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Frequently Asked Questions

About the Condo Complex

About Getting to the Condo Complex

About Staying In Punta Mita

About the Surf

 

Why Are Your Condos Less Expensive Than Others Renting in the Same Complex?

Thanks for noticing. There are actually several reasons for this. First, we own our condominiums outright. There is no debt service to worry about and other than the utilities and HOA fees, it is pure profit for us. We purchased the condos at rock bottom prices and while the prices have gone up, we don’t need to raise our prices just to pay more taxes on the income. We would rather offer our condos at competitive rates so that you can enjoy Punta Mita like we have. We are happy to get the rates that we are getting and don’t intend on raising our prices unless our costs go up for any reason.

Another major consideration is that most of the people offering rentals in El Anclote are property management companies and don’t actually own the condos that they are renting out. Owners sign up with the companies and the companies then do the marketing, financial transactions and operational duties. Most management companies charge about 40% of the going rate to perform these tasks on behalf of the condo owner. For this reason, management companies set condo rental prices at a level that can pay both the management company and the owner a reasonable rate of return on their investment.

How Large Are the Condos?

The El Anclote complex has 90 units in 5 buildings. It offers one-bedroom units that are 850 square feet and two-bedroom units that are 1,700 square feet. All of the units in each category are all the same size even if the owner has modified the interior to add a bedroom or make other changes.

How Safe Are the Condos?

The El Anclote condominiums are completely fenced in on the backside and have a steep and high cliff on the front side. There are only two ways into the condo, through the front gate and over the sky bridge. There is a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week guard at the front gate that everyone must check in with. The first time you drive into the complex the guard will take down your vehicle license plate number and associate it with the condo that you are staying in. From then on he will note every time that you leave and return. Probably the most security comes from the community itself. There are many owner / residents that live in the complex and they seem to know what is going on at all times. If someone got into the complex that shouldn’t be there, it would be reported immediately to the security staff. In addition, there are several security cameras that add another level of security. So, to answer the question, the condos at El Anclote are extremely safe and comfortable.

What is the Best Way to Negotiate the Puerto Vallarta Airport?

Once you arrive in Puerto Vallarta you will deplane and then make your way to immigration. You will need a valid U.S. (or Canadian) passport to enter Mexico and will be issued a “tourist card” that must be presented when you leave the country. Do not lose this card! Once through immigration, you will claim your luggage and then clear customs. During your flight you will be given the Mexican documents that are required to enter the country; your Mexican Visitor’s Card and your Customs Declaration. To clear customs you will present the customs officer with your customs declaration and then push a button to enter the country. If the button is green and you have nothing to declare than you go have cleared customs and can continue into the main part of the airport. If the light is red, then you must have your luggage inspected by a customs official to clear customs. Do not try to bring items into Mexico that should be declared, as the penalties if you are caught are severe.

Once you clear customs you are delivered into a large room where there are several people asking you where you are staying. These are all time share salespeople hoping to trick you into talking with them. Just ignore these people and continue into the receiving part of the airport. Once you enter this part of the building, you will see car rental booths on the left and tons of people on the right. If you have rented a car from a company that is represented in the booths on your left, then visit the booth of your company. There are several more booths once you pass through the roped off area that you are in. The taxi booths that are straight ahead yelling at you to rent a taxi are nothing more than more time share salespeople. Just ignore them and continue on. Virtually everyone in the airport offering you advice or services are time share salespeople who pay dearly to be there. Unless you came to Puerto Vallarta to purchase a time share, these people will waste your time and put you into high pressure time share presentations. Be very wary of anyone pretending to be your friend to “help you out” at the Puerto Vallarta Airport.

Where Can I Get Mexican Currency?

