Arriving to Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta Airport is a pretty easy airport to arrive into.  It’s not huge, no trains or buses to speak of, but big enough you have all the services you need.  During high season, it can take some time, so be patient.

Puerto Vallarta Entry Requirements

To fly to Puerto Vallarta from the United States or Canada, you will need a valid passport.  If you do not have a passport, you can visit your local Consulate or Emabssy and get one or nowadays many people are using a passport service like or VisaHQ where you can get your passport without ever leaving home. 

If you are from the USA or Canada, no visa is required for stays of up to 180 days.  If you are from a country other than the USA or Canada, check to see if you need a visa here

Arriving to the Airport

Once you arrive at the Puerto Vallarta airport, you will proceed to the passport control and immigration line.  After passing through the passport control desk, you’ll proceed to baggage claim to pick up your bags.   Once you have your luggage, you’ll pass through customs.  You’ll show them your form, and they will x-ray your bags.  This part takes some time, so be patient. 

Timeshare Area (The Shark Pit)

When you arrive, you will find a sea of timeshare salesmen, often called the “shark pit”, who will be working diligently to get you to a “private room” where they can sell you timeshare, usually offering you discounts on tours and excursions or free taxi rides in exchange for visiting one of Puerto Vallarta’s timeshare resorts and listening to their sales pitch.  Unless you are actually in the market for timeshare, you will want to give these guys a miss, and walk directly through to your airport transfer.   It’s quite stressful for a new visitor, so just put your head down and keep on walking. 

Of course, if you are interested in purchasing a timeshare and don’t mind spending a day of your vacation listening to hard-sell salesmen, then you will have plenty of opportunities to score discounts or other offers.  These offers are also available on the street and most hotels in Puerto Vallarta, so you can also shop around.

If you’ve pre-arranged an airport transfer, your company will usually have instructed you how to bypass the shark pit.  Make sure you follow the instructions to the tee though, the timeshare guys will try anything.  They may impersonate your transfer company, they will almost certainly offer you a free airport transfer, and in the end they will entice you to visit a beautiful resort “free of charge”.   Most will ask you if you want a taxi – but these are not taxi drivers, they are timeshare salesmen.  There is a taxi stand where the authorized taxi drivers can be found and of course your pre-arranged driver will be waiting for you at the designated location.

Flight Arrivals and Departures

You can monitor flight arrival and departure times either at a site like FlightStats or usually on your airline’s individual website.  This is useful to watch for any delays or cancellations.