Ultimate Guide to Puerto Vallarta Airport

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May 22, 2024
4 min read

Puerto Vallarta Airport, officially known as Licenciado Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport, is located in the state of Jalisco on the Pacific coast of Mexico. It serves the popular tourist destinations of Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit. The airport has two terminals and handles both domestic and international flights.

Before You Arrive

Flight Booking Tips

Booking your flight to Puerto Vallarta Airport can be overwhelming, but with these tips, it will be a breeze. Firstly, make sure to book your flight several weeks before your planned trip. This will give you more time to research and compare flights from different airlines.

Secondly, consider booking your flight on weekdays as they are generally cheaper than weekend flights. 

Taxi area just outside of Arrivals at Puerto Vallarta Airport
Taxi area just outside of Arrivals at Puerto Vallarta Airport

Transportation Options to and from the Airport

Whether you're traveling alone or with a group of people, there are various transportation options available at Puerto Vallarta Airport. 

One of the most popular options is taking a taxi or an airport shuttle service. Taxis are available outside the arrivals area and charge based on distance traveled. Make sure to get the price before you get in the car!

You can also opt to take an Uber. It’s a little more legwork since you have to walk across the highway and I would suggest just getting a taxi. You can read more about getting an uber from PVR here.

The airport shuttle service offers shared rides for a fixed rate per passenger. For those who prefer more privacy or flexibility, there are car rental services available at the airport terminal as well.

Exit at PVR and Rental Car desks to the right

Rental car companies have desks inside the terminal where you can book a car right after arriving. If you're not in a rush and want to save money, there is also public transportation available near the airport that can take you anywhere in Puerto Vallarta for an affordable price.

No matter which mode of transportation you choose, make sure to research ahead of time so that you can decide what's best for your travel needs while keeping budget constraints in mind! You can check out our article on how to get around Puerto Vallarta for when you are in the city.

Get to know all the top tourist attractions and things to do here with our Puerto Vallarta city guide.

Arrival at the Airport

Customs and immigration process

You've finally arrived at Puerto Vallarta Airport! Before you can officially begin your vacation, you'll need to go through customs and immigration. If you arrived on a domestic flight, then you can skip ahead.

Luckily, the process is fairly straightforward. Upon disembarking from your plane, follow the signs to the immigration area.

After passing through immigration, you'll proceed to baggage claim. It’s a small area so you shouldn't have too much trouble there.

Baggage claim area in Puerto Vallarta Airport, there are only 2 belts.
Baggage claim area in Puerto Vallarta Airport, there are only 2 belts.

Baggage claim procedures

Once you have retrieved all of your luggage, it's time to move on to the next step: clearing customs. This involves presenting a declaration form that outlines what items you're bringing into Mexico. 

Most travelers will be able to pass through without issue as long as they declare any items that are restricted or prohibited (you can find a list of these items online). However, if you're carrying large amounts of cash or other high-value goods, be prepared for additional questioning.

Currency exchange options

Now that you've cleared customs and are officially in Mexico, it's time to start thinking about currency exchange options. You may want to exchange some cash into Mexican pesos so that you have local currency on hand for taxis and other small purchases. 

There are several currency exchange kiosks located throughout Puerto Vallarta Airport where you can do this; just be aware that their rates may not be as favorable as those found elsewhere in town.

Alternatively, consider using an ATM machine located inside the airport terminal or withdrawing cash upon arrival in Puerto Vallarta city center where ATMs are more abundant and may offer better exchange rates. 

If you use banks like Charles Schwab you will be able to use the ATMs with no fee. I love banking with them for this reason. Every month I’m reimbursed all of my ATM fees both domestically and abroad.

Whichever option you choose, make sure to notify your bank (and credit card company) before you travel so that they don't flag any transactions as suspicious and block your card.

Terminal 2 at PVR Airport with shopping and eating options
Terminal 2 at PVR Airport with shopping and eating options

Getting Around the PVR Airport

Terminal layout and amenities

The Puerto Vallarta International Airport is a relatively small airport, with one terminal building that handles both domestic and international flights. The terminal is divided into two levels, with the ground floor being arrivals and the upper floor being departures.

As you enter the terminal, there are information desks where you can get directions to your gate or ask for any assistance. In terms of amenities, there are a couple of shops and restaurants throughout the terminal.

You can find everything from souvenir shops to duty-free stores selling luxury items such as jewelry and designer handbags. Besides shopping, there are also some ATM machines to withdraw cash when needed.

Restroom locations

Restrooms in Puerto Vallarta Airport are located throughout the terminal building on both levels. They are all well-maintained, clean, modern facilities that offer basic amenities such as toilet paper, soap, hand dryers or towels. 

Additionally, you'll find baby changing stations in almost all restrooms inside the airport for your convenience.

Food and beverage options

There's no shortage of dining options available at Puerto Vallarta Airport. From fast food chains like Carl’s Jr (Hardees) to Mexican restaurants serving local delicacies such as tacos al pastor or ceviche. These are in Terminal 1 along with Wings. Sbarro is located in Terminal 2 just after security.

