By Kathleen Peddicord
Summary: Puerto Vallarta is more expensive than places like Panama City, Panama and Salinas, Ecuador, but this highly developed stretch of Mexico's Pacific coastline offers a world-class lifestyle for expats.
Puerto Vallarta is neither the cheapest retirement choice in the world nor the cheapest option within Mexico. Our correspondent includes a series of detailed monthly budgets for living in this part of the world in this month's issue of my Overseas Retirement Letter, which features a complete report on expat life and retirement in P.V.
Here, anecdotally, I can tell you that Puerto Vallarta is more expensive than Panama City, for example...which is to say you aren't going to find it a bargain compared with the cost of living Stateside.
In Puerto Vallarta, though, that's not the point.
This isn't developing-world living. This stretch of Mexico's Pacific coastline has already been developed to a high level. Life here can be not only comfortable, but easy and fully appointed.
There are no tax or doing-business advantages to retiring to Puerto Vallarta (as there can be to beachside options in Panama, to pick up the comparative line of thinking I suggested yesterday). What this region does offer, however, is a world-class Pacific coast lifestyle, more developed than you'll find in most of Panama and light years ahead of what you can buy today in Nicaragua.
Note that I didn't say world-class Pacific coast. You find that many places that I report on. What you don't find often is the lifestyle to support it.
You can't compare the cost of retirement in P.V. with the cost of retirement in Salinas, Ecuador, for example, or in Las Tablas, Panama. Salinas, especially, is an emerging region, a back of beyond, frankly, where, sure, someday, maybe, there will exist international-standard amenities. Frankly, though, I wouldn't bet on when that day might be, and I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it.
In Puerto Vallarta, you aren't buying for someday. In Puerto Vallarta, you have the opportunity to buy a world-class lifestyle in a region with world-class beaches and ocean views that is supported, right now, by world-class golf courses, marinas, restaurants, and shopping.
This is a lifestyle that is available only on a limited basis worldwide, a lifestyle that is truly (not metaphorically) comparable to the best you could enjoy in southern California...if you could afford it.
And my point is that this enviable lifestyle, some might even call it a lifestyle of the rich and famous, is not some property developer's vision or speculator's dream.
I was first in P.V. more than 15 years ago. Back then, developing this coast into a world-class destination was the talk of so many developers and speculators. I returned recently, 15 years later, to find that this region is one place in the world where the developers and the speculators have actually succeeded in creating something.
The Pacific coast in and around Puerto Vallarta has been invested in, over decades, not only by developers and speculators, but also, importantly, by the Mexican government. All along, the government has supported private investment, and now it has refocused its attention on this region, specifically on the stretch of coast running for about 100 miles north from Nuevo Vallarta. As a result, this isn't a place to plan for a fully appointed retirement at the beach someday. This isn't a place to invest based on the pretty watercolor drawings of a savvy marketing group. This is one of the best places I can think of to embrace a fully appointed Pacific beach retirement lifestyle right now.
And the best part is that, here in P.V., not only can you plug into a fully developed retirement lifestyle...built, furnished, landscaped, and within minutes of the fairway or the yacht club if those pastimes interest you...but, unlike in southern California, you can also afford it.
No, probably not on a Social Security-only retirement income. But if your retirement budget is a bit bigger, and you've dreamt your whole life of retiring ocean-side in comfort, I'd say this could be your number-one right-now choice.
Publisher Live and Invest Overseas
First Published: Aug 18, 2011