The coastal towns in Nayarit are conveniently located near two major cities with international airports: Puerto Vallarta (to the south) and Guadalajara (to the northeast), both of which are in the state of Jalisco. We also have several bus lines, rental car companies and local taxis that offer competitive travel options.
Once you get off the plane, your first stop is immigration. You will need to present your passport and your Tourist Visa (you will have filled this out on the plane. Be sure to keep the stamped portion, as you will need it when you depart from Mexico). After clearing immigration, you will enter the baggage claim area. Determining which of the carousels your luggage will come in on can be confusing since the monitors are not updated frequently, so be patient.
After collecting your luggage, you will go through customs where officials will again need to see your identification and ask you to press a button. If a “green light” appears, you may go directly through customs. If a “red light” appears, customs officials will inspect your luggage. Don’t worry, the inspection is not much more than a small inconvenience.
After customs, walk directly through the first and second set of sliding doors. There you will find rental car booths, taxi stands and a waiting area.
Bienvenidos – Welcome to Mexico!
The journey north from the airport in Puerto Vallarta will take approximately 15 minutes-1½ hours, depending on traffic. From the airport, follow Federal Hwy. 200 north (follow the signs toward Compostela/Tepic). You will pass the towns of Nuevo Vallarta and Bucerias. As you leave Bucerias, the road will narrow from four lanes to one lane in both directions. This winding stretch of road ahead will take you past Sayulita, San Francisco (San Pancho), Lo de Marcos and El Monteón, before you approach the Jaltemba Bay area (Los Ayala, Rincón de Guayabitos and La Peñita).
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.
Mexico’s Pacific Coast is known for its charming coastal towns, pristine bays, jungle-covered mountains, golden sand beaches, spectacular sunsets, diverse flora and fauna, fabulous food, great shopping, colorful Huichol Indian artwork, outstanding surf breaks, world-class golf courses, and friendly hard-working people.
Here, you’ll find the perfect mix – from quaint fishing villages to secluded beach hideaways, from flea markets to chic boutiques, from micheladas to martinis, from budget hotels to ritzy gated resorts – and they’re all waiting to be explored.
And lucky for you, the Explore Nayarit Directory can help you hire a tour guide, find a rental car or catch a bus to travel from town to town. The journey from the Puerto Vallarta airport to Tepic, the capital city of the state of Nayarit, or the coastal town of San Blas is only 3-3½ hours each way, and there’s so much to see along the way.
Get out there and explore Nayarit, Mexico
Most major airlines and several charter companies offer flights to the Puerto Vallarta Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR). Here is a list of airlines that fly into PVR:
If you want to take a bus from Puerto Vallarta, you will need to take a taxi from the airport to the main bus station (Central Camionera), located 10 minutes from the airport. There are two terminals at this station: Terminal de Autobuses and Terminal Vallarta Plus. Go to the Terminal de Autobuses, locate the Pacifico counter and purchase a ticket to the town you are traveling to. Pacifico buses depart from the terminal every 20 minutes (from 6am-11:30pm). Once you arrive, you can take a taxi to your final destination.
Another option is to take the Compostela-Pacifico bus line (white and green buses), which offers service to Sayulita, San Pancho, Lo de Marcos and Rincón de Guayabitos. Exit the airport and walk across the highway using the pedestrian bridge. Watch for a “Compostela” bus with a sign in the window that reads Sayulita, San Pancho or the name of the town you want to travel to. Buses pass by approximately every hour and tickets cost $20-35 pesos. Please note that not all Compostela buses drive this route, so be sure to ask before you board.
It is certainly not necessary to rent a car, but doing so will give you more freedom than using buses or taxis, especially if you want to explore other towns and beaches. You will find all major car rental companies at the Puerto Vallarta airport.
Because your hometown auto insurance policy does not cover you while driving in Mexico, you are required to purchase liability insurance ($25-35 USD daily). You may also purchase collision if you’d like. In order to rent a car, you will need a valid driver’s license and a major credit card.
Taxis are the fastest and easiest way to get to your destination from the airport in Puerto Vallarta. Tickets can be purchased at any ticket booth in the airport, and the ride will cost $500-1,500 pesos depending on where you are going, how many people in your party, how much luggage you have, and whether you need a car or large taxi van to accommodate your group. Most taxi drivers will accept US dollars, but prefer pesos. Airport taxis are typically available at all hours, even for late flight arrivals.