Curious about how to get from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta? Look no further.
This guide has been written by a local and covers all of the various transport options available, their costs, and how long they take. That way, you can determine which is the best method for you.
There is a distance of 334.7 km between Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta. This journey takes approximately 5.5 hours overland, depending on the specific transport method that you use.
Charming Puerto Vallarta
The best Jalisco itinerary features a combination of visiting Guadalajara and Tequila in the northern part of the state and Puerto Vallarta in the southern part. The charming beach town of Puerto Vallarta is a great place to spend a week or two relaxing by the sea and lounging upon paradisical white-sand beaches.
There are plenty of things to do in Puerto Vallarta to keep you occupied – from nature and beaches to gastronomy, Puerto Vallarta restaurants, and culture. During the winter months, this is one of the best places for whale watching in Mexico.
The town also makes a great jump-off point for exploring some of the Pueblo Magicos in the area. For instance, Mascota, Talpa de Allende, San Sebastián del Oeste, etc.
How to get from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta
There are essentially four main options available for traveling from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta. The fastest and perhaps the most comfortable way to travel is to fly. The cheapest way of getting from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta is to take the bus.
Flying from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta
Flights between Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta run daily, with tickets costing an average of $45 USD (906 pesos) each way. There are usually multiple flights every day and the journey takes just 45 minutes.
Viva Aerobus, TAR Aerolineas, and Aeromar are among the airlines servicing this route. Keep in mind that you ought to try and arrive at Guadalajara airport around 2 hours before your flight is due to depart, which does add to your journey time. Still, opting to fly is substantially faster than opting to take the bus, even when you factor in all of your wait time and transfers to/from the respective airports.
Flight prices fluctuate throughout the year but you can usually secure reasonable deals, even if you reserve your ticket at the last minute. Still, there are savings to be made if you book everything in advance. Use a flight comparison website like Skyscanner to search for the best deal.
Getting from Guadalajara city to Guadalajara airport
Guadalajara International Airport (Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla Guadalajara International Airport) is the city’s international airport. It is situated just 18km south of the city center and can be accessed by bus, taxi, or airport transfer.
Organizing an Uber or an airport transfer is perhaps the most comfortable option. It is always a good idea to take an Uber in Guadalajara rather than get into a random street cab as the app offers more protection and accountability.
Not to mention, street cabs are likely to overcharge you as they assume that as a tourist you do not know the correct going rate! A one-way fare from the city center to the airport should cost between MX$170 – MX$200. (Between $5.50 and $10 USD). The journey should take around 40 minutes but you should allow a little extra time in case of traffic, particularly if you are traveling during rush hour.
If you prefer to travel to the airport by bus, you can take the bus with Autotransportes Guadalajara Chapala. This departs at frequent intervals throughout the day between 06:00 to 21:35 and the journey takes around 45 minutes. Do allow extra time on account of the various stops en route to the airport.
Getting from Puerto Vallarta airport to the city center
Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport is the airport that services Puerto Vallarta. It is right on the outskirts of town, just 25 minutes and 9.4km away from Zona Romantica, and 10 minutes and 4.1km away from the city’s hotel zone.
City taxis and Ubers are not permitted to operate from Puerto Vallarta airport. However, you can order an Uber when you land and have the driver pick you up just across the freeway.
You can easily cross the pedestrianized foot bridge to the other side of the road for cheaper fares. The bridge is accessed via a ramp, so it is manageable even with luggage.
Cab drivers are not happy about the existence of Uber in Puerto Vallarta as it takes business away from them. As you wait for your Uber, you may find cabbies asking you what you are doing.
It is best to tell them that you are waiting for a friend. Alternatively, you can take an airport cab, and your rate will be calculated depending on where in the city you are heading to. (Puerto Vallarta airport cabs are not metered).
Alternatively, you can organize an airport transfer in advance so that you know that someone will be waiting for you in arrivals when you land. Better yet, you will travel in a luxury air-conditioned vehicle with a bilingual driver and be provided with complimentary bottles of water. Private airport transfers start from $30.
If you prefer to take the bus, the bus to downtown Puerto Vallarta departs from right outside the arrivals terminal. The fare is only 10 pesos to get anywhere in the city.
You can check the latest schedule (in Spanish) here. Buses also connect Puerto Vallarta international airport with Nuevo Vallarta, Bucerias, and Sayulita, Nayarit.
