Uber in Puerto Vallarta is one of the best ways to get around this gorgeous coastal city. The app is widely available throughout the area and you will be able to easily find a vehicle wherever you are in the city. Ubers are available everywhere from Downtown Puerto Vallarta, and Los Muertos beach, to all the way out in Conchas Chinas.
Better still, taking Ubers here is perfectly safe. As far as most Mexicans are concerned, this is one of the best ways to get around.
Locals tend to favor Ubers much more than local cabs.
This guide has been written by a local based in Mexico so rest assured, you are in good hands here 😉 It will run through everything you need to know before using the ride-sharing app in Puerto Vallarta and practical tips on how to stay safe.
Using Uber in Puerto Vallarta in 2023
It is worth downloading the Uber app before you fly out to Mexico so you are all set and ready to go. When you arrive in the country, be sure to pick up a Mexican sim card so that you stay connected and can always order a car wherever you are.
If you are not familiar with the concept of Uber, it is a rideshare app that connects you with local drivers. It uses GPS to detect your location and from there, you can order a driver to take you to your intended destination.
You can also order cars in advance. One great thing about the app is that the price and route that the driver will take are displayed at the time of booking.
That way, there are no surprises. Taking an Uber is usually a much cheaper option than taking a licensed cab.
In my experience, Ubers are often half the price of official taxis in Puerto Vallarta. Ouch! You can pay for your journey in cash (Mexican pesos), by Apple Pay, or by credit or debit card.
Is Uber in Puerto Vallarta Safe?
It is very safe to use Uber in Puerto Vallarta. As a matter of fact, it is actually safer than getting into a yellow taxi in the street, which is actually something that might come as a surprise to hear.
When you think about it though, it makes sense. When you get into an Uber, you have more information on the driver whose car you are getting into.
There is more accountability.
When you get into an Uber, you have the driver’s name, license plate, and car details. They are also verified via the app, meaning that Uber has a lot more additional personal information, in the event of any problems.
You simply don’t have that when you get into a random street cab. The app also saves your ride history, meaning that if you need to contact the driver for any reason after your journey (perhaps you left something in their car), you can do.
Mexico is actually the third-largest global market for Uber, after the United States and Canada. There are over 7 million registered users and the app controls over 80% of the ridesharing market in the country.
With so many people dependent on Uber, new safety measures are constantly being implemented. First of all, you can share your journey in real time with friends and family so they know where you are and who you are with.
Second, you can now audio record your journey and send it to Uber. This isn’t likely to be something that you need, but it is reassuring to know that if a driver acts sketchy or asks for additional payments, you can obtain audio proof and send it to the app.
How Much Does Uber in Puerto Vallarta Cost?
Obviously, the cost of taking an Uber in Puerto Vallarta varies depending on where you are staying, where you are going, the demand at that time, etc. Prices often increase as much as 50% at peak time periods. (For instance, when it rains or on Friday/Saturday evenings).
As a guideline, from Puerto Vallarta airport to Nuevo Vallarta, you are looking at around 240-300 pesos. From Conchas Chinas to Puerto Vallarta airport, you are looking at around 220-300 pesos.
From the airport to Zona Romantica, you can expect to pay around 150 pesos. When you travel a short distance within the downtown/Playa de Los Muertos area, you are likely to pay between 50-80 pesos one day.
On the whole, the app works out a lot cheaper than using licensed cabs.
If you are traveling at a peak time or demand is higher than usual, you will see a notification in the app telling you just that. Sometimes, the price difference is not just a couple of bucks so it pays to wait 5-10 minutes and then the prices will drop back down again after a short wait.
Uber vs Licensed Local Cabs
You should never get into a random street cab in Mexico. Puerto Vallarta is a safe place generally, but unfortunately, scams do exist in Mexico, particularly in areas that are frequented by tourists.
You can expect people to try and overcharge you a lot in Puerto Vallarta, and cab drivers are no different. They may charge you as much as 2-3 times the correct rate, with the assumption that as a tourist you have no idea what the price should be.
On the scarier end of the spectrum, getting into a random car leaves you open to express kidnappings. Express kidnappings, although not incredibly common, do happen in Mexico.
This takes place when an unsuspecting tourist gets into the back of a taxi, the taxi driver drives a short distance, and then, several of his friends or accomplices enter the vehicle. The passenger is then forced to hand over all of their valuables and the driver and co will drive around, forcing him/her to withdraw the maximum amount of money each time.
The victim is usually released unharmed and there is never any intention to hurt them from the start. However, this is no doubt a traumatizing experience that you want to avoid if you can help it.
What Safety Measures to Keep in Mind
Uber in Puerto Vallarta is safe but it’s not perfect. There are a few additional measures that you can take to help ensure your own safety.
First of all, when you order a cab, do a quick check of the driver’s profile. Make sure that they have done a decent number of trips (ideally a few thousand) and that they have a good rating (of 4.5 or above).
If they are completely new to the app or their rating leaves a lot to be desired, cancel the trip. If you do so quickly, Uber will find you a new driver at no additional charge.
