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Expat Advice: Living in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

An expat talks about living in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She describes social gatherings, recreational activities and more. One tip: visit Puerto Vallarta many times and stay in different areas before making the move.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Puerto Vallarta

How long have you lived there?

One year and one month

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

Expats Vallarta is active and easily found on the Internet. They offer monthly get-togethers and other social events. Although mostly geared to people who vacation here every year, there is also a group that meets at Pour Favor every Tuesday evening. We have found, however, that going to the pool in our condo building is the best way to make new friends.

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

People here are very accepting of differences. The dominant religion is Catholic. There are a few storefront nondenominational or Protestant options in our area. There are few people of African descent here. This is an international city, however, with expats from the US, Canada, Germany, England, Italy, and other countries in Central and South America. It is a gay friendly area, offering many bars, clubs, and even resorts that cater to same sex weddings and events. People here are warm and welcoming, managing to cross any language barriers with smiles and laughter.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

The main industry here is tourism. That is probably followed by construction. I am retired, so I don't know how one goes about getting a work visa or finds a job. I do know there are opportunities for those fluent in Spanish in real estate.

If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

We visited Puerto Vallarta for 15 years before moving here. I would tell my friend to visit at least 6 times, renting in different places each time. The areas of this city/region are quite different, so that person should rent in Centro, Southside, Conchas Chinas, Mismaloya, the Marina, the Hotel Zone, and even in Nuevo and Bucerias before he or she commits to anything long term. Of course, I would also advise my friend to start learning Spanish and start saving money. Most real estate transactions are in cash because interest rates are very high here. There are long term rental opportunities, if one is comfortable living with a certain amount of uncertainty about availability year to year. I would also tell my friend that, after buying our condo, we have never been happier or so free of financial worries. We love living here.

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