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  Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Puerto Vallarta & Ocho Cascadas

We get a lot of emails from people asking questions about Ocho Cascadas and Puerto Vallarta (PV), so little by little I have compiled all the answers into this page. If you have any more questions after reading this, I'll be happy to answer them. Just use this form.
Arriving at the Airport
Transportation from the Airport
Grocery Shopping
Resort Location
Resort Details
Owning a Week *** Updated for 2014 ***
Renting
Exchanging
Climate
Restaurants
Activities
Conclusion

Arriving at the Airport

I should warn you about one little thing in the airport. After you get your luggage from the carousel and get through Customs, as you walk towards the exit doors you'll be approached my nicely-dressed, English-speaking, very-friendly people, who will offer to help you get to your resort. These people look like they are airport personnel, but they are actually very persistant timeshare salesman! Just tell them that you already own a timeshare in Puerto Vallarta, and don't need any help, and keep walking! They'll offer you a free taxi ride, a free dinner, etc. etc., but don't fall for it. Once you get past the gauntlet of salesmen (the locals call this room "the shark tank"), you can proceed out into the airport terminal area to get a rental car, catch a bus, or hire a taxi.

Transportation from the Airport

We like to reserve a rental car for the day of our arrival (a 24-hour rental). We usually reserve Thrifty Car Rental in advance via Orbitz, and the total price is usually around $40 for the day. On the way from the airport to the resort, we stop to do our grocery shopping for the week. Or if we arrived late in the day, we might do our shopping the following morning. Either way, we take the rental car back to the airport on our second day, and then return to the resort via city bus (or sometimes the rental car company will give us a free ride).

The buses are cheap (25 or 50 cents) and frequent. From the airport, you would take the El Centro bus southward all the way to the end of its route at the southern end of town. Then change to the Mismaloya bus to head a little farther south towards the resort, and ask the driver to stop at the Conchas Chinas entrance below Ocho Cascadas. Then walk up the steep hill to the resort (or possibly grab a cab for the ride up the hill). However, the buses don't really have enough room for luggage, so they aren't a good option for your arrival day.

If you don't want to rent a car, you'll probably want to take a group van (collectivo) or taxi from the airport (the city buses are too crowded for luggage). It seems like every van and taxi driver knows where Ocho Cascasdas is. Taxis are very expensive from the airport, due to required government permits, but cheaper to the airport (something like $40 from the airport, versus $10 back to the airport). The group vans are a little cheaper than the taxis, since you are sharing the van with others.

Taxis are pretty common in Mexico, but sometimes you might have to use a phone to call for one. Remember, of course, that you're in a foreign country and that roaming charges can really add up if your plan isn't international-friendly. If you're planning on using a cell phone a fair amount, consider getting one of the T-Mobile prepaid phone plans for your vacation. With prepaid phones, there's a limit to how much you can lose to unexpected roaming fees.

Grocery Shopping

For grocery shopping, we prefer the relatively new Super WalMart located at the northern edge of town. As you drive from the airport towards town, it will be on your left as you enter the Zona Hotelera ("Hotel Zone"). We also like Gigante, which is a large modern two-story supermarket about halfway from the airport to the resort. You'll see it on the right side of the main boulevard as you go from the airport to the resort. There are other smaller markets closer to the resort (such as Rizo's), but we found them to be a little dirty, and the produce was in bad condition.

Resort Location

The Ocho Cascadas resort is on the southern edge of town, in a residential area called Conchas Chinas. This Puerto Vallarta map shows the airport on the northern end of town, and Conchas Chinas on the southern end of town. This Conchas Chinas map shows the northern and southern entrances into the neighborhood, and the loaction of the resort within the neighborhood. The Ocho Cascadas resort is built on a hillside, with the 10 villas arranged in a stairstep fashion. There is a gated entrance at the bottom of the resort on Paseo de los Delfines, and another at the top of the resort on Paseo Conchas Chinas.

The resort address is:
          Club Ocho Cascadas
          Paseo de los Delfines 116
          Fracc. Conchas Chinas
          Puerto Vallarta, 48300

And the phone number (when dialing from the US) is:
          011-52-322-221-5278 or 5279
          011-52-322-221-5075 (fax)

It's just a 5-minute walk downhill from the resort to the main road (also called "the highway") into town. But it's a tougher walk back up the hill. Many people grab a taxi for a ride up the hill. There is a taxi stand and a bus stop at the arched entrance to the Conchas Chinas neighborhood. Across the road is a nice secluded beach. There is also a small mini-market within walking distance from the resort, towards town (north) on the main road. In the opposite direction (south) there is a restaurant within walking distance. And there is another restaurant a short walk uphill from the resort upper gate.

Resort Details

We have stayed in Villas 6 and 8. All the villas are similar, except for Villa 1 (which is a 1-bedroom with a jacuzzi instead of a pool), Villa 3 (which has an extra-large sundeck with palapa bar), and Villa 10 (which is a huge 2-story penthouse). We don't personally recommend Villas #1 or #2, because a large home was built across the street from the resort, and it blocked much of the view from those two units. Here are the villa floorplans for all the villas.

Villa 2 thru 10 have two bedrooms, each with a queen bed. A fifth person could sleep comfortably on the very large sofa in the living room, but of course it wouldn't be private. The maids are happy to make the sofa into a bed.