The best way to obtain pesos is from the ATM machines at the airport. This will allow you the best exchange rate and they all have English language options. There is also a currency exchange booth at the airport that you can use, but ATMs are the way to go. With few exceptions, you can use U.S. currency, but be prepared for a much lower exchange rate. Stores, restaurants and the like will generally take one dollar for ten pesos. Considering the exchange rate is almost 13 pesos per dollar (February, 2012) this is an expensive venture. Credit cards are widely accepted, as well. There are ATM machines in both Punta Mita (in El Coral Restaurant, OXXO, and on the street) and in Sayulita (several in town) where you can get more money if you need it. Hint” if you are taking the bus to Punta Mita be sure to get change at the airport. You can do this by hitting the ATM machine and then purchasing a bottle of water in one of the shops to take with you. Make sure that you have several ten peso coins, as the bus fare will be 25 pesos per person and exact change makes it much easier to use the system.

What is the Best Way to Get to Punta Mita?

There are a number of ways to get to Punta Mita. If you are arriving via air you have a choice between a rental car, taxi or bus. Depending on your vacation strategy, you might find the bus the best way to go. A taxi offers the best way to get to Punta Mita with all of your luggage and a rental car allows you the freedom to go where you want, when you want. Here is the low-down on the three.

Taking the Bus: The bus system in Mexico is 100 times more efficient than in the U.S.. It is inexpensive and convenient and is the primary method of transportation for the people of Mexico. To take a bus to Punta Mita takes about 60 minutes from the airport and is a colorful experience. It only costs 23 pesos (about 1.80 USD) and you can take your luggage with you. Simply depart the airport through the doors straight ahead of you as you emerge into the main part of the airport, cross over the overpass that goes across the road in front of the airport and wait for the bus that says “Punta Mita”. It comes along at least every 15-minutes, so there isn’t much or a wait. Be sure to have pesos though, as the bus will not accept U.S. currency. Stay on the bus until its final stop and hop off. Head straight down the street in front of you where you were dropped off toward the ocean. It is about a 4-minute walk to El Anclote Condominiums and you will see them on your left. There is good signage on the complex entrance that says Condominiums El Anlcote in bright blue. Check in with the guard in the guard house.

Taking a Taxi: Understand that taxis pay through the nose to gain entrance to the airport to pick up passengers. For this reason, the fares that are quoted within the airport are substantially more than one could negotiate off airport. The posted rate one-way to Punta Mita from the airport is about $85 – $100. The taxi drivers will hound you for the business. Unless you have a ton of luggage and cannot walk a few hundred yards, do not grab a taxi at the airport! The easiest way to get a taxi is to walk across bridge that goes over the main highway in front of the airport to the bus stop at the foot of the bridge. You will be approached by taxi drivers to take you and the going rate here is about $50.00 to Punta Mita. You can arrange to have them take you to Sam’s Club, Wal Mart, MEGA or one of the other markets before heading out to Punta Mita to do some shopping for a small additional amount or make a stop at the MEGA store in Bucerias, or Wal Mart just next to Mezcales for groceries. The other way to save some money is to simply walk about 200-yards south of the airport to the Marina Shopping Center (turn right when you leave the airport and follow the road around the parking lot and that parallels the main highway to the shopping center). One person can watch the luggage while others shop at the MEGA market located there (one of the best markets in Puerto Vallarta). Once you are done shopping, negotiate with one of the taxis at the taxi stand to take you to Punta Mita (around $50.00).

Renting a Car: Just about every major car rental company is represented in Puerto Vallarta. However, be aware that in Mexico renting a car is not the same as in the U.S.. About the only valid reason to rent a car for a stay in Punta Mita is if you want to explore Nayarit’s remote surf spots. You can walk or ake a panga to all of the surf spots on Punta Mita and simply do not need a car. The bus system in Mexico is fantastic (and colorful too) and is much safer than driving (especially in Puerto Vallarta) as they know the current road conditions. You can take the bus with a surfboard from Punta Mita to La Lancha, Burros and Los Veneros.

If you decide to rent a car make advance reservations and make sure that you understand if you are insured, or not through your credit card company or insurance company. Car rental companies are not as reputable in Mexico as they are in the U.S., so be sure that you understand what your obligations are and if there is any damage to your rental car when you pick it up be sure to take a photo of it and have the rental agent acknowledge it in writing on your contract. Find out what sort of roadside support they offer.

If you do rent a car be sure to read the article on driving in Nayarit located here.

Is the Water Safe to Drink?

