Puerto Vallarta Local Customs, The People, Traditions and Safety Tips; Episode #8

Puerto Vallarta Local Customs, Traditions, funny quirks, Taxis, Crime, and more…

Subscribe to The Puerto Vallarta Travel Show on iTunes

Listen to the Podcast Below!


Today we are going to be talking with JR in PV about local the people of Puerto Vallarta and some funny quirks you find down here in Mexico. I’m pretty sure that the locals can say a few things about all of the gringos who have moved here and call this place home, if not permanently, maybe half of the year when most of their homes are under 10 feet of snow.

But we are going to be talking about the wonderful people of Puerto Vallarta. As have said before, it’s the friendly people of Puerto Vallarta that keep me coming back year after year. That and the food and the beauty and the..never mind. You know what I’m talking about.

It was nice to meet with JR at his place instead of over the phone. His roommate was there doing dishes during the interview and I didn’t have  the heart to interrupt her so sorry in advance for some of the background noise. It’s not too bad and it has the campy sound of being on location right? So let’s get to the conversation with JR in PV.

  • JR agrees that the people of Puerto Vallarta are friendly and kind. The Mexican Family is very family oriented.
  • There are very few homeless.
  • Most people who are homeless or appear homeless are usually drugged up or alcoholics but they probably have a family.
  • The children services called DIF.                                           
  • He says that some of the places people think of as orphanages are actually shelters such as…

 Refugio Infantil Santa Esperanza and Casa Hogar


Traditions and Customs

  • When you make eye contact with someone on the street, make sure you say Buenos Dias for good morning, buenas tardes when it is
    JR in PV

    afternoon and buenas noches at night.

  • Traditional things like the siesta have gone by the wayside in Puerto Vallarta because nobody wants to close during the busy tourist season, but some of the older establishments will close from 2-4 PM. But will close later. The tradition stems from the need to close during the hottest parts of the day.
  •  Sundays there is another tradition in Puerto Vallarta  and that is a dance in the late afternoon and early evening there is a dance concert and ballroom dancing in the town Plaza, right next to City Hall. Very traditional.
  • Funny quirks The word no is a funny word in Spanish.
  • Directions especially. Ask five people to get the correct answer. This is familiar as taxi cabs don’t always know where something is. They know by landmarks.
  •  Make sure you look out before you cross the street.
  • Print out JR’s maps.
  • Manana has many meanings. It doesn’t mean tomorrow, but it definitely won’t be today.
  • Bad air on the bus. The people close the windows because moving air is thought to be detrimental.

Taxi Taking Tips

  •  Tipping taxi drivers. You shouldn’t tip taxis because they tend to skip over a local in favor of a tourist because they are more apt to pay
    Taxi Safety

    more and tip. Consult their concierge at the hotel to see what rate you should be paying.

  • Make sure you decide on a price before you get in the taxi. Otherwise you are at the whim of the driver.
  • Tipping is okay if the driver helps you with your luggage or helps you with your packages, but don’t tip unless they earn it for the benefit of the locals.
  • Watch the Taxi driver to make sure they take you to where you want to go. Download a map.
  • JR explained the difference between the Federal taxis and the other taxi drivers. Federal taxi drivers have to come back empty.

Tipping Service People in Puerto Vallarta Mexico

  • Tip service people 20%.
  • Minimum wage in Mexico is approximately $4.50 per day.

Avoiding Crime in Puerto Vallarta 

  • Occasional mugging due to in many cases desperate drug addicts.
  • Some local justice takes place.
  • Lots of petty crime happens during Easter and Christmas out of towners usually on vacation taking advantage of trusting tourists.
  • Watch your cell phones closely. Your wouldn’t leave $600 laying on the table, why would you leave your phone laying on the table.
  • Leave your high heels at home. The most common injuries are sprained broken ankles.
  • Don’t flash your money. Leave your jewelry at home. Keep your money in your wallet to a minimum.
  • La Marias beggars who are dropped off and picked up.

Be careful walking across the street. The vehicles won’t always stop.

To get a bus to stop, point in the street in front of you. Don’t wave. 

