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Topics include Dining Scene, Mexico: For Foreign Visitors & more!
There really are not 101 Tips but some are so good they are worth 10 points! (From a Forum post, started by bzy1)
Booking a Room
•Ocean Front means you have a clear view of the ocean.
•Ocean view means you have an Ocean View which can mean you need to stand on the balcony, lean over and extend your neck to see a slice of blue.
East facing rooms are really nice, expecially if staying during the warmer periods. This gives a morning sun, but the afternoon shade can make your balcony much, much more comfortable in the afternoon and early evening times.
If the hotel has a concierge, contact them directly, if possible. They can do a LOT to make your stay a much more enjoyable one.
•Most of Vallarta is constructed with concrete. Sometimes the base of the bed is made of concrete as well. Expect a hard bed. If you need some softness, many grocery stores in Vallarta sell the egg crate foam pads for under $20. Consider buying one, much less expensive than a Chiropractor.
•Never expect a free upgrade. If you want a Jacuzzi suite or ocean front, book it. Hotels all have a reservation system and especially during high season and high occupancy they cannot just hand out a better room since someone else may have already booked it. During low season you can always ask if you can be upgraded and even then, they may charge you for the upgrade.
•If you specifically booked a room that has a king bed, ocean view, etc. and the room they put you in is not as good as the room you reserved, by all means demand (nicely!) that you receive the room you paid for.
•Always print your proof of confirmation in case anything is incorrect, this is your back-up.
If you're Booking Activities, Book them Early
Check the weather prior to your activity
General Tips in Random Order
•Pack more than one bathing suit. Wet bathing suits feel nasty when you put them on.
•Never use outdated SPF. Sunscreens have a shelf life of 3-5 years. Look for an expiration date.
•Take it Easy! Your body is stressed the first day of travel. Early flight, the actual flight, being dehydrated from flying then drinking alcohol (another dehydrator!) and some rich food on a empty stomach will throw your body in over-load. Slooooooowly get into vacation mode.
•Wash your hands A LOT! Your hands are touching dirty things all day (bathroom door handles, inside buses, taxis, money, items others picked up and handled, etc.) Then you eat something without washing your hands and transfer all that dirt and bacteria right into your tummy.
•Never bring brand new shoes on vacation! Break them in or do not pack them. Blisters are a vacation breaker!
•Pack light, pack right! Check with the hotel, you may not need to pack a beach towel or hair dryer. Summer is HOT. Pack light weight and light colored cotton clothes. Winter can be cool at night so pack one light cardigan sweater, jacket or a shawl in case you need it.
•You can buy insect repellant here at any grocery store or farmacia. Inexpensive and you probably will not need it.
•Spend a lot of time researching your vacation destination. The more you know the better vacation you will have. When you find things you want to remember, copy and paste it into a word document that you can print off and have everything at hand when you need it.
•NEVER lose your FMM. It is your Visa and you need to turn it in when you depart at the airport. Keep it safe with your Passport or other valuables. •If you are staying in Nuevo Vallarta, the State is NAYARIT. If you are staying in Puerto Vallarta the State is JALISCO. You will need this info when you fill out your FMM. Bring a pen! •Make photo copies of all of your important info BEFORE you leave and keep them separate from the originals. These include: Passport, Drivers License, Birth Certificate, Credit Cards, ATM Cards, and Travelers Checks.
•It is a good idea to always have some ID on you even if it is simply a piece of paper with your name, address, phone, a contact person’s info and your HOTEL. Always have this in your wallet/purse in case it falls out in a taxi or you forget it somewhere. Taxi drivers are good about returning lost items if they know where to go. •If you have a camera, also tape your contact info on the camera and/or case. (see above as to why.)
•Pack any valuables and medicines in your carry on. Also pack one change of clothes and a bathing suit in your carry-on in case they lose your luggage
•Exchange your money into Pesos right at the airport In Vallarta (Beware this has a poor exchange rate) or use your ATM card to withdraw Pesos at the ATMS from your bank at the best rate of exchange that day, there are several ATMs at the airport. (withdraw the Max amount for best value). If you can, order pesos from your bank at home in advance of your trip. You will get a good exchange rate and will not have to worry about finding an ATM right away.
•Dollars are accepted here at some places but you are at the mercy of the merchant’s exchange rate which can be only ten Pesos to a Dollar when the real rate is maybe 13 Pesos to the Dollar. You will save money in the end! $1000.00 at 13 pesos versus 10 Pesos per dollar nets you $300 or 300 beers if you want to look at it that way
.•If you know you have an early departure tour or flight out, bring a travel alarm clock; NEVER assume you will get that “wake up call”
.•You get what you pay for. This is for everything! If you book a cheap hotel, expect a cheap hotel. If you book the very least expensive All Inclusive, do not expect the Ritz. If you book the cheapest boat trip you will have a cheap boat trip. You cannot have high expectations if you go the least expensive route possible thinking you will have top shelf liquor, shrimp and deluxe accommodations. Not gonna happen.
•Vallarta has something for everyone. It is a tourist town but it is easy to get off the beaten path. You want a Miami like atmosphere it is here. You want real Mexican culture, it is here as well. Do your research.
•Please, do not pack water. Bottled water is everywhere and cheap, cheap, cheap. No fear, it is purified and safe to drink. Besides, if you were only planning on drinking beer or soft drinks, it has water in it as well…so there…..drink your water! And, be sure to drink lots of it. Number one reason people have tummy problems? They are dehydrated (alcohol is a dehydrator!) and did not drink water. If your ankles or feet swell it is an indicator you are dehydrated. Your kidneys need water to work, when they do not have enough water, they shut down and you start to retain it. Again, drink at least 48-64 ounces. If your ankles are swollen, drink some Jamaica water. (ha-M Y-ka) It is a deep fuchsia colored tea made from Hibiscus flowers and is a natural diuretic.
•And the most important tips: Remember, you are on vacation. Make the most of it. Explore Vallarta and enjoy all of her beauty. The people here are some of the friendliest people in the world. Learn a couple basic Spanish words and you will have fun with the language and interacting with the locals. Hola! Como estas? Gracias! Look for a few websites on line that have audio on how to pronounce the words. Go to a local bookstore and buy a small Mexican Spanish phrase book, they have lists of foods, common phrases, numbers, directions and all you need to know to make your vacation even better.
•And lastly, break out of your mold. Do something different that you normally would not do. Salsa dance. Jump in rain puddles. Eat a new food. Visit an orphanage or bring some things to donate to a charity. Take a bus. Talk to a stranger, make a new friend. Go to the Malecon on a Saturday or Sunday evening. Go on a canopy tour. Plan a romantic moment…a surprise dinner, a bunch of flowers, a sunset walk on the beach, a little gift tucked under the pillow, buy matching silver rings or necklaces, have dessert and Mexican coffee at a beachside restaurant, have a trio serenade you, write a vacation journal to each other and exchange when you get back home to relive your vacation. Enjoy your time in Puerto Vallarta, it truly is a magical place.