Travel Blog

Pablo and the Buses of Puerto Vallarta

Buses of Puerto VallartaThe buses of Puerto Vallarta deserve a special post for a number of reasons which we will describe throughout this post. If you  are from anywhere other than North America or Europe, you might say what is the big deal? Many bus systems simply do not measure up to the service and comfort of North American systems. Heck we even have air conditioning in our buses in the city were I live. The Puerto Vallarta city buses are very inexpensive to use and will take you just about anywhere in the city. They do take some getting used to and the drivers are probably the most skilled on the continent. If you are traveling from once side of the city to another you will have to change buses and pay another fare. With the fares so cheap, it is no big deal.

No Air Conditioning

But the Buses of Puerto Vallarta may not have air conditioning but they do have a lot more in the way of service, friendly drivers and a safe environment to ride the buses. First, though we  need to describe these buses so that readers will know what I am talking about.  They are typically Mercedes buses that were built to be school buses. The picture at the left is pretty typical of a bus in Puerto Vallarta.

They have the route information painted on the windshield and they usually have a large steel bumper on the front to deal with any cars that might get in the way. You have to climb up 2 or 3 steps to get into them and some also have rear exits.  The seats are metal with no cushion at all and the seat backs are often pretty straight. this is not something you would want to ride on for any length of time.

Buses of Puerto Vallarta – Friendly Service

We found that these buses are usually on time. The drivers are friendly and will help you out if you are lost or need to know which bus to take. The roads are pretty rough and these buses receive a lot of punishment. They do shake , rattle and roll to quote an old expression. It is amazing there are not more accidents with the buses and cars. However I think that any car driver knows he will lose the battle. His car will be severely damaged in an accident, while the bus will be barely scratched. The car drivers stay out-of-the-way.

We also found that at night when it is dark, the driver will often drop you off right at the entrance to your home or condo depending on were you live. We sure do not get that in North America.

Safe Environment

In North America, the money exchange of paying for your bus ride has been taken away. Now we use only tickets in the majority of the time. If you do use real money, you must have the exact change or just pay the extra. Puerto Vallarta city bus drivers have a wooden tray with all of the coins and bills arranged in an organized manner. It is right out front for everyone to see. We never heard of anyone trying to steal the money or any incident at all!

It took us awhile to figure out were the bus stops actually were. We found most of them by watching were the buses would stop to let off passengers and take on additional riders. There are simply no bus stop signs so you have to watch and observe. Once you know were the stops are from experience, you just get on with life and enjoy the beautiful weather and the culture.

Buses of Puerto Vallarta – Making Change

Now what is really interesting, is that if you are the last passenger to get on at a stop, the driver already has the bus in motion. The door closes and he is navigating the streets in traffic. This is while he waits for you to get your change out. When you hand him the exact change he just throws it in the pile in the middle of this wooden tray I mentioned. He sorts it out later when he is stopped for a traffic light. If you need change, you might have to wait 30 seconds while he navigates the street and shifts gears about 3 times. Then while driving counts the correct change and hands it to you. All the while you are holding on for dear life. Then must find a seat walking down the aisle in this rocking  and noisy bus.

We found that the buses were noisy, they shook a lot, and they were hot. However if you overlook these things, you find that they offered very good service and very inexpensive rates.  I only tore my shorts once on a metal edge of a seat that somehow had been bent leaving a sharp edge. It is all part of the experience of being in Mexico in Puerto Vallarta!


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One Response to “Pablo and the Buses of Puerto Vallarta”

  1. the buses in the city of peurto vallarta are part of the charm and the experience of visiting the city. You have to ride on these buses at least once while you are there. They are very inexpensive to use to get around

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