Taking the bus from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta
Opting to take the bus is the cheapest way to make the journey from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta. Although, to be honest, the price savings are marginal compared to flight prices, with flight tickets only costing around $40 USD anyway. Obviously, overland travel is better for your carbon emissions.
A bus ticket costs 585 pesos ($29) each way and the journey takes just over 5 and a half hours.
Buses depart very frequently throughout the day, with several national bus companies servicing the route.
Buying your bus ticket
Primera, Pacifico, Vallarta Plus, and Futura are some of the reputable options to consider. Primera Plus and ETN are the “luxury” bus operators and offer more comfort and luxury for a slightly higher price.
Most buses that run along this route are clean and comfortable, even the older ones. Some of the “luxury” newer buses offer air conditioning, reclining seats, and complimentary snacks and beverages.
You can check the latest schedules and departure times here. Buying your ticket online in advance can save you a few pesos but you are generally fine to buy your ticket in person at the ticket office on your day of travel.
The only exception to this would be if you are traveling during the Mexican holidays (Christmas, Santa Semana, etc). At this time, you absolutely need to make advance reservations.
If you purchase your ticket at the ticket office in Guadalajara, it is a good idea to carry cash as station ticket offices do not always take cards. Be sure to allow plenty of time and arrive at least 30-45 minutes before your bus departs.
You can check your luggage into the bottom compartment of the bus for the journey. You will be handed a paper ticket which you need to keep with you and then present to the driver at the end of the journey.
Renting a car
Renting a car in Mexico is not as daunting as it may sound. Opting to drive in Mexico gives you a lot more freedom and flexibility with your schedule.
Not to mention, public transport in rural Jalisco leaves a lot to be desired. The state is home to many wonderful ruins, towns, and villages.
However, even the most popular destinations are not easy to access without a car. If you choose to drive from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta, you can stop en route at Magdalena, the ruins of Ixtan del Rio, etc.
Many reputable international rental companies operate in Guadalajara and wider Jalisco – including Europcar, Sixt, Budget, and Avis. Car rentals in Mexico cost, on average, between $20-30 per day including full coverage insurance.
It is worth comparing and contrasting the prices offered by various different companies. Discover Cars is a great platform for searching for all of the best deals available. You should note, however, that the roads between the two cities are mountainous and if you are not confident about driving overseas, this can be daunting.
You essentially have two different routes that you can take. Either you can opt to drive Highways 15D / 200 or you can take Highway 70.
You should not drive at night in Mexico – both for safety and visibility reasons. Many roads in Jalisco are not well-lit, and there are often hazards, such as potholes and wildlife.
Do keep in mind that if you are planning on picking the car up in Guadalajara and dropping it off in Puerto Vallarta (rather than traveling in a loop), one-way rentals are often more expensive.
Organizing a taxi or private transfer
Trying to organize a taxi or private transfer from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta is not really the most economical or practical option. The journey takes 5 hours each way and is likely to cost between $240-$250 USD based on a vehicle for up to 4 people.
If you want to go ahead with this option, you will need to reserve your vehicle in advance. Generally speaking though, you are better off opting to either fly or take the bus. Even if you are a family of 4 or 5, it works out cheaper or around the same for you to purchase all of your plane tickets as it does to organize a private car.
Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta FAQs
Do you still have any burning questions or concerns about how to get from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta? Hopefully, you will find the answers you are looking for below.
How much is a bus ticket from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta?
A bus ticket from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta will cost you approximately 585 pesos ($29) each way. There may be slight variations depending on the specific bus operator that you decide to travel with. Luggage is included in the price.
How far is Guadalajara from Puerto Vallarta by plane?
It takes 45-55 minutes to fly to Puerto Vallarta from Guadalajara.
How far is Guadalajara from Puerto Vallarta on the bus?
It takes around 5 hours and 50 minutes to make the journey between Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta by bus. Do allow for extra time due to the various stops that the bus will make en route. There is a distance of 334.7 km between the two cities.
Can you fly from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara?
Yes. It is easy to fly from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara. The flight takes 45 minutes and there are multiple departures throughout the day.
Final thoughts on getting from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta in 2023
Do you have any additional questions on how to get from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta? Have you made this journey in the past?
If you are traveling to Mexico for the first time, you may also enjoy reading this list of Mexico travel tips to know before you go. Have a wonderful time exploring Mexico!
Safe travels! Buen viaje! Xo