Is there internet access?
Casa Colibri has 3G cellular access* in some parts of the villa (the strongest signal is in the master bedroom), with no limitations and at no cost to renters. 3G allows Internet access, at slower than U.S. speeds but adequate for email and light browsing.
Mexico data plans are now offered by many U. S. and Canadian cellular carriers, either at a reasonable additional cost, or already included in your existing plan. The 3G signal varies over the course of the day, with best receptions early AM’s and late PM’s when the cellular towers are not overloaded.
We highly recommend that you contact your cellular carrier and activate a Mexico data plan that meets your needs. This way, you will be able to access the Internet on your cellular devices, or you can use your smart phone as a mobile “hotspot” so that you can access the Internet on non-cellular devices such as laptops and tablets.
If you plan to run an Internet-dependent business while you are at Casa Colibri: do not rent this villa, as Internet connectivity cannot be guaranteed.
*Access is best in Master Bedroom and around the dipping pool. At busy times of day, such as mornings and evenings, when the local cell towers become overloaded, the 3G signal can sometimes weaken or vanish. The villa is in rural Mexico, where cellular service is still in its infancy.
Do U.S. cell phones work there?
Most U. S. and Canadian cellular carriers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint) "piggyback" over the local cellular networks (TelCel, MoviStar, lusacell). Coverage along mountainous parts of the highway system is spotty, however.
What about money?
The national currency of Mexico is the peso. There are U. S.-friendly ATM's at the Puerto Vallarta airport and at the big box stores (Sam's Club, WalMart, Chedraui, the MegaComercial), all along the highway on your way up to Punta el Custodio. All ATM's offer the same exchange rate on a given day, and charge reasonable fees. Most have instructions in Spanish and English. The closest ATM to Casa Colibri is in Zacualpan, about 25 minutes away by car.
Can I use credit cards?
Major U. S. and Canadian credit cards are accepted at the big box stores, and in many tourist stores and restaurants in and around Puerto Vallarta, but once you are well north Puerto Vallarta, the economy is pretty much cash only, in pesos. Some enterprises will take dollars, but at a poor exchange rate,
What about travelers' checks?
Not recommended. Travelers' checks are rarely accepted by local businesses. They can be cashed at banks, but the process is long and complicated.
How to we get from the airport to Casa Colibri?
The rental manager, Ismael Franco, who speaks excellent English, contracts with a safe and reliable van service: the driver will meet you as you exit the airport customs area and will drive you to the house. He will be happy to stop on the way up for you to use an ATM, buy sundries such as sun blocker or bug spray, liquor or other incidentals. Ismael will arrange for the same service to drop you at the airport on departure. Rates are reasonable, and are by the size of the party: 1-3 people: $120 USD, 4-6 people: $165 USD, 7 to 9 people: $195 USD. Prices may vary somewhat based on the price of gasoline. Pick-up service must be pre-arranged with Ismael. His email is: firstname.lastname@example.org. His cell number (from the U. S.) is +52.1.327.103.9984
Should we rent a car?
There are many car rental agencies in and around the Puerto Vallarta airport. If this will be your first time coming to Punta El Custodio, renting a car is not recommended. Most flights arrive in the afternoon. After going through immigration and customs, picking up the car rental and stopping along the highway to shop, it will be sunset. In the tropics, dusk is very brief, and then it is pitch dark while you are on rural roads, with essentially no shoulders. There is foot and bicycle traffic at all hours, livestock along the highway, and no lighting outside of towns. The last turn-off from the highway to Punta el Custodio is easy to miss in the dark. Besides, you don't need a rental car to get around: Ismael can arrange local transportation for sightseeing, shopping and other activities at reasonable rates. Just let him know the day before.
What about medical care for emergencies?
Basic first aid supplies, including an EpiPen, are available at the Gatehouse. There is a good emergency care center in La Peñita, 45 minutes south, where the staff is familiar with "tourist emergencies." For serious conditions, Puerto Vallarta has several well-equipped modern hospitals and access to excellent, English-speaking medical staff, including most specialties. By U. S. standards, medical care in Mexico is almost ridiculously inexpensive.
What about bugs?
If you are a bug-o-phobic, our part of Mexico is not for you. There are no-see-ums at dawn and dusk, and their numbers vary with the tides and phase of the moon. They like yourneck, wrists and ankles. We recommend long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks and scarves for dawn and dusk protection. Bring insect repellent.
Although open to the air, Casa Colibri has very few no-see-ums. Mosquitoes are unusual. There are various flying beetles (in season) but they are harmless.
Can I bring my pet?
Pets are not allowed, although we will consider exceptions under special circumstances and with prior permission.
What about tipping?
Our staff will work very hard to make you comfortable and meet all your reasonable needs. We recommend tipping for good services rendered. Please consider tipping Moña, our housekeeper/chef, at least $4.00 USD per person per day.
“Wonderful place to relax by the ocean."
We have rented Casa Colibri twice now and it is wonderful. Beautiful open-air main palapa lets you relax indoors and outdoors at the same time, with a great little pool for a quick dip (or longer for the kids!). Rooms are nicely decorated and comfortable, with plenty of room for your stay.
Fresh squeezed orange juice and breakfast ready as soon as we arose. All rooms maintained in spotless condition with artfully beautiful personal touches everywhere. Each room is separated from the others and with the open air environment, each maintains privacy but one can still hear the surf hitting the rocks in the evening.The lush tropical grounds are kept trimmed and gorgeous.
It doesn't get much better than this. Everything from the house to the landscape of the area was so beautiful. It is in a remote area where you are free to do as you please. No fighting crowds at the beach or small restaurants at the bottom of the hill if you'd like to step out for something different. It was as if paradise was all yours and you didn't have to share with anyone.