Common Questions

How do meals work at Estrella Mar?

Our wonderful chef's services are included in the nightly rate. They will do all the shopping, prep work, cooking, serving and clean up for two meals each day at no additional cost to you. The cost of groceries, both food and drinks is additional and we just pass it onto you (with receipts – no service fee) at the end of the week.    For planning purposes, estimate $35 a day per guest staying. Keep in mind this number will be on the lower end should you choose to eat out, if you have a lot of kids, vegetarians, or nondrinkers in your group. This number can be higher should you choose expensive seafood options such as lobster or shrimp each meal accompanied by top shelf liquors and pricier wines and beers.  We recommend you give our staff around $1000  dollars upfront to reimburse their shopping, check in mid week, and then of course settle at the end of your stay. All money for groceries must be paid directly to our staff in CASH only, as they do not have a way to take credit cards or checks.  

Breakfasts have many items that are served family style from platters of fresh fruit and bacon and a potato dish to everyone’s favorite French toast! Then, you and your guests have the option of ordering additional items such as yogurt parfaits, omelets, or machaca burritos individually. Lunches and Dinners are ordered as a group, meaning everyone is served the same dish. Our chefs are happy to work around any dietary requirements to accommodate everyone. Dinners can be up to four courses including appetizers, a soup or salad, a main dish and dessert. Sunday is our staff’s normal day off, but a fantastic family style breakfast is still served. A smaller simpler lunch or some appetizers can also be ordered. Sunday evening is a great opportunity to head into town for dinner and enjoy some of the fantastic restaurants PV has to offer.‍

Will I be able to use my credit cards in Puerto Vallarta?

Yes and no. Most major credit cards are widely accepted in touristy areas, but definitely not everywhere yet. If you are going out to eat, check beforehand or just bring extra cash to be safe. ATM’s are fairly common around town if you remember your debit card. Don’t forget to call your credit cards in before you leave so your card doesn’t get frozen because they think it is fraud.

Can I drink the water?

For years Puerto Vallarta’s water has been certified for human consumption – one of the few places in Mexico to receive this honor, but that doesn’t mean you should necessarily drink it. It means it’s safe when it leaves the water treatment plant, but after going through the water pipes, what comes out the other end may not be. The villa has its own purification system also, so no need to fear brushing your teeth, showering or swallowing a pill. Stick to purified bottled water to be safe, you don’t want to spend your valuable vacation time being sick!

Is Puerto Vallarta safe?

Yes, definitely, we wouldn’t go down there with our family if we didn’t think so! You will feel much safer in most parts of Puerto Vallarta than in the United States or Canada. There is very little crime here, and what does exist is usually petty compared to the U.S. The tourist police here are friendly and very helpful. Obviously use your common sense and be aware, and at night stay on main streets. Some people are concerned about the drug “war” in Mexico, we want to emphasize that the issue is fundamentally linked to USA-Mexico border towns and is an issue far from important in Puerto Vallarta and surrounding areas. Warning, do not attempt to purchase marijuana or other drugs as the police here have a vigilant “sting” program in operation and you don’t want to be in a position of bribing yourself out of jail.

Will I have internet access and phone service?

You can bring your laptop, tablet, phone etc. There is Wi-Fi in the Villa and there are a number of free hot-spots and internet cafes around Puerto Vallarta. If you don’t want to bring your own device, the Villa has a desktop computer for you to use any time you like. There are a number of apps like Whatsapp, Facetime, Skype, etc. you can use to keep in touch with loved ones at home. You are also able to make free local and international calls at the villa as well. Check with your cell phone provider to find out what kind of international plans are available for you while in Mexico. Some can be very affordable, while others are quite expensive!

Can I use US dollars in Mexico?

The peso is Mexico’s official currency, but many places will take US dollars. Be aware that larger bills can be harder for vendors to break so bring plenty of $1’s, $5’s, and $10’s and know you'll get pesos back as change. If you go on an adventure way out of the main tourist areas, it will be best that you bring enough pesos along. Avoid changing too much money at the airport as you don’t get as good of a rate! Banks give the best rate but require you to take in your passport. There are plenty of ‘Cambio’ stations where you can trade US bills for Pesos around town, you'll also need a passport or driver's license to use these. ATM's are available in town, use common sense with these and choose one associated with a bank instead of one at a bar or randomly on a side street. You'll be charged a small service fee to use them and most limit you to $300 per day per card. If you run out of cash, this is definitely the best option!

How much should we tip the staff for our stay?

Tipping of the household employees is voluntary, although customary in Mexico. The amount of the tips would, of course, depend on the service, the length of stay, the number of guests, special service and so forth. We are frequently asked how much to tip and have established a guideline that may be of help to you. We recommend $20.00 US per person in your party per day as a good starting point. For example:  A group of 12 who are staying 7 nights, 8 days would be $1920. This tip will be divided among Paco and the rest of the Villa staff. It is best to put the entire tip in an envelope and give it to Paco to distribute. This way, some of the people who make your stay pleasant, but whom you seldom see, such as the watchmen, are not forgotten.

What is that green/white receipt I kept when entering Mexico?

This is basically your Tourist Card, so don’t lose it! Obviously you can get another at the airport before you leave, but it is a pain and you don’t want to waste valuable vacation time. Lock it up with your passport and you’ll be sure to remember it.

How has traveling to Villa Estrella Mar changed because of Covid?

Our villa has a number of new Covid-19 protocols in place that include enhanced cleaning and disinfecting measures.

Have Questions?

Not seeing something? Still have questions? Get in touch and we'll get back to you as soon as possible. We are here to help you have a great travel experience.
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