If you're looking for a quick snack or coffee (or collection mug) before your flight, Starbucks is conveniently located near each of the gates. Starbucks is in Terminal 2, just past the Sbarro.

There are also several bars where you can enjoy a cold beer or cocktail while waiting for your flight. 

If you have a long layover at Puerto Vallarta Airport, consider treating yourself by visiting one of the airport’s full-service restaurants like Corona Isla Bar which offers a variety of dishes along with cocktails.

Departing from Puerto Vallarta Airport

After enjoying a wonderful vacation in Puerto Vallarta, it's time to head back home. The departure process at the airport may seem daunting, but with this ultimate guide, you'll breeze through it like a pro.

Check-in procedures

Puerto Vallarta Airport has dedicated check-in counters for each airline. Make sure to check your flight itinerary for the corresponding counter number. Most airlines require passengers to check in at least two hours before the scheduled departure time.

Security screening process

The security screening process is an essential part of any airport departure procedure. Before entering the security checkpoint, remove all metal items such as jewelry and belts from your person and place them in bins provided by the officials.

If you're traveling with liquids or gels, make sure they are placed in containers that do not exceed 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) and sealed inside a clear plastic bag. 

Remember to remove laptops and any other electronic devices from your carry-on and place them separately on the conveyor belt provided.

Duty-free shopping opportunities

Puerto Vallarta Airport offers a variety of duty-free shops where you can purchase souvenirs or gifts for friends and family back home at discounted prices. From luxury brands such as Hermes and Longchamp to local handicrafts like Huichol art, there's something for everyone.

Make sure to take advantage of duty-free shopping before passing through immigration as items purchased after immigration cannot be taken onto your flight. Keep in mind that some items may have restrictions on the amount you can bring back to your home country, so it's essential to check with customs officials before making any purchases.

Airport Lounge 

The VIP Lounge is available to Priority Pass holders for free and you can enter by paying a fee. It is located in Terminal 1, airside (past security).

Here you can relax and enjoy some buffet type snacks, drinks or even meals while you wait on your flight. 

It is open from 8 am to 8 pm and features an overlook onto the tarmac and inward facing to the other terminal.

Tips for a Smooth Experience at Puerto Vallarta Airport

Traveling can be stressful, but there are ways to make your experience at Puerto Vallarta Airport much smoother. Here are some tips to help you navigate the airport with ease:

Best times to arrive at the airport

If you can, try to arrive at the airport about two hours before your flight's scheduled departure time. This will give you enough time to check-in, get through security and make it to your gate without feeling rushed. 

If you're traveling during peak season (December - April), consider arriving a bit earlier as lines tend to be longer during this time.


After reading our guide to Puerto Vallarta Airport, I hope you feel confident and well-equipped to navigate your way through the airport. You may be wondering if the city is safe, don't worry it is, and we have a great article here to discuss the safety in Puerto Vallarta.

Puerto Vallarta Airport is a great gateway for an amazing Mexican vacation trip. By reading this guide in full detail along with our recommended tips & tricks – you can now confidently & comfortably navigate around the terminals like a pro!


What is the best way to get to and from Puerto Vallarta Airport?

The best way to leave is via taxi unless you have a hotel shuttle you can request. It’s difficult to use Uber from the airport. To get to the airport, it’s ok to use a taxi or Uber.

Is there duty free at Puerto Vallarta airport?

Of course. The duty free is just after the security line.

Are there chargers at Puerto Vallarta airport?

Yes, there are chargers for phones and small electronics spread across the airport gates. However, they are small stands and only charge up to 4 at a time.

Is there food at Puerto Vallarta airport?

Yes there are multiple options for food at the airport. Carl's Jr is a favorite and they also have Sbarro and Starbucks to name a few.

Is there a lounge at Puerto Vallarta airport?

Yes, there is one VIP Priority Lounge in Terminal 2.

Is there uber in Puerta Vallarta airport?

Yes, Uber does operate from PVR airport. However, you must exit the airport grounds to meet your driver at the designated area.

How to get to Puerto Vallarta airport to hotel?

The easiest way to get to your hotel would be by hailing a taxi. You can do this right outside the arrivals exit.

How many terminals does Puerto Vallarta airport have?

There are only two terminals at PVR. The airport if fairly small and can easily be navigated.

Where is Puerto Vallarta airport?

PVR airport is located just between the downtown area and Nayarit state and is just east of the Bandaras Bay on the coast.


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Written by:

I consider myself a world-travelling nomad and a foodie at heart. Born in Germany and raised in East Tennessee, my passion for exploration has taken me all over the planet - exploring unfamiliar lands and cultures is what truly inspires my soul!
I live outside of Doha and consider myself an inside expert on all things Qatar. I love exploring all the country has to offer and look forward to giving you valuable insights of where I call home!
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