Everyday Information A-Z
Here is a complete list of helpful everyday information from banks and health, to phone, internet and time zones:
If you have additional information or notice that we have made a mistake, please contact us so we can fix it.
Banks, ATMs & Money Exchange
Prices here are almost always listed in Mexican Pesos, and paying in pesos will give you the best rate – this IS Mexico after all. Using an ATM machine or Cambio (money exchange) is by far the easiest way to get pesos, plus you will get the best exchange rate. The amount withdrawn is shown in pesos, and the equivalent amount according to the exchange rate of the day will be deducted from your bank account. Keep in mind that your bank (and the local bank) may charge a fee for each transaction – so it’s a good idea to take out as much money at a time as you feel comfortable carrying.
Most large stores and restaurants will accept US or Canadian dollars, but they won’t give you a very good exchange rate. If you have US or Canadian Dollars, you can buy pesos at the local Cambio for a slightly lesser rate.
- Because ATM locations change frequently, we suggest you ask about current locations on Jaltemba Bay Folk, our community forum.
The currency of Mexico is the Mexican Peso (MXN). Bank notes are printed in denominations of $20, $50, $100, $200, $500 and $1,000 pesos. The value of the peso fluctuates daily. To calculate the current rate, use the Currency Converter below.
Credit Cards & Checks
Most businesses DO NOT accept travelers checks or credit cards except when located in major cities like Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara; and personal checks are not accepted in Mexico, period. We do, however, recommend that you bring a credit card for any major purchases, or in case of emergency.
Churches & Religion
Information to come.
Mexico uses standard 120-volt/60-cycle current, the same as in the US and Canada so adapters are not needed. Electricity costs are higher here than north of the border, so help conserve electricity by turning off the lights and fans when you leave. The electric company in Mexico is called CFE (Comisión Federal de Electricidad).
Groceries & Liquor
We have several small grocery stores (tiendas and mini-supers) throughout the area where you can purchase snacks, tortillas, baked and canned goods, coffee, baking supplies, paper products, liquor, wine and beer. The fruit and vegetable stands (fruterías) carry a nice variety of fresh produce, berries and seasonal items; and the delis (cremerías), meat markets (carnicerías) and fish markets (pescaderías) sell local cheeses, meats and fresh, locally-caught fish and shrimp.
- View a list of Groceries & Liquor Stores in our area.
Health & Medical
There are a handful of small clinics, doctors, dentists and chiropractors in our area. The nearest hospitals are located in La Peñita, San Pancho and Puerto Vallarta. And you’ll find a good selection of medication, prescriptions, suntan lotion, health and beauty supplies, and more at the local pharmacies.
- Drinking Water – 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!
- Washing Fruits & Veggies – It is important to wash all your fresh fruits and vegetables with Microdyne (even the locals do). Simply put them in water with a few drops of Microdyne and let them soak for 20 minutes or so. Rinse them off and they’re ready to eat.
- View a list of Hospitals, Doctors, Dentists & Other Medical Services.
- View local Emergency Services & Police Phone Numbers.
Schools, banks, post offices and other public government offices are closed during these Mexican National Holidays. Often times, these and other major holidays include the nearest Monday to create a 3-day weekend called a “puente” (or bridge). For a complete list of holidays, festivals and local events, visit our event calendar.
- January 1 – Año Nuevo (New Year’s Day)
- February 5 – Día de la Constitución (Anniversary of the Mexican Constitution)
- March 21 – Natalicio de Benito Juarez (Birth of Benito Juarez)
- May 1 – Dia del Trabajo (Labor Day)
- September 16 – Dia de la Independencia (Mexican Independence Day)
- November 20 – Día de la Revolución (Mexican Revolution Day)
- December 25 – Día de Navidad (Christmas Day)
The majority of business owners and residents in our area 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. You can even find websites that offer free online lessons or 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.
Phone & Internet
We have put together a Phone & Internet Calling Guide to help you make local and long-distance calls from a landline or cell, and to and from Mexico to the United States and Canada.
Post Office & Shipping
- View a list of Packing, Shipping, Moving & Storage options in our area.
It is worth noting that when you arrive in Puerto Vallarta, you will be on Jalisco/Central Time. Once you head north, you will leave the state of Jalisco and cross into the state of Nayarit. While the time zone originally changed at the state line, a time zone change went into affect in 2010 within the Bahía de Banderas municipality, including the towns of Mezcales, Bucerias, Sayulita, San Pancho and Lo de Marcos. So once you pass Lo de Marcos (and head towards Los Ayala, Rincón de Guayabitos and La Peñita), be sure to turn your watches back one hour, as you will now be on Nayarit/Mountain Time.
Upon your return to the airport in Puerto Vallarta, remember that you will lose an hour as the time zone changes back to Central Time. Be sure to set your watches accordingly so you don’t miss your flight.
First of all, it’s best if you tip in pesos. Second, there are no hard and fast rules to tipping, however, you should realize that most service employees in Mexico earn very little or no base salary, and the tips they earn (called propinas) comprise the vast majority of their overall income.
Here is a list of tipping guidelines from two top Mexico travel websites…
- Baggage Handlers & Bell Boys – Tipping $10-20 pesos per bag is customary; more if you have a lot or heavy luggage, or if they must bring your bags up a flight of stairs.
- Taxi Drivers – Tip a driver 10-20% of fare; more if he provides an extra service, like loading or unloading your bags, waiting while you shop, etc.
- Gas Station Attendant – Tip $3 pesos if they wash your windows, or if you’re feeling generous. Any amount of loose change is appreciated.
- Grocery Bagger – Tip $2-5 pesos, as they work strictly for tips.
- Waiters – Tip 15-20% of the tab, and make adjustments depending on the quality of service and the price of the place. Because the cost of a restaurant meal is so inexpensive here, and because most of the staff don’t get paid wages, we tend to tip more to compensate for this. (Remember, you must ask for your bill “la cuenta por favor” in Mexico).
- Maids & Cleaning Staff – Tip is based on the occupancy of your room; $20-50 pesos per guest per housekeeping visit (or more if you leave dirty dishes, clothes around the room, and have tracked sand in).
- Spa Service & Massage Therapists – Tip 15-20% of the cost of the service or treatment.
- Tour Guides – If you’re on a tour with a lot of people (20-100), everyone should leave a tip of at least $5 USD. If you’re on a tour with a small group (like your family), each person in the tour should leave a tip equivalent to 15-20% of the cost of the tour.
- Fishing Captain & Crew – Tip a minimum of 15-20% of the cost of the charter for the group; more if you have a big catch. You can tip the Captain directly, or hand a tip to the Captain and each crew member.
- Mariachi Bands & Musicians – If you hire them to sing, there is no need to tip over and above the prearranged amount. For roving musicians, you should tip $3-10 pesos if you ask them to sing.
Water & Sewer
In some areas of Mexico, it is customary to throw your toilet paper in the trash can, rather than flushing it down the toilet. The reason for this is that the sewer system in town are very old and cannot accommodate toilet paper and foreign items. If you are unsure, ask the owner/manager where you are staying.
Since water is also a commodity in this part of Mexico, please help to conserve water. The Mexican public water and sewer company is called SIAPA (Sistema Intermunicipal para los Servicios de Agua Potable y Alcantarillado).
The Pacific coast of Nayarit, Mexico enjoys over 320 days of sunshine per year, with temperatures averaging 28° C (82° F). See our weather page for more information and local up-to-the-minute weather conditions.