And it really is great here in Puerto Vallarta my friends. Just take our word for it. Now a quick word about crime in Puerto Vallarta. This is a fun town. There are lots of bars and alcohol being served on the beach, in the restaurants, in the clubs. Here’s the thing. You don’t want to be wandering the streets at night stumbling drunk. You don’t want to make a scene by whooping it up in public. It’s bad form for one thing and it gives tourists from up north a bad reputation, so stop it. Remember, you won’t get a pass walking the streets drunk and disorderly on the streets of your hometown, why would the authorities in Puerto Vallarta want to take a closer look at you? So be safe, be smart, don’t carry too much cash and don’t wander the streets late at night. Take a cab. 

I want to get to one other item today and we are going to come back to address it in future episodes, especially when I visit the Taco Stalls and stands and give you tours of economy Mexican Hotels that you can find in town for $20 a night, and I’m going to give you a quick Spanish lesson. JR says that you need to agree on a price before you ever get into a cab, so let’s learn some basic Spanish terms that will take you a long way with a taxi driver. Remember, we are visitors and we need to make at least some sort of effort to communicate with the locals right?

So if you see a cab parked and the driver is inside or next to the cab, ask him is he is working. Hola, Trabajando? He will most likely say si. Then you say Bueno, cuanto cuesta ir al ….and then say whatever your destination will be. ir al centro, ir a Daiquiri Dicks, or ir al Botanical Gardens.

Learn to Count in Spanish


Now the next this is going to be hard because he is going to answer you in Spanish and if you can’t count in Spanish that could be a problem. You can use your fingers and see if he will play along in English. Most taxi drivers can count in English I have found. But the best thing you can do, before you come to Mexico is learn a little Spanish. Learn to count boys and girls. We are talking money so doesn’t it make sense to take some time and learn to count so  you can save some money?

So learn the basics. Learn to count to ten, then learn to count by tens in Spanish. Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, sies, siete, ocho, nueve and diez. Ten is Diez, 20 is vente, it’s irregular but you can remember it because it’s like your coffee you Starbucks fans out there. Vente is 20, thirty is trenta, forty is cuarenta, fifty is cincuenta, sixty is seisenta, seventy is setenta, eighty is ochenta, ninty is noventa and one hundred is cien or ciento doalres. Two hundred is dos cientos, three hundred is tres cientos and so forth. Five hundered is irregular and it is pronounced Quientos, but nobody is going to punch you in the mouth for saying cinco cientos instead of quinentos. Trust me on this. We will go over the taxi rates in another episode of the Puerto Vallarta Travel show, but for now, I think we need to think about putting a fork in this one. It was great visiting with JR today. I’m sure you all enjoyed learning about the people of Puerto Vallarta. Until next week, remember, this is an interactive show where I depend on your questions and suggestions about all things Puerto Vallarta. If you think of something I should be talking about, please reach out to me by clicking on the Contact us tab and sending us your message. 

And if you would like to purchase a copy of Alberto Perez’s song, Samba de Puerto Vallarta, or any of his other fine tunes you can click on my links page at www. Puertovallartatravelshow.com and you will find a link to buy his music as well as links to the La Palapa group of restaurants. And speaking of websites…

If you are considering booking any type of tour while you are in Puerto Vallarta, you must go to Vallartainfo.com, JR’s website and reserve your


tour through him, right from his website. Remember the value for value proposition. His experience and on the ground knowledge of everything Puerto Vallarta in exchange for your making a purchase of a tour that you would do anyway, you’re just doing it through him as a way of saying thank you. It costs no more than if you were to use someone else so do it. Really. And when you do take one of these tours, email me about your experiences. Maybe you can come on-board and share with others what you liked or didn’t like about the tour. Again contact me by clicking on the Contact us tab and sending off a message.

And one more favor please, if you like this podcast, please take the time and subscribe to my podcast and give me a good review on iTunes if you would. It would be so appreciated if you would just take the extra time to do that for me. That way we can get the word out to more and more people about the magic of this place.

So, thank you JR for answering all of my questions and thanks to all of you for listening all the way through this episode of the Puerto Vallarta Travel Show. This is Barry Kessler signing off with a wish for you all to slow down, be kind and live the Vallarta lifestyle. Nos Vemos amigos!


One Comment Add yours

  1. Kathryn Laser says:

    Very helpful, looking for to more of your podcasts. Will be visiting PV in April.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *