I recently had the opportunity to travel to Puerto Vallarta. This was my first trip to Mexico and I had a wonderful time. There are some stark differences between this beautiful place and the United States. Here’s some quick observations.
A Warm Welcoming
After going through the usual airport check-in routine (Standing in long lines for customs and baggage claim), you are greeted by Hispanic men carrying shots of tequila and cups of margaritas. This is a genius way to welcome people into your country by the way.
Insane but Professional Drivers
They kind of do their own thing in Mexico when it comes to driving. You can kind of make out where there used to be lines separating lanes on the streets, but at this point, drivers just do whatever the hell they want and somehow, everyone obliges. There’s a method to their madness on the road and everyone just goes along with it.
The cab drivers are especially good. We almost got hit by a motorcycle, car and bus and the drivers are unfazed by it. Bobbing and weaving around vehicles that suddenly stop in the middle of the street, grinding over cobblestone instead of pavement we drive on in the states and avoiding pedestrians on foot or bicycle are a daily occurrence in Puerto Vallarta. These guys could give stunt drivers and New York cab drivers a run for their money.
They Love Their Tequila
I can’t tell you how many tequila shops I saw. In the airport when we arrived and left, in the city when we walked along the beach and in small towns where we hiked. And they love giving out free samples. We tried vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavors and they were all tasty.
Puerto Vallarta relies heavily on tourism and you can’t walk a mile anywhere without someone on the street or the beach trying to sell you something. There’s everything from jewelry, hats and blankets to wooden palm trees, bracelets and specially made bowls (Like the University of Oregon one I got!)
You kindly say “No Gracias” to them, but a number of times, they would say “almost free” in an attempt to sell you something. For many of these people, it’s probably the only english they know, but it’s still an effective selling point. For a majority of them, this is how they make their living and they will do so by any means necessary. After a while it can get a little annoying, but the people were never pushy. They seemed happy that we were visiting their beautiful country.