Would there be chickens?
I put my coins in the meter and got on the bus, a Mexican bus. Thanks to Hollywood and an over active imagination, I had all kinds of images running through my head. Chickens in wooden crates, seats missing chunks of padding and upholstery, mamma’s weighted down with children of a variety of ages sprinkled with loud echoes of clanging metal and a bus driver that only speaks Spanish.
Well, I am going to tell you, don’t make assumptions – especially if you are basing it on what you have seen in the movies.
I had been keeping my eyes on the buses as I walked around. Watching people get on and off the busses – I had not seen any chickens brought on board. I felt pretty confident that I would not encounter them.
When you ride on a bus in Puerto Vallarta, there are no chickens in crates. The seats are not missing chunks of padding or upholstery. But they are a little loud and could use new shocks.
My Spanish is minimal. It is more like spotty Spanglish. I, honestly, was a bit more concerned with communicating to the driver where I wanted to go rather than sharing my seat with chicken. Thankfully, the driver spoke English and was pleasantly helpful.
Following directions from my B&B host, I made my way to the bus stop. There was a line of buses. I started scanning the handwritten destinations in the windows looking for mine at the same time trying to look nonchalant and cool as I was observing how “using the bus” went. On in front, off in the back. Ok, got it.
What are the steps
Step 1. When you see the bus you want, step to the curb, raise your hand. Listen for the bus breaking indicating that he both noticed you and, more importantly; he is going to stop.
Step 2. Money in hand, step into the bus. Give money to the driver. Exact change is preferred, but he will give you change. Ok, relatively easy. Find a seat, or hand-hold in the aisle.
Step 3. Watch for your stop. Duh. I followed our path on my phone using Google maps.
Step 4. When the desired stop is near, move to the back of the bus. Look for a button on the railing to push letting the driver know to stop. Keep in mind to watch for people that are running behind the bus as it slows so they can get on. There is the real possibility that you will get plowed over if you do not pay attention.
All in all, pretty simple. Riding the bus is safe and convenient for people of all ages. Riding the bus is also very cost effective in comparison to taxis. A bus ride costs 8 pence to ride from the Marina area to Old Town. A taxi will cost you anywhere from 60 – 200 pesos depending on which direction you are going and what time of the day or night.
What did I learn?
So what did I learn from my bus ride? Step out of your comfort zone. Don’t make assumptions. Puerto Vallarta is a city that is very easy to explore and visit. The locals are friendly and enjoy helping their fellow man or woman.