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Puerto Vallarta Airport Uber: What you need to know before you go

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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 though what you need to know before you go.

How to use Uber at the Puerto Vallarta Airport

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!

The Puerto Vallarta airport has free wifi upon arrival that's good for 30 minutes.
Free wi-fi at the Puerto Vallarta airport only lasts for 30 minutes. Use it wisely!

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 the airport’s 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.

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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 Custom 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!

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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.

You'll need to walk down to the end of the sidewalk to meet your Uber driver across the street.
Walk out the main door of the airport and turn left. This is what you’ll see. Follow the sidewalk to the end of the building.

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.

Cross the pedestrian bridge at the Puerto Vallarta airport to meet your Uber driver on the other side of the road.
At the end of the building, turn left again and you’ll see the pedestrian bridge to cross the street. Use that to meet your Uber driver on the other side of the road from the Puerto Vallarta airport.
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Where to meet your Uber driver outside of the airport

Our Uber driver kept in touch with us saying 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.

Use the Uber app to message with the driver and determine where to meet.
You can message with your Uber driver to determine where you will meet once you cross the street from the airport.

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 Custom 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.

You might also want to read: Ultimate Packing List for your vacation to Mexico!

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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 7 days only costs $9. I am definitely looking into that the next time we’re out of country and I need phone data. Just remember to download it before you get to the Puerto Vallarta airport!

Hearts & Hugs,
Karee

Read next:
➡️ What you need to pack for your Mexico vacation: the Ultimate Packing List!
➡️ Riu Palace Pacifico Review: All Inclusive Getaway
➡️ How to Travel More for Less Money

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I’m Karee—traveling and travel planning make my heart sing! Thanks for coming along for the ride with me here at OWJ. I’ll be sharing valuable info on how to travel like a Queen without a Royal Budget, how to take amazing trips using points and miles, and plenty more!

28 Comments

  • Krista

    Some airports can be really confusing when you first get to them, especially if you haven’t been before. I’m so glad you’ve written about how to naviaget this one!

    • Karee

      Agreed! Especially larger ones when you’re coming from out of country. Puerto Vallarta has a small airport, so that parts easy enough, but that Shark Tank…wow!!! 😳

  • Shampria

    Karee, this article was lifesaving! Thank you soooo much for the detailed information. You weren’t kidding, that “Shark Tank” was ridiculous! What you didn’t mention was the burn I got from the pedestrian bridge. Lol Thanks again!

    • Karee

      Good point!😂 I’m so glad this article helped you and thank you for letting me know! It sure helps ahead of time to know what you’re getting into, doesn’t it?

  • Ken

    Hiya! I just tried these exact Uber from the airport instructions on September 13th. It was all going well but as soon as the Uber pulled up, a police officer walked up to the car (out of nowhere) and said Uber can’t pickup there and if we still wanted the Uber we’d have to walk a kilometer down the road. We just crossed back and got a taxi at the stand in the airport.

    • Karee

      Ken, that’s such a bummer to hear! From all that I’ve read and experienced, he was in the wrong, not that it helped you at the time. Hopefully that was a one-off experience and doesn’t happen to anyone else!

    • Delaine Schiffo

      Loved this article! Feeling so much better about using Uber to our hotel the RIU Vallarta in April! Did the airport’s wifi work all the way across the road for you?

      • Karee

        So glad this was helpful! I do believe the wifi will work across the bridge, but because I panicked and turned roaming on, I can’t say for certain. Just in case, I would try to get all the details you can from your driver just before you walk over. You can always walk back until you get signal again if you need to contact the driver again while you wait. It’s super easy to do! Enjoy your time in PV!

  • Tomsterca

    Great information – well appreciated. A simple question but I can’t seem to find the answer anywhere. Is the catwalk at PV airport steps or a ramp to get up it. We will have two 23Kg suitcases that are no problem to push up a ramp but I really don’t want to try and take them up stairs.
    Thanks for the input.

    • Karee

      Great question! I hate to say I don’t recall 100%, but Rodney and I both feel pretty confident it was a ramp. I don’t remember having any trouble carrying luggage up stairs, but if anyone else remembers for certain, please comment and let us know!

    • Jo

      It is a ramp. A little steep but not terrible. We had to wait 25 minutes for our car but it was well lit and there were other people around. All the businesses except the convenience store were closed. This was around 7 pm. It cost $50 to Punta Mita vs $100 for a hotel shuttle.

  • S Diggly

    Thank you for doing this!! Sooo informative and helpful! I just arrived in PV and knew exactly where to go thanks to you.

    • Karee

      Hi Marc, I don’t know for sure since I ended up turning my data on, but I think I would make sure I communicated with your Uber driver before you cross the bridge, just in case. It’s a short walk if you do need to walk back over for any reason and log back on to the airport’s wifi, but as long as you communicate exactly where you’ll be and know what car to look for, you shouldn’t have any problem.

  • Gaurav Singh

    My flight is getting 9pm and it will be 10pm by the time I get the uber.
    What is the Uber availability at night time at PV airport?
    Is it safe at night? Family is traveling with 2 kids.
    I am going to Punta de Mita, which is more than 1 hour away.
    Anyone got any suggestions? Thanks

    • Karee

      Hi Gaurav, I’m afraid I don’t have any experience in getting an Uber that late to travel more than an hour away. If I were in your shoes, I would do a good bit more research on options and possibly consider scheduling a shuttle in advance. That way you’d be certain you and your family will have a way to get to your hotel and not chance being stranded at the airport at night. I have no problem recommending Uber during the day and for shorter rides, but I don’t know how comfortable I would feel about your situation.

  • P devta

    Is Uber not a available directly at the airport? According to Uber website, the service is available directly at the PVR airport and there should not be. Aneed to cross the bridge? I was just checking as we are headed that way in few days.

    • Karee

      Hi there, I’m fairly certain you’ll still have to cross the bridge to use Uber services. If that has changed, please let me know when you get back!

    • Karee

      Hi Jared,

      Thanks for sharing that. Yes, they do pick up at the airport, but if you read the info about where, it says “it may not be at the closest exit”, meaning, you’re going to need to meet them across the street. It’s not far, though, so don’t even hesitate to go ahead and book them, although I would probably still wait until you got there just in case your flight time changes.

  • Asa

    Wow! Thank you for this- we followed your guide in Jan 2022 and got an Uber for ~15 USD + tip.

    Also saw some people cave to the Shark Tank and Taxis along the way…

  • Kali

    Just want to say thank you so much for this amazing tip!
    Out of the airport straight into a Uber with in ten mins all the way to sayulita for £20.
    Thank you! ☺️

  • SA

    Hi Karee,

    Thank you for the immensely informative post. Does the road bridge have an escalator?

    I am travelling with my elderly father and 2 young kids. I am concerned whether they would be up to the walk and the stairs. Are their U-turns located nearby using which the Uber can pick them up on the right side of the road?

    Regards,
    SA

    • Karee

      Hi SA,

      I’m so glad this helps you! The bridge has a ramp instead of an escalator. Your kids would for sure be able to walk up it and I would imagine if your father takes it slow, he’ll be fine as well. From what I understand, Uber drivers are not allowed to pick up on the side of the road next to the airport. They can drop off at the airport, but can only pick up across the street from it. Enjoy your vacation – it’s beautiful there!

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