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Living, Working and Retirement in Puerto Vallarta
Research and assess Puerto Vallarta as a location for living, working or retirement in Mexico.
Puerto Vallarta is a resort town on Mexico's Pacific coast that has been popular with leisure travelers and expatriate residents for decades. The location has also earned some notoriety due to its backdrop being employed for the filming of some major motion pictures; the most famous, perhaps because it 'put Puerto Vallarta on the map', is Night of the Iguana.
Puerto Vallarta At-a-Glance:
180,000; 220,000 in the wider Puerto Vallarta area (2005 Census).
15 feet above sea-level
62F/16C (Nocturnal, Winter), 90F/30C (Daytime, Summer). Year-Round Average 86F/27C.
Puerto Vallarta's rainy season runs from late May to October each year, with tropical storms, and on occasions hurricanes, landing here especially in late summer.
Puerto Vallarta is subject to Hurricanes from the Pacific Ocean.
Tourism, agriculture, light industry, e-commerce.
Cost of Living*
*Relative to other foreign expat communities in Mexico
The town is known to most people as simply "Vallarta", and is oftentimes referred to by foreigners as "PV".
Rich expatriates and celebrities have been choosing this resort town for their home for many decades now; although of late there has also been a significant influx of baby boomers to Vallarta, as well as a contingency of younger expats moving here to set up homes and businesses.
Puerto Vallarta is an accessible city -- by air, by road and by sea -- and this accessibility, especially the advents of new road construction and direct flights from key cities in the U.S.A, has played an important part in the growth story of this city over the course of the last ten years.
Transport connections may get people here, but it's the town itself that keeps them coming back -- or, as is more often the case, coming back for good.
The region's sea-side climate, with winter temperatures (Dec-Mar) averaging in the mid 60's F, spring temperatures (Apr-Jun) rising to averages in the late 70's F, and summer temperatures (July-Sep) reaching as high as the mid 90's F, Puerto Vallarta offers an attractive year-long climate for living and retirement. The months of July, August and September bring the hottest temperatures and highest levels of humidity; those who love this climate stay all summer; those who don't leave for the hottest months (July, August) and return in late September when the temperatures and humidity ease.
With its unique blend of colonial charms, attractive climate, ocean living and Mexican authenticity, Vallarta epitomizes what so many foreigners come looking for in Mexico.
Affordable and Modern
Puerto Vallarta, like so many other Mexican towns and cities -- even those on the coast -- is affordable to buy into and affordable to live in. The stellar population growth in the region has also been attracting some major commercial investors to the region; and so modern, avant-garde amenities, like super-centers selling imported U.S. goods, modern shopping centers, cinemas, good restaurants and modern healthcare centers and clinics are just some of the modern amenities being enjoyed by residents in the Vallarta area. For people who want a real taste of Mexico and also want some U.S.-style commercial comforts to support their lifestyle, Puerto Vallarta is an option.
It's estimated that over fifty per cent of people in Vallarta are employed -- directly or indirectly -- by the tourism industry. Notwithstanding this, the city of Vallarta and Jalisco, the state it resides in, has other sources of prosperity which are flourishing more and more each year. The fertile lands in this region are ideal for certain types of agriculture, especially citrus, banana, mango and avocado. Fishing operations from the Bay of Banderas provide a livelihood to many. Specialized 'light manufacturing' cottage industries are springing up around here (for example, boat building) and the state of Jalisco (and especially Vallarta) are emerging as key 'e-commerce' centers in Mexico as people developing the 'dot com' and other knowledge industries move here and set up their businesses servicing local and international markets. Construction and home sales have been significant sources of income over the last decade, although these industries have abated with the world-wide downturn in real estate prices.
Puerto Vallarta and Environs
The 'old town' of Puerto Vallarta still exudes "old world" feel and characteristics with its narrow streets, cobbled stone lanes, red-tiled pitched roofs and authentic local neighborhoods.
Further out of town -- north and south, larger houses as well as luxury condominiums have began to dot the landscape.
Nuevo Vallarta (New Vallarta), an area some ten minutes drive north of the city's international airport is one the places that has attracted enormous interest from foreign buyers with its gorgeous marina, relative proximity to the city center of Vallarta, proximity to modern shopping and services, and still right on the sea front.
