Five ways you can contribute to and enhance the community
Pick up trash – We aren’t asking you to walk around town with a garbage bag (although that would be extremely appreciated.) Puerto Vallarta once took a lot of pride in being very friendly and clean. Still friendly, the city could use some help with the trash. Puerto Vallarta’s favorite historian, Catalina Montes de Oca de Contreras, wrote of her admiration for the cleanliness of the local people. To this day, you see streets and sidewalks swept and washed daily, but it’s hard to keep up with the human detritus. Please don’t toss out car windows or drop refuse on the streets. There are trash cans everywhere and often you can leave a bag on a street corner and it will be picked up by collectors. When walking the pup, it makes us feel good to pick up more than just her little deposits. We enjoy helping the community, too and pick up what other may have inadvertently dropped.
Be patient – Whether you’re on vacation, seeking a second home while in Puerto Vallarta or just passing through, it’s time to relax. We take relaxation seriously. It is suggested to take a book or magazine when going to the bank or standing in any line. Don’t always expect a have the chance to read though since you may be too distracted by someone who wasn’t able to keep their patience. People who complain loudly are often ignored or stared at and seldom considered worth the bother.
Tip generously – The applicable minimum wage in Puerto Vallarta is approximately 47 pesos a day. Of course, some places pay more, but you should be shocked to realize it doesn’t amount to much. Your food servers, bartenders, maids and others working in the tourist/service industries depend on tips for simple survival. 20% is normal and if you are generous, you will likely be remembered next time you visit an establishment.
Shop – On the beach or streets, in a mall or marina. What can be better than sipping margaritas and watching beautiful people stroll by, while doing your shopping? Please don’t be annoyed with beach vendors. The colorful blankets, tablecloths, puppets, hammocks, wood carvings, clothing, beads and jewelry… are worth the barter. Kiosks on the street with their whimsical pottery, key chains and other flotsam are operated by families who often have children, grandparents as staff. Grocery shopping in Puerto Vallarta is amazing and gentle on the pocketbook. Art in Mexico, from famous galleries to that found on the Malecón, can be easily bundled for shipment home.
Beach musicians – When minstrels sidle up to your table and politely ask if you would like a song, they will nod and walk away when you tell them you’re not interested. However, you should be interested. Why not have a little night music. Or day music, perhaps? These are locals who literally sing for their supper and often are surprisingly talented. Many young people learn how to play an instrument passed down from a parent and have spent their lives exposed to the beautiful folk music of Mexico. Sit back, relax, shop and enjoy the culture. And make sure to pick up after yourself.
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