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Free No More: Vallarta’s Sam’s Plaza Introduces Paid Parking

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – The familiar scene of cars snaking through the bustling Sam’s parking lot received a significant update last week: it’s no longer free. After a month of speculation triggered by mysterious new bollards at the entrances, paid parking arrived like an unwelcome holiday gift on December 28th.

Residents accustomed to free parking at the popular plaza, strategically located at the busy “Pitillal Crossing”, reacted with a mix of grumbles and grudging acceptance. Drivers must now cough up 12 pesos per hour, or 7 pesos for two hours with a stamped ticket from Sam’s or adjacent stores.

The administrators, aiming to quell concerns, erected signs outlining the new rules. Drivers are expected to play nice: one space per vehicle, securely lock their cars, and don’t leave valuables, not even the parking ticket, inside. A silver lining – albeit a slightly dented one – comes in the form of car theft insurance, albeit with a 30% deductible and limited coverage (auto parts theft and third-party accidents are not covered).

While paid parking is nothing new in Puerto Vallarta’s shopping scene, residents lamented the loss of free parking at this familiar haunt. However, some saw the bright side: better service in exchange for pesos. Yet, the first day revealed teething problems. Glitchy machines and unreliable ticket recording kept long lines of cars snaking through the plaza, adding frustration to the mix.

Whether paid parking marks a positive step or the end of an era, one thing’s certain: navigating the Sam’s parking lot just got a bit more complicated, both for wallets and nerves.

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