Further north is the town of Punta de Mita -- an exclusive area in the region. The Four Seasons Hotel has one of it's two Mexican properties situated here and the area surrounding it is beginning to develop at a fast pace. Luxury living -- secluded and exclusive -- but close to Vallarta, is on offer in Punta de Mita.
The cost of living in Mexico is typically lower in Mexico than it is the USA, Canada and Western Europe, although precise costs depend upon where you live and your lifestyle choices.
Cost of Living Report
To learn more about the cost of living in Mexico, connect to the Mexico Cost of Living page on Mexperience.
Regional and geographical cost variations do exist, and this part of the guide shows you how some goods and services at Puerto Vallarta vary from the average.
Information about the real estate market in Puerto Vallarta.
Prices of realty soared in Puerto Vallarta between the mid 1990's and 2007, making some areas almost unaffordable to people on a modest budget. The high prices in the central areas in and around Vallarta gave rise to expansion of the areas further south and north, where land and constructed property prices are lower. As the world-wide realty market experiences a price correction, market conditions have caused price rises to stall, which is now creating an investment opportunity for people who want to make a long term commitment to the area whether inside Vallarta or one of the emerging areas within a forty minute drive of the city center.
Real Estate Market in Puerto Vallarta
Real Estate, like the growth in population, has boomed in Puerto Vallarta over the last fifteen years. Vallarta continues to be one of the fastest growing cities in Mexico, and it's not just foreigners buying: many Mexicans, especially those who are looking for beach side property or those leaving Mexico City, are spying Vallarta and making investments here.
As demand grew, prices rose across Vallarta and environs. Prime properties, especially those in desirable areas of the city center and some of the fine developments situated north and south of the town can still command a good price; however there is plenty of land and space around Vallarta and if your geographic preferences are flexible, you will be able to find some bargains, too.
Most real estate is sold through local realty agents who know the area and the surrounding region, as well as directly through the developers marketing major realty projects, often on prime beachfront locations or on fine golf courses.
Real estate types range from beachfront homes, lots, and condos. Residences (mostly re-sales) are available in the town center of Puerto Vallarta as well as out-of-town, where investors are buying homes offering semi-rural surroundings and ocean and/or mountain views.
Rentals Market in Puerto Vallarta
Most rental properties in Puerto Vallarta are offered through local realty agents or by individual property owners listing properties on the Internet or local newspapers and magazines as well as signs posted at restaurants, cafes and bars near the vicinity where the rentals are situated.
In addition to Mexico's state sponsored healthcare provided via the country's national health service IMSS, good quality healthcare services offered through private clinics with US -standard healthcare services exist in Puerto Vallarta. The privately-run out patient clinics available locally are ideal for day-to-day ailments, sprains, broken bones and other health matters which would normally be diagnosed and treated by a General Practitioner of medicine.
Puerto Vallarta enjoys a yearly average temperature of 86F/27C. Winter months can be cooler and drop to 62F/16C at night; summer months may reach highs of 90F/30C, with drenching humidity in July and August especially.
62F/16C (Nocturnal, Winter), 90F/30C (Daytime, Summer). Year-Round Average 86F/27C.
January through March are the coolest months. Temperatures can range from 62F/16C to 81F/25C in the day.
April through June - springtime - are warmer months in Puerto Vallarta with temperatures ranging from 65F/17C overnight to 88F/29C in the daytime.
July through September are the hottest months, with temperature ranging from 75F/21C overnight, to 95F/32C in the daytime. Temperatures and humidity reach their peak in mid-July and August; this is a time when many local residents leave the area to go traveling and retirees leave to visit families back home; returning in late September as temperatures in Puerto Vallarta begin to moderate.
October thru December usually offer the best climate in Puerto Vallarta. Temperatures moderate again starting late September, the drenching humidity disappears and the warm, comfortable climate that is loved by all who live in Vallarta, returns. Temperatures range from 73F/22C overnight to 87F/27C in the daytime.
Puerto Vallarta's rainy season runs from May to October. Torrential afternoon rains may be experienced several days a week and, in the peak temperature months of July, August and September tropical storms may feature, too.
Hurricanes can affect Puerto Vallarta, although the enormous Bay of Banderas is said to "protect" the area from most of the Pacific hurricanes that pass by the region.
Sea Temperature in Puerto Vallarta
During the peak summer months of July and August, sea temperatures may reach as high as 80F/23C; in other months, the sea temperature will average around 65F/18C.
This section contains links to guides where you can learn more about living in Puerto Vallarta.