The condo will have a water dispenser with a 5-gallon bottle of purified water in it. Additional 5-gallon bottles are available for 25 pesos from the front office or if they are closed the guard at the gate sometime has bottles available in a pinch. Also, the guard across the street always has bottles for sale. You must bring in an empty bottle to exchange for a full bottle. All condos feature a full bottle and a second bottle that may be full or empty that can be used for an exchange. If the second bottle is empty, we suggest that you exchange it before the first bottle is consumed, as the front office is only open during weekdays and should you run out of water in the first bottle you will have a back-up.

Use the purified water to brush your teeth and drink and for everything else that you consume (coffee, soups, etc.) The tap water is fine for washing dishes, showering and such, but try not to ingest any of it.

Is There Parking if I Rent a Car?

Yes, there are tons of parking spots right by the building. Since the complex is fully gated and there is a 24-hour per day guard at the gate, your rental car is quite secure. We always just leave our surfboards on top of the car and have never had any problems. There are no assigned parking places, so just grag the one that you want.

Is the Food in the Punta Mita Restaurants Safe to Eat?

YES! All of the restaurants in Punta Mita serve some of the wealthiest people on Earth. If you look around the restaurants when you dine there, you might just recognize some of the patrons. The restaurants serve the finest ingredients that they can purchase and all of the vegetables are only washed in purified water. All of the ice is made from purified water. You can dine on your favorite dishes with complete comfort knowing that there is no risk at all. The same is true of the restaurants in Sayulita, as well. If you go into Puerto Vallarta for the day, you may want to be cautious about dining at some of the street restaurants and be wary of eating vegetable (especially raw veggies)

Where Can I Stock Up on Groceries?

Mexico markets are quite different than most Americans are used to. They are small markets that would fail standards in the U.S. that are set for cleanliness. That said, you can find just about everything that you want in Punta Mita. There is a fruit and vegetable store, a meat market, and several small tiendas (small markets) that sell everything you might want. There is a car that comes through Punta Mita every day that sells fresh shrimp and other seafood delights out of its trunk. Just listen for the voice on a loud speaker announcing “Camarones”. Other trucks sell vegetables and fruit. There is also an OXXO (like 7/11) right at the top of the street from the condos that sells convenience foods and beverages.

The main market that everyone use is the MEGA market in Bucerias. Adjacent to the MEGA Market is Club Pick, which is an outlet center for Costco and offers tons of stuff at excellent prices. You will see the market on the way from the airport on your right hand side of the highway as you enter Bucerias. This is a major supermarket akin to any super market in the U.S.. There is also a Wal Mart just a couple of miles further than the MEGA market on the east side of the highway just south of Mezcales. There is a Wal Mart and Sam’s Club (membership cards are necessary for Costco and Sam’s Club) in Puerto Vallarta across from the cruise terminal (about 1 mile south of the airport) There is also a Costco located just a couple of miles further into Puerto Vallarta. The Marina Shopping Center has a very nice super market that is similar to those found in the U.S.. The shopping center is only a short walk or drive from the airport and the market has everything you could possibly want. There are several MEGA super markets in Puerto Vallarta.

If you are planning on doing any grilling and eating in, you will want to make a stop a Carnes Del Mundo in Bucerias. If you need directions you can phone them at 329-298-2000 or just click here to see a map and directions Their address is The selection of beef, chicken, ribs and much, much more is the finest we have tasted. We prefer this meat market to any we have found in our home-town of San Diego. The owners are Gringos and absolutely delightful people. The ribs are to die for!

Is There Anything That I Should be Sure to Bring With Me that is not Obvious?

Intestinal Medicine: While I am sure that your visit will be uneventful, you should always travel with a doctor’s prescribed supply of medicine for intestinal disorder. If you let your doctor know that you are going to Mexico and want to be safe, they will fix you up with everything you need, just in case. I always travel with it no matter where I am going.

Good Earplugs: Mexican construction standards are different than the United States. Soundproofing in Mexico’s hotels and condominiums is not what it should be, so a good set of earplugs are worth their weight in gold. Joanie and I stayed at a 5-star resort in Puerto Vallarta last year and were shocked that we could hear our neighbors like they were standing right next to us. We use “Macks” earplugs and highly recommend them.

