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Puerto Vallarta, JA

Puerto Vallarta NightlifeAmong the cheapest things to do after dark is a stroll along the malecón (Paseo Díaz Ordaz). Sunday evenings in particular bring out local families, mariachi bands, street performers and the ubiquitous vendors.

The loud, flashy nightclubs along the malecón tend to attract younger crowds. Hip-hop booms at Mandala Puerto Vallarta , Paseo Díaz Ordaz #644. This sleek, partially open-air dance club has flat-screen TVs playing the latest hip-hop videos and a giant Medusa statue towering over the bar. Next door, techno pulses in the cave-like Zoo Bar , a safari-themed club complete with a bouncer in a gorilla suit and an elevated “dance cage.” There's more revelry at La Vaquita, Paseo Díaz Ordaz #610.

These and other clubs usually stay open into the wee hours, and often until dawn during spring break weeks. Dress codes aren't strict, but don't show up in your soggy swim trunks and flip-flops. There's usually no cover charge; however, drink prices are steep.

Puerto Vallarta also has American-style sports bars where you can grab a bite to eat, play a board game, watch sports on TV or just sit and chat. El Torito Sports Bar & BBQ House, Av. Ignacio L. Vallarta #290, features satellite broadcasts of sports events and a casual menu with the likes of nachos, ribs and beer-battered shrimp. Steve's Sports Bar & Grill, at Basilio Badillo #286 (across the street from Memo's Pancake House), is a casual sports pub frequented by local expats and NASCAR, NHL and NFL enthusiasts.

For romantic things for couples to do, catch a live jazz combo at Le Bistro Jazz Cafe , a stylish supper club at the eastern end of Isla Río Cuale. Mexican-style fiestas with dinner buffets, folk dancing and live music take place at big hotels like the Krystal Puerto Vallarta and the Sheraton Buganvilias Resort & Convention Center . For schedule and reservation information, check with the hotels or a local travel agency.

Pirates of the Bay sets sail nightly on a 4-hour dinner cruise and pirate show. Passage on the replica pirate ship includes live entertainment, a buffet meal, open bar, dancing and a fireworks display launched from the boat. Cruises depart the Maritime Terminal daily at 7 p.m. (and on a reduced schedule during low season). The fee for adults is $160 (U.S.). A more family-friendly version of the cruise is available Mon.-Sat. mornings at 10 a.m. Make reservations through your hotel, or phone 01 (800) 099-0237 (toll-free long distance within Mexico) or (855) 530-5733 (toll-free from the United States and Canada).

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Puerto Vallarta, JA

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Sheraton Buganvilias Resort & Convention Center

Blvd Francisco Medina Ascencio 999. Puerto Vallarta, JA 48333

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Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa

Paseo La Marina Norte 435. Puerto Vallarta, JA 48354

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Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort

Ave de Las Garzas 136-1. Puerto Vallarta, JA 48333

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The Westin Resort and Spa Puerto Vallarta

Paseo de La Marina Sur No. 205 Marina Vallarta. Puerto Vallarta, JA 48354

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Travel Information

City Population

255,681

Elevation

6 meters (20 feet)

Police

In case of emergency, dial 060 and ask to be connected to an English-speaking operator. For non-emergencies phone (322) 290-0507.

Consumer Protection

Avenida Francisco Villa #900 (second floor); phone (322) 225-0000 (English may not be spoken fluently). The office is open Mon.-Fri. 9-3 and can assist with time share, taxi, store and other consumer-related issues.

Hospitals

Ameri-Med Hospital, in Plaza Neptuno at the entrance to Marina Vallarta (Boulevard Francisco Medina Ascencio), (322) 226-2080; CMQ Downtown Hospital, Basilio Badillo #365 at Insurgentes, (322) 223-1919; Red Cross (Cruz Roja), Avenida Río Balsas (at Avenida Río de la Plata), (322) 222-1533. All of these facilities are open 24 hours.

Local phone calls

If you don't have a cellphone, use public Telmex phones marked “Ladatel” rather than calling from your hotel room, which almost always incurs a hefty per-minute charge. Ladatel phone cards are available in various denominations from most local stores. Avoid phones with pictures of credit cards or decals saying ”3 minutos gratis” that advertise long distance calling to the United States and Canada; the charges will be outrageous.

Newspapers

Vallarta Today is an English-language daily newspaper geared toward tourists; it has information on everything from local restaurants to currency exchange rates.

Visitor Information

Avenida Independencia Puerto Vallarta, JA . Phone:(322)224-1175

Currency Exchange

Banks are usually open Mon.-Fri. 9-5, although hours for exchanging foreign currency may be restricted and there's often a long waiting line. Currency exchange houses are open longer hours. ATM withdrawals are in pesos; receiving U.S. dollars usually requires a Mexican bank-issued ATM/credit card. Stores, restaurants, taxi drivers and street vendors will often accept dollars, but keep in mind that the minimum wage in Mexico is very low and workers in resort areas depend on tips to make a living. Always tip in pesos if possible, since U.S. coins are useless and dollars must be converted.

Staying Safe

Crimes targeting tourists are infrequent, and it's safe to walk the downtown streets. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash in public and don't wander along back streets after dark. A hotel safety deposit box is a good place to keep money, passports, airline tickets, tourist permits and so forth. Bilingual “tourist police” wearing white safari outfits and baseball caps patrol the downtown area and are generally friendly and helpful.

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