For transportation, it’s still possible to find a “chicken bus” in many parts of Mexico but they’re rare in Puerto Vallarta. Passengers, however, may be inclined to board with a leashed dog and often a bucket of fish or octopus. It’s been a long time since we have seen a pig or a chicken on board. Buses can be very entertaining and we highly recommend them as a way to get about town. Cheaper than taxis, they are extremely efficient. If you miss one bus, you wait for only a few moments before another comes along. At midday, when shifts change in shops and hotels, we wait for a full bus to pass by. There’s always another one, often within short view.
A bit of bus etiquette includes allowing pregnant ladies and elderly your seat. It’s likely you will end up standing much less frequently than the person to whom your place was relinquished. It’s considered rude to give a seat to a backpack or purse.
A special treat on buses in Puerto Vallarta is traveling musicians. You aren’t obliged to give them any money but we’ve always thought it was such a better alternative to the completely non-entertaining empty cup. They commonly stand next to the driver to sing their offering, then commence to shuffle to the back door, collecting pesos, and hop on a following bus. This can often be a blessing, especially considering that oftentimes, the instrument of choice is an empty water bottle and a stick.
Deaf people travel buses in much the same way minstrels do, popping in the front door and treating the aisle like a gauntlet. They drop key chains, packs of gum or trinkets into passengers’ laps. We have a brand new miniature plastic flashlight from our most recent trip! These are usually accompanied by a business sized card with the sign language alphabet and a message in Spanish, asking for as much money as can be spared. They return quickly to collect…usually about twenty pesos, or retrieve their merchandise, snatching it up quickly. Our preference is to make contributions like this, since we feel something’s been exchanged and a job’s been done.
Hang on to the flimsy tissue ticket the bus driver gives you in exchange for your fare. It’s not a transfer like those handed over in most northern cities. It is your boleto (ticket) and it does happen that inspectors board buses occasionally to check all commuters for evidence of payment. More importantly, if the bus has an accident, it’s your proof you were on board and all your expenses should be paid by the bus company, if you are injured.
Que es cómo es.
Thanks to our guest blogger Adam Garcia for this article!
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