Coffee Creamer and Sweetener: I like cream in my morning coffee but finding it in Mexico is next to impossible. We visit Smart and Final and purchase the individual packaged coffee creamers that they sell to restaurants. Not only do they not need to be refrigerated, they last a long time. I also use Sweet & Low, which is simply not available in the markets so bring your own with you.

When is the Best Time to Score Surf? One of the really cool things about Nayarit is its location in terms of intercepting incoming swells from the Pacific Ocean. If you look at a map of Mexico, you will see that below Jalisco the coast turns southeast. From here south, the areas depend primarily upon southern swells for surf. Nayarit captures swells from just about every direction with the exception of the deep south and south eastern swells generated around the equator. For this reason, Nayarit’s surf spots break year around. While some are better on the southern swells and others on the west and north west swells, one can always find rideable surf no matter what the time of year.

That said, I prefer to be in Nayarit during the summer and early fall and here is why. Summer and early fall are off-season for the area as it is plagued with local tropical storms and rain almost every afternoon and evening. Why is this good? Because there are few people in the area and the surf becomes vacant. Punta Mita becomes a virtual ghost town almost, as many of the restaurants and businesses close down for vacation. The other reason this is good is because of the ample amount of swells generated from tropical activity in the Pacific. Southern Hemi swells, tropical depressions and hurricanes moving up the Pacific almost guarantee consistent and quality surf. Southern Hemi swells arrive as long period and super clean lines of perfection. This is Nayarit at its best! Tropical depressions (storms) in the Pacific also generate quality surf and hurricanes moving up the Pacific every summer create shorter period, but many times very clean swells to boot. Because of the water temperatures off of Puerto Vallarta, the storms tend to move quite a ways off shore and follow a route off shore past the tip of Baja. This gives the swells enough time to straighten out before pounding the coast. These swells are fascinating to surf. Once the storm hits the window for Punta Mita, The surf has an immediate increase in size and stays that way until the storm moves out of the window. The swells stack up like corduroy to the horizon. One can ride wave after wave with no one else in the water and surf until exhaustion sets in. On many occasions I have watched wave after wave of perfect point surf go un-ridden with not a soul in the water.

From Mid-November until the end of May, Nayarit is blessed with absolutely perfect weather. Every day promises sunshine and there is virtually no rainfall at all. The normal breeze along the Punta Mita coast is off-shore and the surf is consistently good. This is considered the high season for the area and all of the hotels, houses and condos are fully rented. You can still find solitude on many surf spots during this period, but those spots with easy access are going to be more crowded. No matter when you visit Nayarit, you will find surf and sun.

What Kind of Equipment is Best to Bring?
Whatever you ride in California will work great here too. There are no really super steep takeoffs or thick barrels to worry about. Longboards are great, as are fun boards, but you can have tons of fun on thrusters too. I would also bring a pair of hard sole booties (for the reefs) a leash and at least a rash guard (or spring suit) for the winter months. While the water isn’t cold, you can last a lot longer with a little protection. Also, bring lots of waterproof sun screen and keep it on. You can easily get fried here, even if you have a solid base that works in California. I would suggest also bringing some duct tape and an extra set of fins. While there are some surf shops in El Anclote, getting replacement fins is almost impossible. Bring tons of tropical wax too. You can also take advantage of our Fun Stuff Rental of $100 a week. Click here and scroll down to see what we have.

How Do I Find the Surf?
The best way to score surf is to hire a panga either on the beach, one o the surf shops or in the panga marina at El Anclote. These guys know the breaks and will put you on the best option for the swell and conditions. Most of the breaks are not easily accessible from land, so you will either have to walk a considerable distance or arrive in a panga. The pangas in El Anclote rent for about $50 per hour (or $40 total for a drop off and pick up) and can accommodate several surfers and surfboards. You can arrange to have them drop you at the break and then return later to pick you up, or they can stay with you the entire time while you are surfing. Many of the breaks have channels so that the panga can run to the beach and drop off anyone that wants to sit in the sun on the beach rather than surf. This would include coolers and such as well. It is really an excellent way to surf.