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Living a Beach Lifestyle in Puerto Vallarta, MEXICO

Puerto Vallarta is a very popular beach town on the west coast of Mexico; below Mazatlan and north of Acupulco. Once a  small fishing and agricultural town, the area became a popular tourist destination in the 20th century.  The town has several great beaches which are shared by locals as well as the many wealthy tourists. Some U.S. residents who live here (typically as snow birders) say it is almost like a little USA community, except for the great weather and scenery.  Gays will find a welcoming environment.

There is a great variety in the types and prices of housing available. From a small apartment to a grand villa overlooking the bay, it's up to you.  In general some people say housing prices are about half what they are in comparable Florida communities and well below California's.  It is a certainty you can get more house, view, and waterfront proximity than you can in the states.

Where to Retire in Puerto Vallarta and Home Prices

There is a great variety in the types and prices of housing available. From a small apartment to a grand villa overlooking the bay.  Housing prices are usually well below California's. However if you search on the Internet you will see prices at fairly high levels, with lots for sale for less than $100,000 to much more, depending on view. Some condos are available from the $90's to more than $300,000, depending on view and proximity to the ocean. There are many luxurious homes with ocean views on the market for over $1 million for more.   Real estate is not cheap by middle American standards, but you can get more house, view, and waterfront proximity than you can California. There are some newer towns being developed that are more casual and low key, such as Punta Mita. Foreigners can't technically own property in this restricted zone, but thanks to a legal loophole, the Fideicomiso, you can use a Mexican corporation to buy a property on your behalf and hold it in a trust that you control.

What Is Special about Puerto Vallarta

 Everything about Puerto Vallarta is special; the weather, the scenery with Banderas Bay surrounded by the Sierra Madre mountains, all of the activities and retirees to enjoy them with. Puerto Vallarta is one of the safer places in Mexico.  PV was a popular destination on "The Love Boat"; many movies were shot here, including "Night of the Iguana" with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. This movie and its attendant publicity are widely credited for putting PV on the map as a tourist destination. The many beautiful beaches are among the best in Mexico.

What Is Not Special about Puerto Vallarta

Although Mexico in general has suffered from the adverse publicity surrounding the recent drug violence, once within the enclaves of Puerto Vallarta that might seem quite distant. On some forums many people mention they don't feel safe in Puerto Vallarta.  Driving and walking can be tough in parts of town. It is not set up well for cars and some newer roads aren't pedestrian friendly. Americans will find a different legal system and culture that might not feel famiilar.

Climate and Physical Environment

Puerto Vallarta is on Mexico's central coast on the Bahia de Banderas below Mazatlan and well above Acapulco. The California Baja is to the northwest.  It is dry and hot here, winters are warm.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Puerto Vallarta is a bustling town of a quarter million people with always something going on. There are many restaurants providing different specialties and settings. Specialities include Huachinango Sarandeado - red snapper marinated and grilled in a birria paste (roast peppers, garlic and spices, grilled Mahi-Mahi, and Ceviche. You can find everything from fine dining at places like Cafe des Artistes and Trio to great burgers at Joe Jack's Fish Shack to Taco Stands. The Romantic Zone is one of the busiest walking communities in Mexico. There are plenty of cafes and shops all within several blocks of each other. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the old cathedrale and a nice tourist spot, as are the Botanical Gardens. Puerto Vallarte has several important festivals within the year.


There is crime like there is in any tourist spot. But Mexicans vacation here because they consider it one of the safer places in the country to visit. Most condominums and developments have good security.

Medical Facilities

The level of healthcare in Puerto Vallarta has taken a turn for the better in recent years. Dozens of years ago- you would be lucky to find a doctor in this town (and he'd likely be on vacation only for a few days!). Fortunately, facilities such as San Javier, Amerimed and Medasist have improved this scene substantially. There are also several qualified independent doctors throughout Puerto Vallarta who are trained and educated in the U.S. and Canada. Many expatriates rave about the quality (and affordability) of Mexican health care.


The main Puerto Vallarta Airport, Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport, has become one of the busiest hubs in Mexico, with recent investment over the last several years leading to a new expansion effectively doubling the size and capacity of the terminals. Direct Flights are offered from most major US cities, including San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, and many more. 

There is also a major busline charter center located near the Airport. 

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