My flight from Puerto Vallarta was pretty comfortable. I ended up getting the entire exit row to myself (and the extra leg room that came with it). Additionally, I was able to watch some the NFL playoffs through Delta’s satellite capability (although it only works while the plane is in US airspace). The experience has me seriously evaluating whether or not I should start considering quality over cost when I book future flights. We landed in Mexico at about 2PM local time. Because I was able to fill out my immigration forms during the flight, I was able to quickly hurry to immigration. While I expected Mexico to be lax in their screening, I was surprised with how easy it was to get in. I basically had to fill out a 10-question form stating that I did not have symptoms related to COVID-19 and there was a a infrared body heat detector which took my temperature as I got in the immigration line that no one was really monitoring. Once I passed that, the customs agent basically stamped my passport and immigration card and I was on my way.
As soon as I got out of the bagging claim area, I was met quite aggressively with several tour operators and taxi drivers. They literally were screaming at me to stop. Had I not been a seasoned traveler, I may have gotten sucked into an overpriced timeshare or cab ride. Once I got out into the main atrium, I needed to figure out how I would be getting to my hotel. The main problem was that I did not have Mexican pesos. I considered currency exchange at the airport but the rating was horrendously bad (15 $MX=$1 USD). Luckily, the Uber app worked and I was able to book a ride through my phone (and credit card). The prices for the “official” airport taxis were about 3x the Uber price. The only annoyance was I had to leave the airport and cross a highway to meet the driver because they aren’t allowed to actually go into the airport.
It took us about 20 minutes to get to my hotel, El Pescador, from the airport. The Uber driver was nice and was explaining to me the overall COVID situation in Mexico. He also offered to take me to someone who could exchange my currency. Although I would have probably gotten above the “official” rate, I did not want to do it while I had all my belongings. He dropped me off and I tried to give him a good tip. Unfortunately, I was going off the options given to me by Uber and I tipped him 7.5 $MX which came out to .40 cents. Only after I exchanged my currency at my hotel did I realize how little that actually was. Fortunately, I was able to go back and add another 60 $MX ($3 USD) to the bill. As I stated, I was able to get a more reasonable exchange rate at my hotel (17 $MX= $1 USD) and decided to exchange half of the cash that I had on hand.
While the hotel was not as cheap, I did get a great deal due to a combination of COVID and it being low-season. My room was right next to the private pool and had a beach view. As a bonus, I was offered 5 vouchers for a free breakfast at the hotel restaurant. Today, I do not really have any other plans but to allow my body to adjust to the jet lag. However, I already have begun to research several possible things for me to do over the next 6 days which I look forward to sharing.