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Best way to travel from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara in 2023

By Paco Morás

January 17, 2023

Guadalajara is the capital city of Jalisco, the state where Puerto Vallarta is located.Around 1.5 million people live in the municipality, and 5 million in its great metro area, comprising Tlaquepaque, Zapopan, Tlajomulco, and 6 other cities. It is indeed a cosmopolitan urban center.

What to do in Guadalajara

You can find things to do in Guadalajara for all tastes, ages, and budgets A visit to Guadalajara is a nice trip to do, no matter if you go solo, in family or with a group of friends.The must-see spots include the Cathedral; the Degollado and the Diana Theaters, venues of top-tier events; the Cabañas Hospice, a World Heritage Site.

On the trade side, you can find practically everything you may need or want in Guadalajara commercial centers. From high-end malls to open markets; from designer jewelry to authentic handicrafts, everything is available for you.

Now that you want to visit The Pearl of the West, as the city is known, you may want to know, how much does it cost to travel from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara? If you decide not to hire a guide and explore by yourself, you can go by plane, by bus, or drive. Every option has its pros and cons, of course.

People walking on a Guadalajara street

Flying to Guadalajara

The flight, more like a leap, takes 50 to 60 minutes of airborne time. Of course, you have to consider the extra time air travel involves. There are three lines offering direct flights: Vivaaerobus, AeroMar, and TAR. Depending on the season, a round-trip ticket can be anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000 pesos. The latter would be very expensive, especially if bought last-minute.

Riding the bus

Buses between Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara run all day and all night. The trip usually takes around five hours. The most popular one is Vallarta Plus, with runs practically every hour 24/7. A round trip will cost you $1,260 pesos per person. Other options include Primera Plus and ETN,a luxury brand with seat-beds and a slightly costlier ticket.

Here is how to drive to Guadalajara from Puerto Vallarta

Let’s say you are the independent type and do not want to be subject to any fixed schedule. If so, driving is your best option. The road from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara is famous for its scenic route. You go across mountains and jungle.

aerial view of a Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara stretchPhoto: Courtesy

In the last few years, new stretches of highway have been opening, and completion of the full route is expected by early 2024. Right now, driving from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara will take between 4.5 and 5 hours, depending on the traffic.

Toll rates for the full way add up to $796 pesos per trip, making it $1,592 pesos both ways. You have an insurance policy for civil liabilties when you pay your fare. Now you have to consider the cost of gas, which obviously varies according to your vehicle and driving habits. For a 6-cylinder vehicle, you may want to consider a total expense of $1,500 pesos round trip.

These figures apply if you drive by the highway. You can drive also by the old 544 road, toll-free. You would pass by three Magic Towns. But that is a matter of another post.

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