All villas are equipped with a stove, oven, refrigerator, juicer, blender, toaster, and coffee pot. They are stocked with sugar, salt & pepper, coffee filters, napkins, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and endless supplies of bottled water & ice (even though the tap water in PV is pretty good, and we have never had a problem with 'turista'). Each villa has one wall safe for valuables (large enough to contain a laptop PC), but you must bring your own lock. There is maid service twice daily (they have to keep sweeping up all the flower petals that rain down from above)! Note, there's no microwave (but there will be after the renovation in 2013), dishwasher (but the maids will wash any dishes left in the sink), TV, or radio. We like to bring a CD/MP3 player and small speakers.

The resort has a Welcome Party on Friday evening, with margaritas and appetizers. Be sure to attend, and meet your neighbors. If you're lucky, the party will be held in the huge penthouse villa. Often, after the "official" party ends, people will flow downhill to another villa to continue the party!

The resort itself doesn't have a restaurant, but there is a "floating chef". The charge is about $20.00 per meal (not per person), plus the cost of the groceries. She does the shopping for the meal, cooking, serving and cleaning up. She leaves you the leftover food, which is usually enough for another meal. It's a great deal, and we recommend it.

Owning a Week *** Updated for 2014 ***

When Ocho Cascadas was originally sold as a timeshare resort, the weeks were sold on a "Right-To-Use" (RTU) basis, and that usage period expired at the end of 2012.

But we have some exciting news. The resort is currently closed while it is being completely refurbished & renovated. Then it will be sold as a timeshare resort again, but this time for perpetuity! To learn all the details about how you can own a piece of paradise, visit the new Ocho Cascadas Refurbishment/Renovation/Re-Sale section of our website.

Renting

The resort is now closed while being completely refurbished & renovated. If you would like to rent a week at Ocho Cascadas starting in 2014, just submit this form. Be sure to provide your phone number and email address, so that a representative of the resort can contact you with detailed information on pricing and availability.

Exchanging

You can try to visit Ocho Cascadas via a timeshare exchange, but it is extremely difficult, because there are only 10 villas in the resort, the demand is very high, and most owners use their weeks. An Interval International rep once told me that they get 3000 requests per year for exchanging into Ocho Cascadas, but only about 30 owners deposit their weeks, which means that only about 1% of requests get filled. And he said most of the successful exchangers are owners of Marriott timeshares.

That was the case with us when we first visited before we owned a week there. We deposited our Marriott Desert Springs 2-bedroom villa and placed our exchange request one year in advance of our desired trip. We gave them a window of two months during which we would be willing to go. And then for 10 months, Interval International kept calling us to say "We hardly ever get any deposits from Ocho Cascadas, so your odds of getting in are very slim. Can we interest you in one of the other fine resorts in Puerto Vallarta?" We just kept telling them that we were only interested in Ocho Cascadas, and that we would continue to wait. And we did finally get our exchange confirmation. That was back in 1998. We loved it so much that we started watching for units to buy, and we finally snagged one in 2001.

If you are timesharing, I highly recommend joining the Timeshare Users Group (TUG). We rely heavily on their Resort Reviews for deciding where to go. And their BBS is great for asking people questions about places you're considering. Occasionally, my membership gets extended because someone who visited my website lists me as a referral when they join TUG (hint, hint).

Climate

We've always gone in May, and the weather has been great. The hot and humid rainy season is from June thru September, so I personally wouldn't want to go then. That's when there can be a bug problem. But we have never seen any mosquitoes there. There is usually a nice breeze from the ocean. If it does get a little warm during the day, we just take a dip in our private pool.

Restaurants

I should explain that we love the resort so much, we hardly ever leave our villa. So we're not experts on some aspects of PV, such as restaurants. We enjoy taking the time to cook gourmet meals when we're on vacation, so we eat-in most of the time, and only dine-out occasionally.

Having said that, I have heard that the best places for breakfast/brunch are Le Bistro Jazz Cafe and The River Cafe, both located on the Rio Cuale Island. And everyone seems to agree that the best restaurant for dinner in PV is Cafe de Artistes. For more casual and convenient dining, there is one restaurant (Cafe Buena Vista) a short walk above the resort, and another one (El Set) on the highway just south of the resort. Of course, there are many excellent restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, but you'll probably want a taxi for that. A taxi to downtown would be about $5.

Activities

Now, about Puerto Vallarta itself. PV is famous for its "old world" charm. It isn't a large touristy city like Cancun or Cabo San Lucas. It is more like a small village, and shopping is very popular. The people are very friendly.

And there's plenty to do in PV. There's all the usual beach resort activities, such as swimming, diving, boating, fishing, parasailing, etc. There's also a lot of activities in the surrounding mountains and jungles, like hiking and horseback riding.

Here are some websites with info on activites...
Virtual Vallarta
Go To Puerto Vallarta
All About Puerto Vallarta
Access Mexico

Conclusion

That's all I can think of right now. Feel free to write with questions. This page will get updated whenever someone asks me a new question.

By the way, I have started asking a favor of all the people who have found my website useful (I'm getting about 300 visitors every day now), because it is costing me money to maintain the website now (it used to be free).

So if you do any shopping on the web, I would appreciate it if you go to the More Info section of our website, and then use the links there to visit various internet retailers. That way, I'll get a small commission from any purchase you make.

Thanks,
Chris

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