Note: All United States citizens are required to have a valid passport to re-enter the United States.
Size / Population: The population of Puerto Vallarta (P.V.) is 350,000.
Political Status: Puerto Vallarta is located in the state of Jalisco in the Republic of Mexico. Riviera Nayarit is located just 10 mins. north of the Puerto Vallarta Int'l Airport in the state of Nayarit.
Language: Spanish is the primary language but English is widely spoken in the tourist areas. It will be handy to learn a few key Spanish phrases.
Currency: The Mexican Peso is the primary currency. U.S. dollars are accepted in some locations. ATMs are available and credit cards are widely accepted.
Electricity: 110 volts, same as U.S.
Time Zone: Banderas Bay is divided in the middle by two states: Jalisco (where Puerto Vallarta is located) and Nayarit (from Nuevo Vallarta north). Both states are in Central Standard Time; Daylight Saving Time is observed.
Communication: To dial Puerto Vallarta or Riviera Nayarit from the U.S dial 011 + 52 + 322(area code) and the 7-digit local number (329 in the Punta Mita area). International telephone calls from Mexican hotels can be very expensive, so it best to use your own phone credit card service or use the Telmex phone booths that take Ladatel phone cards (available in denominations of 30, 50 and 100 pesos) or call collect. Internet service is widely available in resorts and cafes. Check with your cell phone provider for information regarding international coverage.
Drinking Water: Water in Puerto Vallarta is among the best in Mexico and is tested regularly. Most restaurants, bars and hotels use purified water. If in doubt ask ("agua purificada"). In the countryside, or when in doubt, stick to bottled water, readily available.
Transportation: Taxis are abundant and the fares are set. The local bus service is efficient and affordable – around 40 cents. There are several rental car companies as well. Drivers must be 25 years old and must be in possession of a valid U.S. driver’s license and major credit card.
Local Customs: The legal drinking age is 18. Tipping: generally 15% in restaurants; bellmen: $1 per bag; housecleaning staff: $1-$2 per day. Gas station attendants fill your tank and appreciate a tip, but it’s not mandatory.
Getting Married: U.S. citizens can legally get married in Mexico. Please contact a Vacation Express representative for details on resorts offering special wedding packages and to discuss your particular wedding requirements. Our experienced group department will be happy to assist with travel arrangements for all attendees.
The information below is a general list of requirements to perform a legal wedding ceremony in Mexico. Depending on the area of Mexico or even resort you have chosen for your wedding ceremony, legal requirements may vary. Please check with the Mexico tourism department or wedding coordinator at your resort for additional information on legal requirements and fees for weddings in Puerto Vallarta. All foreign documents which are to be submitted (except passports) must have the legal Spanish translation and must be certified by an Apostille. An apostille is an internationally recognized notary certification, done in the country of origin of the document, and usually issued by the State Department of each country. In the United States, contact the Secretary of State in the state where you live. All information below is subject to change without notice.
Ceremony: For a wedding ceremony to be considered legal and binding in Mexico, the bride/groom must have a civil ceremony with a Justice of the Peace.
(Note: A civil ceremony is a marriage performed with no religious affiliation, officiated by a Judge, Mayor, Justice of the Peace or non-denominational minister. Civil ceremonies can be performed just about anywhere. In a judges chambers, at the wedding location, the City Clerk's office, or even on the beach. In most cases, couples can choose the ceremony's wording and offer their own vows as they see fit. Religious readings can also be added, if this is what the couple desires.)
Most hotels offer symbolic (or non-legal) ceremonies as well, for those who choose to marry at home first then celebrate with a symbolic destination wedding with family and friends in attendance. Again, only a civil marriage is recognized as legal. Persons wishing to do so may also have a religious ceremony, but it has no legal effect and does not replace in any way the legal and binding civil marriage. A civil wedding in Mexico is fully valid for legal purposes in the U.S.
Documentation: The bride/groom must bring original copies of the following documents:
• Original and copy of official birth certificate
• A valid, non-expired passport
• Tourist Card (this is given to all arriving passengers at the airport - keep it in your passport)
• Original prenuptial medical certificate with test results issued locally within 15 days of wedding
• Divorce or death certificate if applicable
• Original and copies of the official identification of two witnesses
Divorced/Widowed Travelers: For divorced or widowed parties, you must provide official copies of the divorce decree (Decree Absolute) or a certified death certificate. Divorced people cannot marry in Mexico until one year after the termination of the divorce.
Blood Test: A blood test will need to be performed in destination with test results for venereal disease, HIV and Rh factor (blood type) determined prior to the wedding. Note: Some resorts provide this service onsite. Check with your wedding coordinator.
Waiting Period/Residency Requirement: It is recommended that the bride/groom arrive at least 5 days (or 3 business days) prior to the wedding date to ensure time for translation into Spanish of any necessary documents and processing of paper work; however, there is no legal residency requirement.
Witnesses: You must have two witnesses over the age of 18 each with proper identification credentials. Your destination wedding resort may provide witnesses if necessary.
Fees: Marriages are performed without charge at the the “Registro Civil” (or Local Registry Office). If performed elsewhere, a license fee may apply. Fees vary so consult your wedding coordinator at your destination wedding resort for the most current information.
Ten Spanish Phrases Everyone Should Know
- ¿Cuánto cuesta? How much is it? (As you're pointing at an item)
¡Qué hermosa eres! You are so beautiful! (To a girl ... For guys, substitute “hermosa” with “guapo,” which means “handsome”)
¿Donde estoy? Where am I?
¿Cómo se dice ... ? How do you say ... ? (Followed by the word you wish to learn)
¡Muchas gracias! Thank you!
Con permiso. Excuse me. (As you are trying to get by someone)
Por favor ... Please ...
No hablo español. ¿Hablas inglés? I don't speak Spanish. Do you speak English?
¿Dónde está ... ? Where is ...
No, gracias. No, thanks.