Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta…

… in the state of Jalisco, in the country of Mexico, has an estimated population of 350,000, of which approximately 50,000 are expats from Canada or the U.S. of America.

Puerto Vallarta

Our Lady of Guadalupe in El Centro

Laying along the western, border of the mainland, about one thousand miles from the U.S./Mexico border,  P.V., or Vallarta, as it is often called, is nestled between in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain chain, which runs 2/3’s of Mexico to the north and south, and Banderas Bay (Bay of Flags), on the Pacific Ocean.  The Cuale River flows west into the ocean at P.V.  

Vallarta lays totally south of the Tropic of Cancer, so summer days are warm to hot and humid – but remember that great ocean breeze.  Winters tend to be mild.  Of course, you will have the occasional hurricane and the occasional noticeable earthquake.

The beaches in and around P.V. may not be the very best for swimming, but, for an afternoon of just enjoying the water and relaxing, they are beautiful.  There are many public beaches convenient to drive to.  There are a couple of beaches that are good for snorkeling, and a couple for just playing around, because of the gentle waves.  All beaches are public, even when there are expensive resorts built there, the beach is open to all.  You may even spot some whales out in the water!  And like every costal town, for strolling and relaxing, there is the Malecon, bordering the downtown area, along the oceanfront – visit it day and night – don’t miss the wonderful street performers and music and nightlife. 

Puerto Vallarta

Where the "Night of the Iguana" was filmed

At Puerto Vallarta, you’ll find every convenience you’re used to:

 high speed internet, and big box stores, including Wal-Mart and Sam’s.   There is every thing from upscale shopping centers, open air markets, theatre, internet cafes, art galleries and golf courses to corner taco stands. 

Although Puerto Vallarta is a rather recent discovery of expats, the city has grown quickly, and along with the growth has come some pollution and traffic conjestion  – not unusual.  But along with that comes relaxation, enjoyment, patience and friendship, and sometimes, some great bargains, and of course, the chance to make your pennies really stretch…every day.  

I mentioned P.V. is a relative late-comer to tourism – that was mainly due to Hollywood in 1963.  A Director, John Huston, choose P.V. to film “The Night of the Iguana”.  That production starred Richard (Elizabeth Taylor) Burton, Ava Gardner, and Deborah Kerr – they were biggies!  And, the press, due to the film, introduced P.V., as a wonderful place for fun and – well, whatever you want.  Now, tourism is still the number one income generator for P.V., with fishing and agriculture coming in a distant second.

Puerto Vallarta

Dick and Me on the Malecon

There are bargains waiting if you’re a good hunter.  The economy did a flop in Mexico, same as it has in the U.S. and Mexico overbuilt, same as in the States.  You can probably find even greater bargains in some of the surrounding small villages such as Bucerias, Melaque, Gayabitas, Punta de Mita and San Patricio – you will not be living in N.A. Expat conclaves in those villages.  Mexico is offering mortgages now, some 30 year offerings and even some fixed rates.  You’ll usually need between 20% to 50% down.  MortgagesinMexico,  Mexlend, and Conficasa Mortgage are a few institutions to start checking out if you’re interested in financing.  Hopefully, in retirement, you’ve already paid your mortgage off, have your car paid off, and are really ready to enjoy life.

Puerto Vallarta

Iguana on roof top

Hopefully, in your retirement, you won’t need to work, but it that’s what you enjoy, you’ll find as usual, time-share and real estate are open to outsiders in Mexico.  There seems to be a growing population of retirees who are even opening their own businesses in Mexico – usually having to do with the arts.  You’ll need to follow all the proper steps that are required, but, hey – good luck to you!

Puerta Vallarta by Barbie.

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3 Responses to Puerto Vallarta

  1. Debi Schmaltz

    September 18, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Please let me know your suggestions for RV’g in/and or nearby PV towns in search of the best spot to retire.

  2. Barbie


    September 20, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Hi Debbie, I suggest contacting local RV Clubs – get the list of facilities in the areas you’re interested in, and then, go from there. I would suggest – no, I tell you plainly – do not expect to be safe if you plan on camping in deserted areas, along the beach by yourself, along any road, etc. You will be safest in the approved parks. Traveling in Mexico is not like traveling in America – and right now, you don’t need to be doing unwise things. Plan, let people know where you will be, and be careful. Barbie

  3. ron karch

    April 29, 2014 at 4:53 am

    Hi all, my wife and I have been wintering in Puerto Vallarta for the past five years, and love the entire area in and around the city. We have traveled up and down the coast between Vallarta and Sayulita, a small beach town North of the city. We travel mainly by bus, and have observed a few RV parks along the way. It is also very reasonable to rent one, two,or three bedroom condo’s in and around Vallarta. A good place to look is Craig’s list, however, it is sometimes best to just fly into Vallarta, stay in a hotel for a few days, and look for yourself. My wife and have done both, and have always had good luck finding a place pretty quickly. We now have a few good friends there who help us if need be. We usually stay in the Marina Vallarta area, for three or four months, and have never payed more than twelve hundred a month. While that may seem a lot, the condo’s we rent are nicely furnished, and the price usually includes utilities. It is always cheaper to rent long term, three months or more. There is a nice hotel near the Marina called the Flamingo, where many people flying into Vallarta stay until they can secure a furnished condo in the area. Good luck with what ever you decide, but I can tell you that you will love the Puerto Vallarta area no matter what you decide.

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