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Taking a Bus in Puerto Vallarta Can Be Entertaining

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January 27, 2016

A system of urban buses can take you from one end of the bay to the other, and everywhere in between. The current fare is $7.50 pesos, and passengers must purchase a ticket every time they board a new bus.

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico - We do a lot of walking in Puerto Vallarta and for long distances, we find the taxis quite reasonable. They are everywhere, easy to flag down and not difficult on price negotiations. Lawfully, they should have a price chart in their car, in case you have any questions.

We do, however, appreciate a good bus ride when the dogs start to bark (feet get tired.)

Buses can be entertaining and we highly recommend riding them. If you miss one bus, you wait only a few moments before another comes along. At midday, when shifts change in shops and hotels, we wait for a full bus to pass by. There's always another one, often within short view.

The writing on the front, painted on in what looks like nurse's shoe polish, will tell you where the bus is bound. If you aren't sure, ask. Most bus drivers are friendly and helpful. You don't need to be exact. You want to head to town for the Saturday market? Just say 'Olas Altas' or 'Zona Romantica' and they will either nod or shake.

A special treat on buses in Puerto Vallarta is traveling musicians. You aren't obliged to give them money but we do, if we have coins. It's hard to ignore the outstretched hand of someone who is trying to make an honest living. The entertainer commonly stands at the front of the bus while singing their piece and then shuffles to the back door, collecting pesos. They often hop on a following bus or catch one in the opposite direction. This can often be a blessing, especially considering that oftentimes, the instrument of choice is an empty water bottle and a stick.

Deaf people travel buses in much the same way minstrels do, popping in the front door and treating the aisle like a gauntlet. They drop key chains, packs of gum or trinkets into passengers' laps. If we have the spare 20 pesos, we like to collect stocking stuffers for the end of the year. A business sized card with the sign language alphabet and a message in Spanish is part of the deal and they will need these back, unless you insist on keeping them. If you decline the purchase they will snatch it up quickly and move on.

Hang on to the flimsy tissue ticket the bus driver gives you in exchange for your fare. It's not a transfer like those handed over in most northern cities. It is your boleto (ticket) and it does happen that inspectors board buses occasionally to check all commuters for evidence of payment. More importantly, if the bus has an accident, it's your proof you were on board and all your expenses could be paid by the bus company, if you're injured.

Que es cómo es.

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