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6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Puerto Vallarta And How To Avoid Them

6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Puerto Vallarta And How To Avoid Them

Our full guide on Tourist Traps to Avoid in Puerto Vallarta and how to avoid them for your next trip to Mexico.

Puerto Vallarta, known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, and lively nightlife, is a favorite destination for many travelers. However, like any popular tourist destination, it has its share of tourist traps. Here’s how to avoid them and enjoy a more authentic experience.

What Is The Best Way From Puerto Vallarta Airport To City Center?

The best way from Puerto Vallarta airport to city center is by shared transfer for $15 USD per person and 1 hour travel time and you can book online.

Read here Puerto Vallarta Airport sim card and best Mexico sim card for tourist

Read here Puerto Vallarta vs CaboAcapulco vs Puerto Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta vs Playa del Carmen

WHERE TO STAY IN PUERTO VALLARTA

A total of $20 USD would be the range of your budget for accommodation in Puerto Vallarta. There are hotels mid-budget $50-70 USD and you can find luxury accommodations starting from $120 USD.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION

BOOK YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE

Two of our favorite travel insurance: Heymondo Vs Safetwing cheapest travel Insurance. You can get for $135 USD your Heymondo Travel Insurance with Heymondo discount code valid for 90 days. Read our full comparison of Genki vs Safetywing Travel Insurance Review and the comparison Heymondo vs Genki

General Tips to Avoid Tourist Traps

6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Puerto Vallarta And How To Avoid Them

Use travel blogs, forums, and review sites like TripAdvisor and Google Reviews to find recommendations and avoid common traps.

Ask locals for their favorite spots to eat, shop, and visit. They often know the best places that are not in guidebooks.

Venture into neighborhoods like Versalles, Pitillal, and Marina Vallarta for a more authentic experience. These areas offer a variety of local markets, shops, and eateries that are frequented by locals​​.

Visit popular attractions early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the biggest crowds.

Consider using local buses for getting around. They are much cheaper than taxis and give you a chance to see the city from a different perspective.

Check local websites and social media pages for up-to-date information on events, openings, and any potential scams to watch out for.

Tourist Traps to Avoid in Puerto Vallarta

1. Overpriced Beach Clubs and Restaurants

6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Puerto Vallarta And How To Avoid Them

Trap: Beach clubs and restaurants in high-tourist areas like the Malecon and Zona Romántica can be significantly overpriced and often cater primarily to tourists.

How to Avoid: Head to less touristy areas for dining. Try local spots in neighborhoods like Versalles or Pitillal. Restaurants like Mariscos 8 Tostadas and El Barracuda offer excellent local cuisine at more reasonable prices​.

2. Timeshare Sales Pitches

Trap: Timeshare salespeople are very active in Puerto Vallarta, often approaching tourists with offers of free tours or gifts, which can lead to high-pressure sales pitches.

How to Avoid: Politely decline any offers for free gifts or tours from strangers. If you’re genuinely interested in a timeshare, research and arrange appointments independently of street offers​.

3. Touristy Souvenir Shops

6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Puerto Vallarta And How To Avoid Them

Trap: Souvenir shops in popular tourist areas can be overpriced and offer generic items.

How to Avoid: Visit local markets such as Mercado Municipal Rio Cuale or the Olas Altas Farmers Market for unique, handmade crafts and better prices. Engage with local artisans for more meaningful souvenirs​​.

4. Expensive Tequila Tours

6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Puerto Vallarta And How To Avoid Them

Trap: Tequila tours offered by street vendors in tourist areas can be overpriced and often include stops at touristy shops.

How to Avoid: Book tours through reputable companies with good reviews on platforms like TripAdvisor or Viator. Alternatively, visit a local distillery like Casa Kimberley or Hacienda Doña Engracia for an authentic experience​​.

5. Overcrowded Beaches

6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Puerto Vallarta And How To Avoid Them

Trap: Popular beaches like Playa Los Muertos can be overcrowded, especially during peak seasons.

How to Avoid: Explore less crowded beaches such as Playa Conchas Chinas or Playa Las Gemelas. These beaches are equally beautiful and offer a more relaxed atmosphere​.

6. Boat Tours and Excursions

6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Puerto Vallarta And How To Avoid Them

Trap: Some boat tours to popular sites like Marietas Islands are overpriced and overcrowded.

How to Avoid: Book tours through reputable companies with good reviews. Consider renting a kayak or paddleboard to explore the coastline independently, or join a smaller, more personalized tour group​​.

How To Avoid Tourist Traps in Puerto Vallarta

1. Research and Plan Ahead

Why: Being informed helps you avoid overpriced or low-quality attractions.

How: Use travel blogs, forums like Reddit, and review sites like TripAdvisor and Google Reviews for current and reliable information. Websites like Lonely Planet and Fodor’s Travel can also provide valuable insights.

2. Dine Where Locals Eat

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Why: Restaurants in tourist-heavy areas often charge higher prices for lower quality food.

How: Explore dining options outside the main tourist zones. Look for local favorites in neighborhoods like Versalles and Pitillal. Restaurants such as Mariscos 8 Tostadas and El Barracuda offer excellent local cuisine at reasonable prices​​.

3. Shop Smart for Souvenirs

Why: Souvenir shops in tourist areas can be overpriced and offer generic items.

How: Buy souvenirs from local markets like Mercado Municipal Rio Cuale or the Olas Altas Farmers Market. Engage with local artisans for unique, handmade items​​.

4. Avoid Timeshare Sales Pitches

Why: Timeshare salespeople are very active and can be persistent.

How: Politely decline offers for free gifts or tours from strangers. If interested in a timeshare, research and arrange visits independently of street offers​​.

5. Choose Alternative Beach Options

6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Puerto Vallarta And How To Avoid Them, Puerto Vallarta vs Playa del Carmen - Which is the Better Vacation?

Why: Popular beaches like Playa Los Muertos can be crowded and expensive.

How: Enjoy less crowded beaches such as Playa Conchas Chinas or Playa Las Gemelas. These beaches are equally beautiful and offer a more relaxed atmosphere​​.

6. Be Selective with Tours

Why: Some tours, like those to Marietas Islands, can be overpriced and crowded.

How: Book tours through reputable companies with good reviews on TripAdvisor or Viator. Consider renting a kayak or paddleboard to explore the coastline independently​​.

7. Opt for Local Nightlife Spots

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Why: Popular nightclubs can be overpriced and crowded.

How: Enjoy the local nightlife at smaller bars and cantinas such as La Cervecería Union or Bar Morelos Mezcaleria. These places offer a more relaxed atmosphere and reasonable prices​.

8. Use Ride-Sharing Apps

Why: Taxis in Puerto Vallarta can be very expensive, especially for tourists.

How: Use ride-sharing apps like Uber for more predictable pricing. Alternatively, consider renting a car if you plan to explore outside the main tourist areas​​.

9. Explore Beyond the Tourist Zones

6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Puerto Vallarta And How To Avoid Them

Why: Tourist-heavy areas can be overcrowded and overpriced.

How: Visit neighborhoods like Versalles, Pitillal, and Marina Vallarta for more authentic experiences. These areas offer a variety of local markets, shops, and eateries that are frequented by locals​​.

10. Avoid Peak Times

Why: Visiting popular attractions during peak hours can lead to long waits and overcrowded spaces.
How: Go to popular sites early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the biggest crowds​​.

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