How to be More Like a Local When Visiting Puerto Vallarta

Team Fuber

Team Fuber

Editor’s note: This is a guest spot from the enjoyable and well written expat blog Team Fuber, which is up for the “best expat blog award” at Expat Blogs. If you want to show your support for Jen and Sam, leave a comment at the contest site.


10. Take off your closed toed shoes; let your toes breathe and feel the fresh air (and get rid of that winter sock tan)! Seeing somebody walk down the beach in shoes is a dead giveaway that you are visiting.  I was shocked to discover recently, I no longer own any socks!

9. Learn to love the term ‘ahorita’.  Literally, the term translates to ‘right now’; however, it is actually used to mean ‘not right now’.  When locals use the term ahorita, it could signify right now, two minutes from now, or tomorrow.  Learn to love this phrase! And, I recommend even trying it out in your own conversations; it is very liberating for me as a recovering time-worried North American.

8. Greet others with a simple Buenos Días/Buenas Tardes/Buenas Noches or better yet, say Buen Provecho (enjoy your meal) as you walk past another person who is eating.  People may look up at you a bit puzzled, but will deeply respect this endearing acknowledgement.  Use these greetings when you walk into a small ‘tienda’ (store) or whenever you approach somebody with a question or comment.

7. Enjoy a splash in the ocean followed by a beer on the beach during sunset.  Get a cold beverage at a nearby ‘tienda’ (store) and sit in the sand rather than under an umbrella at a restaurant.  Sundays are popular days for local families to hang out together at the beach; picnic style.

6. Bypass the beach braids; unless you would rock this style at home.  In my opinion, this is the worst faux pas committed when traveling to a tropical destination; yes, even for a sweet, adorable seven year old child.  See multiple reasons why, here.  Locals don’t wear braids.

5. Only pay a bribe if you are in serious trouble and it is a last ditch solution to going to jail.  Otherwise, offer to go pay the fine at the office (traffic police will want your driver’s license; give it to them and it is most likely they will give it back, once they see there is no bribe coming).  Trust me.

4. Research the Mexican holidays before you arrive.  Talk to locals about events which are happening in the area.  The Mexican culture is deep in traditions and they really know how to celebrate! The majority of locals are happy you are interested in their culture and more than willing to share their knowledge with you.

3. Ditch the taxis and group tours; take local transportation.  The buses are easy and cheap; traveling along the coast of the Bay of Banderas (both big public buses and small white shuttle vans cost only several pesos, are fast, and stop frequently).

2. Eat at taco stands, as often as possible; and eat at the tables along the cobblestone streets while people watching (La Tia’s Mariscos in El Centro in Puerto Vallarta, Fish Tacos at the main plaza in Bucerias, and Las Sillas Rojas in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle are my favorite).

1. Slow down, smile, and be happy! The locals move slower, enjoy life for what it is, value personal relationships and know how to celebrate!

¡Viva Mexico!