from your hotel, the bellboy or concierge will call a taxi for you (there are nearly always several lined up at a nearby call box) if they aren’t already lined up and waiting at the lobby entrance

Fares are set by zone, but seldom posted, and there are no meters. Minimum fare is 35 pesos for a short trip, and rise depending on the distance to your destination. As an example, a trip from Viejo Vallarta on the South end of town to the Puerto Vallarta International Airport at the North end is currently about 100 pesos. From downtown to midway along the ‘hotel zone’ is 50 pesos.


Always establish the cost before you get in and close the door! Most hotels have the standard tariffs posted in the lobby, and while most taxi drivers are good and honest, more than once a few have unfortunately tried to cash in on an unsuspecting tourist. It’s also a good idea to carry small bills for taxis…they always seem to be short of change. Keep a stash of 10-peso coins and 20-peso notes for these trips.


Tips are not expected, except for extra service (help in loading or unloading baggage/groceries, waiting time while you make a quick stop, etc.). Not many taxis have air-conditioning, and the ones that do often don’t engage it (gasoline is expensive here too)…most taxis in Vallarta use “4/40” air-conditioning…4 windows down and 40 miles per hour. A single passenger, by courtesy, should ride up front.


Taxis can take you for longer trips as well, and in these cases you may negotiate to try and get a better deal. The official tariff from Puerto Vallarta to Punta Mita (about an hour away at the north tip of the bay) is about 600 pesos, but a ‘taxista’ (taxi driver) is likely to discount this by 100 pesos…again, Private Taxi Service may be a better option, especially if you’d like to explore the entire north-bay, south-bay, or north-of-the-bay region.


PORT TAXIS are authorized only to pick up passengers from the Puerto Vallarta Airport and the Cruise Ship Terminal. They have a ‘monopoly’ on these two markets, so this and the fact that they can not provide any other service (not even TO the airport or terminal) makes them a little more expensive. Price-savvy arrivals know to go out to the street to get a yellow ‘city’ taxi and a better deal. If you are arriving by cruise ship, chances are you are not carrying luggage with you, so this is easy. The terminal is right on the main drag through town. Walk a block or so, stick out your arm, and flag down a taxi.



If you are arriving by airline, and don’t have more luggage than you can easily carry by yourselves, you may want to consider saving a little money by exiting the airport and crossing the pedestrian bridge over the highway. The yellow city taxis here know that you’ve escaped a high-priced taxi ride from the port taxis, but aren’t generally willing to give up all the savings. EXAMPLE: The established tariff between the airport and the south end of town is about 150 pesos. The port taxi rate is about double that. You may need to bargain hard to get a 100 peso rate, but that still saves you the price of your first couple margaritas on the beach!


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