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What to Bring
» Passport: You now need a passport for all travel into Mexico from the United States and Canada. If you do not currently have a passport, please plan ahead since it can take up to 6-8 weeks to process. For more information, visit: www.travel.state.gov (US citizens) or www.canadainternational.gc.ca (Canadian citizens).
» Tourist Visa: You will obtain and fill out a Tourist Visa on the plane. Be sure to keep the stamped portion, as you will need it when you depart from Mexico.
» Driver’s License: It’s always a good idea to carry your Driver’s License when you travel.
» ATM Card: Using an ATM machine is by far the easiest way to get Pesos, plus you will get the best exchange rate (see our section on Money, Credit Cards & Tipping for more information).
» Credit Card: You should bring a credit card for any major purchases, or in case of emergency.
» Small Spanish (Latin American) Dictionary or phrase book will come in handy since most locals do not speak English.
What to Wear
Most people tend to pack way too much when they go on vacation. Once you get here and get into the "mañana" frame of mind, what you wear won't seem quite as important. And that way you’ll leave plenty of room to bring back souvenirs and a bottle of your favorite tequila for friends and family.
Life here in Mexico is very casual and the weather is usually warm, so beach wear, casual resort wear, and flip flops or sandals are perfect during the daytime. Bring a pair of lightweight pants and a sweater or jacket as the evenings can sometimes get cool. We may also suggest that you pack a pair of tennis shoes or comfortable walking shoes for walking on the cobblestone streets.
Travel & Health Insurance
Some US health care plans provide health coverage in Mexico, but it is typically limited, so ask your health care provider what is covered before you travel. Because Mexico does not have any reciprocal health care arrangements with any other country, all treatment you receive from clinics and hospitals including doctor visits, medication, emergency transportation, etc. must be paid in full. As you can imagine, the costs can add up quickly in the case of an accident or medical emergency.
If your travel to Mexico and are not covered by your medical plan, you will need to buy insurance separately. The cheapest and easiest way is to buy insurance is through the airline when booking your flight. The cost is usually less than $50 USD, and it covers emergency medical costs. Trip Insurance on some airlines also includes travel cancellation and interruption coverage.
We enjoy over 320 days of sunshine per year, with temperatures averaging 28°C (82°F) because Banderas Bay is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Sierra Madre Mountain range on the east, we have a sub-tropical climate with basically two seasons:
» The Dry Season runs from November to May, when daytime temps are 25-29°C (78-85°F), cooling to around 13-18°C (55-65°F) at night during the winter months.
» The Rainy Season runs from June to October, bringing tropical rains and temperatures in the 90°sF with very high humidity. The hottest months are August and September. During Rainy Season, we get can anywhere from 13-35 centimeters (5-14 inches) of rain per day.
When you arrive in Puerto Vallarta, you will be on Central Time. Nayarit, Sayulita, Bucerias, Nuevo Vallarta are now on the SAME time zone as Puerto Vallarta.
The majority of business owners and residents in Banderas Bay do not speak English, therefore, we recommend that you bring a small Spanish (Latin American) dictionary or phrase book. Learning Spanish is easier than ever these days with the access to the internet. Visual Link Spanish offers free online lessons, and Dictionary.com will email you a Spanish Word of the Day.Learning a few key words and phrases, like hello, how are you, my name is, please, thank you, I'm sorry, when, where, and how much will come in handy. Remember to speak slowly and smile. Making an effort to speak Spanish with the locals will greatly enhance your experience in Mexico.
It’s best not to drink the water in Mexico. Bottled drinking water is available everywhere, and restaurants only use ice made from purified water... so there is no reason not to order one more margarita!
Mexico uses standard 120-volt/60-cycle current, the same as the US and Canada, so adapters are not needed.
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