There are a few things you need to know before you go to Puerto Vallarta, and knowing how to get an Uber at the airport is one of them. To be sure, there is no shortage of taxi drivers and shuttles available, but you’ll pay much more than you need to.
Getting an Uber from the Puerto Vallarta airport is actually super easy, but you’ll need to be prepared before you get there. Uber drivers aren’t allowed to pick passengers up directly in front of the airport. No worries, though. I’ll walk you through what you need to know before you go.
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Download the Uber App Ahead of Time
First, be sure to download the Uber app on your phone before you arrive at the Puerto Vallarta airport. There are several reasons for this besides the obvious one of making sure you’re familiar with it before you actually need it. It’s really easy to use, though. We had never used Uber before we got there, so if we can do it, you can too!
There’s another big reason to download the Uber app ahead of time: Data! Assuming you’re flying in from out of the country, you will most likely not have your normal data plan available on your phone. That means once you land, you’ll either need to turn on roaming on your phone or use the airport’s free wi-fi.
Pro Tip: If you’re going to take advantage of the airport’s free 30 minutes of wi-fi, don’t turn it on until you’re out of Custom and Immigration. This will most likely take more than 30 minutes and you’ll find yourself without access to the internet just when you’re needing to use the Uber app to call for a ride!
I planned ahead. Read all the reviews. I knew what I needed to do to order an Uber once we got to the Puerto Vallarta airport. What I didn’t plan on was not having internet access when I needed to be able to do it!
At that point, my choices were to either pay for pvr airport wi-fi or turn on the roaming feature on my phone. I could have avoided that if I’d known to save the 30 minutes for when I actually needed it. Instead, I signed up for the free wi-fi as soon as I was able to so I could check messages. Rookie mistake. Don’t make it.
Also, I strongly advise using a VPN when you’re out of country and NordVNP is the one I used. It was very easy to install, was fast and kept my phone info safe!
Puerto Vallarta Airport Transportation
I need to back up a step before we go any further. There’s something that you absolutely need to know before you get to the airport. Once you get through Customs and Immigration and get your bags, if you checked any, you’ve got to go through another area. It’s often referred to as The Shark Tank.
This is where you’ll be bombarded with people vying for your attention, saying that’s where you get your taxi or shuttle. It’s not. These are people who want to get you signed up for a timeshare presentation in exchange for arranging transportation to your hotel. Don’t do it!
There’s a time for considering the value of a timeshare presentation (you can score some great deals like this one!) but this isn’t one of them. Put your blinders on. Turn your earbuds up. Plaster a smile on your face and WALK OUT THE DOOR.
You do not need them to get a ride from the airport to your hotel and you don’t want to waste any of your precious vacation time agreeing to show up for a timeshare presentation just for a free ride. I’m all about finding ways to get more travel perks for less money, but this isn’t one of those times.
Getting an Uber at the Puerto Vallarta Airport
Now that we’ve got that out of the way and you’re through the Shark Tank, it’s time to turn on your free 30 minutes of wi-fi and order an Uber driver to come pick you up. There’s almost always going to be a driver within a few minutes away, so you don’t need more time than that. Our driver responded quickly and said he was four minutes away. Depending on demand, you may have to wait longer.
Uber drivers are not permitted to pick passengers up in front of the Puerto Vallarta airport. When I first heard this, I crossed Uber off the list, thinking I didn’t want to bother with anything that might be confusing. Please don’t worry about it! It’s super easy to get an Uber to pick you up, and here’s exactly what you’ll need to do.
Follow these directions: Walk out the door of the airport, right past all the taxi drivers trying to get your attention. They cost twice as much as the Uber you just ordered, so just smile and keep walking. Once you’re out the door, turn left and walk down the sidewalk to the end of the building. Turn left again and you’ll see a pedestrian bridge that goes over the street. Use that to get to the other side and your Uber driver will meet you over there.
It takes 4-5 minutes from the time you leave the airport until you’re on the other side of the bridge. You literally can’t get lost.
Where to Meet Your Uber Driver Outside of the Airport
Our Uber driver kept in touch with us, letting us know when he was almost there. He also messaged exactly where he was going to meet us. I really appreciated that since we had never used Uber before, and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. He also told us to meet him by the National car rental sign, which was very helpful. We were able to use the app to confirm his name and license plate number. That way, we knew we were getting in the right car.
How Much Does an Uber From the Puerto Vallarta Airport Cost?
We opted to use Uber instead of taking an airport taxi or shuttle simply because it cost so much less. We were staying at the beautiful Riu Palace Pacifico, about a 15-minute drive from the airport. When I researched our options, any other airport transportation was $30 minimum, but most were more than that. Also, using a shuttle meant we’d most likely be sharing a ride, and we didn’t want to do that.
Our Uber ride cost us less than $13.00. Again, depending on demand and how far your hotel is, you may pay more or less. Before we got through Customs and Immigration and I was looking at it on my phone, it was even less. By the time we were ready to order (and realized I had used the free wi-fi), the price had gone up some. It was still half the price of any other airport transportation.
Can Uber Drop Off at the Puerto Vallarta Airport?
Our ride back to the airport actually cost less than when we left there. Our Uber driver got to our hotel in less than 10 minutes, and it only cost about $8. Anyone can drop passengers off in front of the Puerto Vallarta airport, so we didn’t have to walk across the bridge this time.
Overall, it was a very easy process, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use an Uber at the Puerto Vallarta airport again. Even though we had never used the app before, had trouble with the wi-fi at the airport, and didn’t know ahead of time where to meet them, it all worked out just fine.
Pro Tip: I’ve since learned of a product called Airalocom that’s an eSIM store. You can buy eSIM plans for over 190 countries. There’s no need to change your phone number or your physical SIM card! You only need to install the eSIM plan that you bought through the app store on your phone.
I took a quick look, and you can buy a 1 GIG plan for Mexico. It’s valid for seven days and only costs $9. I am definitely looking into that the next time we’re out of the country and I need phone data. Just remember to download it before you get to the Puerto Vallarta airport!