However, if you wait until the driver is on their way to you to cancel, you will have to pay a small fee for their time. When the car arrives, make sure that the license plate number is correct and that the driver is the same as the one in the app photos.
If someone pulls up in a different car, do not get in. You might want to consider waiting at the pickup point and then waiting until the driver asks your name, rather than offering this information yourself.
Taking a Puerto Vallarta Airport Uber
You can certainly order an Uber to collect you from Puerto Vallarta Airport (Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International). Indeed, when you leave the terminal, you will see little cars floating around on the app.
However, only licensed cabs are allowed to pick you up from within the airport. So, to get an Uber, you will need to cross the road outside the airport and wait there.
This is perfectly legal and a lot of people do it. It is also worth the extra effort since airport taxis and private transfers often charge exorbitant rates.
The area directly outside of PVR airport is often referred to as ¨the shark tank¨ because of the sheer amount of people that wait to pounce upon unsuspecting tourists here and pressure you to take a ride with them.
Their starting fee is often around $30 USD which can be as much as 2-3 times the Uber fare.
Ignore them and carry on your way out of the airport to meet your Uber driver. Exit the airport and cross the busy Blvd. Francisco Medina Ascencio.
If you haven’t picked up a sim card or an E-sim for your cell phone yet, you will be pleased to know that there is free Wi-Fi in Puerto Vallarta airport. However, obviously, you will lose the signal when you head outside onto the sidewalk.
The free wifi in the airport is only valid for 30 minutes. Since it can take a while to get through customs, your best bet is to use it at the last minute right before you exit the terminal building so that you don’t lose internet access while waiting for your car.
Where to take a cab outside Puerto Vallarta airport
Exit the airport and cross the busy Blvd. Francisco Medina Ascencio.
There is a pedestrian bridge that makes crossing the road easy, and fortunately, this is accessible via a ramp. So, you don’t have to worry about carrying your luggage.
Your Uber driver will pick you up from outside one of the car rental places or taquerias on this road. Unfortunately, they cannot turn the car around and come to you on the airport side of the road as there is no place to stop.
(Minus a bus stop but it would be illegal and dangerous for them to stop there). That is why you need to make your way across the road.
There are usually plenty of cars in this area waiting for people to get off flights so you shouldn’t be waiting for more than 10-15 minutes at maximum. There is a lot of anti-Uber sentiment in Puerto Vallarta, particularly around the airports.
While you wait, you may be approached by people asking if you are waiting for an Uber. It is better to just say that you are waiting for a friend (amigo).
For all they know, you could have Mexican friends picking you up, or the parent of a Mexican partner.
It is unlikely and I have never had any problems with particularly harassing cab drivers, but if you feel uncomfortable, you can even opt to sit in the passenger seat next to the driver. That way, it looks more like you are traveling with a friend than an Uber driver.
Can I take a cab from downtown Puerto Vallarta to the airport?
Yes. There is no issue whatsoever in taking a cab from downtown Puerto Vallarta or elsewhere in the city and having it drop you off at the airport.
It is only from the airport where there are some restrictions.
Alternative Rideshare Apps in Puerto Vallarta
Uber is not the only rideshare app in Mexico. Cabify is also used in Mexico City, and Didi and In Driver are used elsewhere in the country.
Didi is perhaps the best Uber alternative to have on your radar. The app boasts similar safety features to Uber, however, fares can often be as much as 20-30% cheaper than those offered by Uber.
The only disadvantage is that sometimes there are fewer cars around and you may have to wait longer to be picked up. Some drivers also do not like accepting fares where the passenger is paying by ApplePay or debit/credit card as they have to wait longer for the money to hit their account, so try and pay in cash where you can.
You may find that you are unable to download the Didi app on your phone. You may first have to change your phone and Android/Apple ID (as applicable) settings so that your location is listed as Mexico, first.
Sometimes, when you need a cab, it is worth comparing the fare across both Uber and Didi. The price differences can often be relatively large.
In Driver app in Puerto Vallarta
In Driver is a third rideshare option and it is arguably the cheapest of the group.
Here, you specify your pickup and dropoff location and then quote the amount that you want to pay. Then, several drivers bid for your fare and you can choose the best offer.
You can see the driver information and if you have any Mexican friends, you will probably find that a lot of them prefer to use this app over the others. However, In Driver does not have the same safety features as the other apps.
A lot of drivers that use it just do Adhoc pickups here and there, rather than using the app for their career/livelihood as is the case with most Uber and Didi drivers. It is useful to be aware of this app but generally, it’s better to stick to Uber.
Final thoughts on taking Uber in Puerto Vallarta
Have you ever taken Uber in Puerto Vallarta? What was your experience like?
Have you traveled to Puerto Vallarta before? You may also be interested to note that Uber is also available in nearby Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco.
Uber is widely used across Mexico and although it is not available everywhere, it is a popular way to get around in Cancun, Mexico City, Merida, and other major cities.
Have a wonderful time exploring Mexico! Safe Travels! Buen Viaje! xo