How do meals work at Estrella Mar?

Our staff’s services including our two chef’s services are included in the cost of your stay. The only thing not included is the cost of groceries, both food and drinks. Please note, we do not charge a service fee for shopping or mark up our items. Our staff takes extra care in finding you the highest quality ingredients for the best bargain and shops at numerous local markets as well as some of the bigger chain stores. Our chefs will provide two meals a day, breakfast and lunch or breakfast and dinner each day. Breakfasts have a number of items that are served family style from platters of fresh fruit and bacon and a potato dish to everyone’s favorite french toast! Once all items have been brought out, you and your guests have the option of ordering additional items individually. This could include yogurt parfaits, pancakes, omelets, eggs benedict or some more traditional items such as machaca burritos. Lunches and Dinners are ordered as a group, meaning everyone is served the same dish. Of course if members of your group have allergies, dislikes etc. we are happy to work around them to accommodate everyone. Dinners can be as simple as an entree or up to four courses including appetizers, a soup or salad, a main dish and dessert. Some groups choose to have appetizers earlier around the pool that almost serve as lunch. Sunday is our staff’s normal day off. You will have a smaller secondary staff. They will still offer a fantastic family style breakfast and then a smaller simpler lunch or some appetizers. Sunday is a great night to head into town for dinner and enjoy some of the fantastic restaurants PV has to offer. To give you an idea of cost for meals, estimate $25-$35 a day per guest staying for food and drinks. Keep in mind this number will be on the lower end should you choose to eat out more, have kids in the group, or if your group has more vegetarians or non-drinkers. This number of course can be higher should you choose expensive seafood options such as lobster or shrimp each meal accompanied by top shelf liquors and pricier wines and beers. A great thing to do is give our staff a few hundred dollars upfront to start your shopping, check in with them halfway through your trip to see where you are at and give them a bit more money, and then of course settle up at the end of your stay. Please remember this will need to be paid directly to our staff in cash ONLY. Dollars or Pesos are fine, but our staff does not have a way to take credit cards or checks. Our staff will also be sure to provide receipts for all purchases so you can see exactly what money was spent where and on what items to make the process as transparent as possible. Please inquire should you like to see menus, but keep in mind meals only need to be selected the night prior. That way our staff has time to do all prep work needed as well as complete any shopping necessary.

What is that green/white receipt I kept when entering Mexico?

This is basically your Tourist Card, so don’t lose it! Obviously you can get another, but it is a pain and you don’t want to waste valuable vacation time. Lock it up with your passport and you’ll be sure to remember it.

Can I use US dollars in Mexico?

The peso is Mexico’s official currency, but many places will take US dollars, however be aware that larger bills can be harder for vendors to break so bring plenty of $1’s, $5’s, and $10’s. If you go on an adventure way out of the main tourist areas, it will be best that you bring enough pesos along. Avoid changing too much money at the airport as you don’t get as good of a rate! Banks give the best rate but require you to take in your passport. There are plenty of ‘Cambio’ stations where you can trade US bills for Pesos.

Will I be able to use my credit cards in Puerto Vallarta?

Yes, most credit cards are widely accepted in touristy areas. If you are going out to eat, ask beforehand or just bring cash to be safe. ATM’s are fairly common as well. Don’t forget to call your credit cards in before you leave so your card doesn’t get frozen.

What about tipping at restaurants etc.?

Your waiter will only bring you your check when you request it as it is considered rude to do so before hand in the Mexican culture. Tips range from 10% to 20% of the total bill as in the United States. As far as tipping at the villa, we suggest as a minimum $15 per person, per day. Paco collects the tips and disperses it appropriately.

What is Puerto Vallarta’s time zone?

Puerto Vallarta is on Central Standard Time for most of the year.

Where and how can I make International phone calls?

We have free international calling from the Villa landline. We also recommend using the Wi-Fi at the Villa and Skyping back home. International telephone calls from your cell phone in Mexico can be very expensive, and you will be charged for it. There are also a variety of aps for your phone that you can get including Viber and Whatsapp that can allow you to text message back home from your phone.

Will I have Internet access?

You can bring your laptop computer, iPhone, iPad etc. There is Wi-Fi in the Villa and there are a number of free hotspots around Puerto Vallarta. If you don’t want to bring your own device, the Villa has a Windows 8 computer for you to use any time you like.

Can I drink the water?

For years Puerto Vallarta’s water has been certified for human consumption – one of the few places in Mexico to receive this honor, but that doesn’t mean you should necessarily drink it. It means it’s safe when it leaves the water treatment plant, but after going through the water pipes, what comes out the other end may not be. The villa has its own purification system also, so no need to fear brushing your teeth or swallowing a pill. Stick to purified water to be safe, you don’t want to spend your valuable vacation time being sick!

Can we get married in Puerto Vallarta?

Most definitely! This is one of the most romantic spots on Earth and many people get married here. We would love to have your wedding at Estrella Mar and are more than happy to get you in touch with wedding planners in the area that are familiar with our Villa and can help you with all the necessary items.

Is Puerto Vallarta safe?

Yes, definitely, we wouldn’t go down there with our family if we didn’t think so! You will feel much safer in most parts of Puerto Vallarta than in the United States or Canada. There is very little crime here, and what does exist is usually petty compared to the U.S. The tourist police here are friendly and very helpful. Obviously use your common sense and be aware, and at night stay on main streets. Some people are concerned about the drug “war” in Mexico, we want to emphasize that the issue is fundamentally linked to USA-Mexico border towns and is an issue far from important in Puerto Vallarta and surrounding areas. Warning, do not attempt to purchase marijuana or other drugs as the police here have a vigilant “sting” program in operation and you don’t want to be in a position of bribing yourself out of jail.

How should I get around and how much will it cost?

Traveling by bus is very inexpensive and always an adventure with musicians hopping on board, and people selling packs of gum! To go anywhere in town it costs just a few (6.5) pesos, Paco can help you plan your trip.Taxis are another great way to get around, ask the cab before you get in to find out how much it will cost you. Most taxis have a meter, but they don’t all use them. If you want to brave the streets and rent a car, you can do that as well, but it is pretty unnecessary as everything is so close by and there are much easier ways to get around. And remember, the Villa is minutes away from the heart of old down, so just walk along the beach and relax!