Once you’ve arrived at the Puerto Vallarta Airport, there are several available methods to get to your hotel.
Pre-Arranged Airport Transfers
More and more people are utilizing pre-arranged airport transfers with a private company like Puerto Vallarta Tours or Vallarta Transfers. The main advantages to pre-booking your transfer are peace of mind, comfort, air-conditioning, a new and comfortable vehicle, and some companies also feature English-speaking drivers, which is a nice touch especially for first-time visitors.
When you book a pre-reserved airport transfer, you typically will have your driver waiting for you holding a sign with your name on it, or the company’s name. You will typically receive instructions on how to make your way through the “shark pit” without incident, and your driver will normally show you to your vehicle and help you with your luggage.
Many companies are also offering round-trip transfers, where you can arrange a pick-up from your hotel to take you back to the airport. The price for these transfers is not usually much higher than a taxi, if at all, and for many tourists it’s an easy choice. Some companies are offering airport shuttle service, where you can share with other guests to bring down the cost, while others do strictly private, non-stop transfers.
Government taxis are located at the airport, and you can buy tickets for them at the booth just beyond the timeshare area. The rates are quite a bit higher than those of city taxis, usually comparable to a private transfer. Drivers will typically not speak English, the vehicles normally are not equipped with air-conditioning, and are usually Nissan Sentra-type sedans that seat three people. The trunks are pretty small, so if you have a lot of luggage consider it will have to ride in the seat with you or in the front seat. When you return to the airport, you can take a city taxi, which are usually yellow, if you haven’t already pre-arranged a private transfer.
Some people will drag their luggage outside the airport and over the bridge to the city taxi stand, which is a little bit cheaper, but not much, and most people consider it worth the few extra pesos for the convenience of loading in the bags right at the airport.
For people traveling light and on the cheap, there is a bus stop just outside the gates of the airport. This should really only be considered by those really on a budget, because it’s not terribly convenient, with no air-conditioning, and of course not very comfortable. The city buses in Puerto Vallarta are functional, but usually old and worn out, not like the tourist-class buses used on sightseeing tours.
Rental cars are available at the airport. All the major brands are represented here. See our Airport Services page for detailed information on car rentals. Most people do not rent cars in Puerto Vallarta because the traffic can be pretty crazy. But, particularly those who like to explore on their own outside of town, or those staying north or south of town in private condos or villas sometimes do rent cars. Taxis are readily available in town and inexpensive.