We are in the Heart of Beautiful Nayarit, Mexico
Playa Las Tortugas is found on the “Costa Tortuga” (Turtle Coast), nesting habitat of several species of sea turtle in the state of Nayarit, Mexico. Our beach and villas lie just 70 miles north of Puerto Vallarta and about 50 miles west of Tepic, the colonial capital of the “Riviera Nayarit”.
Playa Las Tortugas is an easy drive from Puerto Vallarta, Bucerias, Punta de Mita, Sayulita, or Tepic, not to mention a fine road trip from Mazatlan and Guadalajara.
Birds, turtles, and other wildlife find our protected beach and natural palm-lined estuary with little trouble; so will you.
Traveling to Mexico
Once you’ve gathered proper documentation, traveling to Mexico should prove easy and without hassles. As with any international travel destination, certain identifying documents are required, and these requirements may change from time to time. Ask your airline, car rental company, or travel agent to verify the most recent requirements. It’s your responsibility to procure all necessary documents—airlines and travel agents will not offer refunds if you miss a flight due to lack of proper documentation.
Because Playa Las Tortugas is located in a sub-tropical climate, don’t forget to pack some insect repellent for evenings and early mornings. And plenty of suntan lotion for the rest of the day.
Here is the latest information that we have, direct from the U.S. Department of State website http://travel.state.gov/travel/cbpmc/cbpmc_2223.html , but please check further to make sure this information has not changed and let us know if you learn something new.
Information for minors.
In addition to the proof of citizenship requirements listed above, minors (under 18 years of age) traveling to Mexico are required to present the following if they are not traveling with BOTH NATURAL PARENTS:
According to the U.S. Department of State website http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_970.html#nationality Mexican law requires that any non-Mexican citizen under the age of 18 departing Mexico must carry notarized written permission from any parent or guardian not traveling with the child to or from Mexico. This permission must include the name of the parent, the name of the child, the name of anyone traveling with the child, and the notarized signature(s) of the absent parent(s). The State Department recommends that the permission should include travel dates, destinations, airlines and a brief summary of the circumstances surrounding the travel. The child must be carrying the original letter – not a facsimile or scanned copy – as well as proof of the parent/child relationship (usually a birth certificate or court document) – and an original custody decree, if applicable. Travelers should contact the Mexican Embassy or closest Mexican Consulate for current information.
- Minors traveling alone or with friends are required to present the notarized letter of authorization for travel to and from Mexico signed by both/all parents or legal guardians.
- Minors traveling with only one parent or legal guardian are required to present the notarized letter of authorization signed by the other parent or legal guardian not accompanying the minor.
- Minors traveling with a divorced parent are required to present the notarized letter of authorization signed by the other parent or a court order of child custody.
- Minors traveling with a sole parent are required to present the notarized copy of a birth certificate showing that the minor only has one parent.
- Minors who have a deceased parent or parents must present the notarized letter of authorization and death certificate(s) for those deceased parents.
Mexican Tourist Visa
All visitors must obtain a Mexican tourist card (FMT). Pick up a Mexican tourist card (FMT) during your flight or upon crossing international borders into Mexico. Upon your arrival in Mexico, Mexican immigration officials will stamp the card and retain one part. You will need to retain the other part, which immigration officials will collect upon your departure from Mexico. Keep your Mexican tourist card in a safe place. If you lose your part of the card you can normally get a replacement at Mexican Immigration but there is a cost involved and the delay could cause you to miss your flight.
Upon arriving at the Puerto Vallarta International Airport, you will pass through Immigration, where immigration officers will ask to see your identification and will stamp your tourist card. After passing through Immigration, collect your luggage and proceed to Customs.
Before you can leave the baggage area, customs agents will ask you to press a button, after which either a green or red light will come on. If a green light comes on you may pass directly through Customs. If a red light appears, customs agents will inspect your luggage.
After leaving the baggage area and passign through Customs, inside the airpot terminal there are several agencies which exchange money, as well as several bank ATM’s. The exchange agencies vary in the rates offered, so we suggest you compare them first. The ATM’s dispense pesos (or dollars if desired) against your debit or credit card, and generally the bank ATM’s offer a better rate of exchange than the agencies.
In general, bank ATMs offer excellent exchange rates. Some bank account debit cards will not work in all Mexican ATMs, but try a different machine if your card doesn’t work. Most credit cards work in all machines.
The HSBC BANK located in the shopping center immediately south of the airport normally provides one of the best exchange rates. Money exchange booths not affiliated with banks sometimes do not offer as competitive rates as those offered by banks. Hotels usually offer the lowest rates of exchange.
Note: because most banks and ATMs impose a service charge on transactions you will increase your overall exchange rate by making fewer exchanges/withdrawals of larger amounts rather than paying service charges on a greater number of smaller transactions.
Driving in Mexico
To drive legally in Mexico you should have a valid driver’s license from your country of residence and a valid tourist card or other immigration document in your possession.
Driving rules in Mexico are very similar to those in the United States, Canada, and many other countries. Traffic flow, stoplights, and stop and yield signs are treated in much the same way as they are in many other countries such as the U.S.
Puerto Vallarta, like many larger cities and towns in Mexico, has local access lanes called “laterales” outside of the main traffic lanes on the busiest roads. These access lanes are used for making turns. Note: On larger roads in PV, move to the right access lane in order to make left turns. Normally you must have a green arrow signal to make a left turn across an oncoming lane of traffic.
When driving at night you may notice at least one other difference from U.S. traffic. On highways outside of town, drivers often drive with their high beams on at night until they encounter on-coming traffic, at which point they dim their lights. If approaching drivers don’t actually see you dim your lights you may find yourself being “flashed” frequently as if your high beams are still on. You may want to be prepared to “flash” your lights if oncoming traffic has bright lights on, or follow the local custom and drive with your high beams on, then dim them when an on-coming vehicle can see you.
Rental Car Information
Many major car rental companies have desks staffed by English-speaking agents located just outside the arrival area at the PV airport.
Your safest bet when renting a car in Mexico is to reserve a car through an international company that you can call in advance via an 800 number from the U.S or contact via the Internet. Ask the company representative to fax or email you a confirmation with all pertinent information including the price in both dollars and pesos, dates of the rental, type of car, etc. If you can’t get this sent to you, print the information out yourself.
Of course, exchange rates may fluctuate slightly from the time you make your reservation to the time you actually pick up the car. Make certain that when you pick up the car in Mexico the clerk writes the contract for the amount you were quoted on the phone and gives you a comparable car.
Some credit card companies provide accident insurance on rental cars when you pay with their card. This can be a substantial savings for you as the “extra” insurance can often be $15 to $20 per day. Even if you have used this card before to pay for a rental car in the U.S., call your credit card company or check their website to find out whether they offer the same insurance for a rental car in Mexico. If not, it may be worth paying for the additional insurance the clerk will try to sell you.
Also check your car carefully before driving off the rental car lot. Note any damage and make sure the clerk notes the damage on your contract.
Have the car rental company’s local and toll-free phone numbers (with international access code) handy in case you need to call them.
With these tips in mind, renting a car in Mexico should prove hassle-free.
Tipping is recommended, especially if you receive good service. Five to ten percent is appropriate for airport transportation (while ten to fifteen percent, or even twenty percewnt for exceptional service, is appropriate in restaurants). It is not customary to tip yellow taxis for trips within town. Please let us know if you ever receive substandard service or if anyone is rude to you or overcharges you.