Area Code -- The telephone area code is 322.
Climate -- It's sunny and warm all year, with tropical temperatures; however, evenings and early mornings in the winter can turn quite cool. Summers are very hot, with an increase in humidity during the rainy season, between May and October. Rains come almost every afternoon in June and July, and are usually brief but strong -- just enough to cool off the air for evening activities. In September, heat and humidity are least comfortable and rains heaviest.
Currency Exchange -- Banks are found throughout downtown and in the other prime shopping areas. Most banks are open Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm, with shorter hours on Saturday. ATMs are common throughout Vallarta, including the central plaza downtown. They are becoming the most favorable way to exchange currency, with bank rates plus 24-hour convenience. Casas de cambio (money-exchange houses), located throughout town, offer longer hours than the banks, with only slightly lower exchange rates. Most hotels also change money at varying rates.
Drugstores -- CMQ Farmacia, Basilio Badillo 365 (tel. 322/222-1330), is open 24 hours and makes free deliveries to hotels between 11am and 10pm with a minimum purchase of $20. Farmacias Guadalajara, Emiliano Zapata 232 (tel. 322/224-1811), is also open 24 hours.
Embassies & Consulates -- The U.S. Consular Agency office (tel. 322/222-0069; http://guadalajara.usconsulate.gov) is located in Nuevo Vallarta at Paseo de los Cocoteros 85, in the Paradise Plaza, Local L-7, on the second floor. It's open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 12:30pm. The Canadian Consulate (tel. 322/293-0099, -0098; 24-hr. emergency line 01-800/706-2900 in Mexico) is located in Plaza Las Glorias, Blvd. Francisco Medina Ascencio 1951, Edificio Obelisco, Loc. 108 (you'll see the Canadian flag hanging from the balcony). It's open Monday through Friday from 9am to 1pm.
Emergencies -- Police emergency, tel. 060 or 066; local police, tel. 322/290-0513, -0512; intensive care ambulance, Cruz Roja (Red Cross), tel. 322/222-1533 and San Javier Marina Hospital Ambulance Service (tel. 322/226-1010, ext. 340).
Hospitals -- The following offer U.S.-standards service and are available 24 hours: Ameri-Med Urgent Care, Avenida Francisco Medina Ascencio at Plaza Neptuno, Loc. D-1, Marina Vallarta (tel. 322/226-2080; www.amerimed.com.mx); San Javier Marina Hospital, Av. Francisco Medina Ascencio 2760, Zona Hotelera (tel. 322/226-1010); and Cornerstone Hospital, Av. los Tules 136 (behind Plaza Caracol; tel. 322/226-3700).
Internet Access -- Most Vallarta hotels have Wi-Fi, and the resorts typically offer business centers. You can also get access at PV Cafe (tel. 322/223-3308), located in the old town at Olas Altas 246. It's open daily from 8am to midnight and charges 35 pesos per hour for computer use. Next door, Café Vayan (tel. 322/222-0092), at Olas Altas 350, serves tasty breakfasts and snacks with free Wi-Fi. It's open 8am to 11pm.
Newspapers & Magazines -- Vallarta Today, a weekly English-language newspaper (tel. 322/225-3323; www.vallartatoday.com), is a good source for dining, cultural events, retirement information, real estate, and healthy living in Vallarta. The bilingual quarterly city magazine Vallarta Lifestyles (tel. 322/221-0106; www.virtualvallarta.com) is also very popular. Both are for sale at area newsstands and hotel gift shops. The weekly English-language Vallarta Tribune (www.vallartatribune.com) is distributed free throughout town and offers an objective local viewpoint. PV Mirror (www.pvmirror.com) is another English-language city paper and online site that offers local news and visitor information.
Post Office -- The correo is at Colombia Street, behind Hidalgo Park, and is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 6pm, Saturday from 9am to 1pm.
Safety -- Puerto Vallarta enjoys a very low crime rate. Public transportation is safe to use, and Tourist Police (dressed in navy blue and white uniforms) are available to answer questions, give directions, and offer assistance. Most encounters with the police are linked to using or purchasing drugs -- so don't. Note: The tourist police sometimes conduct random personal searches for drugs. If this happens, you are within your rights to request the name of the officer. Report any unusual incidents to the local consular office.